How do we make food last longer?
When it comes to food preservation, what are some methods to help make food last longer? The answer is super simple. To make our food last, just freeze-dry or dehydrate the food! Whether you’re well-versed in freeze-drying and dehydrating, each method has its pros and cons, and we’ll cover them all here.
One of the main advantages of freeze-drying and dehydrating foods is that they can be stored easily. You can bring freeze-dried or dehydrated foods on a lengthy road trip and they will not spoil. According to Kero Gans, RDN, these food preservation methods to make food last longer have become even more popular in recent years.
According to Gans, the technique has been prevalent for thousands of years, dating back to roughly 12,000 BC. Humans in this age used dehydrated meals to retain sustenance for longer periods of time. They utilized fire, smoke, and even the sun to preserve goods. With advancements in technology, we are now able to rely on tools to create dried food.
The main distinction between freeze-drying and dehydrating is that freeze-dried food has a longer shelf life than dehydrated food. This is due to the fact that freeze-drying removes approximately 98 percent of the water in meals and make food last longer. This is accomplished with the use of a big freezer that coats the food with ice crystals. The food is then vacuum-sealed to ensure maximum freshness by evaporating the existing water.
Dehydrating foods, on the other hand, eliminates just around 80 percent of the water and does not normally use vacuum-seal technology. Just to note, the presence of water causes foods to become moldy and decay. Food dehydration is usually done in the sun or by air drying, but there are also dehydration devices that function by circulating air at extremely high temperatures to remove moisture from food.
In comparison, freeze-dried food will taste better than dehydrated food as it better preserves a food’s flavor and smell, along with locking in its nutrients and minerals. Freeze drying also makes the food lighter in weight. Dehydrated food lose about half of their nutrients after the process. There are some benefits though as dried fruit and cured meats only come from a dehydration process, and cannot be produced through freezing.
So which one do you favor? There is no clear correct choice between freeze-dried food and dehydrated food but both methods are great options to make food last longer. At the end of the day, both processes will produce a shelf-stable product, and the decision to choose one over the other depends on personal preference, purpose, and cost.