Thursday, November 6, 2014

Trader Joe's fruit bars

As with so many things from Trader Joe's, these were an impulse purchase. I couldn't have put them on my shopping list, because I didn't know that they--or anything like them--existed until I spotted them on a kiosk near the checkout lines.

What's unusual about them is that each type of bar lists exactly two ingredients: apples plus mangoes, coconuts, or bananas. No fillers or binders, no flavors or colorings, no preservatives--no nothing.

I couldn't even guess what they would look like when unwrapped. Well, to save you the suspense, here's the answer:

It looks like they just take minced, partially dried fruit and press it into the shape of a bar. The fruit is not as fully dehydrated as it is when you buy packages of dried apples, dried pineapple, dried apricots, or whatever. Calculation from the nutrition information on the back suggests that about 10% of the bar's weight is water.

I had imagined eating these as a late-night snack. But instead, Nina and I shared them for dessert after a dinner.

I thought the apple-coconut was excellent. I can't remember anything I've had before that mixed these two ingredients, or even apple and coconut as flavors. It's an unusual combination, but it works great.

Next up was apple-mango. Again nice, though not as big a hit as the apple-coconut. My experience is that after just a bite or two of real mango, I start to notice an unpleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste. Here, however, the sweetness of the apple prevented that phenomenon.

The apple-banana was the least successful. It wasn't awful, just not as pleasing as the others. The banana component was clearly the culprit. I thought it had some bitterness, while Nina described it as a somewhat chemical taste.

I think these bars would be excellent wherever you might otherwise use dried fruit, or as a substitute for more conventional energy bars. Stick 'em in a pocket or backpack to use while hiking, biking, or on a long trip by car, bus, or plane. (I will eat them on a boat. I will eat them with a goat.)

Will I buy it again? 

Apple-coconut, definitely. Apple-mango, probably. Apple-banana, unlikely.


A couple of weeks after writing the above (but before it was published), I went back to TJ's to buy more, and discovered another variety: the apple-strawberry.

It was excellent--right up there with the apple-coconut. I will definitely be bringing home more of these.

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