Food Dehydrator vs Freeze Dried: Which One To Preserve Food?

Step into the fascinating world of food preservation! Today, we’re putting two heavyweights in the ring: the food dehydrator and freeze-dried food. They may seem similar, but these contenders offer unique ways to extend the shelf life of your favorite foods.

Food dehydrators, the budget-friendly champions, use heat to eliminate moisture and can cut down your food size by up to 50%! They’re easy on the pocket and ideal for those who aren’t afraid of a little flavor mix-up. But wait, they do require some patience, as dehydrating food is a slow process that can slightly alter the texture and taste of your food.

On the other hand, we have freeze-drying, the long-lasting titan. Using extremely cold temperatures, it creates more porous food that rehydrates better and faster than its dehydrated counterpart. The catch? You might need to loosen your purse strings for this one, as freeze-drying equipment comes with a heftier price tag.

So, which will it be? The cost-effective, space-saving food dehydrator or the long-lasting, texture-preserving freeze-drying method? The choice is yours! Let’s delve deeper into the exciting battle of food dehydrator vs freeze-dried food. Buckle up—it’s going to be a thrilling ride!

History Of Freeze Dried Foods

Embark on a remarkable journey back in time to the era of the Incas, the original architects of freeze-drying. This ancient civilization ingeniously leveraged the frosty Andean nights to pioneer a food preservation method that stands the test of time.

As daylight waned, the Incas meticulously swaddled potatoes in cloth and left them under the vast, starlit sky. The plummeting temperatures worked overnight, mirroring what we now recognize as the freeze-drying process.

But the story doesn’t end there. With the break of dawn, the Incas returned to their cloth-encased potatoes. Methodically they trampled over the hardened potatoes, a crucial step in expelling any residual moisture.

So behold the brilliance of the Incas, pioneers who harnessed the elements to create the first freeze-drying technique. Each time you relish a freeze-dried product, remember its origin lies not in modern technology but in the wisdom of an ancient civilization.

History Of Dehydrated Foods

Isn’t it fascinating how the art of food preservation dates back to the dawn of civilization? Picture this, prehistoric tribes basking under the golden sun as they meticulously sun-dried their seeds. This was not just a method of preserving food but a way of life!

And it wasn’t just them. Imagine the North American Indians, under the vast expanse of the azure sky, laying out pieces of meat to dry in the sun’s gentle warmth. Their innovative minds had discovered a method to make their precious food supply last longer.

Now let’s take a trip to the Far East. Picture the Chinese, with their unparalleled ingenuity, drying eggs. Yes, eggs! It may seem unusual now, but back then, it was a stroke of genius. And we can’t forget the Japanese, who were busy drying fish and rice, adding another layer of flavor to their already diverse cuisine.

Freeze Drying vs Dehydrating: What’s The Difference?

Ready for a thrilling exploration of food preservation? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of freeze-drying foods versus dehydrating. Although they may seem similar, the devil is in the details, my friends!

The crux of the matter lies in the longevity and texture of the final product. Intriguing, isn’t it? You see, freeze drying and dehydrating foods are two different beasts when it comes to these aspects.

Did you know freeze drying is like a time capsule for your food? It locks in the freshness and extends the shelf life significantly more than dehydration. Not just that freeze drying retains it, but it also preserves the original consistency of the food. Amazing, isn’t it?

On the flip side, dehydrating removes most of the moisture from the food, but not quite as much as freeze drying. This results in a shorter shelf life and a denser, more concentrated texture.

So, which is the champion of food preservation? Well, it’s not a clear-cut answer. If you’re after longevity and original texture when preserving foods, freeze drying takes the cake. However, if you prefer a more intense flavor and don’t mind a shorter shelf life, dehydrating might just be your cup of tea.

Isn’t it fascinating how these two methods aiming to preserve food can yield such different results? The world of food preservation is indeed a labyrinth of interesting twists and turns!

Foods That Can Be Freeze-Dried

What exactly can we freeze dry, you ask? Let’s dive right in!

First up, coffee beans. Now, isn’t that a morning brew lover’s delight? Imagine being able to store your favorite beans for months without losing their fresh aroma and flavor. It’s like having your own personal barista ready at your command!

Next, we have fruits and their juices. Picture this: it’s a hot summer day, and you’re craving a refreshing glass of orange juice. But wait! You forgot to go grocery shopping. No worries, with freeze-dried fruits and juices, you can have your thirst-quenching drink in no time. The same goes for vegetables. Can’t find fresh peas during off-seasons? Freeze-dried ones to the rescue!

Now onto the meaty stuff – literally! Meat, fish, and seafood can also be freeze dried. This means you can enjoy your favorite steak or sushi whenever you want, and it will taste just as fresh as the day it was prepared. Isn’t that a carnivore’s dream come true?

