A versatile dehydration technology
Freewater Foods (Pty) Ltd. was established to market the use of a patented method developed by Mikhailo Melnyczuk for the dehydration of food. The method holds numerous advantages over existing dehydration techniques.
A production plant which uses the Freewater method can be designed either for the manufacture of a single product type (such as dehydrated mash potato), or, with interchangeable components, for the production of many different products as outlined below. In the case of mash, for example, the process stages would be as follows:
DEHYDRATION STAGE 1
DEHYDRATION STAGE 2
Dehydration Stage 2 could be any commercial drying method, such as desiccant drying. One of the advantages of the Freewater method is that up to 60% of the moisture has already been removed inexpensively in Dehydration Stage 1, thereby saving on energy costs.
The process has been successfully applied on a batch scale in the production of
10 basic potato-only products
approx. 60 potato-based products
more than 20 dehydrated vegetable products
more than 10 meat products
The products produced by the Freewater Method have advantages over products produced by other dehydration methods. The advantages can be summarised as follows:
The base products are competitive as industrial ingredients.
Example: In the case of mash, the product has an advantage over existing dry mash powders in the manufacture of snackfoods, in that the sugar content can be standardised to within specified levels, a characteristic which is extremely difficult to achieve by other dehydration methods, given the inconsistency of raw material sugar content. Discrepancies in sugar content are a major reason for the rejection of bulk shipments of mash powder by snackfood manufacturers.
The products are competitive as consumer products.
Example: In the case of dehydrated vegetables such as carrots, the products rehydrate instantly in hot water (unlike many dehydrated products, which require some cooking), have superior sensory properties (good colour, shape retention, texture and taste), and can be produced without the addition of preservatives or additives, without any adverse effect on the shelf -life.
Unlike in the case of many other dehydration methods, many particle types can be produced by a single method.
Example: Potatoes can be dehydrated as mash powder, potato flakes, potato cubes or whole instant boiled potatoes.
New lines can be easily introduced.
Example: With modifications to an existing production line, a mash production plant can be adapted to the simultaneous or seasonal manufacture of, for example, instant maize products, dehydrated sliced carrots or instant baked beans.
The method allows for better supply chain management.
Example: The process allows for the production of quality mash products from second and third grade vegetables.
The method reduces waste and ecological hazards.
By-products can be easily utilised.
The method has a better yield compared to existing processes. Energy consumption is reduced by eliminating the need for long dehydration times.
The plant can be configured to minimise the need for custom-built machinery.
The machinery is easy to maintain.