Knowing how to store freeze dried food properly can help you keep it for even 25 years! However, this entirely depends on how well you store it. Freeze dried food items are the new fad and can possibly even become a way of life. To guide you, we will talk at length about freeze-dried food and the correct way of storing it.
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How Freeze Dried Food Is Made
Freeze drying is a method of preserving food to prevent microbial growth. It also reduces the weight drastically.
This is accomplished by taking out the moisture away from the food and leaving only roughly between 0.5% and 3% of moisture when the whole process is complete. This method is also referred to as lyophilization.
While this freezes the food at a very cold temperature, it also does this at a very specific temperature. This is known as the triple point. At this cold temperature, the moisture present in the food can go from a solid state, which is ice, directly to a gas state without even turning to liquid in between the process.
This process requires a very careful balance of cooling, heating, and highly controlled atmospheric pressures. Freeze dried foods are typically dried twice before they are packaged to be sold.
How to Store Freeze Dried Food
As mentioned earlier, freeze-dried foods can be stored up to a quarter of a century depending on how you store it. So, let us give you some effective tips that will help you understand the storage process so that they remain fresh whenever you need to consume them.
1. Making Sure It Is Fully Dry
This method involves the use of a freeze dryer. When you take out the food from the freeze dryer, take a large piece of it and break it into half so that you can check for any ice particles in the center of the food.
Alternatively, you can feel the food to check whether it is cold or not. If the food is not cold, then it is dry.
The process of freeze-drying food involves doing it from the outside of the food and making its way towards the center. If the food still has particles of ice or is still cold in the center, then you should put it back in the freeze dryer for another short dry cycle. Thankfully, with a freeze dryer, this entire process can be quite simple.
2. Sealing It
Once you have freeze dried your food, it is time that you store it properly or else it will begin to reabsorb all the moisture from the air and will get spoilt. Here are some ways that you can help in properly storing freeze-dried foods.
- Mylar Bags
If you are serious about storing your food for as long as 25 years, then the best storage option is Mylar bags. These are perhaps the easiest to use and are also budget-friendly.
You will need to add the oxygen absorber. Ensure that there is no oxygen in the bag as that will destroy the food over the years. Then, all that’s left is to seal the bag with a flat iron or hot iron or an impulse sealer.
- #10 Cans
#10 cans are also considered to be a brilliant method to store freeze-dried foods. However, they need a can sealer which is an additional investment.
- Vacuum Sealed Plastic
Vacuum sealed plastic bags work brilliantly for most items other than meats or other kinds of high-protein food. If you are looking to consume the food any time soon, you can use a reusable container or jar as they work fine. Remember to add an oxygen absorber to any meat or for food for long-term storage.
Simple airtight jars also work decently for food items such as yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and even ice cream and cheesecakes. Also, they can be stored with ease in a pantry for a couple of months even without adding an oxygen absorber. Make sure though to seal the jar tightly every time you open it.
The Ideal Storage Conditions
As mentioned earlier, the microbial growth is the reason why freeze dried, or any food for that matter, gets spoilt. Thus, if you want a maximum amount of shelf life for your food, then you must ensure that you inhibit this growth as much as you possibly can.
Below we will provide you with tips for the proper conditions necessary to store your freeze-dried food items so that they remain fresh for longer periods of time.
Continuing from above, if you use cans, they do a good job at effectively blocking almost 100% of the light. That said, Mylar bags can block out varying degrees of the light depending on how thick they are.
The thickness of the Mylar bag is gauged in mils. If the mils are higher, that means the bag is thicker. Hence, regardless of how you choose to store your food, storing it in a dark place will ensure that it prolongs the shelf life.
Keeping the food as cool as you can also ensures a longer shelf life. With that, it is also important to note that changes in temperature should be as minimal as possible.
Choose a room in your house that is usually dark and without windows. A cellar, the basement, or a closet is typically the best places to store these foods as they tend to have stable temperatures.
Keeping the can or packaging sealed is the only effective way to ensure that oxygen does not enter the freeze-dried food. Keep your food at a height that is safe from any type of rodents or other critters that could potentially damage the packaging.
We would again like to shed light on the fact that you should not let any moisture get in contact with the food. The whole process of freeze drying food involves taking out almost all the moisture. So, it only makes sense to keep moisture at bay.
As you can see, knowing how to store freeze dried food is not the most difficult task. The basic thing to remember is to keep it in a cool and dark place so that its shelf life stays long.