Whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to the freeze-drying industry, staying in the know on terminology and new lingo can help you when determining your next private label food product or ingredient options. With new developments in freeze-drying technology and ever-evolving food trends, knowing the latest terms can also keep your brand competitive.

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Freeze-drying terminology

Deposition: The process of changing a gaseous substance into a solid is deposition, the reverse of sublimation.

Dehydration: The process of removing liquid from an object or substance, also known as drying.

Evaporation: The process of converting a liquid into a gaseous state. This often happens because of temperature changes.

Freeze-drying: This preservation process rapidly freezes a substance, and then uses heat and a vacuum to remove the ice. It’s also known as lyophilization.

Freeze-drying cycle: The freeze-drying cycle describes the entirety of the freeze-drying process, from harvest to packaging.

Freezing: The process of solidifying liquid (or the liquids in a substance) by lowering its temperature.

Fresh: Fresh produce is recently picked and hasn’t undergone any preservation process or phase change.

Food safety: Food safety regulations govern the handling and packaging of food products. Meat, poultry, and eggs have specific regulations for their preparation. Keep in mind that some defrosting methods can unintentionally increase the presence of germs.

Gluten: Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat and helps foods maintain their shape. These include wheat berries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, rye, barley, and triticale. Someone suffering from celiac disease cannot eat products containing gluten. The freeze-drying process keeps naturally gluten-free produce safe for celiacs by staying clear of additives during the preservation process.

Gluten-free: A product is gluten-free when it doesn’t contain any gluten proteins. Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, but be sure to check the label if they’ve been processed.

Lyophilization: The scientific term for freeze-drying, or the process of rapidly freezing a substance and then using heat and a vacuum to convert the solid ice into gas.

Particle-size requirements: The population of particles in a powder that are used to measure quality, consistency, and potency.

Phase change: When a substance changes consistencies or states through the process of evaporation, condensation, freezing, melting, sublimation, or deposition.

Plant-based proteins: Protein can be found in plants and is often viewed as a healthier alternative to meat protein, as the fat content is lower. Some high-protein produce includes broccoli, spinach, peas, lentils, and kale.

Product: For Mercer Foods, this is the final substance created during the freeze-drying process.

Reconstitution: The process of adding water to a dried substance returns it to its original state.

Seasonality: The availability of ingredients in a calendar year. Fresh produce is only available during harvest season, making it a seasonal ingredient option.

Shelf life: The amount of time a product can be safely stored without becoming unfit for consumption.

Sublimation: The process of converting a substance from a solid to a gaseous state. Using a vacuum allows this process to take place and avoids a breakdown of cell structure.

Sterilization: The process of making a substance or object free of contaminants, bacteria, or other living microorganisms.

Sulfites: An additive often used during food preservation. Mercer Foods doesn’t add sulfites, sugars, salt, or chemicals to our products during preservation.

Intrigued by what freeze-drying can do for your food product? Now you know the lingo, so get in touch with us or reach out via Facebook or Twitter for more information.