There is no question that fresh produce is a great source of vitamins and minerals, yet most people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables and some eat almost none at all. For optimal health, you should aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day for optimal health benefits and many experts say we should be eating closer to nine a day. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight, because fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, but high in fiber. Fiber helps fill you up so that you don’t overeat.
You’ve probably had this happen too. You buy fresh fruits and vegetables, they sit in the fridge or on the counter until they’re too ripe to eat, and then you, regrettably, throw them away. Not good, right?
One solution is to buy frozen veggies and fruits, as they’re just as nutritious as fresh, but what about freeze-dried vegetables? They have a long shelf life, making them a good option to have in case of an emergency. Plus, they are a convenient way to increase your veggies intake without having to spend hours prepping, cooking, and cleaning up afterward. You just reconstitute them with water.
These days, you can buy freeze-dried mushrooms, broccoli, celery, green beans, and more. They’re not the same as dehydrated vegetables that you can make in a dehydrator. Freeze-dried vegetables are made by flash freezing vegetables at a very low temperature. Then, manufacturers place them in an airtight chamber and a vacuum. The water in the vegetable’s sublimes (evaporates without passing through the liquid phase). This preserves the taste, texture, color, and nutrients of fresh vegetables. You can store freeze-dried vegetables indefinitely without refrigeration.
Are Freeze Dried Vegetables as Nutritious as Fresh?
Vegetables in their natural state contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber—and are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight cancer and heart disease. When you eat fresh veggies (especially cruciferous ones like broccoli), you get all those nutrients plus important enzymes with every bite.
Freeze-dried vegetables are nutritious too since freeze-drying prevents further nutrient loss. Freeze-dried foods retain their nutritional value as well as taste and appearance. Research shows that vitamin and mineral loss from freeze-drying vegetables is very small. The process also preserves their antioxidants. In fact, research shows freeze-drying can increase the activity of some phytochemicals with antioxidant activity. However, it depends on the vegetable. Some may experience small losses of some phytochemicals and vitamin C.
Freeze drying is a good way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables because it kills bacteria and enzymes that cause spoilage over time. It also preserves vitamins A, C, E, and K, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The health benefits of freeze-dried vegetables are many, especially when compared to canned vegetables, which tend to be high in sodium and low in nutrients.
Freeze-dried vegetables are nutritious because they come directly from the garden or farm where they are put through a process that removes 98% of their water content. This preserves their nutritional value and allows you to enjoy them when fresh produce is not available. You can also take them on camping trips and outdoor activities.
Freeze-dried vegetables are also easy to store because they don’t require refrigeration and can last for years without spoiling. In addition, freeze-drying preserves flavor better than other methods of food preservation such as canning or dehydration (which involves cooking)
Freeze-dried vegetables have another advantage. Many vegetables and fruits have a relatively short season during which they are available fresh in stores. If you have freeze-dried vegetables in your cabinet, you can enjoy them all year long.
How to Use Freeze-Dried Vegetables
Freeze-dried vegetables are a healthy, convenient, and easy way to enjoy veggies. You can sprinkle them in soups or stews, add them to salads or stir them into pasta sauce. You can also use freeze-dried vegetables in casseroles, sauces, and salads — just be sure not to overcook them!
The best way to add freeze-dried vegetables to soups or stews is while you’re cooking it, usually about halfway through. This will rehydrate them slightly, allowing them to absorb some of the flavors from the food you’re cooking them with.
Sprinkle freeze-dried veggies on top of salads and other dishes as a garnish or topping. You can also mix them into salads before serving if you want to add more flavor without having it overpower your salad dressing or other ingredients.
Freeze-dried vegetables are a great way to add healthy, colorful, and flavorful ingredients to your dishes. They’re light, easy to store, and take up very little space in your pantry.
Are There Disadvantages of Freeze-Dried Vegetables?
The biggest disadvantage is they’re more expensive than fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables. They may also lack the full flavor that fresh produce does, although how you prepare them makes a difference. For example, if you rehydrate them in vegetable broth, they’ll be more flavorful than rehydrating them with water.
Hopefully, this article gives you a better understanding of the nutritional goodness of freeze-dried vegetables. Whether you eat freeze-dried vegetables, frozen, or fresh ones, eat more veggies. They’re nutritious and packed with fiber.
Most people don’t get enough vegetables or fiber in their diet and the convenience and ability to store freeze-dried vegetables for long periods make them more accessible. At the very least, you’re not compromising on nutrition when you add freeze-dried vegetables to your diet.
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