By Lisa Barker, Guest Blogger
When I first began playing with my freeze dryer and experimenting with different foods, my excitement to be able to freeze dry in my own kitchen was . . . extreme, to say the least.
I quickly realized the need to put some method to my freeze drying frenzy. Here are some of the things that I learned in the process to help new home freeze dryers like me get the most out of their experience.
Start with the Simple Stuff
I decided to first try foods that I felt pretty sure that I would have success with as a beginner, giving me experience using the appliance and confidence to think about other possibilities. I suggest this approach for anyone with a new freeze dryer.
For me, this meant starting with lettuces and herbs because I knew they would be fairly straight-forward.
As expected, the cilantro, basil and other leafy goodies that I put into the freeze dryer came out great, and, by giving myself a good idea of what to expect from the appliance, I learned the ropes enough to feel good about moving on to the next stage.
Freeze Dry Things You Need On Hand
Next I decided to think about the cooking ingredients that I never seem to have on hand when I’m trying to make something and don’t want to make a special trip to the store. I suspect that most cooking enthusiasts have an ingredient or two like this that never seems to be close by when they need it.
I decided to freeze dry some ginger because I have a love for cooking and eating Asian food but often don’t keep ginger in the house. I did a tray of slivered ginger, another tray of shredded ginger, and a third tray of small pieces that I could easily crush into ginger powder for meals and jars and such. Project done!
I like to think I’m a creative person, but my left brain needs to work out the cooking process ahead of time to free up my mind and allow my creative side to take over. After freeze drying all that ginger in different ways and knowing it was there, I found myself cooking those delicious Asian dishes that I love more often.
Dry the Foods You Love
I love the texture of a perfectly ripe avocado, but, as we all know, they can go from perfect to mushy in just a few hours.
This is something I hadn’t really even considered a possibility until the people at Harvest Right mentioned how surprisingly good freeze-dried avocados are, and they were right. Freeze drying is a great way to make sure they are always perfect!
For many years I’ve been the only member of my family that loves and eats avocados. I’ve got my older daughter coming along on her taste exploration, but usually an avocado will go mushy before I can get around to eating the whole thing, meaning that we usually end up using it for face masks!
Now I have a sealed jar of freeze-dried avocado slices to snack on any time I want. I just pull them out, place them in a colander, spritz them with water, and allow them to sit for a few minutes. With one last spritz they’re ready to add into a salad with a great, fresh taste and texture. I have also been creating guacamole kits with the avocados, tomatoes, and onions that I freeze dry, making it easy to have fresh guacamole any time of the year. Oh, the possibilities!