Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated Foods

What do you think of when you think of dehydrated food?  I remember those shriveled up banana pieces I would gnaw on as a young girl.  My parents had a “dehydrator” and we ate a ton of dehydrated banana pieces and apples.

So, what do you think of when you think of freeze dried food?  Most people are a little confused at first because they tend to think of freeze dried food as the same as dehydrated.  Except they are MUCH different.  Think of those breakfast cereals you buy that has strawberry or peach chunks in it.  Those are freeze dried and are “activated” when you splash milk on them.

what is dehydrated?

Dehydration is the oldest form of preserving food.  It’s popular among those who want to be prepared for emergencies, as well as campers, bikers and hikers who want something light easy to transport.  However, it does have it’s disadvantages.

Dehydrated fruits and veggies that we see at the store were heated up in order to dry the food out.  Usually this changes the texture, flavor, color and kills most of the nutrition.  Foods which are dehydrated still maintain more of their moisture compared to freeze dried which is why they typically have an 8 year shelf life at best.  Because the flavor is changed, most dehydrated foods have salt, sugar, oils or all of the above added to them in order to give make them taste palatable.

Go into the camping section at Wal-Mart or Target and look at the MRE’s.  They are dehydrated in chocked full of sodium and preservatives.

what is freeze dried?

Freeze drying, or lyophilzation, is a vacuum-based process in which the moisture is flash frozen, then basically “sucked out” leaving only about 2% moisture content.  According to Emergency Essentials, this is the best method of preservation for fruits and meats.

Fruits and veggies are picked at their “peak of perfection” meaning they were give the full time to grow, gain nutrients, flavor  and not taken off the vine until they were ready to freeze dried and then consumed.  Since it is flash forze, this allows the shape, color, flavor and nutrition to remain intact.  When eating freeze dried food, you can choose to eat it in its freeze dried state, or reconstitute it with water.

25-30 year shelf life
no preservatives
quick, convenient, good-tasting

Are there any disadvantages to freeze drying?  Besides not being able to enjoy biting into a juicy apple, the finished product requires more space than dehydrated.  The size or shape doesn’t change much (unlike dehydrated) so it needs a slightly greater space to avoid crumbling.

During my last vacation, I brought a gallon-sized bag full of freeze dried berries to put into my fruit smoothies.  The great thing about it is during the long plane ride, instead of eating plane food, I had tasty and nutritional fruit and veggies to munch on.  By the time the trip was over (and 3 plane rides), packing my bag into my suitcase caused alot of my berries to crumble into little pieces.  I didn’t mind because I was just scooping them into my blender.

What is storage life?

There is a sealed and unsealed shelf life.  Sealed means if the can is not open, this is how long the food will last in optimal conditions.  That means stored at room temperature in a home on a shelf instead of in a garage with largely fluctuating temperatures.  Unsealed means once the can is open, how long will the food be good?  To know more about the shelf life of individual food, visit my discount website.  Each product has its individual shelf life listed along with nutrition facts, recipes and tips.

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  1. […] When you first hear the word “freeze dried” fruit, vegetables, or meats….what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  If you read my about me page, you would know that my first thought is a memory as a little girl, gnawing on hard banana pieces and apple slices which were actually dehydrated. […]

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