What on earth is Freeze Drying?

And why do we love it so much?

What is Freeze Drying?

Freeze drying, or lyophilisation for the scientists among us, is a powerful tool for preserving food for later. By gently removing the water, freeze drying stops the nutrients in food from degrading over time – protecting them for when you need them, without the use of preservatives or chemicals.

Freeze drying has been used by NASA to create light weight, long lasting food for astronauts. They simply add water to a freeze dried meal, which rehydrates as if it were fresh (well, almost – the texture isn’t exactly the same, but the nutrition is).

How does Freeze Drying work?

The magic of freeze drying comes from sublimation – a phenomenon where a solid (in this case, ice in frozen fruit & veg) transforms directly into a gas (steam) without melting into liquid (water) first. 

Because the ice doesn’t melt into water, fresh, organic produce can be dried completely without affecting the nutritional values.

To trigger sublimation, super fresh produce is flash frozen within hours of harvest. It is then placed into a low pressure vacuum chamber, where it is slowly thawed. No chemicals are needed, nothing is added – nothing taken away except the water.

Five Powerful Benefits of Freeze Drying

FOGA - Freeze Dried Fruit Nutrition Comparison Chart - For Plantshakes - Freeze Drying Graph

Nutrient Retention of Strawberries 1 week after Harvest

Freeze drying preserves nutrients

Scientists have long known about freeze-drying and have been using it for years because it preserves food perfectly by simply drying them out. It stops the oxidation that destroys nutrients. Did you know that most plants start to decline in nutritional value from the moment they are picked? Within 7 days a fresh strawberry has lost 80% of its polyphenols, while a freeze dried strawberry still has 100%. This might not seem too bad, until you learn that a supermarket ‘fresh’ apple could be a year old. 

Freeze drying increases shelf life

Fresh fruit & veg have a very short shelf life. They start to degrade nutritionally from the moment they have been picked. To give us year round ‘fresh’ fruit & veg, produce is picked before it’s ripe and stored in cold warehouses under gasses. This may stop it going off, but it’s no longer the ‘fresh’ apple we think it is. Freeze-drying fresh produce when it is at its most ripe, is a great way to lock in those nutrients and preserve them for when we need them. Just like people have been doing for hundreds of years but dehydrating, picking and naturally preserving foods. 

Freeze-drying also preserves gut-healthy fibre, unlike cold pressed juices which throw this away.

Freeze drying reduces food waste

So much fresh food is thrown away because we leave it to go bad. This is a huge waste of the earth’s precious natural resources. Freeze drying prevents fresh foods from being wasted, so they can be stored for when you need them. Our individually portioned packs and bulk bags mean that you never have to waste fresh fruit and vegetables again.

Freeze dried fruit doesn’t take up space in your fridge or freezer

Freeze dried produce is lightweight and can be kept at room temperature. This means it doesn’t have to take up precious space in your fridge or freezer. And it doesn’t have to be transported using an energy intensive chilled supply chain.

Freeze dried fruit is free from additives

There are lots of ways to dry and preserve fruit & veg, but many of them require additives, preservatives and fillers. Freeze-drying is not only the best process for preserving micronutrients, but it also the cleanest process. No additives or chemicals are used so you get super clean, organic powders and nothing else.

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