Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Year's Supply Review - Freeze-dried versus Dehydrated

(What I’ve learned…)

When deciding what items fit into your food storage, there are several choices: canned, frozen, freeze dried and dehydrated, among others. When looking for something dried, there are these options: dehydrated and freeze-dried.

Dehydrated foods are foods that have had the moisture removed (as much as possible) and stored in air-tight containers. Freeze dried foods are flash frozen, then dried. How is it made? “To create freeze-dried food, the item is first flash frozen, then a low-level heat is applied inside a vacuum chamber. This process melts the ice crystals without changing the cell structure of the food. Finally, the food is packed for long-term storage. This process retains much of the color, texture, shape, flavor, and nutrition.” (Emergency Essentials, November 2010 catalog, pg. 5)

So which is better? The answer depends on your taste buds, and your budget. Dehydrated foods, whether fruits or vegetables, still have some moisture in them, and therefore, are sometimes a bit more rubbery. And there is some color loss in dehydrated food. Freeze dried foods, are more crunchy; but a kind of easy-on-your-teeth, crunchy. Both work well in soups and stews, but used as side dishes, you’d have to experiment with your level of acceptance. Some dehydrated vegetables work only in soup/stew dishes, while others are passable enough to stand on their own as side dishes. And the cost of freeze-dried food items is usually more than dehydrated. But then again, you’d need to experiment with your own taste, and product usefulness to see what works for your family.

Granted, nothing is better than fresh, but either freeze-dried or dehydrated are good additions to a year’s supply of food storage.

I’d be curious to know if anyone has a favorite freeze-dried food, or a favorite dehydrated food….
My favorites are freeze-dried peaches and strawberries (expensive, but really good!). 
Dehydrated apples are great for car trips as a snack. Tomatoes (and other vegetables) are great for soup.


Nonna Beach said...

We like the dehydrated apples from the cannery and dehydrated bell peppers from Emergency Essentials.

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I use onions the most, followed by carrots and celery.