Who knew freeze-dried foods could be less expensive? Only those "geeky" kind who love to do the math (that would be me). But to be clear here, I'm only talking about produce — freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. (I haven't done the math on items like butter powder, dry milk, etc. — yet.)
We all love fresh produce!
How many times have you thrown out spoiled fresh produce before you had a chance to eat it? How old is that "fresh" produce by the time you bring it home from the store? 1 week? 2 weeks? More?
And how was it grown? And where? Did they use pesticides (which will go into your body)? Is it truly organic (meaning, hopefully, no pesticides)?
We usually don't know the answers to these questions, so we take our chances. But seriously, the best time and place to buy fresh produce is from your local farmer and farmer's markets — at the peak of their harvest season.
That way, you know it's fresh and you can ask how they grow their fruits and vegetables (pesticides, organic, etc.)
Looking on The Ready Store website on this particular day, the regular price of a #10 can of raspberries weighing 1.25 pounds was $34.16 (on sale for $24.49). That seems expensive, doesn't it?
Okay - let's do the math: $34.16 for 10.4 oz (net weight) of raspberries comes to about $54 for a pound of freeze-dried raspberries. (collective GASP!)
Yesterday I paid $2.68 for a 6 oz container of fresh raspberries (they were already getting soggy and smashed, bordering on too ripe). So a pound of fresh raspberries at that price would cost $7.15/lb.
Much better than $54/lb. Right?
Hold on a minute.
A #10 can of freeze-dried produce is equal to 10 to 20 pounds of fresh produce, depending on the kind of food. For raspberries, one pound of freeze-dried expands to about 10-12 pounds of fresh. So that reduces the price per pound to $4.50 to $5.40 (that's using the non-sale price).
Now that doesn't sound too bad, does it? And consider that 10-12 pounds of raspberries is an entire summer's-worth! Rarely do we buy an entire summer's-worth of any fruits unless we're planning to preserve them by freezing, canning or dehydrating.
So buying an entire summer's worth of raspberries, that you didn't have to pick or preserve, that costs less than the fresh . . . sounds like a bargain to me. Even better if bought on sale!
If you were to research the process of freeze-dried foods (like I did), you would find that the food products are freeze-dried at the PEAK of their harvest seasons. And because of the freeze-drying technology, the food retains 95% of the nutrients, unlike fresh produce that loses nutrients every day that it sits on a shelf in the store or in a shipping container.
And freeze-dried foods are cleaner — I mean really clean. When you bring home produce from the store or the farmers market, you wash it, don't you? Hopefully, you are able to wash off all chemicals and pesticides. Well, the freeze-drying process cleans the produce much better than we can at our kitchen sinks.
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Fresh produce has a shelf life of about 3 days. Wouldn't you rather have produce that has a shelf life of 7,300 days (unopened) or 540 days (opened)? I know I would.
So before you dismiss freeze-dried foods as too expensive, do a bit of math and see if it's true for the particular food product you want.