Food Dehydrator vs Freeze Dryer

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We all love food, but some of us are food fanatics. If you are a food enthusiast and you try to get your favorite food items throughout the year, you are probably familiar with food dehydrators and freeze dryers.

These machines are used to store food for months, even years. No matter what season it is, you can enjoy your favorite foods, whether they are fruits, vegetables or something else.

 But which machine is suitable for you? Should you choose a food dehydrator or a freeze dryer? In this post, we will dive deep into the discussion of food dehydrator vs freeze dryer.

What is a food dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is a kitchen tool designed for drying different types of food items. Food items are dehydrated for many purposes. The process involves removing moisture from food, and the main goal is to extend shelf life.

READ Best Dehydrator for Jerky (Deer and Beef)

Bacteria can not grow in dehydrated food. Dehydrated food can be consumed in a couple of ways: eat them dry or rehydrate and cook them. It depends on the type of food. The process of dehydration usually takes a few hours. When dehydrated, fruits and other food items look very different.

A food dehydrator helps you store food throughout the year so that you can enjoy your favorite food whenever you wish. If you are a food enthusiast, you will find this tool very useful. A good thing about dehydration is that when you fruits and other food items are dehydrated, they still retain their taste and nutritional properties.

Apart from dehydrating food, a food dehydrator can be used for some other purposes. This is why some call it a multi-purposes tool.

There are many types of food dehydrators on the market, and prices vary wildly. When purchasing this tool, you have to be careful about a few things. Factors that determine the quality of a food dehydrator are components, trays and temperature level.

Dehydrating and desiccating

The process of dehydration removes moisture from food, and as a result the food can be stored in the freezer for a long time. But why does dehydrated food last long? The reason is simple: bacteria can not grow in dehydrated food.

Specific temperatures are required for the growth of bacteria. When you dehydrate food, it is no longer a breeding ground for bacteria. Thus the process extends the shelf life of your food.

Now we will try to briefly discuss the process of desiccation. By desiccating your food, you can completely remove moisture from it. Desiccated food lasts even longer, because there is no trace of moisture in it.

Dehydration is the process of transforming fresh ingredients into dry ones. Your food will no longer be fresh, but it will retain its nutritional value. For long-term storage of food, you will find a food dehydrator immensely helpful.

Freeze dryer

If you still do not know what a freeze dryer is, keep reading. The argument of food dehydrator vs freeze dryer will be incomplete without explaining what a freeze dryer really is. In this process, you have to freeze the food and make changes in the air pressure surrounding the food.

When it is done, something interesting happens in this food: the water in the food becomes gaseous. It uses the same concept of storing food. When there is no moisture in your food, bacteria can not spread.

The procedure is also known as cryodesiccation and lyophilisation. Lyophilisation is a process often used in food industry. By making food compact, lyophilisation makes transportation easier.

This process can be easily used to store food in your house.  You will get your favorite ingredients throughout the year, and the nutritional value will be intact.

Using freeze dryer

To understand the argument of food dehydrator vs freeze dryer, you must know how freeze dryer is used. The process is almost intuitive. Even if you have never used freeze dryer, you can use it. Cut your food into chunks and bits and they will fit into the dryer.

The process of cryodesiccation starts as soon as the temperature is modified accordingly. As the system freezes your food items, they will change their structure and appearance. The process of cryodesiccation is used not only by food industry but also by other businesses.


Whether you store freeze dried or dehydrated foods, you must use an airtight container. If you need to store food for months, make sure the container has an oxygen absorber. That said, you do not need to be super careful when storing dehydrated foods. It is not necessary to store them optimally.

READ : How to Can Vegetables in Mason Jars

Dehydrated foods take some time to rehydrate, because they do not absorb moisture immediately. To store fruit leather and jerky, you can use mason jars or plastic zip lock bags.

When storing freeze dried foods, make sure that they are never exposed to air. They can get soggy in just an hour. In humid conditions they lose their crispness faster. An airtight container is a must for long-term storage of freeze dried food.

Shelf life 

The discussion of food dehydrator vs freeze dryer will be incomplete if we do not discuss the shelf life of both these types of foods. Dehydrated food lasts long. For example, dehydrated apples may last up to 20 years. It may sound odd, but this is really the case. Veggies may last up to 8 years.

It is important to mention that fruits and vegetables do not retain their flavor for such a long time. They will start losing flavor after just a couple of years.

Now let’s try to understand the shelf life of freeze dried food. You may be surprised to learn that freeze dried food lasts longer than dehydrated food.

If you store low-fat content foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meat, noodles and rice, you can expect them to last 20+ years. But you have to make sure that they are packaged properly. Higher fat foods have a shelf life of 10-15 years.

Dehydrator versus freeze dryer – a comparison

You can dry food without using any tool. But if you choose to use a tool, dehydrator and freeze dryer are two viable options. There are small and large units, and you can choose one that you find suitable. Prices vary wildly.

To make a comparison of food dehydrator vs freeze dryer, you must consider the price of these tools. You can get a food dehydrator for less than a hundred dollars to several hundred dollars.

If you are interested in freeze dryer, you must know that the process of freeze drying is a bit complicated, at least more complicated than dehydrating food. Freeze drying is possible only in a perfect vacuum.

Besides, you may not choose a freeze dryer if you have issues with budget, because you can not get a freeze dryer for less than $2000.

We have discussed the main uses and differences of both food dehydrator and freeze dryer, and we hope the information provided in this post will help you make an informed decision. At the end of the day, the decision is up to you.

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Last update on 2021-08-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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