Technological advancements have led to the evolution of storage methods in various fields, particularly in the food industry. The freeze-drying process has come to the forefront for biological products or foods where traditional drying methods are insufficient. This method, lyophilization, is today’s most advanced technology. The reason for this is the long shelf-life it provides healthy, economical, and sustainable food access to the world in recent years.
The availability of healthy and economical food and the problem of individuals accessing this food will affect the future of the entire world. This issue, considered food security, could reach worrying dimensions in the future. Therefore, our article will discuss in detail how important the lyophilization method is for food security. You can evaluate our article and bring the lyophilization process into your kitchen under the guidance of Lyolife.
The Importance of Lyophilization in Food Security
Today, we can consider lyophilization as significant under food security. So, what is food security? The World Health Organization defines food security as “The right of individuals to purchase and consume foods that will develop a reliable, sustainable, affordable, quality, and healthy diet habit.”
Many factors contribute to the emergence of this concept, such as the reduction of water resources due to global warming and the climate crisis, the insufficiency of agricultural policies, and rising food prices. Therefore, ensuring the accessibility of produced fruits and vegetables and food products in sufficient quantities necessitates the development of storage methods. The importance of lyophilization becomes apparent regarding the healthiness of foods.
The lyophilization method is used in various fields, such as storing biological products, surgical transplants, food preservation, museology, and recovery. The technique is ideal for many uses, from astronaut meals to blood plasma or lyophilization in drugs to fruits and vegetables. In addition, it ensures a shelf life of 20-25 years for products against future food shortage concerns, allowing produced fruits and vegetables to be stored for years without loss.
Comparison of Food Storage Methods
When looking at traditional food storage methods, it is possible to see different applications being used. Methods such as salting, smoking, canning, and drying have been used. However, the healthiest and most durable food storage method has been debated. We have examined the four important applications among the most used techniques and will share them with you for comparison.
Canning is one of the most traditional food storage methods. This method utilizes heat application. Microorganisms, toxins, and enzymes are destroyed by heat. In this way, food spoilage is prevented, and harmful effects are eliminated.
The durability of canned foods is a topic of interest. It is recommended that unopened cans be consumed within six months. Therefore, this method may fall short for products requiring a long shelf life and foods unsuitable for canning. The most significant difference compared to the lyophilization method is that freeze-drying is more suitable for many foods and provides a longer shelf life.
Freezing has been used as an alternative traditional storage method since refrigerators and deep freezers were invented. It is known that this method minimizes harmful effects originating from microorganisms. However, this method is only suitable for some food.
Care must be taken during the thawing process. Foods thawed in unsuitable environments can be risky for health. In the lyophilization method, freezing involves freezing the food at very low temperatures, then removing the unfrozen liquid from the food via sublimation. Thus, food spoilage is prevented and made safe for health.
One of the most well-known applications among food storage methods is the drying method. You can see that the drying method has been applied in different ways. There are two primary drying methods:
- Natural Drying
Natural drying is the oldest known method and uses solar heat. The amount of water in the product structure is reduced with solar heat. Although natural drying is traditional, it may have some disadvantages. Sun drying requires a large and open area. The open space can unprotect foods against external factors such as dust, insects, and rodents. This method, unsuitable for drying every product, has a longer process. It may not be possible to reduce the water to the desired level. These factors reveal that the lyophilization method is more functional.
- Artificial Drying
The drying process is carried out in controllable areas. This method, which removes moisture from food under controlled conditions, is known as dehydration. Dehydration shrinks food volume, facilitating transportation. However, the rate of preserving nutritional value in the freeze-drying method is higher than in dehydration. When compared to color, smell, and taste, lyophilization is a more effective food storage method.
In this method, fruits can be dried more easily than vegetables. However, different drying methods may be required among fruits such as apples, strawberries, cherries, sour cherries, scale apricots, peaches, and pears.
Freeze drying stands out as a unique preservation method compared to others. First, it’s important to know the process of this method. The food to be dried is initially frozen. After freezing, the products undergo sublimation under low pressure and low temperature. As a result, they turn into gas form without turning into liquid form. Freeze-dryer machines are developed based on this principle.
The usage area of this method is quite wide. You can store the food you prepare at home for emergencies. You can easily store fruits and vegetables you have picked from your garden without losing their freshness. It’s also possible to prepare food for pets. Along with fruits and vegetables, it is a suitable method for many foods and drinks, such as instant coffee. The advantages of this method compared to others can be summarized as follows:
- The most noticeable feature of this method is its long shelf life. Under suitable storage fonditions, it has a shelf life of 20-25 years.
- Besides storing foods by freezing, it is considered one of the most modern processing methods.
- The natural structure of the foods is not spoiled, and the nutrient content is preserved. It offers the best food drying experience.
- Compared to other drying methods, it saves time. In the short term, you can store and transport more food. It contributes to both sustainability and the country’s economy.
Health Value of Freeze-Dried Foods
One of the most curious questions about the lyophilization method is whether freeze-drying is healthy. Looking at the freeze-drying technology, it is the most beneficial method. It provides a more efficient result than other preservation methods by preserving over 95% of the nutritional value.
The risk of spoilage of the products in this method is also lower than others. Therefore, lyophilization is an effective food preservation method for human health. Moreover, this method can even be applied at home thanks to the developed freeze-dryer products.
Future of Freeze Drying in the Food Industry
Drought and food shortage are among the worrying issues that await the world in the future. The signals of days when food production will be affected, and access to food will become difficult due to decreasing water resources are given. However, preserving the products obtained from the show without loss is an effective measure that can be taken against possible drought and food shortages in the future.
While the food industry enables individuals to access food products, it also contributes to the country’s economy with its import and export network. Therefore, freeze-drying in the food industry is accepted as the most advanced method and continues to be developed.
Liyolife offers the most accurate products for the food industry with its freeze-dryer and freeze-dry equipment. You can also examine Liyolife products and choose the equipment that suits you. In this way, you can preserve foods for a long time and store them healthily within the scope of food security.
You can reach our previous article from https://liyolife.com/en/shelf-life-of-freeze-dried-foods/