Jul 6, 2023
The simple rationale behind freeze-drying is to prolong the shelf life of any food by removing moisture or completely removing the water content. Less moisture or little to no fluid in food inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as molds. This process also prevents rotting and spoilage of the food by retarding biochemical processes such as putrefaction or spoilage.
Hence, you can enjoy freeze-dried foods after years of storage, compared to a few days when these are simply kept in a refrigerator. Freeze-dried food can last from between five to twenty-five years or more.
The process of freeze-drying food boils down to remove as much water content as possible from the food through the use of lyophilization. These are the most commonly used methods for freeze-drying food;
Freeze Dryer – By far, this is the best way to prepare food for long-term storage. As the name implies, this machine is specifically made to freeze dry food. The only downside is the price; freeze-drying devices can be a bit pricey, to say the least. However, if you plan to freeze-drying tons of food, then buying one is worth the investment.
Use Dry Ice – The most-low tech and inexpensive solution to freeze-drying food. You can do this anywhere, as long as dry ice is available. You will only be able to freeze dry food in small quantities, though.
Use a Vacuum Chamber – You see vacuum-packed foods whenever you buy a pack of bacon in the supermarket, and you bet that it will last for months. If you vacuum seal some foods that have been freeze-dried, you will have something that will last for a very long time.
Screw Cap Mason Jars – The tried and tested means of storing food, screw cap mason jars have been trusted by preppers, thrifty people, and their grand folks for long-time storage. These jars can be bought anywhere and are downright inexpensive. There are two downsides. The first would be limited storage capacity. Secondly, it is made of glass so that these jars can break and also be a lot more expensive if you are planning to store in bulk.
Vacuum Seal Jars – Vacuum seal jars have a unique lid that allows for vacuum sealing. Think about a mason jar with a two-piece screw cap lid. The advantage to storing freeze-dried food in these jars is you can vacuum seal them in a vacuum chamber. However, price is a factor to consider and this method can also be expensive if you plan to store freeze dried food in bulk.
Vacuum Sealed Plastic Bags – These bags are perfect for storing freeze-dried food in larger quantities. Plastic bags have an obvious advantage over glass jars, as these don’t break and are flexible.
# 10 Can – Ten-pound cans are great for storing freeze-dried food. Next to mason jars, canning has been a procedure that has been used for a very long time in storing food. However, these cans need a specialized can sealer.
Mylar Bags – When it comes to storing freeze-dried food, Mylar bags are considered to be the best. When it comes to UV protection, tensile strength, resistance to chemical reactions, flexibility, and price, Mylar bags are tough to beat. They are also the most inexpensive option for storing freeze dried food.
Light – Light accelerates chemical reactions, so it is best to keep freeze-dried foods in the dark place. Basements and inside cabinets are perfect spots.
Temperature – Heat lessens the shelf life of stored foods. Just like light, heat promotes chemical reactions. So, make sure you keep your freeze-dried foods in a cool place.
Oxygen – Oxygen is necessary for chemical reactions, degradation, and even spoilage of food . That’s the reason why Mylar Bags come with oxygen absorbers. Hence, whenever possible, use a pouch of Oxygen absorbers when storing foodstuff for long-term storage.
Moisture – Moisture causes spoilage as it provides a medium for microbes to thrive. Even a tiny amount of water that seeps into a tightly sealed container is enough to ruin the food stored inside. Hence, keep your freeze-dried stash in a dry place.
To simplify things, simply look at the label on any medicine in your cabinets – It will often state, “keep in a cool, dry place and avoid direct sunlight.”
Here’s hoping that this small guide will help you in your long-term food storage plans.