10 Freeze-Dried Foods that are Better than the Original
Freeze-drying is often thought of as a tool for food storage, but some freeze-dried foods are actually better than the original. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to find out more so you can make your own judgment.
What happens to food when it’s freeze-dried?
Freeze drying isn’t magic, but almost. This process removes virtually all the moisture from food (98 to 99%) without significantly affecting the flavor, nutritional value, or structure (in most cases). This leaves you with intense tasting versions of the original with an exciting twist on texture, and oh yeah, it will keep for up to 25 years if you store it right.
To be clear, we love fresh fruits and vegetables. So when we say the freeze-dried version of a food is better than the original, there’s often a heavy novelty factor involved. The unexpected, delicate crunch and the hard-hitting surprise of a familiar flavor really gets you.
So without further ado, here is our list of freeze-dried foods that are better than the original versions:
Kale – For many of us, raw kale is a hard food to eat – as healthy as it is – maybe even a hard thing to consider food. But did you know if you lightly salt it, toss it with a bit of olive oil, and freeze dry it, it makes incredible chips? They become crispy, savory, and actually give some of the sensory satisfaction of eating potato chips. They can’t replace potato chips all the time, but it’s an excellent way to get your nutrients.
This also works for spinach, cabbage, and other leafy greens that really should be in all of our diets more than they are.
Grapes – Fresh grapes are great; no argument. But think about the taste of your favorite grapes intensified because the water is removed. So now what’s happening is your own saliva is instantly dissolving and activating those sugars and other flavor components as soon as you put it on your tongue.
The texture is a bit crunchy, but it gives way easily to chewing, and the flavor gets more intense as you chew. It’s hard to imagine until you try it. It’s an immediate burst of flavor that gets better as it goes, and it never gets old.
Candy corns – It seems you either love them or hate them. Candy corns don’t have a lot of moisture content, so it doesn’t seem like they’d be a great candidate for freeze-drying at all. But what you get is a delightful crunch with a more intensified flavor that is a much more exciting snack than the ubiquitous Halloween staple. Even if you hate candy corns, you need to try them freeze-dried.
Eggnog – Yes, you read it right. Eggnog. This is something many of us look forward to most of the year. In fact, so much that they’re making Halloween eggnog now. What if you could have eggnog all year round? You can, if you freeze-dry it.
We say this is better than the original for a couple of reasons. First, picture yourself sitting by the pool on a hot summer day, sipping a cold eggnog. Second, you can add freeze-dried eggnog to ANYTHING! You can add it to your homemade ice cream without watering it down, powder it and dust it over a cake, or eat pellets of concentrated eggnog by themselves. You can’t lose.
Skittles – Skittles are excellent in their original form, but did you ever consider how they would taste with the texture of popcorn? That’s precisely what happens when you freeze-dry them.
A peculiar thing that happens with many candies when you freeze-dry them is that they expand to several times their original size. It has something to do with the low pressure in the freeze-dryer and the sugar content. The result is that Skittles puff out of their shells with a brittle foam texture. They are a delightful multi-sensory experience that we feel confident about saying they are better than the original.
Bone broth – This is more a matter of convenience than flavor. Making bone broth or stock is a great way to maximize the flavor you can get out of chicken or beef bones, and it’s versatile enough to use in many different foods. But with full moisture content, it’s bulky and perishable.
When you freeze-dry your bone broth or stock, you have a much smaller volume of concentrated flavor. You can use it in soups, stews, sauces, etc. And you can store it in an airtight container right in your pantry.
Soups – Everyone loves fresh hot soup. But what if you don’t have time to chop, sear, simmer, and wait for it? When you have time for all that, if you make a little (or a lot) of extra, you can freeze-dry it and have several future meals practically ready, requiring only a few minutes to rehydrate.
You and your kids likely won’t notice any difference between the freeze-dried and fresh soup, but it is so convenient for a busy day.
Jolly Ranchers – Some people love hard candies. They like the long process of shrinking them down to nothing. For others, we just don’t have the time. Either way, freeze-drying Jolly Ranchers balloon up like a big, fruity cheese puff. They melt in your mouth like cotton candy when you eat them. The tactile experience with the familiar Jolly Rancher flavor is unforgettable.
Spices and herbs – We’re all familiar with dried herbs and spices, but they deserve to be on this list. It’s great to have your own herb garden, but it’s counterproductive to feel you need to rush to use your herbs before they shrivel up. Freeze-drying them maintains the same vibrant flavors in a form that will keep for years to come.
Zucchini – Again, fresh grilled zucchini is terrific. But try freeze-drying it with a bit of salt, garlic, and parmesan. It’s like the best-seasoned popcorn snack you’ve ever had.
For freeze-dried candy, Candy Jan has got you
Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to try a few classic foods in a new, unique way. We’re confident you won’t be disappointed. Many of them are available from various freeze-dried foods manufacturers.
When you’re looking for freeze-dried candy, we can help. Candy Jan has Skittles, candy corns, Jolly Ranchers, and many other magical tasting treats you have to try to believe.
Contact us to order yours from our convenient online store today.