It is always a sad day for me when I have to throw away jars of herbs and medicinal plants because they have gone past their expiry date. I came across an article on freeze drying your food and I realized this is the answer to maintaining the quality of my plants and increasing their shelf life.
I decided to take the plunge and invest in a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer. This turned out to be quite expensive and a long wait as I had to import it from America. After almost four months of waiting for it to arrive we are now delighted that all the herbs, medicinal plants etc. are now freeze dried here at Enchanted Natural Healing. I am absolutely blown away by the quality of the herbs and plants and this amazing Harvest Right Freeze Dryer.
What I learned is that freeze drying is the best and most effective method of dehydration. Freeze drying maintains the flavour, smell, shape and structure of the plant. Your plants hold virtually the same nutrients, minerals and vitamins as they did when they were fresh.
Freeze drying increases the quality of the plants and its shelf life. If stored in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber it will maintain your plants or food for up to 25 years.
So, how does the freeze dryer work. Plants or food are placed in the Freeze Dryer where they are frozen to between -34°C to -45°C. Once frozen, the Freeze Dryer creates a powerful vacuum in the food chamber. As the plants or food are gradually warmed, the water turns to vapor and evaporates out of the plants (sublimation).
Vacuum freezing gently removes the water from the plant or food without any damage to the delicate vitamins, terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and phytonutrients. This process takes about 24 to 36 hours.
Freeze dried food, plants etc. can be rehydrated by soaking them in water. The plants etc. will go back to its original flavor, aroma, texture and appearance and you can still receive the same health benefits as you would have on the day you picked it.
Freeze Drying truly is the herbalist’s best friend!