Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

As for specially prepared tourist food, there is a lot of confusion around it, what are Sublimates, how they differ, why they are needed, and how they are prepared, etc. Therefore, today we are going to share with you everything we know about tourist, camping food: sublimates, drying, dry rations.

The main thing that needs to be immediately indicated is that there are 2 main types of products according to the type of cooking:

  1. Dehydrated food is food that requires the addition of water for consumption, this is what we call — Freeze-dried and Drying — to cook it, you need to pour it with boiling water and steam it in an airtight container, standardly in your own package
  2. Ready-to-eat food is what in English is called Meals Ready to Eat or MRE, and we call Suhpayk, Individual Meal Ration or IRP — no need to cook, you can open the package and eat, but for maximum taste, the dish is better warm up, heat up either the package itself, or by pouring it out, pouring the contents into a heated pot, mug, etc.

Each of these two types of camping food has its own variants, respectively. Choose and buy both types of tourist food are available in our store, we always have a large assortment.

MRE aka Dry Ration or IRP

Meals Ready to Eat or MRE for short, these are delicious and high-quality meals, immediately ready to eat, what we call army dry rations, an individual diet of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. MREs were first used by the US military as a high-calorie food that provides energy from proteins, fats and carbohydrates, which is necessary to support military personnel in combat and other situations that they may face. Civilian MREs contain the same amount of energy and nutrients in every meal. They tend to be higher in calories than other food storage options because they are designed to keep you going in any situation, whether it’s hiking in the mountains or surviving a natural disaster.

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

MRE dry soldering IRP and freeze-dried food — people often confuse them. Why? Because both are considered standard tourist food. People buy MRE packs for camping trips or for future emergencies, but they’re not the same. The easiest way to explain the difference between MRE and freeze-dried food is that MRE dry food does not require rehydration by hydration. MRE is a completely ready-to-eat dish, it is ready to eat immediately after opening the package, the classic stew «stew» is a good example, of course, modern MRE dry rations are not just meat, but full-fledged complex dishes: borscht, various soups, main dishes by the type of shrimp, potatoes, pasta with a side dish, meat and many other options.

When preparing sublimated, dried dishes, it is necessary to add boiling water of a certain volume to them and thus steam the product in an airtight container for a certain time so that the dish can be consumed. This requires a portable camping stove, burner, fuel and water. In the case of MRE, you can eat it straight out of the package. Also, to maximize the taste of MRE dry rations, you can warm up the mass options: on fire, on coals, placing the bag in hot water, for this often a chemical burner is included in the kits or simply poured out, pouring the dish into a pot, frying pan. MRE IRP dry rations are sold not only in individual dishes, but are also delivered immediately ready-made sets with breakfast, lunch and dinner for good nutrition throughout the day, a good example would be the Ukrainian army dry ration of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Also, these sets come with additional items such as: spoon, fork, chewing gum, spices, sauces, cookies, nutrition bars, matches, napkins, heating elements, etc.

The advantage of ready-made MRE meals is that they have not undergone a dehydration process, so they are not only maximally enriched with vitamins and minerals, but also much higher in taste, calorie content and nutritional value than freeze-dried, dried food, so they will keep your food longer. feeling of satiety. They are also tightly packed to minimize carry space. The main disadvantage of such food is only its weight, since it is completely saturated with liquid, its own juices. The main reason for choosing MRE over freeze-dried food is if you know it will be impossible to cook. Or, if you are traveling by car and weight is not as critical for you as for hiking, water and cycling tourists. Or, for example, you are in a war zone and you simply do not have a tourist burner, a cylinder and the necessary supply of water with you.

Dehydrated or dehydrated foods

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

Dehydration is one of the oldest food preservation methods that has been used effectively since time immemorial, it is said that dehydration has been in use since 12,000 BC. The Romans and the peoples of the Middle East dried their fruits and vegetables in «alembics», using fire to dry and smoke their produce. By comparison, freeze-drying is a relatively modern process, the freeze-drying process being first used effectively during World War II as a way to preserve blood plasma, drugs, and eventually food for troops. During dehydration, the evaporation of moisture from food occurs, which not only significantly reduces the physical volume and weight of these products, in proportion to the amount of moisture evaporated, but most importantly, at the same time prevents the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold in such dried products, all due to the disappearance of the environment for them. reproduction, namely water. Dehydrated foods are light because 70-98% of their liquid weight is removed, they take up minimal space and stay fresh for months or years, making them ideal for backpackers.

There are 2 main and different options for dehydration, dehydration methods:

  1. Drying — thanks to various heating methods, including dehydration in air or in an oven.
  2. Sublimation — thank you freeze and vacuum.

Let’s consider these options in more detail.

What is dehydrated, dried food or drying?

Dehydration — all traditional methods of drying food are based on the movement of warm and dry air over it. Due to the low heat and constant airflow, dehydration removes enough moisture from the food through evaporation. This prevents the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold and makes the products stable. The dewatering process is a combination of heat, purging air and humidity control. As a result, the product is reduced in size, weight and water activity.