Egg lovers, rejoice! Eggs can be freeze dried too. This means you can whip up an omelet or scramble anytime you desire, with no compromise on taste or texture.

And let’s not forget about dairy. From milk to cheese, these everyday essentials can also be freeze dried, ensuring you never run out of ingredients for your beloved mac ‘n’ cheese or creamy latte.

Benefits of Freeze Drying and Dehydrating Food

Freeze Drying

Did you know that freeze-drying removes an astounding 99% of moisture from food? Yes, you heard it right! This is not just your average drying process. It’s a game-changer, retaining the nutritional value of your food while ensuring it stays safe and edible for an impressive 15+ years! Can you imagine having a pantry filled with vibrant, nutritious food that’s ready whenever you are, even years down the line? That’s the magic of freeze-drying!

But wait, there’s more! Freeze-drying doesn’t just preserve your food; it also retains its original shape, size, and even taste. How amazing is that? Your strawberries will still look like strawberries, not shriveled-up raisins. And the best part? They’ll taste just as sweet and refreshing, even after years of storage.

Now, you might be wondering, “Is freeze-drying food healthy?” The answer is a resounding yes! Unlike other preservation methods, freeze-drying causes very little damage to the nutritional value of food. In fact, freeze-dried foods retain nearly all of their nutrients, making them an excellent choice for health-conscious individuals.

However, keep in mind that every rose has its thorns. The freeze-drying process can be slow (the average cycle is 24+ hours), and some people may not prefer the dry, styrofoam-like texture. Not all foods can be freeze dried, and airtight containers are required for long-term storage. But hey, who said perfection was easy?

Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating food is like having a magic wand that transforms fresh produce into long-lasting, travel-friendly snacks. Imagine biting into crispy apple chips in the middle of winter or savoring the sweet tanginess of sun-dried tomatoes, all from the comfort of your home. Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

But the wonders of dehydrating food go beyond taste and convenience. Did you know dehydrated foods retain most of the original vitamins, minerals, and natural enzymes?

What’s more, dehydrating food is a fantastic way to reduce food waste and extend the shelf life of your groceries. Overripe bananas or surplus tomatoes will no longer be a cause for concern. Just dehydrate them, and voila! You’ve got delicious, healthy snacks that can last between four and twelve months.

If you’re thinking that this sounds complicated, think again! Dehydrating food is as simple as using a dehydrator or an oven, or even sun-drying. Plus, did we mention the cost savings? By making your own dried snacks, you can save a significant amount on store-bought alternatives.

Storing Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Foods

First things first, let’s talk about containers. You want to store your freeze-dried food in an airtight container to prevent it from reabsorbing moisture from the air–a surefire way to encourage spoilage. This is such a crucial step that proper storage can extend the shelf life of freeze-dried food up to a whopping 25 years! Now, isn’t that something?

But where should you place these containers? Well, a dark location with limited access to light, like your pantry or kitchen cabinet, is ideal for preserving the taste and texture of your freeze-dried delights.

You might also be wondering about temperature. Should you keep your freeze-dried foods in the fridge or freezer? Actually, the key is to keep them in a place where the temperature stays under 75 degrees. The cold won’t hurt, but the heat will!

Now, what about once you’ve opened that package of freeze-dried food? It’s best to use the contents within about a week once exposed to oxygen. But don’t worry if you can’t finish it all – simply store the leftovers in a sealable plastic or mylar bag, glass jar, or similar airtight container to extend its shelf life.

As for dehydrated foods, these have a shorter lifespan but can still last from 1-2 years, and some people have even had success with up to five years! Again, you’ll want to store these in an airtight container or freezer bag in a cool, dry, dark area. And while oxygen absorbers can help extend the shelf life, they’re not a guarantee.

Different Methods of Food Preservation


Let’s start with canning, shall we? It’s like capturing summer in a jar! Imagine opening a can of peaches in the middle of winter and tasting the sweet sunshine. Canning involves sealing food in containers and then heating them to kill or weaken any spoiling agents. The result? Shelf-stable food that can last for years!


Next up, pickling. Ever had a tangy dill pickle or spicy kimchi? That’s the magic of pickling! By immersing foods in an acidic solution or saltwater brine, we can create an environment where bacteria can’t survive, effectively preserving the food. Plus, it adds a zesty kick to any dish!

Drying and Freeze-Drying

Drying and freeze-drying are also fascinating. By removing water, we prevent bacteria and fungi from growing. Drying gives us things like sundried tomatoes and raisins. At the same time, freeze-drying can produce lightweight, long-lasting foods perfect for backpacking trips. Dehydrated apples, anyone?


Fermentation is a world of its own! Fermentation uses beneficial bacteria or yeasts to convert sugars in the food into other substances. This not only preserves the food but also creates some flavorful products. Think sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, and even wine!


