What is freeze-drying? How is it different from dehydration? How long do freeze-dried products last and where to use them? You can find the answers to these questions in this article.
Forms of freeze-drying date back to the 15th century, when this method was mainly used by the Incas, who preserved their crops in this way, taking the crop to the high mountains of Machu Picchu, where the water slowly evaporated in a cold environment with low air pressure. Modern freeze-drying techniques were first developed during World War II. Freeze-drying entered the food industry in the 1950s.
What does freeze-drying look like?
Freeze-drying, in other words lyophilization, is a process in which fresh fruits and berries are dried under vacuum (0.05ATM) and at very cold temperatures (up to -80 degrees). The process can be quite time consuming, ranging from a few hours to several days when the fruits gradually dry out. The purpose of the process is to freeze the water in the fresh fruit and then remove the ice from the fruit with a vacuum system and turn it into steam without going through a liquid state. As a result, freeze-dried fruits retain their shape, color, aroma as well as taste and nutritional value. Often the taste can even intensify. Freeze-drying makes the fruit light, airy and crunchy, leaving an average water content of 1-3%.
Freeze-drying is divided into three main stages:
1. freezing, in which the speed of freezing plays an important role in helping to prevent the formation of large ice crystals;
2. primary drying, in which about 95-98% of the water is removed;
3. secondary drying to remove water molecules or residual moisture left over from the primary drying.
What are the advantages of freeze-drying over other methods?
The biggest advantage of freeze-drying is the abundance of nutrients and long shelf life, which cannot be compared to dehydration. Freeze-drying uses the lowest possible temperature (less than 40 degrees), minimizing the risk of destruction of heat-sensitive nutrients. In the process, in addition to nutrients, the taste, color and appearance of the food are preserved, which makes the freeze-dried fruit essentially comparable to fresh fruit. During freeze-drying, almost 98% of the water is removed, resulting in up to 90% lighter food, which is also suitable for hiking or traveling bags due to its light weight, but extremely high nutritional value.
In addition, very long shelf life speaks in favor of freeze-drying. As the removal of water from the raw material prevents the growth of bacteria, it adds longevity to the product. The shelf life of freeze-dried superfoods can be up to 25 years, depending on the packaging, storage temperature and the superfood itself.
Small amount, high nutritional value
As the freeze-dried raw materials are much more concentrated, even a small amount of the superfood mixture allows the body to be provided with everything it needs. For example, for 1 kg of mango or dragon fruit powder, 25 kg of fruit is freeze-dried, which means that there is already a lot of nutritional value in one spoonful.
How to use freeze-dried powders?
Various freeze-dried powders are suitable for smoothies, mixing with porrige or yoghurt, sprinkle on pastries, sauces and salads – just let your imagination fly! Make a bright pink dragonfruit-banana ice cream with a tropical taste, enjoy nutritious smoothies or brightly colored layered chia puddings – the choice is yours! In terms of color choice, dragon fruit, black goji and pleasantly pink raspberry will surely surprise you, enriching the food with a wonderful color tone that will win hearts! However, freeze-dried spinach is suitable, for example, for anyone who does not like fresh spinach so much, but still wants to enrich the table with useful vitamins and minerals. The mild taste of spinach powder is ideal for smoothies, sauces and pestos as a healthy addition.
Centralsun freeze-dried fruit powders are all free of additives. Each product contains only 1 ingredient – the fruit from which the powder is made. In the Centralsun e-shop you will also find slices of freeze-dried fruits, which are suitable for a healthy snack and are also very popular with children. Read more about freeze-dried slices HERE.
Try it for yourself! In our e-shop you will find a wide selection of freeze-dried powders, freeze-dried fruit slices but also seaweed products and other superfoods of both tropical and domestic fruits. Check out the selection and support your body with only the best fuel!