Fresh fruit seems to be the one food group that feels the worst of the effects of being on a benzoate-free diet. Many varieties of fruit including most stone fruits and berries are off the menu and after several false starts with fruit it can be tempting to give up completely. The issue of fruit can be compounded if you have any sensitivity to citric acid, and can be further complicated with fruits that are cooked, heated or dried, that are old & wrinkled, or that are out of season and have a had long travelling times or a long time in cold storage.
I however, have found a few fruits to be suitable and enjoyable, as long as I watch portion sizes and don’t eat too much. I can also cook with the majority of these. Please bear in mind that fruit sensitivity is quite a personal thing and what I can eat may vary from what you can eat! The fruits I can eat are:
Apples – mainly Gala and Pink Lady although I often stray to various Scottish-grown apple varieties, especially in the autumn
Navel oranges and satsumas – weird, I know! I react to mandarin oranges. For more information about oranges, see https://benzoateintolerancesupport.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/oranges/
Lemons & Limes
Rhubarb (not technically a fruit!)
Green grapes – black grapes make my mouth tingle uncomfortably
Freshly-picked cape gooseberries (Chinese lantern berries – the ones with the paper husk)
I also can eat a tiny quantity of rosehips and hawthorn fruits in home made jam
A selection of these fruits can be mixed in fresh fruit juice to make a very respectable fruit salad. Apples, pears and rhubarb make a very nice warm desert when stewed with sugar. Most are also nice when stirred into natural yoghurt (although lemon, lime and rhubarb need a lot of sugar added too!)
If you do react to some/most of the fruits listed above, first and foremost, consider your citric acid sensitivity. Check out http://citricacidallergy.wordpress.com/foods-by-citric-acid-content/#levels , looking to see if there any obvious relationships between your reactions and the citric acid levels in foods.
For mild to moderate fruit reactions that seem to vary without pattern, I also recommend:
- look for fruit that’s locally grown and in season rather than anything out of season or with lots of food miles – you might react badly to apples from the supermarket that were picked a month and 1,000 miles ago, but one from an apple tree in your garden, eaten fresh in the autumn immediately after picking, may be absolutely fine.
- Don’t heat up or cook the fruit – try it raw first and foremost.
- Don’t eat too much – often reactions are as much about quantity as anything. A single slice, or one bite, is a perfectly respectable quantity to start with.
- Eat alongside foods you know you’re safe with – I find that dairy products – yoghurt or cream – along with sugar in some cases – make otherwise acidic or uncomfortable foods palatable.
- Get fruit from farmer’s markets, pick your own farms, pick your own orchards, neighbours with allotments or your own back garden rather than a supermarket or grocery store.