Everything You Need to Know About Freeze-Drying
Oh boy… so you want to know what freeze-drying is all about? And why is it a super fantastic way to consume scrumptious food? This article is going to give you all the ins and outs that you need to know about freeze-drying food.
We will take a journey through the hows, whys, and whats that make freeze-dried goodies unforgettable.
It can often be hard to find healthy snacks that are not chock-full of preservatives. Freeze-dried food has a reputation for being bland and, well, not good. That couldn't be farther from the truth. As an added benefit, freeze-drying can be something you do at home.
How, you may ask?
Freeze-drying or lyophilization is a technique that is based on the sublimation of water in a product. In other words, the liquid in a product transitions from a solid to a gaseous state (think ice to vapor) without going through the liquid state.
There are three main steps that freeze-drying needs to go through:
- Freezing (obvious, right?) – this is the stage where the product is frozen under atmospheric pressure.
- Primary drying – this is the sublimation step where frozen moisture is removed.
- Secondary drying – this is also known as "desorption drying." In the final stage, any remaining bound water is removed, and the product is set to its desired humidity.
When water elements are removed from food, the final product will develop a highly porous structure, which is why most freeze-dried treats, especially candy, will melt in your mouth. Although some freeze-dried snacks can easily be rehydrated from the saliva in your mouth, some will require a little help from warm water or broth.
Even though you can eat freeze-dried foods as is, if you want to rehydrate your meal or snack, you'll want to add as much moisture as you initially took out of it during the process.
What are the options for freeze-drying food, and how long does it take?
- In a good ol' fashioned-regular freezer. This is the most costly way to freeze dry food and is time-consuming. Using a freezer may take a month or more, depending on the product's density.
- Freeze-drying using dry ice can be as quick as twenty to forty hours, but it is more tricky to do than using a regular freezer.
- Using a vacuum chamber will require equipment that will be a little spendy but worth it and will allow you to freeze-dry items in your freezer in approximately a week.
Although freeze-drying food is much less costly than purchasing from a commercial service, you will most likely be satisfied when you leave it to the professionals. But if you are going to give it a go at home, it is recommended that you start with simple food options, such as bananas, apples, and other berries.
You don't have to stick to only fruits, however many foods can be freeze-dried, such as:
- Dairy products.
- Fully cooked meals.
- Chicken wings and other bone-in meats.
- Desserts and candy.
Now, it is also important to know what kinds of food can NOT be freeze-dried: honey, jam, syrup, butter, pure chocolate, and peanut butter simply can't hold their own in the freeze-drying world.
Why is freeze-dried food so popular?
Well, besides being the known tasty treat that astronauts have enjoyed in space, they are great for outdoor lovers, and food storage enthusiasts, and here is why:
The most remarkable thing about freeze-dried food is that it has a super long shelf life, which is excellent for food storage enthusiasts. We're talking at least 25 years. Not only does it stand the test of time, but it holds its flavor for its entire lifespan.
The number two greatest thing about freeze-dried food – it is lightweight. This is the best and most fun fact for outdoor lovers. If you love to hike, camp, spend an afternoon on biking trails, and want to have delicious snacks without weighing you down, freeze-dried snacks are the way to go.
Fill up your backpack with some of the most belly-filling and nutritious snacks on the planet, such as trail mix, candy, and fruits.
General freeze-drying food advantages and disadvantages:
- Minimal chemical changes to the product.
- Amazing on-the-go snacks.
- Lightweight and travel friendly.
- Nutritional value is almost completely maintained (it is healthy).
- Physical changes to food are minimal.
- Does not require refrigeration.
- Long-term storage.
- It may require water for reconstitution.
- If you are making them at home, it may be costly.
- Some people do not enjoy the styrofoam texture.
- Not all foods can be freeze-dried.
At-home specific advantages and disadvantages:
- Choose your own food adventure.
- Knowledge and Novelty.
- Allergy awareness.
- Custom recipes.
- Top-notch food quality (this one is up to you).
The possible gray area between advantages and disadvantages at home:
- Expensive machinery.
- Learning curve/figuring out how different food types dry.
- Power consumption.
- Machine maintenance.
- Noise in the home from machinery.
It is also important to mention that freeze-drying food retains its nutritional value better than other drying methods (dehydrating). It has its glory in the fact that it retains nutrients, preserves the natural color of the product, and keeps the shape of the original raw material. So, the freeze-dried material resembles raw materials' flavor and aroma profile.
Here is another interesting fact:
Freeze-drying food is chuck full of application variety, which means that you can incorporate natural fruits and vegetables into a large variety of applications. Whether you are looking for a tasty breakfast, a wonderful lunch, or a dinner that will wow you and your family, freeze-dried foods have what you need.
Now that you have the ABCs and 123s of what freeze-drying is all about, it is time to choose a method that suits your fancy and start your journey on the freeze-drying path.
Now for the fun part…
Sure, fruits and veggies are nice and all, but who wants something more mouth watery? Freeze-dried candy is the way to any sweet tooth lover's heart. And guess what? Candy Jan's got what you're looking for. So contact us today and delight your loved ones with the gift of the best freeze-dried snickety-snacks on the planet.