Trail mix has always been an enjoyable snack for me. I enjoy the mix of salty and sweet, and best of all, it’s healthy! Sometimes, though, there’s that one kind of nut or fruit that you bite into and you dislike. You pick through the trail mix to avoid eating it anymore. Some trail mixes are better than others, and there are certain trail mixes that are just missing that little taste of your favorite fruit. What can you do to make the perfect trail mix? Let’s walk step by step through the process of personalizing your trail mix.
The first and main ingredient in most trail mixes is nuts. Everyone has different nut preferences. Keeping in mind that you want your trail mix to be healthy, you definitely shouldn’t throw out the nut part altogether as it adds a large amount of protein. There are many types of nuts you can add, and then, of course, flavorings on top of that. However, let’s just look at the most popular types. Your main nut types in a trail mix are cashews, almonds, walnuts, and peanuts. You should probably choose at least two of these types to add some variety. You can usually find a can of mixed nuts in your local store; these cans may even include flavorings such as BBQ or spicy. If you are pickier about what nut types are in your trail mix, you can also buy the nuts separately so that you only have the nut kind that you like.
Next comes your dried fruit. Pretty much any fruit you can think of can be added at this stage. Some fruit can be brought pre-dried, but perhaps your favorite fruit cannot be found dried. That is not a problem. Here are the steps you need to dry your fruit, so it can be added to your trail mix.
1. Wash your fruit and remove and pits/stems/bad spots (You can also remove the skin if you don’t like the taste).
2. Cut your fruit into small, even slices.
3. Soak your fruit slices in lemon juice and water for ten minutes.
4. Drain the bowl and blot the fruit gently with a paper towel.
5. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Place parchment paper on pans and lay the fruit in a SINGLE LAYER on the paper.
7. Cover with a silicone pan liner.
8. Cook your fruit for the appropriate amount of time, rotating every two hours (a general rule of thumb is that whole berries like a longer time/higher heat, while cut up larger fruits do better with a shorter cook time). Here is a table that shows some times for a variety of fruits.
9. Make sure that you seal your dried fruit in a dry container, and you can enjoy your fruit for up to ten months afterward.
Now that you have your favorite fruit dried, you can add it to your trail mix and move on to the next step.
The sweets part is sometimes the most fun part about making a trail mix. There are so many options of what you can add here. The most common sweets added are M&Ms, chocolate covered pretzels, and chocolate chips. Pretty much chocolate-covered anything goes well here. This part is up to you. You can even skip the step completely if you are looking for a more healthy trail mix option. It is your trail mix!
Lastly, you can add any type of seed to your trail mix. Options for different types of seeds can be flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), or whatever other seeds fit your taste. This is one more way to add a salty crunch to your trail mix recipe, while making it your personalized snack.
Now you have the four different steps you can take to make your trail mix personalized and delicious. Be creative and enjoy your trail mix!