When preparing for an extended period of time without access to a grocery store or the ability to cook at home, you’ll want to stock up on food that lasts awhile, doesn’t require refrigeration, and won’t go bad quickly. Two excellent sources of long-lasting yet nutritious food are dehydrated and freeze dried foods. These two methods of food preservation are often confused with one another due to their similar names, but they have very different results. Both dehydration and freeze drying reduce the moisture in food through different means, which in turn helps keep the food from spoiling for much longer than raw versions of the same foods could last. In this article, we’ll go over what makes each process so useful for keeping your emergency rations shelf stable for extended periods of time.
What is Freeze Drying?
Freeze drying is a method of food preservation that removes the majority of water molecules from a food source. It is a type of controlled dehydration, so it doesn’t remove all of the water from the food source. During freeze drying, the food is first frozen and then exposed to very low temperatures and very low pressures, so that the ice changes directly into water vapor without passing through a liquid state. Now, this might seem like a small difference, but the process of going from frozen to water vapor without passing through the liquid phase happens at a much lower temperature. At these lower temperatures, less thermal energy is required, which means that the food retains more of its nutritional value than it would if it had been exposed to higher temperatures. Freeze drying uses the process of sublimation (getting ice to go directly into vapor without passing through the liquid state) to remove all of the water from the food source.
How Does Freeze Drying Work?
Freeze dried foods are often packaged in Mylar bags or cans, which allows them to remain airtight and last for long periods of time. Freeze dried foods are often more expensive than dehydrated foods, but they are also more nutritious. They are a great option for long-term storage for preppers, hikers, and campers because they don’t require refrigeration, last for a long time without spoiling, and are easy to add to meals. One of the biggest differentiating factors between freeze dried foods and dehydrated foods is that freeze dried foods are often vacuum-sealed. This means that they have all of the air removed from the packaging, which helps them last for much longer than dehydrated foods that are packaged in airtight bags or cans. Vacuum-sealed foods also weigh less than their dehydrated counterparts, which makes them easier to store or transport.
What is Dehydration?
Dehydration is the removal of water from a food source through the process of evaporation. It is often used as a precursor to freeze drying food sources, but it can also be used alone to preserve food. Like freeze-dried foods, dehydrated foods are often packaged in airtight cans or bags in order to keep them fresh and prevent spoilage. Dehydrated food can be rehydrated by adding water to it, making it a useful source of nutrients and calories when you need them. With the right tools, it’s also possible to create dehydrated foods from scratch at home. When dehydrating food, it is important to note that you don’t remove all of the water from it. Instead, you reduce the amount of water content so that the food is preserved and can be stored for long periods of time without spoiling.
How Does Food Dehydration Work?
With food dehydration, you remove water from the food source by using low temperatures and low pressures. The food source is placed in an open container or tray and heated with either an oven or in a solar dehydrator. You can also use a food dehydrator to speed up the process, but it is much more expensive than ovens and solar dehydrators. Ovens and solar dehydrators can also be used to dry herbs and other plants, not just food sources. Food dehydrators can be used to dry a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables. Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are great to keep on hand since they last for long periods of time without spoiling and are easy to add to meals. Nuts and seeds can also be dried to extend their shelf life and make them easier to transport and store. Dried herbs and flowers can be used as seasoning and garnishes.
Which Is Better: Freeze Dried or Dehydrated Food?
While both methods of food preservation are excellent choices for preppers, hikers, and campers alike, there are a few key differences between freeze dried and dehydrated foods that may make one more appealing than the other for your needs. One of the biggest differences between the two methods is that freeze dried foods are vacuum-sealed, which means that they last for longer than dehydrated foods. Foods that are freeze dried are also often more nutritious than dehydrated foods because they are not subjected to as much thermal energy during the drying process. So, while dehydrated foods are great for short-term storage, freeze dried foods are better for long-term storage.
Freeze dried foods and dehydrated foods are excellent sources of long-lasting and nutritious food for preppers and other outdoor and indoor adventurers. Freeze dried foods are often more nutritious and last longer than dehydrated foods because they are vacuum-sealed. Be sure to pick up a variety of freeze dried and dehydrated food sources to have a balanced diet during your next outdoor adventure.
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