Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fuji Apple Slices

Man, there's some times when I begin to feel old.

I'm not just talking about the ever-emerging bald spot, or the semi-regular chiropractic appointments. it's the other, smaller kinda stuff. Like the extra stiffness in my ankles when I wake up. Like lusting after low interest rates and not the newest gizmo I wouldn't know what to do with anyways. Or realizing there is such a thing as "I'm playing Pearl Jam too loud" when all by myself in the car or wishing the women at the bar (on the few occasions I go out) would use their "inside voice." Now, I won't reveal how old I actually am, because if I did, probably half of you out there would want to reach through whatever you're screen you're staring at right now and smack the stuff outta me, and rightfully so, and let's keep this friendly.

I bring this up because I seem old (to myself, at least), while really, I'm not. Kinda like these Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fuji Apple Slices. They seem like old, crusty, dried up mummified remains of apples, while really, of course, they're not. Just freeze dried, however that works.

Hate to bring up a negative first, as usually that's not the way I roll, but it seems appropriate. What makes them seem old to me is the texture of them. There's a little crispiness, yeah, but there's a compressed Styrofoam quality to them that honestly reminds me of stale cereal. Of course, there's not too much of another way a dehydrated apple slice could feel, so take that for what little it's worth.

I will admit, I was pretty surprised with the taste. Like a good Fuji apple, it's a strong, vibrant flavor - tart, almost bordering on sour except for a little tinge of sweetness. Honestly, I didn't expect that for something that, based solely on appearance, seems like a dried up shell of the real deal. It's kinda like those TJ crispy oranges in that regard. But like those oranges, the complete lack of any juiciness kinda left me wanting the real deal.

I'm an apple-lovin' guy who regularly eats at least two a day, so while I appreciate what Trader Joe's is trying to pull off here, they just don't completely do it for me. This all sounds so negative, and I don't mean to be (maybe it's me being cranky - getting old again!), so let's hit some rapid-fire positives here: Great work desk stash-a-snack. Satisfies crunchy, sweet, candy cravings in healthy way. Toddler loved them. Easy to eat just a few, then put back down for later - good for snacking, but not feeding-frenzy trigger worthy. Lots of Vitamin C, less chance of scurvy. Priced okay at $3 a bag.

Sandy agrees with much of the above, adding that she wonders if they'd be good with oatmeal. Merits an experiment, I suppose, although I'm not too inclined one way or another to pick them again or not. Kinda one of those "If they fall in my cart, or the kiddo insists, I won't be upset" kinda deals. That means a middling score from us both.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Freeze Dried Fuji Apple Slices: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. I could see them in cereal... hey, there's dried blueberries in their Muesli cereal.. same diff.. right?

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  3. I am confused, is your wife's name not Sonia? Who is Sandy?

    I really like these apples, for me who overeats all the time having something like this that is only 130 calories even if you polish off the whole bag is perfect. Funny how tastes differ.

    p.s. I love reading your blog by the way, thank you

    1. Thanks for reading our blog, MJ! Check out the third paragraph of the intro for the Sonia/Sandy question. If you're curious as to which of us is writing the post, just check the "posted by" line at the bottom of the review!

    2. It doesn't help that there is a rampant Internet conspiracy theory that Nathan and I are twins separated at birth that Snopes has yet to debunk. :)

  4. I actually enjoy the compressed styrofoam texture. Maybe it's something that has to grow on you. But $3 for one serving? Yeesh.

  5. And hey, that feeling old thing...sorry to say it only gets worse. I started at 36. It's just downhill from there, picking up speed every year. Better than the alternative, but still depressing. Now I need a cookie.

  6. I actually really like these! They have become one of my new TJ's favorites. They are the perfect little snack when I want something sweet yet healthy. I eat regular apples every day but I grab these when I am craving something just a bit sweeter.