These yummy little dried fruit and nut balls are packed full of nutrients and fibre. Great for your lunch box or for taking on a picnic. Use whatever dried fruit and nuts you have in your store cupboard, but I recommend using Medjool dates and dried apricots as their gooey texture holds the ingredients together really well.
Wrap in grease-proof paper and store in an airtight container. If there’s any left over!
Further nutritional information can be found at the end of this post.
Makes 23 balls. Prep time: 20 minutes. Fridge time: at least 2 hours
40g pine nuts, toasted
70g flaked almonds, toasted
75g dried carabao mango
100g sweetened dried cranberries
200g Medjool dates, pitted (I used organic)
250g dried apricots
1. Place the pine nuts and flaked almonds in a small frying pan and toast gently for a couple of minutes, moving them around as they cook. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
2. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and blitz until the ingredients start combining.
3. Turn off the food processor. Take a large teaspoon of the mixture and roll it around in the palm of your hands to make a ball shape. This is easier to do, and less sticky, if you have a small bowl of warm water next to you to moisten your hands a little as you go along.
4. Place the fruit balls onto grease proof paper (baking paper) and place in the fridge for at least two hours.
Toast the pine nuts and flaked almonds in a frying pan for a couple of minutes.
Blitz the ingredients in a food processor. Take a generous teaspoon of mixture and make into ball shapes like so . . . . .
Place in the fridge for at least two hours, then remove from fridge and enjoy . . . . . but don’t eat them all in one go! Perhaps just one, or two . . . . . or three!
Dried fruit is high in natural sugar, including both glucose and fructose, and high in calories too. This is because most of the water has been removed during the drying process, which concentrates all the sugar and calories in a much smaller package.
However, eating dried fruit has been linked to an increased intake of nutrients and a reduced risk of obesity. They are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and high in phenolic antioxidants, which have numerous health benefits.
By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fibre, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit.
For example, dates are incredibly sweet. They are a great source of fibre, potassium, iron and several plant compounds. Of all the dried fruit, they are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, contributing to reduced oxidative damage in the body. Dates also have a low glycemic index, which means that eating them should not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels.