Ice Age

Last week, our journey was spent learning about dehydrated foods. These are foods that are dehydrated in the standard way, through heat. This week, we will discuss a useful process for drying food that uses just the opposite method. Sound crazy? It's a wonderful technology that begins when food that is fresh or cooked is flash frozen. After this first step, moisture is then removed in a vacuum chamber where a low level of heat is used to evaporate the ice crystals without returning it to a liquid form. Because the food remains frozen during this process, the food's cell structures do not change. Therefore, much of the nutrition (including the vitamins), color, aroma, and freshness are retained.

Advantages of Freeze-dried Food First of all, after rehydration, freeze-dried foods look and taste much like the frozen foods you find in the grocery store. Freeze-dried foods retain much of their original shape, texture, and appearance. Freeze-dried foods rehydrate quickly, and most are reconstituted simply by adding warm water, waiting a few minutes, and draining the excess water out. After that, you simply use them just as you would any fresh food!

Freeze-dried foods are also 75 to 90 percent less heavy than the original food, which makes freeze-dried foods are a smart choice for situations where you need to store several days worth of food in a very small pack, such as in emergency kits, camping, and backpacking supplies.

Another benefit of freeze-dried foods is that you can purchase not just single foods, but entire meals already freeze-dried. They are cooked and then flash frozen and dehydrated, so you just add warm water and you've got a tasty meal read to go. These meals are popular with backpackers and campers, but are an excellent choice for preparedness too.

As if all the reasons listed above weren't enough, freeze-dried foods offer a whole new dimension of variety to your standard dehydrated foods. With the help of freeze-dried meats, cheese, fruits, and vegetables, you can use your dehydrated basics to create family favorites like pizza, tacos, breakfast casseroles, and desserts!

How good can it be? I know that is what you're thinking—because the skeptic in me thought the exact same thing. I can tell you from personal experience how many freeze-dried products are. I've used them successfully in my home. As a matter of fact, just this week I used freeze-dried sausage crumbles to make omelets for my family. I simply added some warm water to the crumbles, and after a few minutes drained off the excess. I was shocked by what I found. They looked, smelled, and most importantly tasted exactly like crumbled, cooked sausage . . . because that's what they are! My children LOVED them, and I can't wait to try more freeze-dried meats for my food storage pantry.

Now it's your turn to try out some freeze-dried foods. You will be pleasantly surprised by what technology delivers in this modern version of the Ice Age.


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