Oregon Freeze Dry (aka OFD) was incorporated in 1963, when the company began drying fruit for breakfast cereals. Later, Oregon Freeze Dry worked with the Department of Defense to develop and produce military rations that tasted better, weighed less, and were easier to prepare than canned rations.
By the early 1970's, the company was marketing its own Mountain House line of freeze-dried foods for outdoor recreational use.
Today, Oregon Freeze Dry is the world's technological leader in freeze-drying. Our freeze-dried ingredients are key components in the products of some of America's largest food companies. Our private label lines include such products as lunch and dinner entrees for the Nutri/System weight-loss program.
OFD is still a major supplier to the military, and the Mountain House brand continues to be the favorite of backpackers and campers. Oregon Freeze Dry's Advanced & Specialty Products division processes pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals, medical devices, cultured microorganisms, enzymes, and other sensitive biological materials. For these products, freeze drying creates functional properties unattainable by other drying methods.
Oregon Freeze Dry's world headquarters is located in Albany, Oregon, and employs over 300 people. There are three manufacturing facilities on a 35-acre industrial site. Oregon Freeze Dry operates under USDA (meat and poultry), APHIS, FDA (drug and medical device), and/or EPA regulations, according to product. Kosher and Halal certifications are also available. Today Oregon Freeze Dry is the world's largest custom processor of freeze dried products. The company has over 20 million kilograms of drying capacity at its three Oregon plants, representing about 70% of North American Capacity.
Oregon Freeze Dry has internal R&D and engineering support available to assist in the development and scale-up of commercial products. OFD’s modern research and development center is equipped with basic research facilities, development kitchens, and pilot processing and packaging equipment. Product and processing development - from prototyping new concepts to developing full-scale manufacturing systems.
OFD is proud of their reputation as a progressive, quality-conscious company. Through innovative research and product development, Oregon Freeze Dry will continue to lead the world in freeze-drying technology.
Freeze-drying has several advantages over other food preservation methods.
Frozen foods retain fresh flavor and nutritional value, but require uniform, low temperature storage conditions. Dehydrated and canned foods are shelf-stable, but high-temperature processing can degrade flavor, texture and nutritional content. Freeze-drying combines the best of these processing methods. It preserves freshness, color and aroma similar to frozen food, while providing the shelf-stable convenience of canned or dehydrated food. Freeze-dried foods:
Taste fresh. Freeze-dried foods, like frozen, retain virtually all their fresh-food taste and nutritional content. Freeze-drying removes the water, not the flavor.
Look fresh. Freeze-dried foods maintain their original shape and texture, unlike dehydrated foods, which shrink and shrivel due to high-temperature processing. Freeze-drying removes water under low temperatures (typically a maximum of 100 to 130 degrees F), which keeps intact the moisture channels and food fibers. Just add water, and in minutes every fresh food detail returns.
Weigh less than fresh. Freeze-dried foods have 98% of their water removed. This reduces the food's weight by approximately 90%, making it easier to handle and less costly to ship. For example, twenty-five pounds of celery weigh only one pound after freeze-drying.
Stay fresh. Freeze-dried foods can be stored at room temperature, without deterioration or spoilage. This is because freeze-drying and packaging remove both water and oxygen - the two primary causes of food deterioration.
Almost any food, from apples to zucchini, can be freeze-dried. So can entire meals, such as omelettes, hamburgers, or Chicken a la King. In fact, Oregon Freeze Dry has produced over 400 different foods and beverages.
Freeze Drying How it Works and Benefits
The purpose of freeze drying is to remove a solvent (usually water) from dissolved or dispersed solids.
The principles of freeze drying are simple.
• Freezing: The product is frozen. This provides a necessary condition for low temperature drying.
• Vacuum: After freezing, the product is placed under vacuum. This enables the frozen solvent in the product to vaporize without passing through the liquid phase, a process known as sublimation.
• Heat: Heat is applied to the frozen product to accelerate sublimation.
• Condensation: Low-temperature condenser plates remove the vaporized solvent from the vacuum chamber by converting it back to a solid. This completes the separation process.
While simple in principle, freeze drying can be complex in practice due to the specific processing requirements for different products. OFD’s is expert in defining these processing parameters, which include:
• Suspending solvent(s).
• Rate of freezing.
• Vacuum control.
• Rate of drying/product temperature.
• Residual moisture content.
• Storage temperature and atmosphere after drying.
• Rehydration procedures.
• Freeze drying is an excellent method for preserving materials which are unstable in solution. In addition, freeze drying can be used to separate and recover volatile substances and to purify materials.
Key benefits of freeze drying include:
Retention of morphological, biochemical, and immunological properties.
High viability/activity levels.
Lower temperature, oxygen, and shear conditions versus other drying methods
High recovery of volatiles.
Retention of structure, surface area, and stoichiometric ratios.
Long shelf life.
Reduced weight for storage, shipping, and handling.
The fundamental process steps are:
#10 Cans-- Emergency Foods
Mountain House freeze-dried foods are packed in #10 cans with 98% of the oxygen removed. Canning process uses vacuum oxygen removal and nitrogen flushing, or oxygen absorbers to protect product freshness. OFD’s products packed in #10 cans offer a 30+ year shelf life. OFD has manufactured cans for almost 35 years for consumers and military use. OFD has tasted product that is 35 years old and it still tastes great. Each can and lid is coated with a protective enamel inside and out for double protection. The cans contents are protected until you open them. After opening, we recommend using the contents within 2 to 3 weeks for best results and taste; using the convenient re-sealable plastic lid between uses. Treat any leftover food as you would fresh food.