How to freeze dry foods and extend shelf life
How to freeze dry foods – here I am not talking about freeze-drying food, which is the process of drying foods at very low temperatures; rather I am going to explain the importance and method of freezing already dried food products to achieve extended shelf life. Freezing and drying, as most of us know, are totally different types of food preserving techniques; while drying prevents spoilage by removal of moisture (essential for microbial growth) from the food, freezing extends shelf life by reducing the optimal temperature necessary for microbial growth. Though both the processes are effective in preserving the food, at times combining the 2 processes can prove to be a fool proof method of indefinitely extended shelf life.
This is especially true in case of foods like dried spices and herbs. These foods can lose color, flavor and aroma very easily and also develop mold or yeast growth when stored at room temperature; however at low freezing temperatures yeast and mold growth is completely prevented. Hence, storing these foods in your freezer is always a good idea. Since, these food products are used in their dried form itself, freezing them is very simple, just pack them in an air tight container with absolutely no head space or in a zip lock pouch with all the air squeezed out, and place them in the freezer. Open and use whenever required. Spices and herbs stored this way can last for more than a year!
Since, spices and herbs can be used directly in their dry form in most of the recipes, freezing them is very easy. However, in case you want to freeze food products that need to be reconstituted before being used, like dried beans or dried veggies, the freezing process tends to be slightly different. First you need to reconstitute the food by soaking them in warm water for at least 30 mins. Soak till the food is completely reconstituted and looks as close to the fresh food as possible. Once the food is completely reconstituted, drain the food and pat dry. Now pack the food in air tight containers leaving 1” head space and place them in freezer. Since drying-reconstitution-freezing, each of these processes destroys the cell structure of the food, reconstituted and frozen food stay good for just around 4 to 6 months in the freezer.
So this is how you freeze already dried foods. Hope you liked this information, if you have any valuable suggestions regarding this topic please share it with me through comments.
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