Food can be dehydrated in a variety of ways: air-drying and sun-drying, conventional oven, electric dehydrator, microwave (only for herbs).

  • Sun drying – food dried in the sun can dry out in 3–4 days. Drying in the sun requires constant exposure to direct sunlight throughout the day and a relative humidity of less than 20%, if the humidity is high the food will mold before it dries.
  • Air dehumidification — can be done indoors in a well ventilated attic, in a room or on a veranda. Herbs, hot peppers and mushrooms are most commonly air-dried. Herbs and peppers are not pre-treated, but simply strung on a rope or tied in bunches and hung until completely dry. Place food in paper bags to protect it from dust and other contaminants.
  • The microwave is a quick way to dry small amounts of greens and some leafy vegetables, but is ineffective for most other foods. Microwave-dried food often appears overcooked rather than dried. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Oven — Dehumidification is possible, but check oven settings to see if it is at 50°C or «warm» and if it has a fan. If the thermostat doesn’t drop that low, the food will cook and not dry out. Use an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature at its lowest setting. If you do not have an internal fan, install a fan behind the open oven door to improve air circulation inside.
  • Electric Dehydrators — These produce a better quality dried product than any other drying method. Electric dehydrators are special self-contained units with various types of heat sources (infrared or convection with an incandescent coil) and a ventilation system that allows heated air to circulate inside the chamber. An oven dries food 2 to 3 times longer than a dehydrator, oven-dried foods tend to be darker, more brittle, and less flavorful than foods dried with an electric dehydrator. In infrared dryers, water molecules are exposed to a lamp with infrared radiation. Such drying is distinguished by a higher quality of processing, since at the same time additional bactericidal treatment of vegetables and fruits occurs. Products dried with infrared dehydrators can be stored for several years without signs of mold and rot. It is believed that this method is closer to natural conditions, drying in the sun. It is in this way of infrared drying and warm air that our Ukrainian manufacturers make most of their products!

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

Here are recommendations for dehydration temperatures for different types of food if you want to do it yourself:

  • 35°C — Greens: oregano, basil, parsley, dill, fennel, mint, lemon balm, hyssop for later use in tea, baking and cooking.
  • 50°C — Legumes: peas, beans, lentils to add to soups, stews and camping dishes.
  • 50-55°C — Vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, onions to add to soups, stews and camping dishes.
  • 55°C — Fruits: apples, bananas, apricots, peaches, pears, cherries, blueberries for eating as snacks or chopped into muesli and travel mixes, or dried as a puree.
  • 60°C — Cereals, pasta: rice, buckwheat, barley, quinoa, amaranth to preserve nutrients and storage for flour, muesli and pastries.
  • 65-75°C — Meat, Poultry and Seafood: ground beef, chicken or turkey, cooked meat, jerky, fresh fish, beef jerky to add to camping meals or store ingredients for soup and stew.

Drying time depends on the type of each product and the degree of its precooking, usually takes from 4 to 14 hours when using special ovens.

What are sublimates or sublimated products?

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

Sublimation or freeze-drying of food «freeze drying» or «vacuum drying» is a food preservation method based on the science of low-temperature dehydration — cold drying with moisture freezing, removal of liquid contents under vacuum in food, which is used to dehydrate previously frozen foods. It is a process of dehydration in which ice directly from a solid turns into a gas with a complete passage of the liquid state. Freezing works by drying the material under reduced pressure at low temperatures. Products prepared in this way are called freeze-dried or freeze-dried. The result is a lightweight, storage-resistant and rot-resistant food product.

Frozen and vacuum dehydrated foods last longer and retain their nutritional value, color, taste and texture. Astronauts eat freeze-dried foods during space travel.

We can break down the entire Sublimation process into four simple steps:

  1. Step — Food products are placed in the freeze dryer chamber, where they begin to freeze to approximately -25 ° -50 ° Celsius, all the liquid in the food crystallizes
  2. Step — At the same time, a vacuum is formed due to a decrease in air pressure due to its pumping directly from the chamber
  3. Step — Slow heating of the products is turned on, which leads to the sublimation of ice in them, the ice from a solid crystalline state immediately passes into a gaseous state into steam, bypassing the stage of melting and boiling, then the water vapor is pumped out of the chamber, so the food loses up to 99% of its liquid
  4. Step — Packing the finished sublimated product in sealed packaging, bags, jars

By repeating this process several times, the amount of water contained in food is gradually reduced. After all, the food retains its original appearance, taste and smell. The result is dehydrated food with almost zero moisture content. But freeze drying is only possible with a strictly controlled series of temperature and vacuum settings. And this can only happen in a closed chamber that uses sublimation.

Freeze-dried or Dry

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

The fact is that sublimation drying is fundamentally different from conventional thermal drying. Thermal drying occurs at higher temperatures and in contact with atmospheric oxygen, which activates the oxidation of chemical components and the activity of enzymes. At the same time, the color, taste changes, vitamin C is destroyed, and the aroma is almost completely lost. With the sublimation of frozen foods in a vacuum, these harmful processes are minimized.

