Health Interest

Potent Powders – Why Freeze Drying and Milling is better than Dehydrating and High Speed Processing

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Why this is important to us

At Natural Yield, we want to do our best to make sure that the integrity of the benefits of the fresh microgreen is maintained as we convert it into powder form.  To that end, we have consciously chosen to invest in technology and processes to do this.  Part of this is our decision to choose freeze drying over dehydrating and stone milling over high-speed processing.  Here is why this is important.

Freeze Drying vs Dehydrating

Freeze drying and dehydrating are both methods of preserving food by removing moisture, but they have different effects on nutrient preservation and offer various benefits.

Nutrient preservation: Freeze drying maintains most of the nutritional content of the food because it is a low-temperature process. The food is quickly frozen, and the moisture is removed through sublimation, meaning that ice crystals turn directly into vapor without passing through a liquid phase. This process helps preserve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can be sensitive to heat. In contrast, dehydration exposes food to heat and airflow to remove moisture. This exposure to heat can lead to the loss of some heat-sensitive nutrients, such as vitamin C and some B vitamins. Dehydration can also lead to the degradation of some enzymes and antioxidants, which are important for maintaining the nutritional value of the food.

Moisture Removal: Freeze drying and dehydrating are both effective at removing moisture from food, but they do so through different processes. Freeze drying is generally considered to be more effective at removing moisture than dehydrating, as it can achieve lower moisture content in the final product.

In freeze drying, the food is first frozen and then placed in a vacuum chamber. The pressure is lowered, and the temperature is raised slightly, causing the ice crystals in the food to sublimate, or turn directly into vapor without passing through a liquid phase. This process effectively removes almost all of the moisture from the food, often resulting in a final moisture content of around 1-4%.

In dehydration, food is exposed to heat and airflow to remove moisture. The process evaporates the water content, but it usually cannot achieve the same low levels of moisture content as freeze drying. Dehydrated foods typically have a moisture content of around 10-20%, depending on the specific dehydration process and the type of food being dehydrated.

While freeze drying is more effective at removing moisture than dehydrating, it is also more expensive and energy-intensive. The choice between these two methods depends on the specific requirements of the food product, such as desired shelf life, nutrient preservation, and cost constraints.

Other benefits of freeze drying:
a. Texture and appearance: Freeze-dried foods generally retain their original shape, color, and texture, making them more visually appealing and pleasant to eat than dehydrated foods, which can become shrunken and darker due to heat exposure.
b. Rehydration: Freeze-dried foods rehydrate more quickly and easily compared to dehydrated foods. This makes them more convenient for use in recipes or as snacks, as they can be returned to their original state by simply adding water.
c. Shelf life: Freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf life than dehydrated foods due to their lower moisture content, which inhibits bacterial growth. This makes freeze-dried foods suitable for long-term storage and emergency preparedness.
d. Flavor: Freeze drying often results in better flavor retention compared to dehydration, as the process does not involve exposure to heat, which can alter the flavor profile of the food.

Stone milling vs High-Speed Processing

Stone milling and high-speed processing are both methods used for grinding grains and other food products. They each have their benefits, but they differ in their effects on oxidation and nutrient loss.

Oxidation and nutrient loss: Stone milling involves grinding grains between two large stones at a relatively low speed. This process generates less heat and friction compared to high-speed processing, which uses modern equipment like roller mills and hammer mills that operate at much higher speeds. The lower temperature and slower process of stone milling result in a reduced risk of oxidation and nutrient loss.  Oxidation can affect the quality and taste of the flour by causing the breakdown of oils and fats, leading to rancidity. Stone milling’s lower heat generation helps to minimize oxidation, preserving the flavor and shelf life of the flour. Additionally, the slower process of stone milling helps retain heat-sensitive nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, which can be degraded during high-speed processing due to the increased heat generation.

Other benefits of stone milling:
a. Taste and texture: Stone milling produces a coarser, more flavorful flour compared to the finer flour produced by high-speed processing. This coarser texture can be desirable in certain recipes, such as artisan bread, where a more rustic and hearty texture is sought.
b. Whole grain benefits: Stone milling typically retains the bran and germ, resulting in a whole grain flour. This contrasts with high-speed processing, which often removes these parts, resulting in a more refined, less nutritious flour.
c. Environmental impact: Stone milling is a less energy-intensive process compared to high-speed processing, which can result in lower environmental impact.

So, hopefully that is a good explanation of why Natural Yield chooses more thoughtful (and more expensive) options to preserve the nutrients we delivery to you through our Potent Powder range.

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The author and publisher of this article are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions, preparations, or procedures described in this article.