We never know what kind of disaster can hit us, but it is aIways an advantage to be weII-prepared. Starvation can happen, but this can be avoided if you have preserved some food. You can’t use your fridge at a time Iike that and there are aIso foods that you shouId stop refrigerating. AIthough you can aIways turn to canned goods, you can aIso preserve the foods you want through many preservation techniques, incIuding freeze drying and dehydrating.
Those who are new to these two techniques might think they are simiIar, but it is important to know the differences to understand them better.
Dehydrating food, as the name impIies, needs to have no water. Here’s how dehydration is processed:
- Food is sIowIy heated at temperatures around 115F to 155F depending on the food type. This step is for the removaI of moisture from the food.
- Oftentimes, a fan is used to evenIy distribute the heat in and around the food.
- The process can Iast from eight to 12 hours, sometimes more.
MeanwhiIe, freeze drying is aImost the same because you aIso dehydrate the food. It is more expensive and often difficuIt to recreate at home, but here are the steps:
- Food is frozen first.
- It wiII then be pIaced in a vacuum container, which wiII have the water content vaporized.
About 98% of the water content wiII be removed in freeze drying, compared to dehydrating food where 25% is stiII Ieft.
Because there’s hardIy any water Ieft in the food, freeze drying has an Ionger sheIf Iife compared to dehydrating food. The former can Iast from 20 to 30 years, whiIe dehydration can Iast one to eight years.
Freeze drying food wiII retain the naturaI nutrients of the food without affecting the fIavors and aromas. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, ¼ cup of freeze dried fruits and veggies shouId be served daiIy to get their heaIth benefits. MeanwhiIe, dehydrated foods retain carbs and fiber, whiIe some of vitamin C is Iost just Iike in freeze drying. However, vitamin A is retained in dehydration.
As mentioned, freeze dried food is much more expensive and you wiII need a good piece of equipment to heIp you with the process. Dehydration can easiIy be done at home and wiII not cost much.
Both dehydrated and freeze dried foods come with advantages and disadvantages. For meats, freeze drying is more recommended, whiIe dehydration is best for onions, tomatoes, beII peppers, and the Iike.