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Did you know that there’s a difference between freeze dried vs dehydrated food?

Both terms are often used to describe a similar – albeit different – final product.

The preparation process for both dehydrated and freeze-dried food varies.

Still, these foods are essential and should be a part of your 72 hour survival food kit.

Understanding Dried Food

Dried food entails the draining of moisture content in food.

The process can be executed using modern appliances such as a commercial freeze dryer, vacuums, freezers, and dehydrators.

If you want to freeze dry at home, you can use age-old methods such as sun and air drying. 

It’s worth mentioning that there’s a difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried food. In dehydrated food, for instance, approximately 90 to 95% of the moisture is drained.

This percentage is higher in Freeze-dried food where approximately 98 to 99% of the moisture is removed. 

What is Dehydrated Food

The process of dehydrating food is achieved through:

Air Drying or Sun Drying

All you need here is to place your food out in the sun when the temperatures are high and the humidity is low. 

Using an Electrical Device

The electrical gadget used in this process comes with a fan, often located at the bottom side which propels air vertically.

The fan can also be at the back pushing the air horizontally.

These gadgets come with a temperature dial which enables the operator to control the air temperatures. 

Air temperatures in the dehydrator often range between 95 degrees F and 165 degrees F while the temperatures you choose depend on the food you’re drying.

For the process of dehydrated food bulk to be executed, you need heat and airflow.

If you’re looking to prolong the shelf life of your food, dry the food up to 95%. 

Removing as much moisture as you can is ideal for a long shelf life.

You can still choose to remove low moisture content from your food. However, this would mean that the food would have a shorter shelf life.

Sun-drying food is a process that has been used for ages and is practiced in various cultures across the world. 

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze drying is still a new procedure although it was designed in 1906.

This method wasn’t popular to use until the start of World War II.

At that time, Europe and the US were searching for a way to circulate long-lasting blood serum which required refrigeration (back then) to care for the wounded. 

How does freeze-drying work?

Freeze drying is an intricate procedure that needs advanced equipment.

Often, freeze-drying food is executed by commercial entities.

If you’re want to know how to freeze dry food at home, you may need to know that the equipment involved is too costly for the average household to afford. 

In freeze-drying, food is exposed to overly low temperatures of around -40F or even colder until it’s frozen.

A vacuum is then constituted around the food before the temperature is raised slowly. Due to the heat energy, the frozen water sublimes.

Sublimation is the process where frozen liquids are transformed into vapor albeit skipping the liquid phase.

Freeze drying is also referred to as lyophilization. 

What are the Differences between Freeze Dried Vs. Dehydrated Food

Take a look at the differences between freeze-dried and dehydrated food as shown below.

Shelf Life

Moisture content can have a huge impact on shelf life.

Increased moisture content in food is enough to reduce its shelf life.

Here is how the moisture content in freeze-dried foods varies from the dehydrated foods.

Dehydrated food is capable of losing up to 95% of moisture content. 

However, if you’re executing the process at home using specially designed dehydrators for home use, you may end up removing only 70% moisture.

This brings us to the question: how long does dehydrated food last?

In the prior mentioned case, the food will only last for one year.

By utilizing advanced dehydrating equipment, however, you prolong the shelf life by up to 15 years and sometimes even more. 

What about Freeze Dried food?

When it comes to freezing dry, the process is designed for long term food storage.

With freeze-drying, you can eliminate up to 99% of moisture which prolongs the shelf life of food.

Some freeze-drying companies in the market today claim their products can last up to 25 years and more.

While dehydration and freeze drying food can produce long-lasting food, freeze-drying in more effective in terms of long term storage.

Whether you purchase dehydrated or freeze-dried food, you’ll need to store it in cool temperatures.

Experts recommend 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Taste

Many people choose their meals depending on the taste – with some people shunning awful tasting food.

Before buying dehydrated or freeze-dried food, you may want to find out how it tastes.

Thankfully, dehydrating or freeze-drying food doesn’t affect the taste too much.

However, the differences in the preparation process can give one a better flavor than the other.

According to experts in the food industry, the taste of freeze-dried food is preserved in the food because the process requires minimal heat. 

This not only absorbs the original texture, but it also retains the flavor and safeguards natural scents.

As a result, many people conclude that freeze-dried food comes with a better flavor compared to dehydrated food.

The latter utilizes heat to eliminate moisture which leads to the loss of smell, original texture, and flavor. 

Equipment 

While you can easily dehydrate food at home, freeze-drying is a complex process that requires the use of advanced equipment.

Many of the freeze-drying equipment in the market aren’t meant for use at home.

As the process becomes more popular, however, manufacturers may consider coming up with freeze-drying equipment fit for home use in the future. 

Weight

Food weight is a critical factor if you need to use it on the go.

For instance, when going for hikes, camping, or for a picnic, you’ll need to carry food and this is where weight becomes important.

Dehydrated food is heavier compared to freeze-dried food.

If you’re weighing your options, freeze-dried food will come in handy.

Important Note: remember, you’ll need to carry enough water to rehydrate your food.

Some of the freezes dried foods that hardly require rehydrating include vegetables, fruits, and meat. 

