How in the world is Astronaut Ice Cream® made?
We use REAL ice cream that is placed into a vacuum chamber and frozen to 60 degrees BELOW zero. This causes the water from the ice cream to turn into ice. Next, the pressure is lowered in the chamber and enough heat is slowly added to allow the ice to change directly from solid to vapor without passing through a liquid phase. This process continues for hours, resulting in a perfect freeze-dried ice cream.
What type of equipment is used to freeze-dry ice cream?
The typical machine used in the freeze-drying process consists of a chamber, heating unit, vacuum pump and freezing coil. The airtight steel chamber withstands large temperature and atmospheric pressure changes. The heating unit heats the shelves inside the freeze-drying chamber. The vacuum pump removes air, lowering the pressure inside the chamber. The freezing coil and compressor, which is like the one in your refrigerator at home, collects the evaporated water.
Why Freeze-Dry Food?
Removing water via freeze-drying reduces food weight up to 90%. This helps astronauts meet weight restrictions on space missions and it can help you lighten your pack on the trails. Freeze-drying preserves food’s shape, color and texture making it last longer. Microorganisms, the food spoiling culprits, are eliminated in the freeze-drying process.
How healthy are your freeze-dried fruits?
Recent studies have proven that freeze-drying fruit is used as a top technique for retaining nutrients. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in their original state. In fact, freeze-dried food typically retains 97% of its nutrition due to the cold vacuum process that is used to extract the water.
Do astronauts REALLY eat this and has it been to space?
It has long been disputed whether or not freeze-dried ice cream made an appearance on the Apollo 7 mission, however what we do know is that our ice cream was created with the intention to be used for the space program and space education. In early 2016, late show host Stephen Colbert sent Astronaut Foods ice cream into space LIVE, so yes, we can confirm it has been to space! Check out the fun video here: http://bit.ly/AFColbert.
How does the ice cream look and taste?
Freeze-drying is like suspended animation because it keeps the ice cream totally intact, but without the water. As you eat the crunchy pieces of ice cream, it melts in your mouth and becomes a creamy yumminess.
The inner-wrapper of my Astronaut Ice Cream bar has two slices in it. Is it safe to eat?
Yes! The inner paper wrapper has two slits to facilitate the freeze-drying process. You’ll find these in each package.
The ice cream is produced in a facility that also processes peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, gluten, egg and tree nut ingredients. If I am allergic to any of these products, is Astronaut Ice Cream safe to eat?
Unfortunately, no. Our products are produced in a dry facility and though we keep every machine and space clean, we cannot help the dust particles in the air.
Where can I find the “Best By” date on your packages?
The “Best By” date can be found on the bottom of every pouch. Astronaut Foods are shelf stable and can be stored up to 3 years in their airtight, sealed packaging.
Do you offer any vegan Astronaut Food items?
Yes. Our freeze-dried fruits are totally vegan! No additional ingredients are added to our strawberries, peaches, bananas and grapes. We add a touch of cinnamon and sugar to our crunchy cinnamon apple wedges.
Upon opening the packages, I find the ice creams are broken into small pieces. Why?
Breakage commonly occurs during the freeze-drying process. It still tastes great!