During normal drying, water molecules only escape from the surface of the product. Thus, for evaporation, they move from the inner layers to the surface. Because of this, water-soluble substances are redistributed inside the vegetables, as a result of which the initial composition of the product is disturbed. A compacted layer of compounds is formed on the surface, slowing down the reduction with water. During sublimation, moisture evaporates where it is in a frozen form, starting from the surface, and then the evaporation zone moves deep into the material, so no redistribution of substances in the product occurs. Therefore, the quality of freeze-dried vegetables is maximally preserved.

Freeze-dried food is very good for nutrient retention because vitamins and antioxidants are heat sensitive. Most vitamins are also water soluble, so they can get lost in the liquid used in canning. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that freeze-drying preserves antioxidants such as beta-carotene and linoleic acid in most fruits tested. The University of Sheffield found that freeze-dried fruits retain 100% of their vitamin C and only lose 8% of their total antioxidants.

Classical dehydration also affects the nutritional value of food. Vitamins and minerals are broken down by heat and air. The use of sulfite treatment prevents the loss of some vitamins, but causes the destruction of thiamine. Blanching or scalding (briefly boiling or steaming) vegetables before drying, while critical to producing a better product, results in some loss of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, as well as loss of some minerals because they are all water soluble. However, blanching reduces the loss of thiamine and vitamins A and C during dehydration and storage.

Compared to other food preservation methods, freeze-drying is excellent at preserving the nutrients in food. Harvest Right reports the following statistics:

  • Freeze-dried foods retain 90+% of nutrients
  • Dehydrated foods retain about 60% of their nutrients
  • Canned foods retain about 40% of their nutrients

So which is better, freeze-dried or drying?

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

An example of the difference between sublimation and drying from the company ЇDLO, dried vegetable mixture for borscht: sublimation (photo 1) and heat drying (photo 2). On (photo 1) we see that the type of freeze-dried vegetables has changed little compared to freshly prepared ones, the color and rich aroma are characteristic of this mixture. The product is fragile and has a cellular structure, is well restored with water and becomes almost identical to fresh, both in taste and appearance (photo 1a) As for the usually dried portion, here we see deformation and destruction of the structure, darkening, vegetables have become hard, recovery with water is much worse, the taste and appearance bear little resemblance to fresh ones (photo 2a).

Why sublimates are better? Perhaps the best argument for freeze drying is variety. Sublimation can sublimate a much wider variety of foods than dehydration, thus creating more food options. Almost any food can be freeze-dried for preservation. Meat, fruits, vegetables, desserts — and even full meals. And freeze-dried meals, meat, dairy products, eggs and vegetables quickly, sometimes almost instantly, are restored. Cottage cheese can be sublimated and stored without a refrigerator, sour cream too. Egg and cheese? No problem! Freeze drying is the best way to preserve and store dairy products and eggs. These foods are very difficult to dehydrate.

An interesting aspect of freeze drying is that the products rehydrate faster and also retain their original shape, texture and color. does not change the appearance or taste of food. If you freeze a turkey dinner that includes large turkey slices, mashed potatoes, gravy, ground beef and corn, when rehydrated and ready to eat, it will taste the same as if you just made dinner.

Another difference is weight. Freeze-dried foods weigh less than dehydrated foods, making them easier to carry and store. This is especially important during hiking trips.

Most infrared dehydrated foods such as dried fruits, meats and vegetables have a shelf life of 1 year. The same products freeze-dried in a vacuum dryer have a shelf life of up to 25 years.

— You may ask why our Ukrainian producers give sublimates only 2 years of expiration date? — The answer is 2 years, because only the second year since real 100% sublimates are produced and according to the manufacturers, in order not to be unfounded, they will conduct laboratory examination of the quality of sublimates every year and only after receiving positive results will they increase the guaranteed shelf life .

The main disadvantage of sublimates in comparison with dried food and fully prepared MRE dishes is their significantly higher price, which can exceed the cost of a finished dish by 2 times, and infrared drying by 3 times for the same weight. This is due not only to a much more complex and, accordingly, more expensive process for the production of sublimates, but also to a longer process, if for example drying takes an average of 8 hours, then sublimation will take more than a day. But there is good news, some Ukrainian manufacturers, such as JDLO, make a combination in dishes, when some of the components are sublimated and some are dried, so the price of the final dish is much lower than 100% sublimated, and the taste is higher than that of just completely dried.

Where to buy sublimates and dry rations?

Sublimated dry rations IRP shop Adventure

Buy freeze-dried food and ready meals dry rations for hiking, fishing and hunting, you can visit our Adventure online and retail store in Kyiv on Obolon, where you can find a wide range of such Ukrainian manufacturers as: Kharchi, ЇDLO, James Cook, Green Tramps, Fuse Foods, plus the site contains products of foreign brands: Adventure Menu, Trek’n Eat, Emergency Food, which is also available to order. Soon it will be possible to buy from us the army dry rations of the IRP APU of the production of Portion (Pyryatin), the official supplier of the ZSU.