What Is the Difference Between Freeze Drying and Dehydrating
If you’re a newcomer to the freeze-dried frenzy, you might not know the difference between freeze drying and dehydrating, but we’re here to help! After all, these processes might seem quite similar.
Many people use the terms “freeze drying” and “dehydrating” interchangeably, but the processes and results are actually quite different! Stay tuned as we break down each process and help you understand the differences.
History of Dried Foods
Dried foods have been around for a long time; some historians believe that food drying has been in usesince 12,000 BC! Ancient Romans and countries in the Middle East would use a building called “still houses” to dry their food. In the still houses, they would light a fire and put fruits and vegetables inside to pull the moisture out. They discovered that the produce’s shelf life would increase after removing the water.
Jacques-Arsene d’Arsonval first invented freeze drying food in 1906. But freeze drying didn’t catch on until World War II, when there was a need to transfer blood plasma and medicine to troops out in the field. Freeze drying medicine and plasma made it possible to accomplish this. They realized it would be an efficient way to transport and preserve food.
The Dehydration Process
The primary purpose of the dehydration process is to remove water from food. When water is removed, the food can last longer and will not spoil.
Both air and heat are needed to dehydrate food. There are two main ways to get the air and heat necessary for the dehydration process.
The first is to place food outside in an area where the temperature is high and the humidity is low. This will remove the moisture in the food. The second way is to use a dehydration device where fans blow hot air onto the food. The air usually ranges between 95 and 165 degrees.
The more water removed from the food, the longer the food's shelf life will be. Approximately 95% of water is removed for optimal shelf life. You can adjust this depending on how long you need the food to last.
Advantages of Dehydration
Dehydrated foods have many advantages, especially if you are heading to the outdoors. Here are some top benefits of dehydrated foods:
- Dehydrated foods are smaller and more compact. When the water is removed from food, the size significantly decreases. This means you can store more while using less space while camping or backpacking.
- Dehydrated food is smaller but still carries plenty of calories. Dehydrated foods pack a powerful energy punch if you need enough energy to hike but are trying to avoid a full stomach.
- For vegans, vegetarians, and those with food allergies, dehydrated food is a helpful way to keep exactly what you need on hand.
Disadvantages of Dehydration
While there are many advantages of dehydrating foods, there are also some disadvantages. Here are some points to consider:
- The taste of dehydrated food can be hard to get used to. Removing the water takes the freshness out of food.
- Some nutritional value is lost during the dehydration process.
- When water is taken out of food, you will need to supplement that with drinking water from another source.
Freeze Drying Process
Freeze drying is a more complex process than dehydration and requires pricey equipment that most people don’t have on hand.
First, you will put your food into your machine and subject it to temperatures of 40 degrees or lower. Once the food is completely frozen, a vacuum is formed around the food, and the temperature is slowly increased.
As the temperature rises, the food begins a process called sublimation. Sublimation is where frozen liquids are converted to vapor without going through a liquid phase.
Advantages of Freeze Drying
Freeze-dried food carries dozens of benefits. When contemplating freeze-dried food, here are some points to consider:
- Freeze-dried food is very lightweight. This can be helpful in many situations, especially when backpacking, hiking, or on the go. Food can be a challenging aspect of planning when you spend a lot of time outside. Food can quickly get very heavy. Freeze-dried food is a delicious option that won’t weigh you down.
- Freeze-dried food can preserve more nutrients and minerals than dehydrated food. Many people worry about the health factors with each meal that they eat. Freeze-dried food can still provide plenty of nutrients and will be good for you at the same time.
- Freeze-dried foods also do not require refrigeration. This makes it easier to bring food with you when you are away from home for a while. Even if you’re not on the go, freeze-dried food can last for months or even years.
- The biggest pro of freeze-dried foods is that you can easily rehydrate them. Adding the moisture back into food that was freeze-dried at one point is more straightforward than food that has been dehydrated.
Disadvantages of Freeze Drying
- Freeze-dried foods can get a bit costly. As mentioned before, the freeze-drying process takes specialized equipment. Since the equipment is rare, it increases the value of the food.
- Another disadvantage of freeze-dried foods is that they don’t necessarily save on space. A significant difference between freeze drying and dehydrating is that dehydrated food is much more compact and easier to store.
Broaden Your Freeze-Dried Horizon With Candy Jan
Now that you understand the difference between freeze drying and dehydrating, try throwing some of your favorite candies into the mix! At Candy Jan, we offer a variety of classic sweets you can choose from in our online shop!
Freeze-dried candies are the perfect addition to any food storage inventory. You can use them as a dessert, a tasty snack, or a calorie supplement. Try it out for yourself if you want to understand the hype behind freeze-dried candy!