The Benefits of Freeze Drying
As indicated in our previous article, Freeze-Dried Science: The Science Behind Freeze-Drying, freeze-drying has been around for quite some time, even dating back to the Incas in 1200 AD. Needless to say, the fact that the process has stuck around for so many centuries might serve as an indication that its benefits are extraordinary and quite abundant. After all, if a particular process is shared by numerous, distant civilizations over that long of a period, it can be assumed that the process must be doing something right!
According to modern studies of the freeze-drying process, that assumption would be entirely correct. Freeze-drying, according to the USDA, allows food items to retain nutrients, flavor, shape, and color while maintaining long shelf-lives, reducing weight, limiting storage requirements, and avoiding the additions of other substances like sugar and sulfur involved in other preservation processes.
Retained Nutritional Content
Freeze-dried foods are entirely different from dehydrated foods—another process of eliminating water content—and freeze-dried items can be rehydrated quite quickly! Thus, freeze-dried items retain their flavors quite well, and given that freeze-drying is a process of sublimation, in which a solid (e.g., ice) is directly converted into a gas (e.g., water vapor) without the otherwise expected liquid state in-between, freeze-dried consumables actually retain almost all of their original nutritional and structural content.
Structurally, this is achieved by gradually heating a consumable in the freeze-drying process. In doing so, much of the item’s structure is retained. Thus, freeze-dried items actually look and appear fresh! Not only is this a significant benefit for anyone looking to add freeze-dried goods to their emergency pantry (thus enabling quality ‘eats’ down the road), but it is excellent for anyone hoping to taste some freeze-dried goodness. Alternatively, if you are hoping to stock up on goods for an upcoming backpacking trip because freeze-dried products have water removed, such items weigh much less than their non-freeze-dried counterparts. It doesn’t get much better than that, backpackers!
According to Juicing for Health, some claim that in some instances the freeze-drying process actually enhances nutritional content as well! The process supposedly alters the chemical properties of strawberries, which leads to a peculiar enhancement of the fruit’s anti-inflammation effects. While it is unclear whether this applies to all berries or just the strawberry, it is an interesting claim!
To break down the immediate and more tangible benefits of freeze-drying, the process enables individuals to compactly preserve food over long periods of time, without the need for much storage space. Furthermore, concerning product longevity, freeze-drying is an excellent way to preserve space, weight availability, and nutrition through a single scientific process. Thus, the process has numerous implications for emergency food storage and preservation.
As it stands, emergency food supply companies like Emergency Essentials, LLC. and The Ready Store specializes in producing emergency foods for disaster preparation. Both companies, among others, rely on freeze-drying methods to create and package their consumable goods, for it is the leading method to preserve space and nutrition.
As mentioned in The Science Behind Freeze-Drying, modern preservation methods no longer entail prolonged exposure to the sun, nor are they entirely dependent on enhancing salt content in order to extend the shelf-life of consumables. However, despite the changes in methodologies, the results have remained the same: to produce goods with respectable nutritional contents, distant expiration dates, and limited space requirements. For emergency situations, freeze-dried goods couldn’t be more ideal. Furthermore, adequately sealed freeze-dried products do not need to be refrigerated, as, given their lack of moisture, they are protected from the degradation that might otherwise occur! Thus, if you are looking to stock up on items for a pending hurricane or other unknown circumstance, look no further than a freeze-dried goods company!
The Downside (Or…Upside?)
Consumers should be aware that most reports on freeze-dried items regularly list one significant “negative” to freeze-drying… price.
It is undoubtedly true that freeze-dried goods can often be expensive due to the required processes for creating such items. Not only are such items often on the pricier side, but the costs of the operations and equipment necessary to freeze-dry consumables from home are likely prohibitive for many. After all, the processes are a bit more complicated than that no-churn ice cream recipe you found on Buzzfeed!
However, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t it wonderful to know that the only real downside to a particular food preparation method is its price? Perhaps, when compared to suddenly becoming carcinogenic or calorie-dense?
Ultimately, when considering the practicalities of such items, and when viewing such emergency goods as investments, the price begins to appear less concerning. Unlike alternatives, once you purchase freeze-dried products, you won’t need to restock for quite some time—unless, of course, your freeze-dried investment turns into a 3:00 am snack!