Freeze-drying has been a milestone in the way we preserve food. It has improved the way we eat, allowing us to take advantage of food at its best and preserve it for much longer.
Enjoying a natural and healthy meal is a privilege that very few have , especially when you do not have access to food quickly. Food preservation methods allow us to preserve the composition of the food for a longer time, but the truth is that not all mechanisms allow us to enjoy the nutrients of food as freeze-drying does.
For this reason, freeze-drying has become popular in recent years because it offers the possibility of enjoying the benefits of a healthy food without having to consume it instantly. Whether they are fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy or grains, through freeze-drying it is possible to preserve the nutrients of each of these foods for a long time without altering their composition and nutritional value.
Lyophilization is one of the most innovative and complex food preservation processes today , based on the sublimation of water that serves to prolong the duration of a food. And it is that, if you had red fruits within your reach, for example, with freeze-drying you could preserve the properties of raspberries, blueberries, cherries or strawberries for a long time and not have to eat them in a few days. The same applies to other fruits such as bananas, peaches, apples or papayas.
Its preservation mechanism is quite acclaimed, so much so that it was approved by NASA thanks to its many benefits and the variety of food options that can be preserved through it . For this reason, this time we will tell you everything you need to know about freeze-drying and why it is one of the best methods for preserving fruits.
What is freeze drying
The word "lyophilize" refers to the process of dividing the water of a substance or solution from its respective freezing, to subsequently sublimate the water, reduce the pressure and add a high temperature in a vacuum until drying is achieved. In foods, this process seeks to separate the water from the food until it obtains a solid state.
The freeze-drying process of a food must go through several stages to achieve the desired result: a dehydrated product, light and ready to be consumed over a long period of time. The stages of the lyophilization process start from the conditioning of the food, until its final rehydration . Basically, subjecting the food to a low temperature to get the water to pass into a gaseous state without the need to return to a liquid state, so that the structure of the food is maintained and it is possible to preserve most of its nutrients.
Foods that can be freeze-dried are fruits, vegetables, meats, spices and grains (such as coffee), which can be preserved in different ways: whole, cut into pieces, chopped in half or in any other way. , even granulated or powdered.
This means that freeze-drying applications can include foods with high added value (and which are extremely difficult to preserve), such as mushrooms, herbs, coffee and even soft fruits such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries. In addition, the lyophilization process can also be applied to pharmaceutical products (as long as the process does not alter the composition of the medicine) and flowers. So if you want to preserve intact a rose that has been given to you, freeze-drying will help you preserve it for years.
Disadvantages of the freeze-drying process
Due to the complexity of the process, it is not usually a mechanism that you can easily do at home. It is necessary to make a large investment in equipment to carry out all stages of freeze-drying, such as drying chambers, condensers and a vacuum system. Another disadvantage of freeze-drying is that it requires a high energy cost due to the slowness of the process. But if the only thing you want is to consume products that are already freeze-dried, these aspects will not be an inconvenience for you.
Therefore, the freeze-drying process is not complicated to carry out, but it is definitely not something that can be carried out at home because it requires specific equipment and machinery to freeze-dry food.
Curiosities of the lyophilization process
The first indications of the freeze-drying method of preservation were shown during World War II . At that time, lyophilization was used to preserve blood plasma, medicines and even some food that was sent to the troops that were in battle.
In this way they could transport supplies without worrying about the weight or the space occupied because the procedure compacted the food. In addition, thanks to the strategy of preserving blood plasma, the doctors of the troops could attend to the wounded in any circumstance.
Differences between freeze-dried and dehydrated fruit
What are the differences between a freeze-dried fruit and another dehydrated? One of the most frequent doubts about freeze-drying is whether the procedure is the same as food dehydration, since both procedures have similarities to each other.
However, freeze-dried fruits keep most of the vitamins and minerals they have when they are fresh, which is not the case with dehydrated fruits, which only keep part of the nutritional content (iron and fiber).
amount of moisture
One of the objectives of preservation methods is to remove moisture from food in order to increase its shelf life, prevent spoilage and prevent mold growth. To this extent, if the dehydration process is applied, the food will only lose between 90 to 95% of its moisture, while with freeze-drying a higher range of 98 to 99%.
duration of food
In the conservation of a food, the amount of humidity influences its duration. In this case, it could be said that freeze-drying has everything to win, although it should be noted that the dehydration of certain products can last a long time, as is the case with salt, sugar or dehydrated oats, which have a shelf life of 30 years approximately.
In the case of freeze-dried fruits, they can last between 25 to 30 years without a problem, preserving their composition and nutritional value. And if they are also stored in quality containers at a temperature of 15ºC, their duration will be much longer.
If there is a very marked difference between both preservation methods, it is the appearance they leave on the food. The appearance of dehydrated food is usually not very appetizing, and although freeze-dried food does change the appearance of the food, the end result is not as drastic as with the dehydration process.
ease of cooking
Freeze-dried foods require a fairly short cooking period, not exceeding 5 minutes, while dehydrated food needs 15 to 4 hours of cooking depending on the type of food it is. This means that with a little water (cold, warm or hot) it is possible to prepare freeze-dried food in a matter of a few minutes, but dehydrated food must be boiled, unless it is dehydrated fruit that can be consumed without needing cook it
It is no secret to anyone that the freeze-drying process is much more expensive than the dehydration process, which makes the products more expensive. Although this is not a problem, if you have limited resources when it comes to grocery shopping, dehydrated food may be a more cost-effective option. However, if money is not an issue, it is much more advantageous to buy freeze-dried foods for their nutrients.
