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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Product Review - Crispy Cantaloupe

I was recently offered a sample pack of a new food product, "Crispy Cantaloupe," from Crispy Green, Inc. It's 100% freeze-dried canteloupe, nothing else. That was just too, well ... interesting to pass up, so I accepted.
What can I say? It is in every way what you would expect it to be. These are little dry chunks of dehydrated cantaloupe. When I was a lad, this is what I would've called astronaut food.
These aren't exactly bursting with flavor - cantaloupe is a relatively mild-tasting fruit to begin with - but as they rehydrate in your mouth, a natural cantaloupe flavor does come through.
The texture is difficult to compare to anything other than dehydrated food. It's very light, not dense, dry (though it rapidly rehydrates in your mouth), and more crisp than crunchy. Just to see what would happen, I put one piece in a glass of water. It quickly rehydrated, and the texture became what I can best describe as slippery.
If you're big on visuals where you're food's concerned, this won't do much for you - the chunks, which average about an inch wide or so, look like pale orange bits of styrofoam. But they weren't bad looking, either - there was no "yuk" factor here.
So who would buy these, and why? Well, hikers, campers and backpackers come to mind, although at a mere 40 calories per 10g package, this does not pack the caloric punch of a typical bag of trail mix. The manufacturer recommends them as "a delicious, convenient way to add more fruit to your daily diet," and suggests eating them straight out of the bag, in cereal or yogurt, or as an ingredient in baked goods. I'm not sure I see a lot of reason to use these instead of fresh cantaloupe for those purposes, and despite the eco-friendly sounding "green" moniker, these aren't exactly a locavore's dream - the cantaloupe's from China.
Still, these do have some advantages over fresh fruit. They're lightweight, easily portable, convenient, and healthful, plus they have a long shelf life. Air travelers might like to put a few of these in their carry-on bags, drivers might want to keep a bag or two in the glove compartment, office workers could keep a few in their desks, and parents may prefer this to candy bars in their kids' lunch boxes. So they fill a certain niche, I suppose.
Crispy Green® Crispy Cantaloupe
Nutrition Information for one 10g (0.36 oz.) bag:  40 calories, 0 calories from fat, 14 mg sodium, 9g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 1 g protein. Vitamin A 8%, Vitamin C 14%, Calcium 1%, Iron 1%. Peanut/tree nut-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan. Product of China.

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