Many people wonder which is better, freeze dried or dehydrated foods. The truth is that there is very little difference between them. Both have low moisture content. Freeze dried foods have no more than four percent moisture content and dehydrated foods moisture content is no higher than seven percent. The nutrition of freeze dried foods is almost exactly (within a few grams) the same as dehydrated foods. So what is the difference between freeze dried and dehydrated foods?
The main difference is the drying process used. Freeze-drying is done by first flash freezing the product and then placing it in a vacuum drying chamber. This method of drying foods maintains the shape of the food as well as the color and texture. Often times the integrity of the flavor of freeze dried foods is maintained also.
The dehydration process is possible the oldest form of food preservation. Technological advances have refined the process since the early days of laying the food in the sun to dry. Foods now go through an intensive low temperature drying chamber that removes the moisture by air. This method of drying reduces the weight of the food and eliminates the need for refrigeration thereby prolonging shelf life.
When comparing freeze dried foods to dehydrated foods, there are advantages to both. Some advantages of freeze dried foods are that they are light in weight and reconstitute quickly and will have the appearance of fresh foods when reconstituted. A disadvantage to freeze dried foods is that they will take up more space for storage because they are lighter and more space is needed to store the same amount (in weight) as dehydrated foods. Advantages to dehydrated foods are less space is needed to store a large amount of food and it is economical to purchase. Freeze dried foods can be a great deal more expensive than dehydrated foods.
So in answer to the ongoing question of whether freeze dried foods or dehydrated foods are better – only the consumer can determine which is best depending on his or her own personal needs and preferences.