Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients that offer significant health benefits. While freeze-drying may result in the loss of some nutrients, it will still preserve many of the vitamins and minerals that make strawberries an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
Benifits of Freeze Dried Strawberries
Freeze-drying removes moisture from food through sublimation, which turns water molecules into vapour therefore leaving skin, colour, fibers etc intact. The relatively gently process is well suited to the delicate nature of berries such as strawberries. Because the water is removed the resulting freeze-dried strawberry is light and crispy, but bursting with full flavour and natural goodness. The low moisture content <10%, means they have a naturally long shelf-life when stored correctly, and are light weight for easy transport. Freeze-dried strawberries are a delicious natural fruit snack, but they are also an ideal way for manufacturers to add the natural fresh appeal of fruit to food products such as breakfast cereals, cereal bars, chocolate and fruit teas.
Freeze-dried strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and dietary fiber. However, like most freeze-dried fruits, they contain a higher concentration of sugars.
What Are Freeze-Dried Fruits?
Freeze-dried fruits are made using a process in which frozen fruits are placed in a vacuum under very low pressures. Low pressure causes the frozen water in fruits to evaporate directly from ice to vapor. This process, also known as sublimation, removes water much more efficiently than regular drying. In fact, freeze-drying typically reduces the fruit’s water content by about 99%.
Because freeze-dried fruit has been dehydrated thoroughly, it has a crunchier texture than traditional dried fruit. This makes freeze-dried fruit a delicious addition for oatmeals, trail mix bags, and acai bowls. Because of its crunchy texture and sweet taste, freeze-dried fruit can also be enjoyed by itself as a snack.
Freeze-dried foods have been around for a while, though they recently have experienced a rise in popularity thanks to growing awareness about their versatility and potential benefits.
While freeze-drying removes most of the fruit’s water content, the fruit’s shape, color, and overall structure are typically maintained. Freeze-dried fruits like strawberries are also able to retain their natural flavor, so no artificial additives or sugars need to be used.
Because freeze-dried fruit is entirely stripped of its water content, it usually has a higher concretion of nutrients and sugars. This has led many to believe that freeze-dried and dried fruit have more sugars than fresh fruit, but that is simply not true. The actual difference is in the concentration of sugar, not the amount.
Are Freeze-Dried Fruit Healthy?
Freeze-dried fruit is similar to dried fruit, because it has been dehydrated, but it has a crunchy texture. The nutrients that freeze-dried fruit contains offer several health benefits, making it a good addition to a well-balanced diet. Try it on cereal or oatmeal, in trail mix or on its own. Freeze-dried fruit is available where the dried fruit is kept in most supermarkets.
Low In Calories
Some brands of freeze-dried fruit contain less than 40 calories per 10-gram serving. Other brands may differ in calorie count, but most will be reasonable. If you are trying to lose weight, low-calorie foods, including freeze-dried fruit, will satisfy your sweet tooth.
High in Fiber
Fiber is an important nutrient because it promotes regularity in your digestion and helps keep your cholesterol levels low, which reduces your risk of heart disease. Getting adequate fiber in your diet also lowers your chance of developing colon cancer. Freeze-dried fruit contains up to 2 g of fiber per 1/2 cup. Eating fiber controls your appetite and prevents you from reaching for unhealthy snacks between meals. In most cases, freeze-dried fruit is similar in fiber content to dried fruit. However, if you are trying to increase your fiber intake, eating fresh fruit could be a better option.
Freeze drying fruit concentrates the antioxidants it contains, which means a bigger impact on your health. Antioxidants are compounds found in most plant foods, and they work by fighting free radical damage in your body that comes from the environment and unhealthy foods. Eating foods high in antioxidants helps your body fight illnesses that include heart disease and cancer. Just 2 tbsp. of freeze-dried black raspberries offer as many antioxidants as an entire cup of fresh ones.
In contrast to dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit is not made with added sugar. Its natural sweetness makes it a healthy alternative to dried fruit when preparing muffins or bread. Having no added sugar means that freeze dried fruit contains fewer calories. If you have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, choosing foods that are low in sugar could protect you from health complications that often accompany the disease.
Freeze-dried fruit contains similar amounts of nutrients when compared with fresh fruit. Some are lost during the freeze-drying process, but you still increase your intake for vitamins A and C, iron and potassium when you eat it. These vitamins and minerals protect your immunity, help your blood stay adequately oxygenated and regulate your blood pressure. Freeze-dried fruit is lighter in weight than fresh fruit, making it a good choice to carry along on a hike or marathon.
How to Freeze Dry strawberries?
Most supermarkets now offer a large variety of freeze-dried foods such as strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. If your local supermarket does not carry freeze-dried fruit or the specific freeze-dried fruit you want, you’ll be glad to hear you can make your own freeze-dried fruit at home. All you need for DIY freeze-drying is dry ice, a 5-gallon cooler, Ziploc bags, and your favorite fruit.
Here’s how to freeze-dry strawberries at home in 7 easy steps:
- Wash your strawberries in cool water and dry them thoroughly in a clean kitchen towel.
- Remove the stems and slice the strawberries thinly.
- Place the slices in a Ziploc bag and press the air out of the bag.
- Put a dense layer of dry ice on the bottom of your cooler and place the bags with the fruit on top of the dry ice.
- Close the lid on the cooler, but not tightly. Allow for some air to escape while ice evaporates.
- Seal the lid completely once all the ice has evaporated.
- You can keep the fruit in the cooler or store the bags in a cool, dry place.
If you are really passionate about freeze-drying but doing it at home isn’t for you, check out one of the many freeze-dryers available online. A freeze-dryer is a device that freezes your food and then extracts all the moisture out of it without requiring too much effort on your part. Freeze-dryers are on the pricey side, so make sure you do as much research as you can before making a purchase.