Is It Good to Freeze-Dry Food? Here's What You Need to Know
You may have noticed freeze-dried foods are very popular these days, but why do people freeze-dry food? What are the pros and cons, and is it worth it? There are a lot of interesting facts about freeze-drying food that will help answer these questions, and we’re here to help.
Freeze-drying food is an excellent thing. People freeze-dry food to preserve it and to create flavorful, nutritious, and convenient treats with incredible textures. But these benefits are not without a cost.
We think we can make a strong case for freeze-dried food. But, if you want to freeze-dry food, that’s a question with many pros and cons. In this article, we’ll talk about both – why we think freeze-dried food is great and how it differs from other preservation options.
Pros of Freeze-Dried Food
We’ve already tipped our hand as far as letting you know our opinion about freeze-dried foods – if the fact that this site is dedicated to freeze-dried candy didn’t already give it away. But we’d like to give some reasons for our belief:
- Long shelf life – This is probably the main reason people freeze-dry food. Some freeze-dried foods can last up to 25 years in the right conditions. This makes it ideal for food storage and just keeping a non-perishable version of your favorite foods on hand for a rainy day.
- Lightweight – Along with the long shelf life, this benefit makes it great for backpacking and other excursions where the payload is a concern. This is also why astronauts take freeze-dried food into space.
- Maintains color, flavor, and nutrition – We’re all familiar with dehydrated food. It has some great qualities, but it generally leaves food shriveled up with a cooked flavor and diminished nutrients. By contrast, freeze-dried foods maintain vibrant color and shape, and the process doesn’t harm the nutritional value of the food.
- Convenience factor – Meal prep can be time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of chopping to do. Freeze-drying allows you to prep at a time of your choosing so you can have meals ready to cook weeks, months, or years in advance. Freeze-dried foods rehydrate quickly, so you get the full time-saving when you’re ready to eat.
- Super awesome texture – Most foods keep their original shape when freeze-dried. Some, including most candies, puff up to several times their size. Freeze-dried foods also readily dissolve, so think of a crunchy cheese puff that melts like cotton candy when you put it in your mouth.
Cons of Freeze-Dried Food
Yes, we do have some legitimate cons, even though we believe the pros by far outweigh them:
- Finding storage space – If you’re getting serious about food storage, you may be surprised by how much space it will take up. In fact, it could quickly begin to take over your pantry, a corner of your garage, or a large basement closet. You may be glad you did it in the long run, but creating the space can be difficult.
- It’s fussy about the climate – To maximize freeze-dried food’s shelf life, you need to keep it in a cool, dark, dry place. Individual packages should be airtight, and it’s best to have an oxygen absorber in them. If you open a package, remember to replace the oxygen absorber. If you don’t follow these rules, no promises on the long shelf life.
- Rotating your food – This could take over your whole meal planning routine. Freeze-dried food lasts for a long time, but to maximize this benefit, it’s best to rotate your stock – use the oldest stuff first – so you’re always 25 years out, and you don’t have to cross the bridge of eventually having your food expire.
Freeze-Drying VS Dehydrating
Both freeze-drying and dehydration are common methods of preserving food by removing water. They both last longer than the original food, they’re both more light weight, and they both can be stored without refrigeration. But we think freeze-drying provides a better result than dehydration overall. Here are a few reasons why:
- Dehydration takes a lot of nutrients out of the food. The heating process, much like cooking can break down some of the nutrients.
- Dehydration doesn’t last as long for food storage. While dehydrated foods may take up less space because they shrink, they give up valuable shelf life. Dehydrated food lasts longer than fresh food, but it doesn’t remove near as much of the moisture as freeze-drying, so it doesn’t stave off bacteria and mold as long.
- Dehydration doesn’t reconstitute as readily. It takes twice to three times as long to rehydrate dehydrated food as freeze-dried food. This means meal preparation won’t be quite as effortless when you use it.
- It doesn’t taste the same. Dehydrated food loses, along with nutrients the color and taste of the original food. This doesn’t happen with freeze-dried food. We love jerky too, but it’s not the same as the flavor of fresh meat.
Freeze-Drying VS Freezing
Simply freezing food is a way to preserve it that we often use. The benefits include that it’s easy to do – it only takes your standard freezer, which most people already have in their homes. It doesn’t take long to thaw things out. But freezing food lacks a lot of the benefits of freeze-drying. Here are a few examples:
- It has to stay in your freezer indefinitely. Running a freezer is expensive, and while you’re not likely to turn yours off anytime soon, every item you keep in your freezer long term takes up space you could be using for something else.
- It doesn’t last nearly as long. After a few months, you’ll start noticing freezer burn, it tends to take on the smell of other things in the freezer, and what happens when your power or the freezer goes out? It’s a scramble to save everything before it goes bad.
- It forever changes the texture of the food. Freezing food slowly allows large ice crystals to form, which damages the cellular structure of the food. This is just as true for meat as blueberries.
Enjoy the Goodness of Freeze-Dried Candy Without the Work With Candy Jan
If we’ve convinced you that it’s good to freeze-dry food, particularly candy, then let us make it easy for you. We’ve spent many hours freeze-drying many types of candies we think you’ll love. We’ll send them to you in an airtight package perfect for long-term storage.
Browse our online selection of freeze-dried candy and order yours today.