I am totally guilty of impulse bulk food purchases and often find myself with strange quantities of strange things. The problem I find with bulk food store shopping is I usually go for one thing – say some cashews – and come home with 20 other things for which I do not yet have a plan. At least when it comes to dried fruit and raw nuts I know I have this up my sleeve. And since I’ve discovered this little trick I would have to say I am no longer guilty of storing dried fruit far too long. I’ve been told it doesn’t really go bad, and I guess it is true that it does not spoil very easily, but at some point you just have to admit it is just too hard to eat. Regardless, I don’t have that problem any more, and I also know I’m getting some good fruit vitamins into my kids.
A raw fruit and nut bar, or square in this case, is a great way to use all those odd bits and bites up before the dried fruit gets too dry to chew. You can use other types of nuts besides almonds in this, but I have always made it will at least half, actually more like 2/3rds almonds.
I’ve started with this basic recipe (go here for a link), modified it slightly, and use whatever I’ve have on hand, or based on what needs using in the pantry. My kids love these squares, much to my surprise. They are not particularly sweet. There is also a generous amount of salt in them. I tend to use less than what the original recipe called for, but still you should make sure you use enough to wake up the flavours of the dried fruit.
fruit and nut snacks
- 2 cups almonds, raw, skin on
- 1.5 cups dried plums
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (fine, medium or large flake is fine)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
- juice from one lemon
- zest from one lemon
In a food processor, pulse almonds into a fine powder. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well blended and it starts to come together. Your food processor may want to wobble across the counter while it does this. Use the pulse function to avoid overheating the motor.
Line a square baking dish with wax paper, you want to paper to stick out and over at least 2 sides, like this….
and using the back of a small measuring cup or spoon, press the mixture firmly into the dish. Allow to chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Remove from the baking dish and cut into squares. I store in the freezer so they will keep longer. You can store in the fridge for about 1 week.