Freeze dried fruits can last up to 25 to 30 years. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the aspects of freeze dried fruits shelf life; why they can last for such a long time; and what storage conditions can affect their durability. We also give you some tips as to when to avoid eating these delicious treats.
- Why freeze dried fruits have a long shelf life
- What affects freeze dried fruits shelf life
- How long freeze dried fruit last after first use?
- How can we tell if freeze dried fruit has gone bad?
- How does the manufacturing method affect freeze dried fruits shelf life?
- What are the benefits of freeze dried fruits’ long shelf life?
Why freeze dried fruits have a long shelf life
Ever wonder what’s behind the freeze dried fruits shelf life? Freeze drying. Freeze drying increases the shelf life of fruits to beyond 25 years. That is because freeze drying or lyophilisation is not just drying.
The process consists of three major steps: Crystallization, Sublimation, and Secondary drying. It removes about 99% of the water content from the fruit and extends its shelf life to 25-30 years.
Thirty years is a considerable amount of time when fresh fruits can only last from a few days to a few weeks. More importantly, freeze dried fruit retains almost all its nutrients and original structure. The texture of the fruit is even retained when re-hydrated.
What affects freeze dried fruits shelf life
Freeze dried fruits shelf life (and other freeze dried foods) is highly dependent on the presence of water and oxygen. Other deteriorative factors include light and temperature. We explain each one separately below.
- Moisture: Excessive water reduces the freeze dried fruit shelf life. Freeze dried fruits can go bad quickly in places where they come in contact with moisture. Moist can create an environment in which microorganisms can grow and chemical reactions can take place.
- Oxygen: Oxygen can reduce the freeze dried fruits shelf life by having deteriorative effects on food ingredients. For example, it can cause oxidative reactions with fats, vitamins and other food constituents. It also can encourage the growth of microorganisms in freeze dried fruits.
- Light: Freeze dried fruits should be kept away from direct light. Light can result in the deterioration of freeze dried fruits by allowing chemical reactions. These reactions can cause discoloration, off-colors, and vitamin loss.
Temperature: Freeze dried foods are recommended to be stored at 21 degree celsius. High temperatures have a range of deteriorative effects on freeze dried fruits. For example, proteins may break down and some vitamins will be destroyed in excessive heat. The color, flavor and odor of some products may also be affected.
How long freeze dried fruit last after first use?
After first use, the shelf life reduces to 6 to 12 months. Freeze dried fruits are packaged in large number-10 cans or smaller Mylar bags so they are incredibly shelf stable. The result of this packaging is that freeze dried fruits can last 25 years or more. Opening the can or bag exposes the content to oxygen and moisture in the air. It is important to keep them in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber.
How can we tell if freeze dried fruit has gone bad?
As mentioned earlier, freeze dried fruits may change taste, color, or smell. This happens when they are exposed to light, oxygen, moisture, or high temperatures. In this regard, they are no different than other foods.
The more common signs of freeze dried fruits spoilage include cross-contamination with raw vegetables, obvious mold and dark spots, liquid oozing, and unexpected changes in color. In any of these cases, the freeze dried fruits should be thrown away.
You should also avoid freeze dried fruits if the package is not sealed or content feels wet to the touch.
However, if you have kept your freeze dried fruit in suitable storage conditions they can remain good even after the “best use by” date.
The lack of moisture halts any microbial growth and chemical reaction during storage.
How does the manufacturing method affect freeze dried fruits shelf life?
Freeze dried fruits boast a very long shelf life. This is because fruits lose almost all their water content during freeze drying. No other method can accomplish this. For example, dehydration removes between 80 to 90 % of fruit’s moisture. Home dehydrated fruits may contain even more water.
The lack of moisture in the freeze dried fruits halts any microbial growth and chemical reaction during storage.
What are the benefits of freeze dried fruits’ long shelf life?
The long shelf life of freeze dried fruits comes with many benefits.
- Since there is no water in them, freeze dried fruits are shelf-stable. For long term storage, you can seal them in glass jars or mylar bags with an oxygen absorber. You can also put them in plastic bags and keep them on your counter. That way, they are easy to access during the week for a snack.
- Freeze dried fruits are great emergency food options. Food scarcity is very common during natural disasters or disease epidemics such as Covid-19. With freeze dried fruits, there would be one less thing to worry about during tornadoes, wildfire, earthquakes, or war.
- Freeze dried fruits are a great backpacking food option. Since they do not require refrigeration, you can include them in your camping foods. 98% nutrient retention in freeze dried fruits means you’ll be fueling up with the nutrients your body needs to keep hiking, backpacking, and more.
You can read more about freeze dried fruit benefits in another article.
Freeze drying removes the water from the fruits while leaving the structure and nutrients almost intact. This gives the dried fruits a very long shelf life. Freeze dried fruits shelf life is only one advantage of these delicious treats. But it is an important one. Freeze dried fruits are great snacks, emergency food options, and camping foods. All because of their production method. .
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