People have been freeze drying food since the early 20th century and it’s a great way to retain the nutritional value of fruits, vegetables and other produce. If you’re looking for food that can be stored long term and still deliver vital nutrients to you and your family, freeze dried food is an excellent option and the way to go.
As a survivalist or prepper, you need to know about freeze dried food. You might be wondering whether it’s a good option if you’re looking to stockpile food or build up your long term food supply.
We understand you’ll want to know about the nutritional value of freeze dried food as well as how convenient it is to store and take with you when you’re on the go.
We’ve studied everything there is to know about freeze dried food and its impressive nutritional value to break down the information for you. Ready to learn about the benefits of freeze dried foods? Let’s jump right into it.
What Are Freeze Dried Foods?
Freeze dried foods are foods that have undergone a process called lyophilization. This process involves removing all of the food’s moisture content. Freeze drying food removes between 98-99% of the moisture in food.
Freeze dried foods are made by putting the food on large flat shelves within a vacuum chamber. The temperature in the chamber starts at well below freezing and is then gradually increased.
The water that is held in the food changes from a solid to a gas which helps the food to retain its structure. This process also preserves the key nutrients in food products – this sets it apart from other food preservation processes where levels of vitamins and minerals are much lower.
Food that has been freeze dried is light and compact to store yet has a high nutritional value. By retaining almost all of the nutrients found in the fresh version of the food, freeze dried food options can ensure you and your family get the vitamins and nutrients that you need regardless of external circumstances.
Does Freeze Drying Destroy Nutrients?
No, in fact freeze drying is one of the best food preservation processes when it comes to retaining nutrients. In fact many scientists believe that freeze dried food retains up to 98% of its nutrition which is significantly more than other processes such as dehydrating food.
There have been a small number of nutrients which have been found to be slightly reduced via the freeze drying process. These are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Folic Acid
Are Freeze Dried Foods Healthy?
Yes. Freeze dried foods can be beneficial to your health, especially if other food options are in short supply or unavailable. Did you know that you are able to survive on freeze dried foods indefinitely? All you need is access to clean, safe drinking water in order to reconstitute the freeze dried food.
They are the healthiest food available with a shelf life of over 20 years. They have a long shelf life yet are rich in antioxidants and fiber to keep your gut healthy.
The only other food option that lasts as long as freeze dried foods would be MRE style ration packs or dehydrated food – neither of which provide as high a nutritional content. Freeze drying food doesn’t require you to add preservatives or additives which can add to their health benefits.
Freeze dried fruit and vegetables retain their color, scent and flavor when rehydrated. They are considered much more palatable than dried or dehydrated alternatives. Due to this they may encourage healthier eating than other forms of long life food products. You can buy popular freeze dried food such as strawberries , blueberries and sweetcorn to quickly see how good they taste.
Do freeze dried fruits and vegetables retain their nutrients?
Yes. Obviously fresh fruit and vegetables are excellent in terms of nutritional value. Yet freeze dried foods are usually fairly similar or a very close second best. They retain 98% of their nutritional value making them an ideal substitute for when you don’t have access to fresh food and perishable goods.
Let’s have a look at some of the nutrients you’ll find in common fruits and vegetables and compare the levels with those found their freeze dried counterparts:
If you were to eat a fresh apple you’d get approximately 5.7mg of Vitamin C and 67.5IU of Vitamin A. It’s a little hard to quantity exactly how much freeze dried apple equates to one whole apple but 34g of freeze dried apple will give you 25mg of Vitamin C as well as an impressive 230mg of Potassium.
In freeze dried blueberries, Vitamin A makes up about 3% of the total nutritional value. In fresh blueberries it is almost identical.
Freeze dried vegetables are an excellent option as they’re often slightly lower in sugar than freeze dried fruit. You can enjoy freeze dried broccoli, sweetcorn and peas. A standard serving of freeze dried broccoli can offer 48mg of Vitamin C – compared to 40.5mg in fresh broccoli.
How Long Do Freeze Dried Fruits Last?
Unopened, you can expect packets of freeze dried fruit to last for 25 years or more. Many freeze dried fruits are safe to consume 30-40 years after their initial processing.
Once opened, freeze dried food generally lasts another 6 months if kept in cool, dry conditions.
How Long Do Freeze Dried Vegetables Last?
The shelf life of freeze dried vegetables is similar to freeze dried fruit. You can expect expiration dates several decades in the future for most freeze dried vegetables such as freeze dried sweet potatoes.
As long as the freeze drying process has been carried out properly, freeze dried vegetables can last over 25 years unopened. Upon opening, always try to keep them in cool, dry conditions where they are not exposed to any moisture until you want to consume them. Rehydrating freeze dried vegetables will bring them back to their original state and provide you with a nutritious accompaniment to any meal.
What Are the Benefits of Freeze Dried Foods?
Freeze dried foods can be a healthy and nutritious snack or complete meal for anyone – from survivalists and preppers to leisure hikers or health enthusiasts. They have multiple benefits including:
- Freeze dried foods retain almost all of their nutritional value and can provide high levels of vitamins and minerals when rehydrated and consumed.
- When rehydrated, freeze dried foods quickly regain their texture making them more pleasant to eat than other long shelf life foods.
- The freeze drying process dramatically reduces the weight of the food. It will generally only weigh around 20% of its initial weight after freeze drying. This makes it an ideal food type to carry as a backup food supply, in a ration pack or as a snack in your emergency bag which you may have to carry for long distances.
- Freeze dried foods can be stored for decades. Although the initial process of freeze drying food is quite labor intensive, you do not need to treat them or do anything to them during storage. They offer you the peace of mind that you will always have a nutritious food supply even if supply chains are blocked or disasters occur.
Which is healthier: freeze dried or dehydrated?
In terms of nutritional value, the answer is clear.
Freeze dried food retains more than 97% of its nutrients whereas dehydrated foods only retain around 60%.
The process used to dehydrate food often doesn’t remove as much moisture as the freeze drying process which can mean some dehydrated food can rot or go bad within a few years. This means there is often more wastage with dehydrated foods.
How Do I Store Freeze Dried Foods For My Food Storage?
Freeze dried food must be stored in an airtight container. If it is exposed to the air it will reabsorb moisture which will cause it to rot and go bad. The last thing you want to do after freeze drying food is to end up not being able to consume it because you have not stored it properly.
To get the longest shelf life from your freeze dried food, you’ll want the combination of a good quality Mylar bag, with an oxygen absorber added in. It’s important that you seal the bag properly to lock out any possible moisture from the air.
Another good storage solution to preserve your freeze dried food is vacuum seal bags. You may even want to invest in a vacuum sealer. If you don’t have space to store one of these or it’s out of your budget, try to borrow from a friend or ask at a local food shop to use theirs. Again, adding oxygen absorbers gives another level of protection against moisture.
You don’t have to go with these methods if you have more space or endless pantry shelves on which to store freeze dried food. If space is no option and you’re solely freeze drying food for use in your home, then airtight glass jars are an excellent option. Always ensure they are completely dry and free from moisture before you put in any freeze dried food for storage.
It’s clear that freeze dried food has some excellent health benefits. Offering you a brilliant substitute for eating healthy fresh food, freeze dried food has an extremely long shelf life. You can store it in your home for decades before rehydrating it and enjoying a healthy and nutritious snack or complete meal.
Knowing the health benefits of freeze dried food should give you the peace of mind that if SHTF and you’re left without access to fresh food, you can keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe.