We wouldn’t exist if our planet did not have an ample supply of water. But water can be the enemy of something else we desperately need – food. The natural moisture in food is what causes it to eventually spoil because bacteria and mold require a moist environment to grow and thrive.
Removing the moisture from food in order to extend its shelf life is the principle behind freeze-drying and dehydrating. The advantage to dehydrating your food is that it’s something you can accomplish in your home by using an oven or dehydrator. The downside is that you won’t be able to eliminate 100 percent of the moisture, and so your food’s shelf life won’t be longer than about a year.
Special equipment is required to freeze dry food, with the upside being that all of the moisture is removed and the shelf life dramatically increases to up to 25 years. With the types of survival situations that we may be required to endure in a world that is seeing an increasing number of natural and man-made disasters, freeze dried is the way for you to go in order to be as prepared as possible to feed you and your family for an extended period of time.
In addition to extending the shelf life of meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers, freeze drying makes your food lighter and therefore easier to transport. It also preserves most of the nutritional content. For example, while some Vitamin C is lost during the drying process, Vitamin A is retained. The fiber, carbohydrates and minerals found in many foods are not affected when that food is dried. Some believe that freeze-dried food is tastier than food that has not been dried, especially fruit because with the water removed, the natural sugar is more concentrated. And freeze-dried food is convenient when you’re on the move because you can either re-constitute it with water or eat it in its dried state.
Do you have a preference between dehydrated and freeze-dried food? Have you done any food dehydration at home? Are freeze-dried or dehydrated foods among your survival stockpile? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this.