“So, I bought some freeze-dried fruit, do I just add water to hydrate it?”
This is a common question. Generally speaking, an easy answer would be, “YES, you can rehydrate freeze-dried fruit.” But you may want to know more about the processes and differences in dehydrated, dried, and freeze-dried food products to better understand what happens when you “just add water.”
“Ok, so what is the difference?”
We’ll start with traditional dried fruit or dehydrated fruit, as this is the most commonly known processed fruit found in all grocery and convenience stores.
Dried fruit is fruit that is picked and put through a heating process. This could mean oven processing it at a low temperature for hours at a time, slowly cooking the water out of the fruit, or through natural sun-drying.
What is left is a piece of fruit that is generally half the size it was in fresh form that looks wrinkly and has a gummy or chewy texture. The removal of the majority of its water content through heat induces a breakdown of the cell membrane, so most nutrients are lost and the natural sugar concentrates. This results in a chewy, super sweet fruit snack.
Dried Fruits and Hydration
The level of hydration in dried fruit can vary and, depending on the manufacturer, can result in crunchier or gummier textures. Dried fruits are great on the go snacks, kids love them, and they are perfect for many cooking & baking recipes. When soaked in a liquid such as water, the fruit will plump up, but it will not recover its original state.
Dried Fruits and Younger Children
Dried fruits may be harder for younger children to snack on, due to their chewy texture.
Dried Fruits and Additives
Dried fruit found in grocery stores will often have added sugars, preservatives, or color agents to make it more appealing and last longer.
At Natierra, our dried fruits have no added sugar: each bite brings you a sweet snack without the guilt.
Dried Fruits and Shelf Life
Average shelf life of traditional dried fruit is 12-18 months.
Freeze-drying is a very different process, and actually dates back to early civilizations. It’s been known that ancient Mayan cultures used a “freeze-drying” method to preserve crops. The process has since been modernized, but the general premise remains.
Freeze-Drying and Nutrients
Through freeze-drying, fruits or vegetables are quickly frozen at super low temperatures to maintain fruit structure and nutrients. Then they are put through a vacuum process to extract remaining water content, leaving a crunchy, flavorful snack with most of its natural nutrient content remaining.
Freeze-Drying and Shelf-Life
By removing all moisture, freeze-dried fruits are given a much longer shelf life than dried fruits when placed in proper packaging, making them perfect for pantry stock ups, outdoor activities, military needs, and NASA expeditions. That’s right, most astronaut and military meals are composed of freeze-dried meat, beans, vegetables, and other products that they can take on missions without worrying about weight, excess food waste, or preparation. It’s as simple as “just add water” for a hearty meal on the go.
"Can I just add water to reconstitute?"
So back to the original question, can I just add water to reconstitute? Yes, however the final texture of the fruit will not be what it is in its fresh state, nor will nutrients magically reappear.
Hydrating dried or freeze-dried fruits will also depend on your recipe use and desired result. It is also not necessary. Both dried and freeze-dried fruit will absorb liquids included in a recipe and plump naturally. But they’re equally as delicious and snackable just as they are. Pick up a bag of your favorite today and snack on!
Enjoy, and don’t hesitate to send us your feedback and recipes on instagram @natierrasuperfoods