The cost of groceries in Canada is getting crazy. We get it. You want to make the most of every sale and preserve all that fresh produce. Many Canadians are wondering just what the best way to do this is. There are so many options: canning, freezing, dehydrating, and now this new thing called freeze-drying. How does that last one work? We’re here to fill you in on the freeze-drying process and why it’s our go-to for preserving some of our favourite foods.
What Goes into the Freeze-Dry Process
Freeze-drying may seem almost sci-fi, and to be fair, it’s literally out of this world when our astronauts take freeze-dried food to space. Truth be told, it’s a fairly simple process.
First, we freeze the food in extreme cold so that all the water turns
to ice. Next, we raise the temperature as we lower the pressure, causing the ice to turn directly to gas. This eliminates about 95% of the moisture from whatever we’re freeze-drying. Finally, we raise the temperature even higher to remove the last bit of water molecules, leaving us with freeze-dried perfection.
Because the freeze-drying process only removes water molecules, all of the food’s nutrition and flavour remain intact. In other words, your favourite foods taste the same but are now conveniently preserved.
How It Gives Food a Longer Life
Since the freeze-drying process preserves food at such extreme temperatures that all moisture is removed, it means that one of the many advantages of freeze-dried food is that it lasts longer than food preserved by another method. For instance, dehydrated food is recommended to be consumed anywhere from four months to a year. Home canning has a shelf life of 1-2 years, though some say it’s still fine up to 5 years later. Unfortunately, the quality of canned food decreases after the first year. Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, can last up to 25 years.
Save Those Leftovers/Reduces Waste
A big advantage of freeze-drying food is that it doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated or frozen. Any cool, dry place will do. So that fridge full of leftovers can be freeze-dried and stored in a cupboard or pantry. Some people even create garage storage for their freeze-dried goods. This means that the produce drawer no longer has to be the place where fresh food rots despite our good intentions. We can preserve the freshness and enjoy fresh food any time, any place.
Once you’ve preserved your food, freeze-dried goods are easy to store. You don’t need to vacuum pack them or keep them in freezer bags. In fact, one of the things we love about freeze-drying is that we can reuse the same containers over and over. Any airtight container, jar, or device will do the trick. No need to replace the seals on specialty jars or buy specific bags. Simply pop your freeze-dried food into your favourite storage option and put it on a shelf.
No Harmful Chemicals Used
We like to use the Harvest Right freeze dryer to process our product. This means that we aren’t adding anything to the foods we process. They are only exposed to different temperatures and pressures. We don’t use any additives or preservatives and no harmful chemicals. Nothing gets added to the food. What goes in is what comes out – just with a different texture and longer shelf life! If you’re interested in freeze-drying, with or without a machine, you won’t need to add anything either.
Food Items that Turn Out Well When Freeze-Drying
Freeze-drying doesn’t work on every type of food. If it has a high oil content, the result is not as pleasant as foods that are low in oil and have higher water content. When it comes to sweet treats, chewy, gummy, and taffy-type candies work best, whereas oilier chocolates or nut-based pastes don’t work so well.
Candy and sweets are a fantastic treat, but if astronauts are taking freeze-dried meals to space, that means you can also freeze-dry substantial foods right at home. Some other types of food that are well-suited to the freeze-drying process include:
High-Quality Freeze-Dried Fruits and Vegetables, Ice Cream and More!
At That Sweet Lyfe, we freeze-dry fruits either as a tasty snack or as a delicious infusion to your glass of water. You can also indulge in delicious desserts in bite-sized adventures. Shop our collections to find your next favourite treat.