Food is the most important element in our life. No food means no life. Not having the right food will jeopardize our health. We work hard so we can feed ourselves and our families, survive, and thrive. One way we can address the survival aspect of food is to preserve and stockpile a sufficient amount of food to prepare for unexpected situations affecting the food supply. An example of food supply disruption is the recent spike in inflation and surging food prices. There are many ways to preserve food and extend its shelf life, for example: canning, drying, fermenting, pickling, curing, salting, dehydrating, and so on. A less well-known and less popular process is freeze drying. With the advent of consumer freeze drying units, freeze drying is rapidly becoming more popular. Here are some of the benefits of freeze drying, and some quick information to help you decide whether freeze drying is for you.
WHAT IS FREEZE DRYING?
Freeze drying is a process to preserve organic material such as food. First it flash freezes the food. As the food remains in sub-zero temperatures, a vacuum is applied, and the food’s frozen moisture is gradually removed through sublimation. Sublimation means the solid water becomes gas without going through the liquid state. At the end, the food will retain its shape and size but becomes significantly lighter. About 95-97% of the water content is removed. Properly packaged freeze dried food can have a shelf life of over 20 years.
WHAT CAN I FREEZE DRY?
Almost all foods can be freeze dried! Moisture is an integral part of the freeze drying process. As long as the food contains moisture, it’s a good candidate for freeze drying. That’s about 99% of foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy, eggs, full meals, deserts, snacks, drinks, fresh herbs and spices, and more. Foods not suitable for freeze drying include those high in oil content such as butter, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and pure chocolate. Some others are honey, jam, and syrups.
TOP 10 REASONS TO FREEZE DRY
Pure and Clean
Freeze drying is a clean and natural process that requires no additives, chemicals, or preservatives to be added. Add-on substances are artificial and foreign to our bodies and can cause harm. You can be completely confident that freeze dried food is pure and clean.
Some of us just tend to buy too much food and let some go to waste before we eat it. I am guilty myself. In my college days, my roommates would use my food in the fridge because it was about to spoil. Sometimes we cook too much food and throw away the leftovers. Freeze drying can preserve cooked food as well. Some people intentionally cook extra to freeze dry the leftovers to add variety to their food prep supply.
If you grow your own food and have an abundant harvest, you can freeze dry what you don’t use in addition to fermenting, pickling, and canning, and save it for the cold season. It is also a good way to enjoy foods when they are not in season. Freeze dried veggies can be reconstituted with water and used like fresh ones. Many freeze dried fruits can be enjoyed like chips.
Freeze dried small bites of fruits and meat become perfect healthy snacks to satisfy your cravings with no ill effects like most starchy food has. Freeze dried snacks are colorful and crunchy and are fun for kids. You are helping your kids to develop a good food choice habit for life.
Perfect for Outings
Since over 95% of the water is removed from freeze dried food, it is super lightweight and perfect for mountaineering, backpacking, and outdoor trips. It is an ideal food choice for smart and active families or individuals when planning their outdoor or remote activities.
Take advantage of great food prices when food is on sale. Get better prices by buying in bulk. Use what you need and freeze dry the rest. Collaborate with other food preppers and buy direct from local farmers to get better discounts.
Retains Food's Nature
Unlike other shelf stable technologies, freeze drying requires no ionizing radiation, high heat, or other treatment which modifies the nature of the food. Freeze dried food retains its shape, color, size, and most importantly, its taste, texture, aroma, and nutrients, . This is unmatched by other food preservation methods.
Easy Preparation and Process
Freeze drying takes a relatively short time, and it is very simple. The key is to cut the food into the size that will fit into the freeze drying tray. You then put the trays into the freeze dryer and simply push one button to start the process. The process time is normally around 24-36 hours. You then put the food into a Mylar pouch with an oxygen absorber packet or you can vacuum-seal it in a can. That’s it!
Long Shelf Life
Freeze dried food can last for over 20 years if sealed and stored properly. It can be stored efficiently in a compact space. Once you build up your desired supply, you can cross that off your worry list.
Freeze dried food needs no refrigeration to store. It can be stored at room temperature or cooler. During a natural disaster, pandemic, power outage situation, or when typical food supplies are disrupted, protect your family with this reliable food source.
There is a lot to learn about freeze drying, and in this article I've tried to whet your appetite for more (see what I did there? Yeah, freeze drying humor can be pretty dry. :-) ). If you are ready to take the plunge, check out our Freeze Drying product lineup! Be sure to check out some of our bundles which have everything you need to get started.
Stay tuned for more articles in this series about choosing freeze drying equipment, the mysteries of vacuum pumps, tips and tricks, and success stories from our customers.