Curing is another age-old method. Using salts, sugars, nitrates, or nitrites, we can draw out moisture and preserve foods. Ever enjoyed prosciutto or corned beef? That’s curing at work!


Last but not least, freezing. It’s the easiest and most accessible method of preservation for most of us. By freezing food, we slow down the decomposition process by turning water into ice, making it unavailable for bacterial growth.

What are the size and energy usage differences between a freeze dryer and a dehydrator?

In terms of size and power usage, there are clear differences between a freezing dryer and a drying device. Unlike other freezers, they take up more room in kitchens or garages when compared to dryers. In general, freeze dryers use much more energy than dehydrators in the case of running. It usually leads to longer drying times, as well as higher electricity costs. Dehydrators, in turn, have a smaller footprint than freeze dryers, and they also have lower energy costs. The two devices are capable of producing delicious food preservation outcomes, but should you ever be concerned about space and energy usage, then you should choose dehydrators over freeze dryers.

Final Say

Overall, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using either a freeze dryer or a dehydrator for food preservation. Ultimately, however, the decision comes down to personal preference and situation. Freeze drying offers longer storage life and better taste and texture of the food with minimal nutrient loss while also being beneficial for items that lack moisture, such as fruit and nuts. Dehydrating, on the other hand, can produce tasty treats like homemade jerky, save energy through the use of lower temperatures, and requires less elaborate equipment or space. So it is important to compare these two methods carefully before deciding which option is best in your particular case. In the end, it is about finding out what matches your needs perfectly so you can enjoy the freshest foods possible!

There you have it – the complete guide to food dehydrator vs freeze dryer!


Does a dehydrator work like a freeze dryer?

Freezing dryers as well as dehydrators are also used for keeping food safe, but they differ significantly in their operation and results. It is important to understand that freeze-dried foods will quickly absorb all water, and the dehydrator quickly removes it using heat.

Are freeze dryers worth it?

Ever thought about diving into the world of freeze-drying at home? Well, hold on to your chef’s hat because we’re about to explore this cutting-edge food preservation method and answer the burning question: Are freeze dryers worth it?

First off, let’s talk about cost. Yes, a home freeze dryer can set you back between $2,000 to $5,000. That might seem like a steep investment, but consider this: once you own the machine, you can use it as much as you want. Imagine the freedom of preserving your favorite fruits, veggies, or even full meals at their peak freshness!

Alright, let’s move on to benefits. Freeze-drying is considered the crème de la crème of food preservation. Why? Because it retains a whopping 97% of the food’s nutritional value for up to 25 years! That’s right, two and a half decades of flavor, freshness, and nutrition locked in. Plus, freeze-dried foods rehydrate faster and generally taste better than their dehydrated counterparts. Now that’s something to savor!

But what about time and energy use? On average, a freeze dryer takes about 24-36 hours for a batch of food. While it does draw about 9 to 11 amps of power per hour, consider the long-term savings of having meals ready at your fingertips. Plus, freeze-dried food doesn’t require a lot of electricity or temperature control for storage. Talk about a win-win!

The bottom line? If you value food security, preservation, and nutrition, then a home freeze dryer could be an invaluable addition to your kitchen arsenal. So, are you ready to embark on your freeze-drying adventure?

What is the difference between a freeze dryer and a food dehydrator?

Freezing drying removes up to 99% moisture, giving preserved products a life cycle of 25 years or greater. Dehydrators remove 85 or 95 % of moisture and therefore have a shelf life of several months to years.

Do dehydrated foods take up less space than freeze dried foods?

Ever peered into your pantry and wished for more space? Well, dehydration might just be your magic lamp! Let’s delve into the remarkable world of food dehydration and how it stacks up against freeze-drying.

First off, let’s talk about space-saving. Dehydration is a game-changer when it comes to compactness. It can shrink a product’s size by an astounding 50%! Imagine having your favorite fruits, veggies, or even entire meals condensed into half their original size. This means double the food in the same storage space. Isn’t that a delightful thought?

Now, let’s flip the coin and look at freeze-drying. While freeze-dried foods are known for their long shelf life and nutritional retention, they don’t quite pack the same punch when it comes to saving space. The size of the finished product remains the same as the original. So, if you’re working with limited storage, this could be a significant consideration.

To sum it up, if you’re after a preservation method that packs a punch in both nutrition and space-saving, dehydration might be your new best friend. On the other hand, if absolute nutritional retention is your top priority, then freeze-drying could be worth the extra space.

So, are you ready to revolutionize your food storage game? The choice is yours!

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Hey there, since 2016, my mission has been to provide you with the information and guides you need to make food dehydrating simple and fun. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, my site offers helpful guides, reviews, and recipes to enhance your dehydrating experience. I take pride in only recommending products I believe in, ensuring my readers' trust. As an affiliate of various programs, including Amazon Associates, your support helps me continue providing quality content. Thanks for stopping by, and happy dehydrating!