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Freeze Dried Vegetable Specification VS Dehydrated vegetables Specification

Freeze Dried Vegetables Specifications VS Dehydrated vegetables Specifications

Vegetables are a necessary part of our daily diet. Experts recommend that we eat five servings of produce each day, with some suggesting we should eat nine a day. So, we buy fresh vegetables, they sit in the fridge or on the counter until they become wilted, and are thrown away.   

With freeze dried vegetables (also freeze dried veggies) we do not have the same problems. They offer a quick way to increase our daily intake of green without as much prepping, cooking, and cleaning up afterward. 

In this article, we have a closer look at how freeze dried veggies are produced and what are some of their advantages. We also summarize applications suggested by freeze dried fruits and vegetables suppliers

Keep reading!


The Process for Freeze Drying Vegetables

green Freeze dried broccoli
Freeze dried broccoli

Preparation

Like any other food processing method, it is necessary to wash and clean vegetables before freeze drying them. Preparation includes taking out the rotting parts or bruises from vegetables, and washing and blanching them. 

Some manufacturers may dunk or dip vegetable pieces (mostly potatoes) into lemon juice and blanch them. Blanching is not necessary for all vegetable types. 

It is possible to freeze dry vegetables in whole form or in pieces. It is better to cut leafy vegetables into pieces before placing them in the freeze dryer. This way they take up less space and leave room for other vegetables.

Freeze Drying

Freeze drying is the process of removing moisture from food products after they have been frozen and put in a vacuum environment. 

Vegetables (vegetable parts) are placed on large racks inside of a drying chamber. The temperature is lowered to as low as -48 degree celsius to flash freeze the vegetables.  Flash freezing prevents formation of ice crystals that might rapture cell structures. 

Next, the pressure is reduced by a vacuum pomp.  This causes the water in the food to sublimate, moving quickly from a solid state to a gaseous state.  

Finally, evaporated water is condensed into ice crystals and leaves the drying chamber.

Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated Veggies

Dehydration uses warm air or heat to remove 70% to 90% of the moisture from vegetables. Freeze drying uses really, really cold temperatures to freeze or trap the moisture inside vegetables, which is then removed by sublimation. These two methods yield different products. Table 1 summarizes the difference and table 2 shows advantages and disadvantages of freeze dried vs dehydrated vegetables. 

It should be noted that most people may use other methods of drying as well, depending on market, personal preference and nutritional needs.

Freeze dryingDehydration
Shelf lifeFreeze‐dried vegetables can last for up to 25 years because 98‐99 percent of the moisture is removed during the process. Dehydrated vegetables shelf life varies depending how much water they lose. Typically lose up to 90 percent of their moisture and last for 1 year. 
Shape Freeze dried vegetables maintain their original shape, structure, size and textureDehydration makes vegetables shrink and wither down a bit. 
ColorIt keeps the color as vibrant and fresh as possible.Vegetables become less vibrant in color.
Flavor and tasteTaste and flavor is maintained inside freeze dried vegetablesVegetables wilt during dehydration so they lose a lot of flavor
NutritionFreeze‐dried vegetables maintain 98% to 99%  their nutrients and are very similar in nutritional value to fresh ones. Only around 60‐75% of the original nutrients are retained.
RehydrationFreeze dried vegetables can be rehydrated because they maintain their shape and structureThere is no way you can rehydrate dehydrated vegetables
AdditivesFreeze dried herb generally doesn’t have any additives in it.Additives are added during the process so dehydrated vegetables preserve the shelf life.
Table 1:Freeze dried veggies vs dehydrated veggies

It should be noted that most people may use other methods of drying as well, depending on market, personal preference and nutritional needs. Table 2 compares pros and cons of freeze drying vs dehydrating in terms of difficulty of maintenance and cost. 

Freeze dryingdehydration
Maintenance during useFreeze dried herbs Need to be consumed very quickly because they tend to suck moisture from the air much more quickly than dehydrated ones. So they start to rot or become moldy much quicker than dehydrated herbsDehydrated vegetables keep well in room temperature longer or in contact with the outside environment.
CostThe freeze drying equipment and their maintenance are expensive. They are more energy-consuming than dehydrators. A dehydrator is much less pricey than a freeze dryer. It also consumes less energy in comparison.
Table 2: freeze dried vs dehydrated herbs Pros and Cons

Freeze dried vegetable powders

Over the past few years, we have seen a rise in the number of suppliers who turn freeze dried fruits and vegetables into powders for nutrition, flavor, and texture. One of the reasons why this trend will continue to flourish is because of the convenience. Also, freeze dried veggie powders tend to last for a long time without losing their nutritional value. They can be used in augmenting the nutrient content of cooked foods or can be utilized as emergency food.

