Fundamental Principles of Drying for Food Storage

You’re probably not an industrialist, processing livestock, paper or chemicals. However, there is a common denominator between independent families today and big industry, and that is the popularity of hot air drying.

The major reason for drying food at home is for natural, authentic preservation. Moisture contains bacteria and other elements which break down food and destroy nutrients, over time.

This isn’t a general, technical and in-depth analysis of industrial drying. We’re going to discuss the fundamental principles of drying, in layman terms, for use in your home.

The Lyophilization Process – What is it and How Does it Work?

The lyophilization principle is another term for the freeze drying principle. Let’s start with the benefits before we discuss how it works and how it compares to other methods.

Most significantly, the freeze drying process is nearly flawless in its ability to preserve food value. In effect, there’s no loss of nutrients, and thus flavor and texture, during the drying process. This does not factor in nutrient loss from other sources, such as oxidation and leaking when cutting fresh fruit, for example.

Its efficacy is also noted in processing time. It can take a fraction of the amount of hours to prepare fresh food for long-term storage. Combined with the vacuum dryer principle (sealing food in airtight containers), it’s very easy for families to create a large store of delicious, nutritious foods.

The freeze drying process involves extracting moisture from solids, liquids and semi-solids in vapor form, by operating at a molecular level. There are various freeze drying methods, each using the same principle for food preservation.

The major drawback with this principle is financial cost. Freeze dry systems cost proportionately to their efficiency, when compared to simpler drying methods.

The Air Dryer Principle

A major benefit of using a tray dryer, or a food dryer machine, is economy. Up front and regular electric costs are generally low, which is one of the reasons that hot air drying is the most common method, for both families and industries.

Another advantage is that you can save money on groceries. Yes, whether it’s grass-fed, organic beef, or the highest quality fruits and vegetables, you can slash your grocery bill while enjoying better foods.

One way that your family can accomplish this, is to buy food in bulk when it’s on sale. Since you’re drying it for later use, and the nutrients and flavors are significantly preserved, they don’t spoil.

Additionally, you can enjoy your dry food any time you like with this method. Whether it’s fruit powder, leather and chips, dried fish or large amounts of beef jerky, it’s ready when you are. You, of course, also have the option of freezing your dry food.

The tray dryer theory uses the concept of hot air. This generally means converting solids and semi-solids into liquids, then in turn, converting those into vapors, via the use of heat. Moisture is then ventilated out, resulting in nutritious food that lasts longer and contains fewer calories.

Final Comparison – Freeze Dried vs Hot Air

First, consider the hardware. Each model will offer distinct benefits, such as advanced air chamber systems or fully-integrated vacuum sealing components. These all come at a price.

Both offer the benefit of saving money, over purchasing bulk amounts of pre-processed food for your family’s storage. Freeze drying will preserve nutrients much more effectively, however air drying is still significantly better than most other common methods.

Freeze drying wins out in terms of drying rate. With that in mind, many food dehydrators are built with automatic timers and adjustable thermostats which allow you to perfect your recipes with less effort.

Freeze drying equipment is hands down more expensive than using a meat dehydrator.

Using a jerky dehydrator will not only save you money, but it’s an excellent way to enjoy healthy meals with your family!

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