“Which is better freeze-dried or dehydrated?” We hear this question often, as freeze drying and dehydration are sometimes misunderstood as synonyms. While both processes remove water, there are important differences to note between the two methods:
- Freeze drying involves freezing the food and then removing moisture through sublimation, where ice turns directly into vapor without passing through a liquid state.
- The low temperatures used in freeze drying help retain the original color, flavor, texture, and nutritional content of the food.
- Freeze dried foods rehydrate quickly and maintain a texture close to their original state after reconstitution.
- This method preserves the cellular structure of the food, resulting in a light, fluffy or crispy texture.
- Due to the minimal heat exposure, freeze drying often retains a higher percentage of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
- Foods prepared through freeze drying have an extended shelf life, often lasting several years, due to the reduced moisture content that inhibits spoilage and microbial growth.
- Freeze dried foods are lightweight and ideal for backpacking, camping, travel, preserving breast milk and emergency food supplies.
- Dehydration involves removing moisture from food by using heat, which can lead to the loss of nutrients, color, flavor, and texture.
- Dehydrated foods tend to be tougher and may require longer rehydration times to achieve an acceptable texture.
- Some vitamins and minerals are lost in the dehydrating process due to exposure to higher temperatures.
- Dehydrated foods generally have a shorter shelf life compared to Freeze Dried foods due to their higher moisture content.
- Dehydrated foods can be heavier and bulkier compared to Freeze Dried options.
While both dehydrating and freeze drying achieve similar ends, when it comes to saving bioactive and living substances like breast milk, freeze drying is the most optimal preservation technique for something so precious!