Many people look at fruits and vegetables as a quick access to hydration and refreshment. On the other hand if you’re concerned with your personal weight, you may already know which fruits and vegetables to stay away from. While you may not look at those as life-savers, if you’re a conscious survivalist and nature enthusiast, or if you want to stock up on high calorie vegetables (and fruits) this article is for you.
We will share with you extensive lists of fruits and vegetables and which have the highest calorie value.
When you want to be prepared for emergency situations, or simply are going outdoors, you need to have a lot of high-calorie food, to keep you up and running. Don’t worry about your waistline. If you’re out there hiking all day, you need those calories. If you’re expecting the worst during the hurricane season, you will be glad to have food stacked in your cellar or basement.
List of vegetables with highest calorie content
Here’s a quick overview of our list, measured in cups:
Mashed potato – 250 cal
Boiled soybeans – 250 cal
Lentils – 230 cal
Lima/Kidney beans – 200 cal
Boiled corn on cob – 185 cal
Baked sweet potato – 180 cal
Baked corn (kernel) – 160 cal
Peas – 144 cal
Carrots – 52 cal
While vegetables are often considered low-calorie food, there are still those with highest content. Most high calorie vegetables are starchy foods and legumes. Potatoes and root vegetables have the highest content. A small cup of mashed potatoes (with the skin) has 250 calories. A cup of boiled corn has 185 calories.
One potato in general has at least 200 calories. The sweet potato has slightly less calories (which may be counter-intuitive given its name). One cup of baked sweet potato has about 180 calories, much less than an ordinary potato. And let us not even begin about French fries. Since the added oil isn’t a vegetable, it won’t be part of our list. But you can imagine how much more calories you’ll consume eating those.
A cup of boiled soybeans will also surprise you with the caloric value – 250 calories. Other beans (e.g. Lima) have about 200 calories/cup. Vegetables with high protein content also can be ranked highest on our list. Let’s take lentils for example. Measuring only half a cup, you’ll be consuming 115 calories. For a full cup this amounts to 230 calories.
While carrots aren’t truly considered a high calorie vegetable, they can still amount to a substantial amount of energy consumed. If you eat a soup or meal with potatoes and carrots you can definitely be sure to have a nourishing dinner. Add up onions (80 cal/cup) and peas (36 cal per 1/4 cup) and you have a complete feast.
One medium large artichoke has 150 calories. One full cup of parsnip has 120 calories. Brussels sprouts are rated to have about 60 cal per cup. Same goes for beets.
List of high calorie fruits
Fruits are much densely packed with calories compared to vegetables. The sugar content in fruits is sometimes enough to make you feel satiated for at least a few hours. We will measure them per 100 grams this time. Here’s our list:
Coconut – 385 cal
Raisins – 324 cal
Dates – 306 cal
Prunes – 290 cal
Avocado – 167 cal
Olives – 149 cal
Bananas – 90 cal
Grapes – 68 cal
Fresh figs – 66 cal (dried figs – 275 cal)
Nectarines – 64 cal
Cherries – 60 cal
Below the 60-calorie mark we have mangos, pears, apples, kiwis, pineapples, papaya, oranges, plums, raspberries, strawberries and finally watermelon (just 30 cal).
We definitely recommend that you be careful when eating raisins, dates and avocados. Due to their high caloric content, it’s very easy to eat a bit too much of those, and have stomach troubles later. Be on the moderate side when eating them. For the remaining fruits on our list, it is fine to eat a bit more than recommended. Due to their high water content, they are digested much easier by the stomach and move on through your system quicker.
Preserving and transporting fruits and vegetables
With the exception of the dried figs, prunes and raisins the other fruits on our list are fresh. If you want to take them on a hike or preserve them for emergency situations, it’s obvious that you can’t do so while they are fresh. You have to use some preserving methods to keep them edible for a long time, or for easy transportation.
