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This week I’ve been testing some Freeze Dried Food* products from Lio Licious to see whether they could be the answer to reducing food waste . . .
As regular readers of my blog will know, I’m always looking for ways to reduce to the cost of our weekly food shop and in turn reduce our food waste too. So, I jumped at the chance to review some freeze dried food products to see how they tasted and whether they could be the answer to preventing certain foods getting wasted.
How does Freeze Dried Food Differ to Normal Frozen Food?
Foods that have been freeze dried have been dehydrated and then blast frozen and sealed meaning they last longer as long as they are kept frozen. Once re-hydrated they go back to their original state and taste and look just the same as before.
Are the products cost effective?
Yes and No. At first, when compared to buying the same amount of fresh ingredients in the supermarket, freeze dried foods are much more expensive. However, if you only use a small amount of an ingredient from time to time (say once a month) it means there is no chance of that ingredient going off and therefore being wasted and you throwing money away.
Also because the foods have been dehydrated there is no water content in the weight so you are getting more than you might expect once the food has been re-hydrated. For a clearer and more detailed explanation on how this works head to the Lio Licious website.
Freeze dried food is also perfect for those who are only cooking for one or who want an alternative to soft fresh fruit that goes off quickly.
Here are the biggest positives I found trying Freeze Dried Foods
- Freeze Dried Food has a longer shelf life than normal fresh products – many items will last up to two years in the freezer.
- They way the foods are Freeze Dried means taking out exactly how much you need is easy – there is no waste.
- Many of the items come ready chopped or grated – perfect if you’re short on time or have motor issues that make cutting and chopping ingredients difficult.
- Most items, such as the Cheese and Olives can be used straight from frozen. We put frozen Parmesan on hot Carbonara and it was lovely.
- Includes items you can’t get frozen in the supermarket and wouldn’t be able to freeze yourself- for example if I tried freezing Parmesan at home it would freeze in one big clump – fine for sauces but no good for sprinkling.
- The only a negative I found was there no instructions on the packets as to how the food should be defrosted or re-hydrated or even whether it needed to be.
What I made using the Freeze Dried Foods
The first dish I made using the freeze dried food was a Pasta alla Puttenesca. I love Italian food and this is one of those dishes I’d been meaning to make for ages. The freeze dried olives are perfect for this recipe – I tend to buy fresh dressed olives from the supermarket usually as I don’t like the Jar ones and they are so expensive it seems a waste to put them in a sauce rather than enjoying them on their own. I had this for my lunch so made enough just for me.
- Cook the Pasta according to the instructions in plenty of salted boiling water (approx 100 grams person)
- I used a simple Marinara sauce I already had in the freezer – made from pasata, garlic, Italian herbs, seasoning and a tiny bit of cream (you could use any tomato based sauce you like – around a 1/4 of jar per person if you’re using shop bought)
- To the Marinara sauce I added Chili flakes, plenty of the Freeze Dried chopped olives (around a table spoon per person) and fresh basil. (Traditionally you would also add anchovies but I’m not keen so didn’t bother) and heated until piping hot.
- Once the pasta was cooked I combined with sauce and served topped with fresh basil and some freeze dried Parmesan
It was delicious!
The second dish I decided to make was traditional Eton Mess to bring a little bit of sunshine in the middle of winter.
- I removed a handful of sliced strawberries, diced strawberries and raspberries from the freezer and hydrated in a little water.
- I whipped up some double cream until it formed soft peaks and added a little icing sugar and vanilla.
- I’m lazy and didn’t want to make my own meringues so used a couple of shop bought ones I had lying about at the back of the cupboard.
- I combined the strawberries, cream and meringues and then used the raspberries and some icing sugar to decorate.
I think the freeze dried fruits are perfect for those who like to bake but can’t always get out and about to the shops. They are also much more versatile than normal frozen fruit as they only need rehyrdrating rather than defrosting, so can be used at super short notice but at the same time won’t go off like fresh fruit will.
Collaborative Post. I was gifted some freeze dried food in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.