Our Process

It takes high quality ingredients to produce high quality pet food products which is why Grandma Lucy’s insists on personal contact with all of our suppliers and growers. All incoming meats, fruits, vegetables, etc. are required to meet strict Grandma Lucy’s specifications. Once the raw ingredients arrive in our Rancho Santa Margarita, California facility, expert care is applied to create any one of Grandma Lucy’s unique and healthy recipes. Skilled staff inspect all incoming and outgoing products for quality assurance. Our kitchen brings together state-of-the-art freeze-drying equipment, the highest-quality ingredients and skilled employees. Everyone at Grandma Lucy’s is dedicated to delivering quality pet food products. The end result is a full line of freeze-dried pet food and treats that are always superior in quality and taste.

Shelf Stable :

Since the water and oxygen have been removed from freeze-dried food it does not require refrigeration when stores and is; therefore, considered to be “shelf-stable” or safe to store at room temperature for long periods of time.

Lightweight :

The main source of weight in food is the water it contains. All fresh foods contain water; however, once the water has been removed,the weight can be reduced by as much as 70% – 90%. For example: a package containing one pound of frozen cooked chicken will weigh a mere 4 ounces once freeze-dried. Now that’s a significant reduction in weight!

Fast Rehydration Time :

Freeze-dried foods are very moisture sensitive; therefore, they will rehydrate in a matter of minutes when added to warm/hot water. Many freeze-dried items can be reconstituted with cold water as well, but may take longer t achieve their full moisture level. Unlike dehydrated food, most freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and meat and be eaten raw (without adding any water) and usually have the crispy texture of a chip.

Cooking Tip:

Freeze-dried foods are pre-cooked; therefore, due to the quick rehydration time, freeze-dried food may be incorporated into any pet food recipe toward the end of the cooking cycle to lend a more “fresh crunch” texture to the dish or to retain a more “fresh food” flavor.

Taste :

Freeze-drying uses very low levels of heat so most food closely retains the taste, texture and aroma of its fresh counterpart. Most people believe that the flavor of freeze-dried foods are superior to dehydrated. Unlike dehydrated food which require total meal preparation, soaking, mixing, cooking, and much more clean-up, FREEZE-DRIED foods require NO COOKING, NO-PREPARATION and little, if any, clean-up which makes them ideal. Just add hot water (cold in a pinch), wait 3-5 minutes and serve.

Freeze-drying, as compared to other drying processes such as dehydrating or air drying, is used at Grandma Lucy’s because it is better at retaining the characteristics of the raw food. It is well known that the process retains more flavor components and results in reconstituted textures that most closely approximate the original meats and vegetables. In effect, freeze-drying is the drying process available to food processors. It is not used more extensively simply because its cost is much higher than other processes. The ability to minimize damage to food attributes and components during drying is the reason for claims that the process is also less damaging to enzyme activity. That is, more enzymes will be active (still able to catalyze chemical reactions) in a freeze-dried food than in some raw material dried in another manner.

Perhaps a clearer example would be to consider that freeze-drying is the method of choice in the lab for preserving protein activity, or even entire organisms, in a dry sample. Freeze-drying is the only good way to get a product with a good shelf life that can still be said to be alive. Freeze-drying’s ability to better maintain the nutritional properties of food is documented in many studies. A comparison of drying methods shows why: proteins can be denatured by high temperature, oxidation, or by reactions with other cell components, often other proteins.

The process involves freezing a fresh food (fruit, vegetable, cooked meat or fish) in a special “freeze drying chamber,” then removing the water by quickly changing the chamber’s pressure and temperature. This causes the water in the food to change from a solid to a gas without ever changing back into a liquid. This “quick change” preserves the cell structure of the food without compromising vitamins, nutrients, color or aroma. Freeze-drying occurs in an oxygen-free vacuum at temperatures as low as -85 degrees F and since the product being dried is in a frozen state, there is little mobility at the molecular level-and if molecules can’t move, they can’t react with each other either. Dehydrating or cold air drying, on the other hand, is done in normal atmospheres at much higher temperatures; and since moisture in the product is in the the liquid phase, denaturing can occur; higher temperatures and mobility will make it happen faster and more often.

While freeze-drying, or lyophilization, is the best way to preserve all the qualities found in fresh meats, fruits and vegetables equally important are the quality of ingredients. All of our ingredients are USDA Inspected and Approved and 87% are sourced domestically. Our protein sources are hormone and antibiotic free. We remain committed to sourcing our ingredients form local restaurant suppliers and bringing your pets the absolute best food and treats possible.