As we have mentioned on several occasions, freeze-dried foods retain many more nutrients than dehydrated foods. In fact, one of the benefits of freeze drying is that it preserves most of the nutritional value of the food, such as vitamins and minerals. In contrast, dehydration removes vitamins and minerals from foods during the preservation process, which is a disadvantage compared to freeze-drying.
Lyophilization, the future of food preservation
The benefits offered by freeze-drying are what make it one of the food preservation processes of the future. Lyophilization is a much more complex and expensive food preservation method than others, however, the possibilities they offer are endless, something that can change the way food is consumed.
Other preservation methods, such as dehydration, cause food to lose all its moisture , causing the flavor and aroma of the food to be altered by the high temperatures to which they must be subjected to dehydrate them. In contrast, freeze-drying maintains most of the nutritional value of food without altering its flavor or aroma thanks to its freezing process, which reduces the weight of the food compared to the original.
The use of freeze-dried foods has become so popular that it has even been taken into account in the development of food products for space expeditions. The advantage of carrying a food that takes up less space, is lighter and can be rebuilt with water, makes it the ideal choice for space travelers.
Although astronauts have not been the only ones: freeze-drying has also begun to be used in products intended for military use , as well as in sports such as mountaineering in which the person needs to carry light loads.
Benefits and advantages of freeze-dried fruits
Freeze-dried fruit is a type of fruit that has been subjected to a process that far exceeds dehydration or any other preservation mechanism. The principle of fruit freeze-drying is based on freezing the food at a low temperature and then suddenly reducing the pressure and raising the temperature to generate heat. This transformation causes the liquid in the fruit to go from a solid state (ice) to steam. Basically, extracting the moisture that the fruit naturally has.
It is a complex method that very few know how to perform, but unlike dehydration, freeze-drying maintains the appearance of the fruit almost entirely, although leaving it in the open air can take on a crunchy and much lighter texture. Another benefit is that its flavor and duration is multiplied. What other advantages do freeze-dried fruits have?
Boosts the strength of antioxidant fruits
The freeze-drying process allows the fruits to preserve their antioxidants and considerably enhances their effect on the body. Antioxidants are very important to combat the negative effects of free radicals, so they are allies to prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Parkinson's, various types of cancer and many others.
They take up less space
Because the freeze-drying process removes water from products, they can lose much of their original weight. The result is a much lighter freeze-dried fruit or vegetable that will take up less space in the fridge or cupboard.
|100 g of freeze-dried fruits||Equivalent to fresh fruit|
|Strawberry||~1000g / 1KG|
They are rich in fiber
One of the wonders of freeze-dried fruits is that they are high in fiber, a nutritional component that helps stabilize blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and, in particular, regulates the digestive system. , which is very beneficial for people suffering from constipation.
It should be noted that if you are following a healthy diet to lose or maintain your ideal weight, consuming freeze-dried fruits can be very advantageous for controlling your appetite. In addition, they are low in calories and leave a satiating effect that will help you control the desire to eat more.
Improve your immune system
If you have low defenses, freeze-dried fruits will be a good way to boost your immune system. And it is that despite the fact that the fruits lose part of their nutrients during the freeze-drying process, the good thing is that the rest of the nutrients are enhanced, which compensates for the lack of others. And that is the case of vitamins A and C and minerals iron and potassium, nutrients that are beneficial for treating anemia, improving the immune system and fluid retention in the body, as well as fighting free radicals that cause oxidation or skin aging.
They do not need preservatives
Artificial compounds are usually in most of the foods we consume, but thanks to the great preservation capacity that results from freeze-drying, processed fruits can last much longer than any product you get in the supermarket.
Freeze-dried fruits do not need any preservatives, artificial flavors or any other artificial compound to enhance the quality and flavor of the final product. Thanks to the freeze-drying process, any food will retain its nutrients and qualities (its flavor and aroma, for example) for much longer than any artificially processed product.
They last much longer than a dehydrated fruit
Freeze-dried fruits have a longer shelf life than any other method, such as dehydration or freezing. If, after freeze-drying your fruits, you store them correctly, they can last up to 10 years without losing their properties and nutrients.
In conclusion , unlike other preservation methods, foods that have been subjected to freeze-drying retain their nutritional value, a factor that is advantageous over other food preservation mechanisms, such as freezing or dehydration, for example.
The advantages of freeze-drying make it a feasible, nutritious and intelligent solution , since it will allow you to preserve the nutrients in your food regardless of how long you have stored it in the fridge or in your pantry. Furthermore, by freeze-drying a product, such as a fruit or a vegetable, it is possible to significantly reduce its weight, something that can be useful when storing food in your pantry or even carrying snacks in your bag during a trip.
For this and more reasons, at The Bee Family Shop we are committed to freeze-drying fruits . It is a method that has revolutionized the way we consume food, and has more advantages than disadvantages for those who prefer foods that are difficult to preserve naturally such as forest fruits, berries and many others.