Preparation

You can easily prepare freeze-dried food seeing that they’re pre-cooked.

You’ll only need to add a little water and wait for some minutes before consuming the food.

Further, you’ll enjoy the food’s natural flavor.

When it comes to dehydrated food however, you need to cook it to ensure it’s well rehydrated and fit for consumption.

The preparation time of dehydrated foods depends on the food which can have an impact on your schedule. 

Nutrition

According to food experts, freeze-dried food retains a big percentage of nutrients during the freeze-drying process.

When rehydrated, users enjoy the same nutritional value they would if the food was fresh.

With the dehydration process, however, the food only retains approximately 60% of the original nutrients while freeze-drying up to 97% of nutrients is retained. 

Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated – Video

What are the Pros and Cons of Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Foods?

Both freeze-dried and dehydrated foods come with advantages and disadvantages. What matters is your needs and how you plan to use the meals. If you’re looking for a long term food packed with nutrients, you may want to establish how to freeze dry food. This is because freeze-dried food is more nutritious and can come with a longer shelf life. Consider freeze-dried food too if you need to store your food for emergency purposes. 

Pros

Drying food makes it light and portable.

You can transport food in bulk at a cheaper price.

As we’ve mentioned before, freeze-dried food retains most of its taste, quality, size, and shape.

It can last for months and sometimes years without refrigeration.

If you want to consume something fast, all you’ll need is to rehydrate the food and consume it without having to cook as it the case with dehydrated foods. 

Cons

Freeze-dried food can be costly.

This is attributed to the special equipment required to execute the process.

Further, freeze-dried foods take up as much space as fresh food would. 

While freeze-dried foods are costly, they come in handy as long term and easy to consume products. 

Pros of Dehydrated Food

Many benefits come with making your dehydrated food.

If you use your food dehydrator regularly, it can offer you savings, health benefits, and a greener lifestyle.

If you’re thinking about buying a food dehydrator, you should be aware of the benefits and basics of making your dehydrated food.

It has a Great Taste

Whether you have dehydrated corn or dehydrated veggies, they’re all foods – albeit dried.

Dehydrated food is not only delicious, but it’s also nutrient-rich.

What’s more, the food assumes its fresh nature again once you prepare it. 

They’re Less Costly

While dehydrated foods cost more, you can purchase fresh food and dehydrate it at home.

This way, you save lots of money. Further, you can use more nutritious drying methods to retain more nutrients. 

They’re Natural

Dehydrated foods, especially those that you prepare themselves are naturally preserved.

Store-bought dehydrated foods, on the other hand, could contain some preservatives which may be harmful to your health.

It’s worth noting that preservatives often prolong the shelf life of food and this can change the taste of the food.

Dehydrated bananas can also contain added sugar which may not be the best for your health depending on your activity levels.

Dehydrating food at home helps you take control of what you include in the food. You won’t need to struggle with reading the ingredients on packages. 

Reduces Waste

A lot of food goes into waste every day.

You can dehydrate food at home and reduce waste.

If you have overripe fruits in your pantry or even meat, you can simply put it in the dehydrator, this way, you’ll preserve food for consumption later and save money you’d have spent buying more food. 

Cons

The disadvantages of dehydrated foods include:

It Could Contain High-Calorie Levels

Dehydration removes water from fresh foods which increases their calorie content per ounce compared to fresh food.

While dehydrated foods such as fruits are light to carry, consuming them can trigger weight gain due to high-calorie levels.

For instance, a cup of dehydrated apples contains 208 calories and weighs one ounce.

On the other hand, a cup of fresh apples contains 57 calories and 4 ounces. 

It Could Contain High Sugar Levels

Often, dehydrated foods could contain excess sugar levels to enhance flavor.

Sugar increases calories without offering extra nutrients.

If you have to buy store dried fruit, opt for the unsweetened varieties to cut down your sugar consumption.

You could also buy fresh fruit and dry it at home.

Differences Between – Video

FAQ

Is Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Food Nutritious?

 Both freeze-dried and dehydrated food is nutritious.

However, the former is said to be more nutritious compared to the latter.

This is attributed to the preparation method involved in both options. 

How do you Store Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Food?

Put freeze-dried food inside airtight containers to prevent the absorption of moisture from the air which can spoil the food.

There are good quality jars in the market which you can use to store your freeze-dried and dehydrated food.

Where can I Purchase Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated Food?

As we’ve mentioned above, freeze-drying is a complex process that required advanced machines to execute.

When it comes to dehydrated foods however, the process can be done at home.

If you’re looking for freeze-dried food, you may want to purchase it from a sufficiently stocked grocery store.

You can also purchase dehydrated food from the store, or opt to make them at home.

Can a Freeze Dried Vs Dehydrated Food Nutrition be Recommended for Kids?

Yes. These meals can be good for kids.

However, they should take them in moderation.

Finally

Both freeze-dried and dehydrated food comes in handy in case of emergencies.

If you’re going on a picnic, hiking, or even camping, dried food is an ideal option to use on the go.

Consider the differences as well as the pros and cons before purchasing any of these options.

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