Freeze-drying – vs – Dehydrating
What’s the difference?
Because freeze drying and dehydrating use two different processes to remove moisture from food, there are many differences between the two. A dehydrator simply circulates heated dry air around the food, slowly baking it as it removes moisture.
Freeze drying food works quite differently. First, the food is flash-frozen to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, then a pump is activated to create a vacuum within the food chamber.
While the food remains frozen, the air around the food is slowly warmed, allowing the water to escape the food as vapor, through a process called sublimation.
This process can take between 20 and 36 hours to complete, but it’s because of this process that foods retain their original form, flavor, and nutrition.
Freeze drying removes 98% of the water in food, while dehydrating only removes about 80%. This gives freeze dried foods a much longer shelf life, and saves about twice as much of the foods’ original nutritional value.
In fact, freeze dried foods retain all of their taste, smell, texture and nutritional value of the original food prior to freeze drying. Dehydrating can cause up to 50% of the nutritional value to be lost and the food structure to break down. Rehydrating dehydrated foods also take about twice as long to rehydrate as freeze dried foods.
While freeze-dried foods can be brought back to their original form by adding water, the freeze drying process often turns ordinary foods into extraordinary treats!
Have your ever bitten into Jell-o and had it “crunch”? Skittles that “poof” into a flavorful dust-storm when your bite them? What about ice cream sandwiches you can store in the cupboard?
All kinds of fun and interesting things happen when food is freeze-dried, and that’s where we come in.
We want to share the experience of enjoying foods differently. Enjoy new textures, use them in recipes and in cocktails. Share your experiences by gifting a freeze-dried treat to someone you know!
These fruit chews make it easy to see the process that foods go through during the freeze drying process:
Before the freeze drying process:
Shortly after the vacuum starts:
A little further into the process: