I don’t think Jack could have been more excited to visit the “BEAR Nibbles Factory” as he had affectionately coined it that very wet Tuesday morning to learn all about one of our fave snack brands, BEAR. We’ve always been fans of BEAR (they featured at our pyjama party and recently at Jack’s plastic free jungle party) – I love how simple their ingredients as they are essentially fruit and veg and to quote them “absolutely nothing else”.
Whilst the kids were entertained in another room, us mamas were treated to some golden time with a Nutritionist. We discussed all sorts of nuggets of information from just what exactly our kids should be snacking on to the different types of sugars that exist in our foods. For example, “free sugars” might sound good news but they really ain’t; they’re the type added to food by a manufacturer and it’s important to be really mindful about how much we and our children consume. In contrast, “naturally occurring sugars” are found naturally in foods, for example fructose being the sugar found in fruits, and these play an important role in our health.
The highlight of the day was making our own BEAR Yoyos with the kids. It was seriously very cool to witness first hand just how pure the BEAR products are, and how simple the process is to make them is. We saw that there are genuinely only three ingredients in a BEAR Yoyo product: apple, pear and strawberries. No gumming agents, no liquid syrups, no concentrated fruit juices. Nothing.
It was pretty fascinating to learn about the production process. For example, the snacks have a high fibre content because the whole fruit, including the skin, is used in production (all pips and the cores are removed). Then the baking process – in traditional ovens at a very low heat for a long time is what locks all the goodness in. It’s high baking temperatures that can reduce the nutrient content of the product as they cause the natural cellular structure to break down and high-pressure treatment (called ‘extrusion’) can also contribute to this. But of course, these high temperature and high-pressure processes are far quicker and more convenient for many mass market snacks.
If you did want to try making these at home, here are a few tips:
-Turn the oven up to 60′ (the lowest temperature most domestic ovens can operate at – BEAR bake their Yoyos at an event lower temperature in traditional fruit baking ovens) and lightly grease a small baking tray
– Wash and then roughly chop the fruit into big pieces, discarding the stalks and the pips. Tip: you can use a mixture of hard and soft fruit, but apple and pear work great as a base. Mango is a winner, too
– Blitz the fruit for 5 seconds (blenders make things speedier and easier for minis but it was interesting to learn that BEAR themselves use a gentle mashing process when making real Yoyos) Tip: add the strawberries to the blender last
-Pour the pulp into your baking tray and spread evenly with a spatula
-Pop your tray in the oven and bake for approximately 6 hours until the fruit is no longer runny and is starting to peel away at the sides. Tip: Don’t make the mixture too thick in the tray
-Once cool, lift the fruit out of the tin then cut into strips
-Enjoy – they’re seriously yummy (and not just for kids)
Thank you so much for having us BEAR we had a fab day and learnt a huge amount.
This post is sponsored by BEAR who we really love and whose support we appreciate. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog – without them, this space wouldn’t be possible.