One method for preserving these foods is to freeze dry them, or simply to dehydrate them. Either of these two methods prolongs the life of any type of food – from meat to vegetables. Freeze-drying and dehydration removes the water content from the food. Since moisture is the reason why there is bacteria on the food, it will spoil quickly. Our instructional piece on how to dehydrate food will help you a lot, check it out.
Removing the water content leads to virtually no microorganisms that can survive a dry or dehydrated environment. Thus the food is preserved for long. Freeze-drying is considered a method which ensures the food can stay edible for as long as it’s dry. Even for decades.
So, to make sure that the freeze-drying is performed well and the result satisfies you, you need to make sure that the vegetables or fruits of your choice are the freshest. You shouldn’t try to freeze dry fruits/vegetables that are old, have darker spots or soft areas on the surface and shouldn’t be beyond the ripe stage.
It’s also important not to freeze dry produce that has been stored in the fridge or refrigerator. And of course, wash the food really good before you proceed to freeze drying it. Then cut the fruits and vegetables to small cubes or thin rolls and you’re set to preserve them.
Most people have freeze drying machines (vacuum chamber) which can do the job within 24 hours and you can have your freeze dried fruits and vegetables on the next morning. But since these vacuum chambers aren’t cheap, other people prefer the more traditional way of using their refrigerators to do the same thing. It takes a bit more, but the result is the same.
You only need to take the food (cut in chunks) and place it on a rack or perforated tray, in your refrigerator. Make sure that there’s no other food in there, or your freeze dried food will have the smell of all the other food in the refrigerator. Within the first several hours your fruits and vegetables will freeze.
After that another stage begins, called sublimation. During this process the moisture in the food will slowly evaporate. To help you understand, areas with sub-zero temperatures are usually the driest. Antarctica is the driest place on Earth, even if you think this place should be the Sahara desert. So, now that you look at your refrigerator and the food inside, you will understand better how the process of sublimation works.
Next, to see if your freeze drying food is ready to be removed and stored, take a small chunk of it and let it thaw. If the food turns black, you must let the remaining continue with the process. The thawed piece should be thrown away. Don’t put it back in the refrigerator.
Another method for freeze drying is using dry ice. This process requires a bit more attention and care since you’ll be handling CO2 (carbon dioxide). There are chambers used for this (which you can also purchase if you want). You let the food inside the chamber and pour over it CO2. Make sure the dry ice covers the food entirely. The CO2 creates an environment of near-zero humidity. Thus all the moisture and water in the fruits and vegetables will be drawn away. When the CO2 is gone, you will have your freeze dried food ready.
A word of caution though – keep an open window during this process since CO2 will evaporate in a gas state. You don’t want to breathe that during the night. Also handle dry ice with thick gloves, as it’s very cold and can lead to frost bite within seconds. Don’t let it touch your skin in its solid state.
Finally, when your food is freeze dried and ready, you need to quickly place it in plastic bags with zipper (vacuum bags) or even better, use a vacuum machine to suck the air from the bag and thus preserving the food for a very long time. You can then transport it in your backpack, place it in a first-aid kit, in your safe room, basement, etc.
In extreme situations high calorie vegetables and fruits can be like a blessing. They still have most of their nutrients preserved and can thus provide you with vitamins and minerals which are otherwise lacking in heavily processed food.
Dehydrating is much easier to do. It’s been an old tradition all over the world and people have done it for generations, for the purpose of preserving food for winter seasons or years with low harvest.
The easiest way to dehydrate is to prepare wooden trays, place them in the sun, but make sure they are in a wooden box, to preserve the food from dust, insects, and rodents, but still let the moisture escape the food. Within 3-4 days (depending on how hot, humid or dry the weather is), the food should be ready for you to store. Of course there are dehydrators – machines you can purchase and they regulate all the necessary conditions to ensure the food is dehydrated within 24 hours.
Here are some of the main differences between freeze drying and dehydrating your food. You will see which one is better and can then decide for yourself which method to use. See our article on different processing methods of freeze drying food for more information.
