Benefits (Next to Great Taste & Nutrition) of Freeze Dried Fruits & Veggies

CRUNCHIESFreeze-dried fruits and veggies – nutrient-dense, fiber-filled, flavor-rich – make great snacks that are oh so tasty … and also oh so good for you, too.

Packaged freeze-dried foods can stay fresh and remain flavorful – with their nutrient content well preserved – during an extended shelf life.

How is this possible? The Crunchies Natural Snacks team thought you might like to know a little bit about the science behind these delicious and nutritious snack treats.

Freeze-drying is a process for drying heat-sensitive foods (as well as other substances like blood plasma, antibiotics, etc.). It works by freezing a substance and then “subliming” the ice (or other frozen solvent) in a high vacuum. Subliming means going from a solid state to a gaseous state without passing through a liquid state. In the freeze-drying process, fresh or cooked food is quickly frozen then placed in a vacuum in which cell structure, shape, color and nutrients are all maintained and preserved because water has been removed under low temperatures.

Temperature is the key factor here. While freeze-dried foods maintain their original shape and texture, alternatives such as dehydrated foods can shrivel due to the high-temperatures involved in processing.

Shelf-life and Portability

Because freeze-drying removes more than 99 percent of the water in a food, spoilage bacteria don’t have the water they need to survive, which means food takes much longer to spoil. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are “shelf-stable” without requiring added preservatives.

Freeze-dried foods also are amazingly portable. Most fruits and vegetables are mostly water, so removing the water makes the food package significantly lighter and smaller – two great characteristics for portability.

Because the water content in freeze-dried food is removed, the weight of freeze-dried foods is reduced by about 90 percent – which makes for a lightweight, easily carried snack to take along in a bag, purse or lunchbox.

The nutritional benefits of the freeze-drying process are also significant. Studies on freeze-dried fruits and vegetables show that they retain nearly all the nutrients of the fresh original, with comparable levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. There is, however, one limitation—freeze-dried foods do understandably contain less of water-soluble nutrients like Vitamin C that are sensitive to heat and light.

A good way to evaluate the benefits of freeze-dried snacks is to consider the downsides of alternative forms of processing fruits and vegetables.

Freezing & Dehydrating Limitations

Regular frozen foods generally retain freshness, flavor and nutritional value, and often may be –depending on how long you let them sit in your refrigerator – more nutrient dense than even fresh vegetables. However, once thawed, frozen foods have to be consumed right away and not re-frozen.

Freezing causes the water in food to rupture cells, and refreezing multiplies the damage. Dehydrated (all water removed) foods are popular with many people (e.g., raw food enthusiasts). But the main benefit of a raw food diet comes from eating water-rich nutriment that is easy to digest. Dehydrating food defeats that purpose. And because dehydrated foods have lost their water content, they’re easy to over-consume (eat too much and too many). They don’t fill you up in bulk like ripe, fresh fruit or large salads. And dehydrated fruits are concentrated in sugars and so can be difficult to digest.

Then there are the canned foods. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, canned choices trail the pack. Though convenient and able to be kept in a pantry for months (or years…you know who you are), the nutrient content in canned fruits and vegetables is very low. High temperature processing degrades nutrients and requires salt and/or sugar to be added in the process to ensure a shelf-stable product.

A great example of a freeze-dried snack treat is Crunchies Freeze Dried Mixed Fruit – a 1.5 oz. (42 g) package retailing for $5.49 – an all-natural blend of strawberries, apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries and mangoes. The only thing taken out of these fruits through the freeze-drying process is water. And there are no added sugars, oils or sulfur. These fruit packets are rich in antioxidants and nutrients, non-GMO and both wheat and gluten free. Less water equals more flavor. And when chewed, they provide a satisfying “crunch” that both kids and adults love.

All this and only 25 calories per serving. Crunchies Mixed Fruit comes in a convenient resealable bag that’s ideal for lunches, hiking, school, work, or an any-time, on-the-go snack.

Crunchies lovers also add this unique fruit blend to pancakes, cereal, yogurt, ice cream, and so many other creations.

Many of the benefits of freeze-drying snack treats are practical (e.g., shelf-life, convenient portability, etc.), but the greatest benefits are nutrition and great taste.