One of the best ways to store your groceries or excess garden harvest is to freeze dry them. The process is called sublimation and it removes water from food by passing directly from a solid state to a vapor or gas state. Freeze drying is one of the best ways to preserve food because it retains almost 100% of the nutritional value of your food.
Canning and dehydrating food affects the taste of your food; it changes color and reduces nutritional value by about half. Freeze-dried foods can be stored in the refrigerator, pantry or cellar for up to 25 years. They are lightweight and easy to carry for easy camping meals or an emergency food supply.
Food preparation for freeze-drying
Before freeze-drying your food, be sure to choose the freshest options. Wash your food to remove particles, dirt and contaminants. Then cut the food into small pieces or pieces to remove moisture. You can, however, freeze-dried ready meals.
Once you’ve prepared your food, you can begin the freeze-drying process. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular ways to freeze dry your food.
How to freeze dry food in a freeze dryer
If you can afford a freeze dryer then this is a great option, especially made for freeze drying. There are plenty of options, so make sure you choose a budget dryer. The good thing about these dryers is that they come with multiple trays for different foods.
- Place your food in the trays – make sure the food does not exceed the height of the tray
- Place the trays in the dryer and close the doors (Some models have two doors)
- Freeze food at -40 to -50 degrees.
- Wait 24 hours for the process to complete
- When finished, place the food in mylar bags and seal them
How to freeze dry food in a freezer
A home freezer makes it easier for people who want to freeze dry food for the first time. If you have a freezer, this is even a better option to use. But your typical home freezer will still work.
- Place the food on a tray or plate after spreading the food out
- Place the tray in the freezer – food should be frozen at the lowest temperature
- Leave food in the freezer until completely freeze-dried – 2 to 3 weeks
- When the process is complete, wrap it in an airtight storage bag and store it in your freezer or pantry.
How to freeze dry food with dry ice
Using dry ice is much faster than using the freezer. This is because dry ice quickly evaporates moisture from food.
- Pack food in freezer-safe bags
- Place the bags in a cooler
- Cover the bags completely with dry ice and let stand for about 24 hours
- Once completely freeze-dried, remove the sachets and store them
How to freeze dry food with a vacuum chamber
Although this is the most effective method, it is also expensive. You will need a special vacuum chamber to freeze dry your food. The chambers are designed to speed up the freeze-drying process.
- Spread food out on a tray or plate without clumping
- Freeze foods until solid in a freezer
- Place the food in the chamber about 120 m Torr and set the temperature to 10 ° C
- Let food stay in the chamber for at least a week for optimal sublimation
- Once the process is complete, put the food in airtight containers for storage.
- Can you freeze dry food at home?
Yes, you can freeze fried foods at home if you know how to do it. You can use a freeze dryer, freezer, dry ice or vacuum chamber to freeze dry your food. Simply follow the steps above to freeze dry your food for future use. Freeze drying at home is much less expensive than using commercial services. If this is your first time freeze drying food, start with simple foods like apples, bananas, and berries. Vegetables like peppers and broccoli are also great for working out. You can then try other types of foods when you are sure of the results. Keep in mind that properly frozen food does not change color.
- How long does it take to freeze dry food?
Depending on the method you use, it takes 20 hours to a month to freeze dry your food. It also depends on the type of food you freeze dry. For example, foods such as corn, meat, and peas dry out quickly, while watermelon and squash take longer. The thickness of the food slices will also affect the freeze drying time. If you have a freeze dryer, it takes about 20-40 hours. But this freeze-drying equipment is quite expensive for home use. The most efficient dryers cost between $ 2,000 and $ 5,000. Still, there are options less than $ 2,000. Using a standard freezer is the cheapest option, but it can take up to a month to freeze dry your food properly. Using dry ice is also a quick option. However, it takes a bit more work than using a standard freezer.
- What foods cannot be freeze dried?
This food preservation technique works great for vegetables and fruits, but you’re not limited to just them. You can also freeze-dry desserts, meats, dairy products and ready meals. However, there are some foods that you shouldn’t freeze dry. This includes butter, honey, jam, syrup, pure chocolate, and peanut butter.
- How to freeze dry fruit at home without a machine
If you don’t have a freeze dryer, a home freezer and dry ice are options available to most homeowners. Make sure to follow the steps we have shared above to freeze dry your food using these methods. When using these methods, remember to test your food before you store it.
- How to rehydrate freeze-dried dishes?
While some freeze-dried foods can be eaten frozen, others like meat and vegetables will need to be rehydrated first. You just need to place your meat in warm or hot water to rehydrate it – this will take several minutes. For vegetables, you can just sprinkle them with a little water. However, you can also eat them as they are.