When you make freeze dried food, you’re basically removing almost every last drop of moisture from it. This is done by quickly freezing a meal (which prevents large ice crystals from forming) and then placing it in a vacuum chamber, which allows the frozen water in the food to vaporize without ever becoming liquid. This is called sublimation, and it results in a product that is perfect for food storage. Here are 10 Reasons Freeze Dried Food Is Important For Food Storage.
1. Shelf life of freeze dried food
Freeze drying removes about 98% of the moisture from food. This may not seem all that neat, until you take into account that bacteria, the stuff that causes food to spoil, needs water to survive. So when you suck all of the water out of a meal, it basically becomes spoil-proof. Ok, so after a long enough time, it will eventually go bad, but it’s going to take a while. How long is “a while?” About 20-30 years. So, hypothetically, if you were to fill your food storage with this stuff on the day you were born, you’d only have to replace the stuff three to five times in your entire life.
In addition to making food spoil, bacteria can also spread disease. So when the water gets removed, most of the bacteria goes with it. Some bacteria can remain on the food, but it enters a dormant state. Once the food is thawed, the bacteria can become viable once again. However, if the rehydrated food is properly prepared and heated before it’s eaten, then that bacteria shouldn’t be a problem.
Water actually weighs a fair amount. Add that to that fact that much of the food we eat is mostly made up of water (with some fruits hovering around the 90% mark), and this means that when you remove the water, you also remove the weight. Nearly weightless food is easier to transport, which makes it ideal for emergency kits and hiking.
Freeze dried foods are often condensed before they’re sealed. Thus, they take up quite a bit less space than some of the other popular food storage alternatives. Plus, freeze dried food is easily stackable, and despite what some people might imagine based on the term, freeze dried food can be stored at room temperature (just keep it away from water).
Because freeze dried food is generally made from whole meals that have been prepared ahead of time, all it really takes is some water to get them back to where they started. Freeze dried food can be rehydrated much more quickly than dehydrated food. This is because the freeze drying process leaves food porous, but not shriveled. Thus, the water is able to be reabsorbed more easily.
Freeze dried food doesn’t shrivel up on itself like dehydrated food does. It also doesn’t turn into mush when the water is reapplied. Instead it retains all of its original texture, so it always feels normal in your mouth and looks appetizing (well, assuming it looked appetizing to begin with).
To say that all freeze dried food tastes great would be inaccurate. Let’s say instead that freeze dried food will taste exactly as bad or as good as the meal would have before it was freeze dried. See, the process of freeze drying trapps the flavor inside, so when you you rehydrate it, even if you do so a decade later, it will still taste just the way it’s supposed to; no better, no worse.
The flavor isn’t the only thing that is preserved when food is freeze dried; all of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals are retained as though in their original state. This is all thanks to the quick freezing technique. This means that you’ll be getting more out of your freezed dried food than just a full stomach.
9. Lack of preservatives
Unlike dehydrated food, which usually needs extra preservatives to be able to be stored, freeze dried meals don’t require any additional additives. Of course, if you want to add a bit of salt for taste, no one’s stopping you…
Look, we’re going to be frank with you: freeze drying can be sort of expensive. That’s because it takes quite a bit of energy to flash freeze meals in the way that is required for freeze drying. So, in the short run, you’ll be paying a bit more than you would if you were to go with canned or dehydrated food. However, in the long run, freeze drying becomes very cost effective. This is all thanks to its absurdly long shelf life. If you only have to replace your food storage every several decades, then spending a little bit more on it at first is really a much better way to go. Lee Flynn is a freelance writer interested in helping others develop self reliance through food storage.