The EPA reports “more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste. In fact, it’s about 36 millions tons of food waste every year. The average family throws about $2,275 worth of food every year, or about $165 billion dollars per year in the U.S. Not only does food waste cost money, it requires massive amounts of energy, water, and chemicals for disposal. Of course, the real elephant in the room is the fact that over 870 million people in the world suffer from malnourishment
Reducing food waste at home is the first challenge in reversing the trend, but it’s a challenge most families are ready to accept. After all, throwing out food feels bad because we know we’re throwing out money. The EPA says that the average family could save around $190 per month just by using and preserving food more carefully. One of the best ways to start is to preserve food you don’t use before it spoils, and freeze-drying is easy, inexpensive and preserves the valuable nutrients.
Freeze Drying 101
Ou may be surprised to learn that nearly every food can be freeze dried, including meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables and dairy. You can even freeze dry entire meals yourself! Here’s how freeze drying works:
Put fresh or cooked foods in a home freeze dryer where they are frozen to -40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Once the food is frozen, the dryer creates a powerful vacuum around the food. Then, as the food is slightly warmed, the ice transitions into vapor (called sublimation) and is drawn out of the food. The freeze-dried food is then sealed in moisture and oxygen proof packageing (e.g., easy close mylar bags) to ensure freshness until opened. When you’re ready to use the food, just add water. The food regains its original fresh aroma, texture, and appearance.
Freeze Drying Benefits
Once you’ve invested in a freeze dryer, you’ll likely discover you’re saving much more than anticipated $190 per month. After all, you’ll be able to take advantage of sales on bulk fresh food or discounted food nearing expiration date because you can simply freeze dry it for later use. You’ll be able to really stock up on fresh, ‘at its peak’ locally-grown produce from farmer’s markets. And, you’ll also be able to increase your home garden production and freeze dry extra produce for use long after the harvest.
Freeze drying your own food also allows you to turn leftovers or extra food into your own emergency supply. This way you can ensure the food your family consumes in an emergency has no GMOs, no preservatives, and fits your dietary needs and calorie requirements. Commercial freeze-dried food usually contains food additives that aren’t healthy. Take some time to educate yourself on these additives and how they affect the body.
We encourage you to observe how your family uses food this month and monitor how much you throw away. You just might be surprised.