In search of the perfect dehydrated apples for morning oatmeal
September 20, 2017 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I have subscribed to snacks from Nature Box for quite a while, but have grown increasingly annoyed with their website, pricing model, etc. I realized the only thing they make that I don't know how to replace with grocery store items is their instant oatmeal, specifically the apple-cinnamon variety. It has little dried out cubes of cinnamon-y apple, and when you pour boiling water over, the apple chunks become rehydrated and delicious, but not too sweet. Anyone know if there's a good brand out there that sells something like this so I could do my own instant oatmeal at the office instead?

I realize I could do raisins or some other dried fruit, but I do really love the apples and thought someone might have a good lead. Ideally this would be something shelf-stable so that I can put together little cups of instant oatmeal + dried apples + sugar to keep at the office for when I don't have time for breakfast at home. I realize I can Google "dehydrated apples," but I'm hoping someone might have a personal recommendation for something that will get nicely re-hydrated in water and work well in oatmeal (vs. eating on its own as a snack).
posted by rainbowbrite to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would try a bulk food store - in Canada, we have ones called Bulk Barn which have these dehydrated fruit that you can buy in whatever quantities you like.
posted by notorious medium at 7:06 AM on September 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

Trader Joe's sells dehydrated apples.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 7:09 AM on September 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

These are the ones that I like that I think would work for you. They are basically little chunks of apples "puff dried" (?) and formed into little balls. I think if you put them into oatmeal they would break up into little chunks again and be the right size and tasty.
posted by jessamyn at 7:18 AM on September 20, 2017

the magic words are "freeze dried". some companies call it "crunch dried" I think? but they're little cubes or slices of fruit that don't become leathery, they're crispy. they rehydrate really fast and well.
posted by lizifer at 7:25 AM on September 20, 2017 [5 favorites]

Try Quite a few options!
posted by Sassyfras at 7:40 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't know if you've ever tried it - but McCann's Instant Irish Oatmeal - Apples 'n Cinnamon flavor has little freeze dried chunks of apple in it and it's pretty good for instant oatmeal IMO.
posted by rdnnyc at 8:19 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, agreeing with the freeze dried aspect. Target sells them in a couple brands. Here is a recipe formula for homemade instant oatmeal that uses freeze dried fruit.
posted by LKWorking at 8:22 AM on September 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Is Quaker or store-brand apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal that comes in packets too sweet?
posted by mskyle at 9:06 AM on September 20, 2017

You also don't need to use instant oatmeal. Regular oatmeal mixed with water cooks up just fine in a microwave.
posted by mareli at 9:29 AM on September 20, 2017

Have you tried the reduced sugar version of the quaker apple cinnamon packets? They're nothing special and probably less tasty than your fancy brand but they do the trick (I find the regular version far too sweet).

As recommended addins, besides apples, my favourites are dried apricots (minced/diced) and black currants. Just about any dried fruit is good, really. Except raisins, because ew.
posted by randomnity at 11:16 AM on September 20, 2017

I made something like this and found I was able to come closer to the commercial product by adding a tiny bit of Lorann green apple flavoring - one seller is here. Might not be for you if you're going for all/natural, I guess.
posted by lakeroon at 2:13 PM on September 20, 2017

I used to make giant vats of steel cut oats with apple chunks and cinnamon for a coffee bar i owned once. I just used the dehydrated apples from the bulk bin in the local health food store cut into chunks..they rehydrated fine.
posted by newpotato at 2:56 PM on September 20, 2017

I like the Better Oats brand of semi-instant oatmeal. They make an apple-cinnamon flavor that sounds a lot like the one you like. The blueberry muffin one is good too.
posted by fiercekitten at 4:29 PM on September 20, 2017

I used to use Trader Joe's dehydrated apples. I cut them into chunks using kitchen shears. I used homemade oatmeal (Quaker Oats ftw), and added apples and cinnamon to taste.
posted by vignettist at 7:13 PM on September 20, 2017

Best answer: I think you may be my twin. I also am very picky about the fruit in my oatmeal. I wanted dried, unsulfured apple that didn't need to be trimmed of peel or core. If you want to duplicate the most common apple bits in commercial oatmeal mixes, you want the same. Freeze dried will not give you the correct results. Bob's Red Mill makes the perfect dried apple for your oatmeal delights. It can be hard to find in the store; I am lucky enough that a local store carries it in the bulk bins. However, you can order it directly from Bob's Red Mill.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:15 PM on September 20, 2017

Response by poster: Foam Pants - I think you've got it, those look pretty much identical to the kind in the Nature Box oatmeal! I will take a look at the bulk bins and if not there, order online! Thank you.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:51 AM on September 21, 2017

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