The Many Benefits of Freeze-Dried Food in a Crisis
Freeze-dried food is the best option for long-term survival. Plain and simple.
Having a stockpile of freeze-dried food is the ideal way to protect yourself and your family during an extended emergency. That’s because this process can increase the shelf life of food to up to 25 years.
If there is a downside to freeze-drying, it’s that special equipment is required to accomplish the task effectively. It can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
But the upsides of acquiring freeze-dried food are plentiful. We’ll get to them in a moment. First, let’s look at why freeze-drying is important.
Moisture is the enemy
Natural food has moisture in it. That’s one of the things that makes it taste so good.
But that moisture also makes it vulnerable to microorganisms over time. Those microorganisms can cause spoilage. Bacteria and mold require a moist environment to grow and thrive.
When food is frozen, microorganisms can’t grow. Freeze-drying removes almost all the moisture.
Freeze-drying food helps it retain its nutritional value better than canned foods. Without chemicals. A quick explanation of the history of freeze-drying, as well as its process, is in order here.
It started in the Andes
The first examples of freeze-drying occurred thousands of years ago. That’s when indigenous people froze potatoes overnight in the Andes Mountains, then laid them out in the daytime sun. This process kept the potatoes fresher much longer.
Modern freeze-drying was developed during World War II. It was used as a method for preserving blood plasma for battlefield injuries without refrigeration. In this manner, the organic nature of the plasma was preserved.
When food is freeze-dried these days, the first step is ensuring that no contamination exists. Some of the foods must then be cooked, such as seafood and meats.
Next, the food is quickly frozen at temperatures around minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it’s moved to a vacuum drying chamber.
The drying procedure
The drying procedure is known as sublimation. In this process, a solid material changes into a gaseous material without becoming a liquid.
With food, solid ice crystals within the frozen food change into a water vapor without becoming liquid water. The vapor is then drawn off and condensed within the chamber.
This is done by evacuating the air with a vacuum pump to reduce the pressure. The temperature of the food is then raised to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The food now has tiny holes in it where ice crystals were. These holes make it easier for the food to eventually reabsorb water. They also help the food retain its original size and shape.
The food is then sealed in an airtight container. That’s to make sure it does not absorb moisture from the air.
The obvious benefits
You’ll want to store your freeze-dried food in a cool, dry place. Where air, moisture, sunlight and rodents can’t get to it.
What are the benefits to freeze-drying food? Let’s look at a few.
- The fiber, carbohydrates, and minerals found in many foods are not affected when that food is dried.
- Freeze-drying extends the shelf life of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. And it makes your food lighter in weight and easier to transport.
- Freeze-dried food is convenient when you’re on the move. That’s because you can either re-constitute it with water or eat it in its dried state.
The health benefits
There are numerous health benefits people enjoy when they eat freeze-dried foods. Here are a few of them.
With freeze-drying, food is preserved at the peak of its ripeness and nutrient content. And it stays that way. Produce, on the other hand frequently loses those qualities as it travels and then sits in grocery stores.
Vitamins A and C tend to break down quickly in traditional dehydrators. But freeze-drying stops that process to keep vitamins intact.
Preservatives are often added to the food we buy in stores. They can be effective in fending off microbes and retaining certain vitamins. But they can also degrade other vitamins, such as B1, and cause digestive problems for some people.
Simply put, freeze-drying food keeps it fresher and more nutritious than any other preservation method.
Debunking the myths
Some of you may have heard negative things about freeze-drying. There are some myths out there about it, so let’s expose a few of them.
Myth No. 1 – Freeze-dried foods lose nutritional value and don’t taste good.
Freeze-dried food tastes as good and fresh as the day it is packaged. Once food is freeze-dried, it’s simply a matter of packaging it properly in airtight bags. And then storing it where it can’t be contaminated by the elements.
Myth No. 2 – Freeze-dried meats don’t break down well in the body.
Freeze-dried meat is usually more easily digested than canned food. Due to it containing no additives or preservatives.
Myth No. 3 – Freeze-dried food costs too much.
Prices of freeze-dried food might seem higher because they are often sold in bulk. But when you do the math, you’ll realize you’re usually saving money by purchasing freeze-dried food. Especially when considering how much fresh food is thrown out.
Myth No. 4 – Your options are limited with freeze-dried food.
Some people think you can only freeze-dry fruits and vegetables. But freeze-dried meat can also give you plenty of nutrition. Including much-needed protein, minerals and other nutrients.
As mentioned, meat can be freeze-dried. Just like fruits and vegetables can. And it’s a good thing too.
If a crisis goes on for more than two or three days, you’re going to want to eat something other than fruits and vegetables.
The stress you feel during an emergency situation will raise your cortisol levels. That means potential muscle loss. Maintaining strength will be a must in a crisis.
Meat will be key in your diet. It’s loaded with proteins, which are the building blocks of healthy cells.
Stay healthy and focused in a crisis
The iron you receive from meat also helps stave off conditions including anemia. Which can cause weakness and fatigue.
Those are two things you definitely don’t want slowing you down in a crisis.
Freeze-dried meat will also help boost your immune system. The last thing you need is getting sick in an emergency situation.
Meat will also help you feel full. Meat will provide steady energy and help keep your mental focus sharp.
I’m going to end this the same way I started it. Freeze-dried food is the best option for long-term survival. Plain and simple.