When I started building a food storage for my family I knew so very little it was laughable! But I was determined to do what I felt I needed to do and to do so in a smart way. If I was going to invest in food storage, I did not want to waste my money. I didn’t want to just buy anything and call it good to ease my conscience.When / if we needed to eat it, we would likely be in a high stress situation and would need calories and nutrients to keep us going emotionally and possibly physically. Plus, I figured, if I’m going to spend the money, I might as well spend it on food that I can enjoy everyday so I can rotate through it, not waste it, and make my day to day life easier through less trips to the grocery store.So, I did my research. One of the first things I really researched was the difference between dehydrated and freeze dried foods. When I first started out, I didn’t even know there was a difference! I thought the two words were synonymous! But as I researched, I found the difference is actually pretty big. Sure, I could dehydrate my own food (and I do sometimes) to keep cost down, but was that the food I really wanted to store for my family? In most cases, I found that my answer would be no. I would prefer freeze dried. It is very important to understand the difference when building your family’s food storage. Over the last few years I have consulted with many people who have had to throw away thousands of dollars in unusable food because they invested in the wrong thing in the first place. Don’t let that be you! I have chosen to store nearly all freeze dried foods in our family’s “home store” due to their greater versatility, nutrition, better taste, and usability.
The Difference in the Process:
Freeze Dried Food is frozen, then placed in a vacuum which allows the water in the product to vaporize without passing through the liquid state. This allows for very little change in size, texture and color. About 98% of the water is removed. This is what makes freeze dried foods easy to crush to a powder.Dehydrated Food is heated and water is removed through evaporation. The heat changes the size, texture and color of the product. It is also impossible to remove all the water. About 20%-50% of the water remains. This is what makes dehydrated foods chewy.
The Difference in the Shelf Life:
Freeze Dried Foods have a very long (20-30 years) shelf life because of the lack of water left in the product.Dehydrated Foods have a shorter (1-8 years) shelf life because there is always some water left in the product.
The Difference in Additives:
Single Ingredient Freeze Dried Foods need no additives since there is no water left in the product. For example, a can of peaches will have nothing but peaches in the can. When you start combining ingredients (as in freeze dried just add water meals), additives and preservatives are needed.Dehydrated Foods typcially need sugar, salt, or other preservative to maintain the shelf life because there is always some water left in the product.
The Difference in Nutrition:
Freeze Dried Foods retains all nutrients. Thrive freeze dried produce is naturally ripened and then flash frozen within hours so it can actually contain even more nutrients than artificially ripened produce found at the grocery store.Dehydrated foods can lose up to 50% of the original nutrients because of the heat applied during the dehydration process.
The Difference in Color, Taste, Texture:
Freeze Dried Foods have a color, taste and texture that are all very similar to the original product when hydrated. Without hydration, product is dry and can easily be crushed to a powder.Dehydrated Foods typically look and taste different from the fresh product. (Beef Jerky vs Roast Beef or Raisins vs Grapes). They are pliable, stretchy or chewy.
The Difference in Rehydration:
Freeze Dried Foods are very easy to re-hydrate in cold or hot water. When hydrated they are just like the fresh product would be after being frozen and thawed.Dehydrated Foods are difficult to re-hydrate (try turning a raisin into a grape or Beef Jerky into Roast Beef). For products that can be re-hydrated it must be done with hot water and requires far more water than a freeze dried product. Since the water must be hot, re-hydration requires fuel (which would be precious in a true emergency situation).
The Difference in Cooking and Baking:
Freeze Dried Foods are very easy to use in cooking and baking. Products are precooked and cut so all you do is add water. Little to no change in the end product vs using fresh ingredients.Some Dehydrated Foods can be used in cooking or baking (oatmeal raisin cookies anyone?), but because of the change in texture caused by dehydration, they don’t work quite the same as the fresh product (no one has ever made an oatmeal grape cookie).
The Difference in Variety:
Freeze Dried Foods offer a huge variety. Almost anything can be freeze dried including Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Cheese, Yogurt, even Ice cream!Dehydrated Foods offer slightly less variety as only certain things (fruits, veggies, some meats) can be dehydrated.
The Difference in Taste:
Freeze Dried Foods are extremely flavorful and taste very similar to fresh picked garden produce. Often times when kids try them for the first time they will ask “Is this candy?”Dehydrated foods can be very tasty (I love fruit leathers and craisins!), but they taste different from the original product. Sometimes, sugar or salt is used to enhance the flavor.
The Difference in Cost:
As I teach classes about the above differences, the #1 question I get is “What about the cost?” Yes, you will sometimes (not always) pay more for freeze dried foods than for dehydrated. But I have found that with their longer shelf life and because they are so much easier to use and rotate, freeze dried foods rarely go to waste. You can use them in your family’s everyday recipes. That translates into a lot of financial savings, not to mention less stress b/c you rarely have to run to the grocery store!I actually found that when we introduced freeze dried foods into my family’s diet, we actually started spending less due to us wasting so much less produce. You can watch a video about Tammy who tracked her savings and found she was saving about 24%:Plus, if you shop through a consultant like the gals from How Does She (click here to do that), you are guaranteed the lowest prices on Thrive food. In addition, if you start a Q (read more about that here: The Q: Your Own Home Store), you will get extra discounts each month.You can even take it one step further by becoming a consultant yourself and earning Thrive for free (plus an income)! It doesn’t get much cheaper than that! In the four years I’ve been a consultant, I’ve earned thousands in free food!
Where to Buy Freeze Dried Foods:
Find them (with a How Does She discount applied) here:
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