Today I want to discuss a fairly new way to preserve food: Freeze Drying.
I have known about the freeze dried food you buy at the store for a while now. You can buy the #10 cans of freeze dried food and they will stay on your pantry shelf for 25 years and still be good. That is what they call in the food storage circles “shelf stable”.
But it was only about a year ago that I discovered that you can freeze dry your food at home. What?
So today we are going to discuss freeze drying your own harvest with a freeze dryer from Harvest Right.
What is freeze drying?
Freeze drying is the process of preserving food by rapidly freezing it and then subjecting it to a high vacuum that removes ice.
How does freeze drying work?
Here is the process as explained by Harvest Right:
- Raw or cooked foods are placed in the freeze dryer where they are frozen to between -30 degrees and -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Once frozen, the freeze dryer creates a vacuum in the food chamber.
- As the food is gradually warmed, the water turns to vapor and evaporates out of the food (sublimation).
- When dry, the freeze dryer notifies the user that the process is complete by sounding an audible beep.
- You can then remove the freeze dried food from the dryer and place it in vacuum-sealed containers that are moisture and oxygen proof (preferably a mylar pouch or a can) to ensure freshness until opened.
- When water is added to the food, it regains its original fresh flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance!
Why freeze dry your food?
- This process makes food shelf stable for many years.
- Because there is no heat involved, the food retains 97% of it’s nutrients.
- By preserving your own food from the homestead, you can guarantee the quality of food preserved.
What tools do you need?
You can buy freeze dried food at the store for your food storage.
But if you want to preserve your own food from your homestead, you need a home freeze dryer.
I recommend Harvest Right Freeze Dryers in order to do it right.
What can you freeze dry?
Meat (any type of meat such as ham, ground beef, pork, etc.)
Dairy (ice cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
Fruits (berries, apples, bananas, etc.)
Vegetables (zucchini, peppers, potatoes, etc.)
Leftovers/ Full meals (any meal that doesn’t have a high oil content can be freeze dried).
How do you store freeze dried food?
- Mylar bags-which can be sealed with a food sealer or iron.
- Canning jars-you need to keep them in a cool, dry location.
- #10 Cans-add a oxygen absorber to keep fresh.
- Vacuum sealed bags such as one used with a Food Saver.
How do I find out more about Harvest Right Freeze Dryers?
Is there any downside to this food preservation method?
- Cost-It is an expensive appliance, comparable to a refrigerator or freezer depending on which size you choose.
- Maintenance-The motor needs to be taken care of and oiled, and the water container needs to be emptied after each use.
- Additional Expenses-Depending on the amount of time you are using it, the appliance will take extra electricity which you will see on your electric bill. You will also need to buy oil and containers for the food.
I do not have this home freeze dryer system yet, because it is a big investment. But it is on my list of must haves for the future. A dear friend of mine has one and she absolutely loves it. She and her husband have freeze dried ham, eggs, cheese and many fruits and vegetables from their farm. They feel it is an investment that may take some time to recoup, but it is worth it to know what is in their food and to preserve the food they love from their farm.
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I am an affiliate for Harvest Right Freeze Dryers. That means that if you buy their product, I get a commission (to support this blog) with no extra charge for you. I appreciate your support and I know you will love this product! They have even discounted the freeze dryers recently, so it is an even better deal. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to preserve your harvest for 25 years! That’s amazing.
What is your favorite way to preserve your harvest? Please let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!