Though many people have heard of the food preservation method named freeze-drying, there is still a lack of understanding of the actual process. So what is freeze-drying? To put it simply, it is a process that removes the water content from freeze dried foods products through sublimation.
In other words, the ice from the food item is converted directly into vapor. The primary purpose of this method is to preserve the food and retain its original characteristics otherwise altered in other preservation methods.
The Process of Freeze-Drying
As briefly described above, the freeze drying process entails several steps that range from removing moisture from the raw foods products in the freeze dryer and leaving it in a vacuum chamber to remove the ice to convert it into vapor. Apart from freeze-drying, another name for this preservation method is lyophilization.
First, the frozen food item is cut down into small pieces and spread evenly onto a tray stored in freeze dryers. In the case of more extensive food items, keep them at relatively colder temperatures, allowing them to retain their original shape once it reaches the optimal temperature.
Next, the tray is then loaded or stacked inside a refrigerator with a dry freezing chamber that shuts tightly sealed. Inside the fridge, the dry freezing section and its vacuum system work to remove ice from the food item and convert it directly into a gaseous state (water vapor) without moving through the liquid form.
This process is known as sublimation and it has two stages, primary drying and secondary drying . One of the most exciting and useful features of this process is that it helps the food item retain its original identity and characteristics. The cell structure of the food product remains intact since the water is removed from it when it is frozen.
Advantages of Freeze-Drying
Start preparing yourself for using this preservation method right away and take advantage of its numerous benefits. Here are a few to help you better understand how beneficial this method can prove to be in today's world.
- Nutritional Value
As time passes, technology evolves, and food intelligence grows, there has never been more consumer interest in finding the most nutritional and trustworthy whole foods brand. People are now seeking the highest quality, nutrition-rich and fresh food products more than ever, where freeze dried products come in.
Given that they are minimally processed, contain no harmful preservatives, or any other highly processed materials that hinder food quality, they have proven to be one of the ideal choices today. It is a preservation method that retains 97 per cent of its original nutritional value, which is impressive compared to other methods.
- Real Taste
Since freeze-dried beef is an excellent way to retain the food product's nutrition while also preserving it for long periods, it also allows for the retention of the original taste and texture. The freeze-dried beef owes to the intense aroma and flavor of the freeze-dried beef and other products that preserve to deliver a flavor profile that does not differ from its fresh counterpart.
In addition, the shape and color of the product are also maintained through the preservation process to ensure food safety, thus ensuring consumers that they are getting themselves natural and organic fruits and vegetables, which taste and look the same while also providing most of the nutrients.
Another benefit of freeze drying foods is the freedom of customizing to meet the specific needs of unique projects and applications like being a camping food that can be used when going on camping trips. Different shapes, sizes, and physical forms can be changed using freeze-dried ingredients- whether that is fruits, vegetables, meat, all the way down to fine powder. Furthermore, mix these ingredients to achieve a final product that delivers the specific flavor profile the person is after.
- Long Shelf Life
In general, the shelf life of any given freeze-dried beef and produce depends on the amount of moisture that it contains. The freeze-drying process removes the water content from the food item, which effectively controls and prevents the chances of bacterial growth. The bacteria are known to survive and thrive in moisture. Plus, any existing bacteria on the food item will be left in hibernation as long as the freeze-dried beef and other related product do not rehydrate. For more info, check out how long can freeze dried beef last?
No germs will spoil the product and remain preserved for years on end. However, the actual shelf life of any freeze-dried beef and other development is also dependent on the quality of packaging, storage conditions and temperature, and the type of product itself.
- Wide Range of Applications
The freedom of customization has opened doors for many applications and uses. Fruit-based breakfast cereal, ready-to-eat snacks, and ingredients for beverages are just a few of the growing categories emerging from the application of freeze-drying. Other freeze-drying applications include:
• Long shelf life pharmaceutical products
• Recovery of wet documents and books
• Archaeological items and their preservation as well as recovery
• Dehydrated powders for medicinal capsules
• Protein powders and other supplement products
All of these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wide range of areas where it utilizes the application of the freeze-drying process. It is a method of preservation that is helping to advance several different industries across the globe.
The freeze-drying process eliminates the need for refrigerating frozen food and preserving it for more extended periods. Today, industries use this for different purposes other than food. It provides a final result of high quality, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. There is only a possibility of undiscovered benefits and applications of freeze-drying at this rate.