A bunch of fresh spinach next to freeze dried spinach powder.
Freeze dried spinach powders

Freeze-dried vegetable powders/flours have hundreds of potential uses. Consider using them in:

  • Baked goods for enhancement of natural color and flavor. for example, adding a little bit of raspberry powder to enhance the flavor of cakes, pastries, muffins, or cookies.
  • Beverages for all-natural flavors and colors. For example, raspberry lemonade with freeze dried raspberry powder.
  • Candies and sweets can take on a whole new appeal from freeze-dried veggie powders. For example, chocolates benefit from the natural enhancement of freeze-dried chili powder.
  • Favorite meals to increase nutrition. Try adding freeze-dried cauliflower macaroni and cheese. 
  • Babyfoods for convenience and high nutrition. See “freeze dried vegetable uses.

Fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as many antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight cancer and heart disease. 

Freeze-dried vegetables are nutritious too since freeze-drying stabilizes the nutrition profile by stopping enzyme reactions. They have vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also retain their taste and appearance as well. 

Small losses of vitamins and minerals may occur during freeze drying. For example, freeze dried vegetables may experience minor losses of some phytochemicals and vitamin C. However, the findings are not consistent as it depends on the vegetable. 

Freeze-dried vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones because they are harvested at ripeness peak and processed immediately in a way that preserves their nutritional value. 

Freeze dried Vegetables Nutrition Profile

Fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber as well as many antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight cancer and heart disease. The nutrition of freeze dried vegetables does not change much from the fresh ones’. 

Four bowls of separate freeze dried fruits and veggies; freeze dried spinach, banana cuts, cucumber cuts and mango slices.
Freeze dried fruits and vegetables can be used to make fruit or veggie salad.

Fresh vegetables are harvested at ripeness peak and processed immediately in a way that preserves their nutritional value. They are nutritious since freeze-drying stabilizes the nutrition profile by stopping enzyme reactions. They have vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also retain their taste and appearance as well. 

Small losses of vitamins and minerals may occur during freeze drying. For example, freeze dried vegetables may experience minor losses of some phytochemicals and vitamin C.  However, the findings are not consistent as it depends on the vegetable. 

Freeze Dried Vegetables Uses

Freeze dried veggies can replace fresh and dehydrated ones in the diet not because they are nutritionally rich but because they are time savers. 

Any vegetable that needs peeling and/or needs to be chopped can be replaced with a freeze dried vegetable. Some of our favorites are onions, celery, cucumbers and peppers. 

Freeze dried vegetables are also a great money saver by not having so much waste. Remember the time when you bought a whole green pepper when you just needed half of one for a recipe. Or had a bunch of red cabbage go bad after you only used 2-3 leaves. With freeze-dried vegetables you can use only what you need for a recipe and can save money. 

SNACKINGFreeze dried veggies are great to snack on straight out of the bag.  For example, freeze dried corn 
GREEN SMOOTHIESIf you love making and want, you can Throw in some freeze dried green veggies to your smoothies for some added nutrition. For example, freeze-dried spinach 
SOUPS/STEWSFreeze-dried veggies work well in soups and stews. The veggies rehydrate while the soup cooks. The best part is you get a large variety in your options and food items arrive ready-to-use, so you don’t have to purchase and chop up individual items.
BABY FOODFreeze dried veggies are great for making homemade baby food in a snap. You only need to grind your selected vegetables in a food processor and gradually add water until you get the desired consistency.  
You can also carry around the powder in your diaper bag and make up only a small amount, without worrying about wasting a half bottle of uneaten food.
POTATO DISHESWith freeze dried potatoes you have several options; you can make potato salad, hash browns, funeral potatoes, or even mashed potatoes in just a few minutes. All without the hassle of peeling, dicing, boiling, mashing them, etc. 
SIDE DISHESYou can cook freeze-dried vegetables, flavor and use them as a side dish. For example, with freeze dried green beans,  you only need to rehydrate, heat up and serve them.
SNEAKY POWDERSLooking for a way to get picky eaters to eat vegetables? Try sneaky powders. Blend selected vegetables in a food processor until you get a nutrient-dense powder. You can sprinkle it into lots of main dishes, such as spaghetti sauce, without getting noticed. 

Conclusion

Freeze dried veggies look and taste as good as their fresh counterparts. They retain up to 99% of the nutritional value of their fresh forms and you can enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables without the hassle of preparation.  They are also a perfect addition to your food storage plan or emergency food foundation. 

We hope this ultimate guide to freeze dried vegetables specifications will help you make the best choice of veggies for your diet. 

Do you use freeze dried vegetables as often? Please share your experiences with us in the comment section.

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