Freeze-dried foods are definitely one of the hot food trends. Freeze-drying can be used to prepare meals or to create crunchy and healthy snacks. Business owners and restaurant managers are utilizing this food preservation process as well. As freeze-drying increases the shelf life of products by decades, it can be an excellent way to optimize storage and keep some pre-cooked products. In this blog post, we’ll share more about the popular food products that can be freeze-dried.
What Is Freeze Drying
The process requires a special machine that freezes products to a very low temperature (between −50 °F and −110 °F). After that, the machine creates a vacuum and starts applying heat. That way, water molecules are not liquefied but directly evaporate. This removes nearly 99% of all water content from the item. The process practically stops bacteria growth. This means that the shelf life of freeze-dried food is increased by 10 to 30 years.
Key takeaway: Freeze drying food is a conservation method that increases its shelf life. The most popular food items that can be freeze dried are fruits and vegetables. However, things like meat and dairy products can also be dehydrated using this method. Desserts and candy are popular and often consumed in their freeze dried condition.
Popular Freeze-Dried Food
Even though this method is not as popular as using a freezer, there are many advantages when comparing freeze-dried vs frozen. Let’s dive a little deeper into some of the common food products you can freeze dry.
- Fruits. They are great to eat even without rehydrating them. The crunchy texture and sweet taste of freeze-dried apples, strawberries, or mangoes has the potential to become your favorite snack.
- Vegetables. The restaurant industry often uses freeze-dried vegetables. They can be used for soups and stews as they get rehydrated during the cooking process. In addition, some health-conscious people even consume freeze-dried vegetables as snacks. The most common ones are peas, peppers, and corn.
- Meat. Freeze-dried beef or chicken is a common source of protein for hikers. Cooked meat can be dried in order to become a ready-to-eat meal during a long and exhausting hike.
- Dairy products and eggs. Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products are among the popular items people freeze dry. Milk has a powder-like texture at the end of the process. It’s used by wholesale dairy distributors or by manufacturers of coffee creamers. Eggs can be freeze-dried raw or after they are cooked.
- Drinks. Just like milk, beverages can be freeze-dried too. Some of the most popular freeze-dried drinks include coffee, tea, or some drink mixes. Wholesale coffee distributors often offer such options in their catalogs. They are more commonly known as instant coffee. Soups and bouillons can also go through this process. That way their shelf life can be increased to decades and they can be easily rehydrated and eaten.
- Desserts and candy. Like fruits, freeze-drying candy is becoming increasingly popular. They can be enjoyed as a standalone snack or mixed with yogurt for a delicious dessert. Wholesale candy suppliers have begun offering more and more freeze-dried options in recent years. Other popular desserts that can be freeze-dried include ice cream and fruit bars.
- Pasta and rice. Cooking pasta and freeze-drying it afterward is a popular practice. The meal can then be rehydrated quickly. The same is true for rice which can be cooked and then just rehydrated for a few minutes.
- Spices and herbs. As herbs are used in small quantities while cooking, freeze drying is especially useful for this category of products. The method significantly prolongs their shelf life if they are stored properly. They will get rehydrated once you add them to the soup or another meal you’re cooking.
Pros and Cons of Freeze-Drying Food
There are both benefits and disadvantages to freeze-drying. Allow us to share more details on them.
Advantages of Freeze-Dried Food
- Prolonged shelf life. As freeze-drying extends shelf life, it has become increasingly popular for households and businesses. If stored properly, items can be consumed even after decades.
- Lightweight and easy to store. Freeze-dried products don’t need to be kept in a freezer. They are also lightweight and convenient to store. That’s why they become more popular in food service establishments. With the help of freeze-drying, these businesses can reduce waste which decreases the cost of goods sold. Wholesale food distributors also benefit from the fact that wholesale freeze-dried food products are easy to transport.
- Convenience. Rehydrating these items is fast and does not require a lot of preparation. Therefore, they can quickly be turned into a delicious meal.
- Nutrient and texture retention. Unlike other food preservation methods, freeze dried food keeps the majority of its nutritional value.
Disadvantages of Freeze-Dried Food
- Expensive equipment. Dehydrating food can be done easily in an oven or an air fryer. However, freeze-dried food requires a special machine that reduces pressure. This equipment can cost thousands of dollars. It can also have a negative impact on electricity bills. Businesses should consider finding suppliers and benefiting from their wholesale prices before investing in expensive equipment.
- Not all food products can be freeze-dried. Avocado and coconut are two examples of fruits that can’t be freeze-dried. That’s because they are high in fat and can become rancid.
- Storage requirements. The prolonged shelf life can only be achieved if the freeze-dried food is stored properly. It should be in airtight containers with limited exposure to oxygen.
Frequently Asked Questions about Freeze-Dried Food
Are you planning to start an eCommerce project related to freeze-dried products? Or maybe you just want to make healthy snacks with a prolonged shelf life? The questions below will answer some myths that surround the freeze-drying method.
Can You Consume Freeze Dried Food without Rehydrating It?
Yes. Eating freeze dried products in that condition is possible. However, not all of them can be eaten that way. For example, scrambled eggs will definitely taste better if you rehydrate them. On the other hand, freeze-dried fruits can be tasty and crunchy snacks. Many people enjoy them more in this condition compared to fresh ones. Freeze-dried candy can also be a healthy snack idea.
Is Freeze-Dried Food as Nutritious as Fresh One?
Yes. Generally speaking, freeze-dried products retain most of their nutritional value. However, some vitamins and minerals that get exposed to oxygen during the process might have a reduced effectiveness. Nevertheless, freeze-drying is one of the food preservation processes that keeps the nutrients in the food products the most. That’s why it is often used even for baby food or by health-conscious customers.
Is Freeze Drying Environmentally Friendly?
Yes. Freeze drying can be good for the environment. The reason for this is that freeze-dried food is easier to transport and store. Freeze-dried products don’t need to be kept in a freezer to keep them in good condition and prevent them from spoiling. They can stay good for decades if they are stored properly.
Nevertheless, freeze-drying food is an energy-consuming process. That’s why you should use it optimally. Make sure you don’t freeze dry just a few products. Instead, fill up the freeze-drying machine with fruits or other items as well. They have a prolonged shelf life and you will most certainly use them in the foreseeable future.