When we think of space food, a few ideas come to mind. First, the scientifically selected ingredients and packaging that keeps food fresh and nutritious for years in space. We also imagine what it’d be like to prepare food in an anti-gravity situation, where convenience and practicality are a must.
Space food can actually be about as enjoyable as many dishes served on earth. Raw fruits and veggies, as well as cooked meats can be freeze dried, then moistened and warmed up with water to provide a satisfying meal.
One of the most fascinating examples is freeze dried ice cream. It’s essentially the same as ice cream, but with 99% of its moisture content removed. This process, also known as lyophilization, keeps it from spoiling or changing on texture, even at room temperatures.
The secret of freeze dried desserts
Although the concept of astronaut ice cream was first developed for NASA, it has some practical applications at home. Other than being ready to eat on its own, it’s more compact, lighter and long-lasting than its original form.
As an example, a freeze dried ice cream can have a 20-year shelf life if stored properly. You can also store any variety of meats, fruits, veggies, herbs and even cooked meals.
The next of kind to freeze drying is dehydrating, in terms of effectiveness. It’s definitely less expensive overall, as a reliable freeze drying machine will cost something to the tune of thousands of dollars. A food dehydrator, on the other hand, will cost a couple hundred for a quality model, at most.
What do astronauts eat?
While dehydrated ice cream is much different than what we’ve been talking about, it’s possible to take advantage of. You could dehydrate an ice cream sandwich, but what would result is a crumbly dessert that you could put on top of your ice cream.
Most kinds of spaceman food can be made in a food dehydrator machine. More practically, an astronaut might have a diet of vegetables, fruit juice and some hot cocoa. They’ll generally have packets of food that they add hot water to, and eat once the moisture is absorbed.
For example, use strawberries and watermelon slices dehydrated with your food dryer machine. Freeze them for about 8 hours to harden them, then slowly blend them, building up speed to produce a fine powder.
This works equally well with oranges, limes, lemons, apples and any kind of juice you’d like to make. Simply combine with water, and discover how truly delicious it can be to use raw ingredients that are prepared at home.
You can replicate the astronaut diet and enjoy the results
One of the most pleasing things about dehydrated food, is its concentrated flavors. You won’t get the same shelf life as freeze drying, but you’ll be able to reduce up to 95% of its moisture, leaving behind virtually all of the nutrients and minerals.
It's also an effective way to reduce calories. 1/6 cup of dried veggies, for example, often contain the same nutritional value as a full cup of the fresh, raw version.
The real reason for NASA freeze dried food is economy and security. You can reduce the storage space required for any kind of canned food, and anything that you don’t want to spoil. Buying food in bulk and dehydrating it, for example, is a positive step for families who want to get more out of their grocery budget.
Many families have a long-term storage plan that revolves around their food dehydrator. Having a large supply of pure veggies, fruits and other types of food that don’t have added preservatives and agents can be a real blessing in difficult times, as well.
A food dehydrator machine can give you the economic benefits of space food, and revolutionize your diet with deliciously convenient food options!