Most likely, the first thing your average person thinks of if you mention freeze-dried food is astronaut ice cream. While in all likelihood freeze-dried ice cream never actually made it to space, NASA has extensively used the process of freeze drying to make space mission meals. The first meal ever eaten on the surface of the moon, by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, included freeze-dried bacon and peaches. In fact, every manned mission ever launched by NASA has carried some freeze-dried food.
Freeze-dried food is perfect for space since it is lightweight, resistant to spoilage, high in nutrition, easy to prepare, and loaded with flavor. Almost all foods can be freeze dried, giving astronauts an astonishing array of food items to choose from. They are not eating mysterious concoctions that don’t even resemble food, but a variety of meals prepared on Earth. Add a little hot water and they can barely believe that they are actually hundreds of miles above the Earth and not in their own kitchens.
Astronauts eat their meals off of a tray. They use conventional eating utensils-knives, forks, and spoons. The only unusual eating instrument included on the tray is a pair of scissors used for cutting open the packages of freeze-dried food. Astronauts have reported that the process of eating in space works well. The food is familiar, appetizing, and full of nutrition and flavor.
Of course, you don’t need to go into space to experience the same type of food astronauts eat. You can freeze dry your own favorite meals, leftovers, and garden produce at home with a freeze dryer from Harvest Right.
Can you do ice cream though? Won’t it liquify?
I enjoyed this well-written article and giggled at the thought of sending my astronaut son off to space with his lunchbox of nutritious freeze dried food…just the muse of a USAF Test Pilot/NASA Space Propulsion research scientist’s mother!