Last Updated on February 24, 2024 by Ahmed Khan
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates about 30-40% of surplus food production goes to waste. Thus, food preservation techniques should be prioritized to reduce wastage even at your home. This article highlights the significance of freeze-drying in eliminating food wastage successfully.
When food is freeze-dried, its shelf life is drastically increased. With some food products such as fruits and vegetables, the spoilage rate is high because they are highly perishable. Forbes reports that more than 1.3 billion metric tons of foods produced in the United States go to waste. Fruits and vegetables are the most wasted food where 60% goes to landfills. If vegetables are not stored in the right conditions, they may start to spoil after hours of harvesting. Fruits also begin to go bad a few days after they ripen.
Therefore, preservation of these food products is inevitable to reduce wastage. Food products can be stored for years without losing their structure, color, and flavors with freeze-drying. That means that if you preserve red strawberries by this method, you will remain red and retain their taste even if they are stored for more than 10 years. In return, the rate of consuming freeze-dried foods is high compared to food preserved using other methods such as sun drying and chemical treatment.
Additionally, freeze-dried food products have other benefits that make them suitable for human consumption. For example, freeze dried apples promote heart and guts health. They also have extra crunchiness. Consumers may prefer apples and other food products compared to fresh produce. Instead of surplus production of highly perishable food products finding their way into the trash bins and eventually landfills, freeze-drying ensures they are preserved and stored to be consumed in the future.
With freeze-drying, it is not necessary to refrigerate the food products. Notably, the cold temperatures in the refrigerators slow down the microbial activities in these food products. This inhibits processes such as fermentation that lead to food spoilage. However, preserving food in your refrigerator may not be practical for years. Thus freeze-drying is suitable because it can achieve long-term preservation in normal storage conditions. Whether you are storing fruits, vegetables, or liquid food products, you don’t have to worry about the availability of cooling machines.
Another condition that makes freeze drying an ideal food preservation method is its significance in military operations. Soldiers may carry freeze-dried foods when they are going in a battleground. These warriors can spend months in the war zone but still enjoy meals with similar color, taste, and nutrient value as freshly harvested or prepared food. The food products that would otherwise end in landfills are used for years without comprising the health or nutritional requirements of the consumers.
As the US Environmental Protection Agency and USDA work to reduce the rate of food wastage by 50% by 2030, other parts of the world are not fortunate enough to enjoy the surplus supply of consumable commodities.
In Syria, the effects of war have caused hunger, mainly affecting women and children. A report by the UN Food Programs states that 61% of Syrians are food insecure. Food donators usually take dried food products such as cereals and powdered milk. However, it would be possible to donate any type of food, including vegetables, to such places if they are freeze-dried. Instead of Americans throwing away 60% of fruits and vegetables, they could be freeze-dried and donated to the people who need them more. Freeze drying reduces the products’ weight by up to 90%. Thus, it makes the process of distribution easier.
Besides, freeze-drying makes it possible to customize food into different forms. For example, they can be eaten whole by just re-hydrating them. They can also be powdered and mixed with other products to make healthy formulations. These formulations can be repackaged appropriately for storage, transportation, or consumption.
If you have not tried freeze-dried food, this should be the time. You can order fruits and other products and make sure whenever your kids have something ready to eat. Additionally, freeze-dried food may be a good option when the electricity supply has a glitch, affecting the typical food refrigeration process.