The difference between dehydration and freeze drying

With any type of long-term food preservation, moisture needs to be removed from the food. Ancient civilizations discovered this and developed the early systems for drying foods that we still use today. Dehydrating is said to have been in practice since 12,000 B.C. Romans and other Middle Eastern populations would dry fruits and vegetables in “still houses,” using fire to dry out and smoke the foods. By comparison, freeze drying is a relatively modern process, the freeze drying process was first effectively used during World War II as a way to preserve blood plasma, medicine, and eventually food for the troops.

The difference between dehydration and freeze drying


Dehydration and freeze drying

There are many ways to preserve food. In our time, there are several ways to make certain foods last longer than usual. Two such known preservatives are: freeze drying and dehydration. Is there any difference? How is this food preserved when you eat dried mango? This is the subject of this article, and we will consider defining each one and summarizing it later.


When fruit is dehydrated, there are actually several ways to do this. You can put the fruit in the sun on a hot surface. You can also put the fruit under the dehydrator. Basically what happens is that the fruit pieces are placed under or in a warm environment to remove as much water as possible. The beauty of this process is that no chemicals are added. No sugar is added.


When it comes to freeze-drying to keep fresh, it also dehydrates fruits. The freeze-drying process is just different. In this case, the fruit is frozen first. Use some kind of machine to extract the moisture content of the fruit using vacuum. Once the process is completed, heat is applied, so as the frozen fruit is thawed, the vacuum continuously extracts the water. The end result is a crispy fruit with a taste similar to the original fruit.

Now that we have solved the different methods of preserving and dehydrating fruits, we will list the differences one by one. First, we will discuss the difference in texture, the difference in taste, and finally the difference in shelf life.


Dehydrated fruits are more pliable, softer, and more flexible. Frozen dried fruit is very crispy. It is also very fragile. In terms of shelf life, it has been noted that both types of preservation allow fruits to have a longer shelf life. But it is believed that as long as freeze-dried fruits are placed in airtight containers, they will last longer. For dehydrated fruits, it can last up to a year, while freeze-dried fruits can last up to several years and are stored in airtight containers. Dehydrated fruit retains its flavor for one year. The freeze-dried fruit retains its flavor for several years. Dehydrated fruits remove water by evaporation, while freeze-dried fruits are dehydrated by evaporation. Some studies have shown that in terms of nutrition, freeze-dried fruits or foods contain more nutrients than dehydrated foods.

In this article, although we focus on examples from fruits, there are several dehydrated or freeze-dried foods. Sample foods include cheese, meat, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, and of course fruit. There are some controversies and discussions in certain blogs and online articles about which types of food can be dehydrated and which can be freeze-dried, thereby providing more options for freeze-drying alternatives.

It’s best to remember that these types of foods are best eaten as snacks. Some people like to try and use these preserved foods as ingredients, and will find that the taste of freeze-dried foods has more flavor and texture than dehydrated foods. At the same time, since freeze-dried food allows more processes and will use complex types of machines to extract water, it is understandable that such foods are more expensive compared to dehydrated foods.


The main objective with food preservation is to remove moisture so that it doesn’t decompose or grow bacteria and mold. Doing that without destroying the food’s basic composition adds to both shelf life and the nutritional value of the food.

Dehydration in poorly built dehydrators removes about 70% of the water. In this situation, the food is only good for a few months. Home freeze drying with a Harvest Right removes 99% of the water. Most home dehydrated products like dried fruit, meat, and vegetables have a shelf life of 1 year or less. Those same foods preserved with a freeze dryer have a 15 to 25 year shelf life.


Freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in their original state. Freeze-dried food retains its nutrition because of the “cold, vacuum” process that is used to extract the water. Whereas, the nutritional value of dehydrated food is generally around 60% of equivalent fresh food. This loss is largely due to the heat used during dehydration which breaks down the food’s vitamins and minerals.

An interesting aspect of freeze drying is that it doesn’t change the look or the taste of the food. If you freeze dry a turkey dinner that includes big slices of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and corn, when it is rehydrated and ready to eat, it will taste the same as if you had just made the dinner. It is wonderful. And, that could be 10 years after you freeze dried the meal.

Another difference is weight. Freeze-dried foods weigh a lot less than dehydrated foods, which makes them easier to carry and store. This is especially important when camping or hiking


Perhaps the best argument for freeze drying is variety. Almost any food can be freeze dried for preservation and food storage. Meats, fruits, vegetables, desserts—even full meals. And, freeze dried meals, meats, dairy, eggs, and vegetables rehydrate quickly, sometimes almost instantly.

You can freeze dry cottage cheese and store it without refrigeration—sour cream too. Scrambled eggs with cheese? No problem! Freeze drying is the best way to preserve and store dairy and eggs. Whereas, it is very difficult to dehydrate these foods.

When you consider that almost 40% of food that families purchase is wasted, preservation of leftovers and ripening fruits and vegetables starts to feel essential. Food gets thrown out for a lot of reasons. Families make or buy too much food to start with, fail to reheat leftovers, or simply forget about food in the back of the fridge or on the counter until it goes bad. A home freeze dryer, can be used to easily eliminate these problems, thus saving families time and money. Now you can preserve all your leftovers and ripening food.
Various types of freeze dried food with the caption: Preserve a huge variety of foods with freeze drying
Freeze-dried foods offer a longer shelf life, lower moisture content, and generally taste better than dehydrated foods. Freeze-dried foods rehydrate faster and also retain their original shape, texture, and color. A far greater variety of foods can be freeze dried than can be dehydrated. Imagine trying to use a home dehydrator to preserve an ice cream sandwich, a raw egg, or cheese. It would fail miserably. Not so if freeze dried.

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