The Freeze Drying Process
May 15, 2013
During the freeze-drying process, fresh or cooked foods are first flash frozen when the food tastes its best. Moisture is then removed in a vacuum chamber, where a low-level heat is applied to evaporate the ice without returning it to a liquid form. Since the product remains frozen during the process, the product’s cell structures do not change, which helps retain the freshness, vitamins, nutrients, colors, and aromas of the fresh foods while offering you the shelf-stable convenience of long-term storage. This freeze-drying process allows for quick re-hydration of the product, making freeze-dried foods ideal for your food storage. Freeze-dried products are light; they typically weigh up to 90 percent less than the product’s original weight. Just add water and they are ready to use!
Storage Life & How to Store
We feel the freeze-dried food Emergency Essentials® offers has the best long-term storage life available today.
Many factors contribute to the quality of stored freeze-dried food. The main factors include oxygen, moisture, light, and temperature. As a general rule, the lower amount of each of these factors, the longer nutrition is preserved in the #10 cans of freeze-dried foods. If product is properly stored, energy (calories) and minerals will store indefinitely. Vitamins, proteins and fats will gradually diminish over time. Recent testing of freeze-dried food has shown some products having significant retention of vitamins, proteins and fats at the 25-year mark. This is encouraging.
Approximately 98 percent of the residual oxygen has been removed in both Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® #10 can food. The cans eliminate light, and the moisture level is extremely low. This leaves only the heat factor. We encourage you, the consumer, to keep your food in as cool and dry an environment as possible—ideally, 70 degrees or lower. Something else to consider is the fact that the human body, depending on its health, stores nutrients for various amounts of time. If you have food stored, even though lacking in some nutrients, it can help you survive in short-term emergencies by supplying needed energy while relying on the body’s supply of other nutrients.
Products retain quality at different rates depending on various factors. Again, the earlier you use your food the better. Freeze-dried Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® food is quality food, store it the best you can and enjoy it in the years to come.
Advantages of Freeze-Dried
In addition to complementing your other stored foods well, freeze-dried food offers the advantage of looking fresh, tasting fresh, staying fresh, weighing less than fresh foods, and adding variety to your meals while being quick and easy to prepare.
After freeze-dried foods are re-hydrated, many are comparable to foods you might find in the freezer section of your grocery store. Since freeze-dried foods re-hydrate well and taste much like frozen foods, they enable the meals you create to taste much like those you create using fresh foods.
The following attributes of freeze-dried foods highlight some of the main reasons they are a storage favorite:
Fresh appearance. Freeze-dried foods are first flash frozen and then have the moisture removed so they maintain much of their original shape, texture, and appearance.
Fresh taste. Freeze-dried food is not dried via heat processing so it retains more of the aroma and flavor of the original food. The freeze-drying process also maintains most of the original food’s nutritional content. Freeze-drying simply removes the water, not the flavor.
Lasting freshness. The freeze-drying process removes water and oxygen, the two primary causes of food deterioration. To further ensure the lasting freshness of these foods, both Provident Pantry® and Mountain House® #10 cans and pouches are packed with under approximately 2 percent oxygen content. This helps keep the food tasting fresh.
Low storage weight. Freeze-dried foods have approximately 98 percent of their water removed, resulting in foods that typically weigh 75 to 90 percent less than the original food. The freeze-drying process results in foods that are exceptionally light. This makes the food easy to package, transport, and store. For this reason, freeze-dried foods are excellent in 72-hour emergency kits when you may be required to carry several days of food in a small backpack. At the same time, the reconstitution ratio of these foods is high. A little bit goes a long way.
Easy preparation. The freeze-drying process allows for quick re-hydration of the product, making freeze-dried foods ideal for your food storage. Most freeze-dried items are reconstituted by adding warm water, waiting about five minutes, and draining the excess water. You may then use the food in your recipes.
Variety. Traditional dehydrated food storage items such as wheat, rice, beans, sugar, and dehydrated food staples allow you to create a variety of recipes. Freeze-dried foods add a whole other dimension to what you can create with these stored dehydrated basics. For example, with the help of freeze-dried meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, you can use your dehydrated basics to create family favorites such as pizza or tacos, sweeteners for cereals, additions for soup bases, breakfast casseroles, desserts and much more.
What Types are Available?
Emergency Essentials® sells several types of freeze-dried food items in forms that work for your 72-hour kits and long-term food storage plans. The most popular items include food in #10 cans and pouch foods.
Think of being able to have real meat, vegetables, or fruit in an emergency to be sure your family has proper nutrition when you need it most. Besides providing proper nutrition in an emergency, Provident Pantry freeze-dried food allows you to add a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, and cheeses to your food storage. And the good news is that the variety of these products has increased over the years, while many prices have come down.
See our catalog, go online at www.beprepared.com, or come to our stores to see all the individual cans and the variety of super supplies and combo cases. These fresh-tasting items are a great addition to your soups, pot pies, casseroles, stir-fry dishes, vegetable medleys, breakfast dishes and desserts. The #10 can is an excellent choice to preserve food for long term storage. The can is approximately 0.8 of a gallon and is sealed in such a way as to keep moisture out and low oxygen levels in, thus keeping your investment safe. We are confident you will be pleased with the quality of the line of Provident Pantry #10 can food Emergency Essentials has been offering for over 16 years.
Mountain House® foods are entrées that are completely created, just as you would create any meal prior to serving. Then, these meals are immediately freeze-dried and canned in a form that’s easy to re-hydrate in small or large portions. No food storage process locks in the flavor and texture better while preserving the nutritional value of foods. Just as with Provident Pantry® freeze-dried foods, Mountain House® products are made from quality products from the beginning. For 35 years, Mountain House® has been providing quality freeze-dried foods for consumers and the U.S. military. You can be assured that the entire Mountain House line of contains quality food.
Mountain House® freeze-dried foods are delicious, easy to prepare, and will taste just as fresh years from now as they do today. Mountain House® foods are not only for backpackers. They are shelf-stable for up to seven years, making them a great addition to your home food storage. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to prepare, making them a great addition to 72-hour kits. Backpackers and others have consistently rated Mountain House® foods number one year after year for taste and ease of preparation. Why do Mountain House® foods taste so great? The answer is fairly simple: Mountain House starts with fresh or frozen foods, then cooks and prepares them, and finally freeze-dries them. The nutrition, flavor, and taste are locked in almost as if you had hand-made these meals from scratch.
Freeze-dried food, added to a foundation of basics such as grains, legumes, milk, honey, salt, oil, garden seeds, along with many other products form an excellent food storage plan.