Since the main factor of spoiled food is moisture, we need to look at that coefficient. With dehydration, there will be moisture remaining in the food of about 5% to 10%. When it comes to freeze drying, this amount is much lower, about 1-2%. This is a substantial difference. This means that by using freeze drying for your main method of preserving the fruits and vegetables, you prolong their shelf life. Dehydration isn’t enough to keep your food absolutely intact for that long.
On average dehydrated food has a shelf life of 15 (at most 20) years. Using freeze drying prolongs almost twice the shelf life of fruits and vegetables – 25 to 30 years. Of course, proper storing of freeze dried or dehydrated food requires temperatures around (or lower than) 60º F.
As for the nutritional content, dehydrated food retains some of the more fragile vitamins like Vitamin C. Unfortunately during freeze drying this vitamin (and several others that break down easily) is virtually non-existent. Other minerals and vitamins may also be affected by freeze drying in a negative way.
When it comes to how the food looks like and its appearance that also differs. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables may be much harder and a bit weightier compared to freeze dried, which turns very light in weight and color as well. Often, dehydrated food needs to be cooked (when talking about vegetables, this isn’t required for fruits). Freeze dried food needs only a bit of water to soften and can be eaten within five minutes.
Finally, to help you decide how to preserve your fruits and vegetables, you need to know that freeze drying, being a new method, is more expensive than dehydration. We would advise you to try both methods if that’s possible, so you can determine better and see the differences yourself. If you have relatives or friends who have a vacuum chamber, ask them to share their experience, and to show you actual freeze dried food, even taste it. First-hand experience is invaluable.
One of the fruits from our list with highest calories is raisins. So here is how to make raisins from grapes at home.
First off, it’s best to find seedless grapes, no matter of color. If you can’t find seedless varieties, those with seeds are just as fine, but you’ll have a bit of extra work. You must first clean the grapes from the seeds and then prepare them for dehydration.
So, of course, begin by washing your grapes well. This is when you should (optionally) remove the seeds (if any). If you have a dehydrator at home, this would be an easy step. Simply place the grapes on the trays. If they touch here and there, don’t worry. Before you start it, set it to 135º F. If you don’t have temperatures on your dehydrator, but it only says ‘Fruit’, then choose that.
The entire process will take about 24 hours. At the most – 48 hours. If you have tried raisins before (which you almost certainly have) you can recognize when your grapes have finally turned to raisins. They should be squishy, but relatively hard, wrinkled and of course small. As a reference, 2 pounds (about 1 kg) of grapes will turn to 16 ounces (450 g) of raisins.
Bananas are also some of the fruits with high caloric value. Here’s how to prepare them.
Take as many as you have place on your trays. Peel them and slice them in rolls of about 1/4 inch thickness. Place them on the tray, and don’t worry if they touch somewhere. Again, set the temperature at about 135º F and wait for about 8 to 12 hours. Because they contain less water, they will be dehydrated quicker than grapes.
When it comes to vegetables, let’s take a quick look at how to dehydrate potatoes. First of all, begin by washing them. Then, peel them and cut them to quarter cubes. You have to boil them for a few minutes (at most, 8 mins). When this is done, remove them from the heat and let them cool. Then it’s time to place them in the fridge during the night.
On the next day, shred them in a food processor or blender. They should look like shredded cheese. Then prepare you dehydrator’s trays and load them with the potato shreds. Set the temperature to about 125 º F (or ‘Vegetables’). When they are ready (it should take an overnight), they should look like dried spaghetti.
What if you want to dehydrate kidney beans, lentils or soybeans? Here’s how. Take the vegetables and let them soak overnight. They need up to 24 hours. When this is done, drain them. Wash them and then cook them in fresh water. When they turn tender, they are ready, so remove them from the heat.
Let them cool for a while. Next, we’ll move to the oven. Place them on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 140º to 200º F temperature (pre-heat the oven before that). This will ensure to remove most of the water content. You can skip this step and immediately after cooking them, you can place them in a dehydrator and let it do its job.
For the best dehydrated food recipes, see our article featuring this topic.