4 Unique Foods You Can Freeze Dry

the word four with food as the text color for the lettersProviding healthy, fresh food to your family can be challenging—especially when your life is full of deadlines, carpools, homework, after-school activities, and everyday chores. Canning and dehydrating food helps, but each of those processes robs food of nutritional value and even when you freeze your food to retain the nutrition, it comes with an expiration date.

Enter freeze drying. This is the answer to preserving nearly every kind of food without sacrificing flavor, color, or nutrition—and the best part is that freeze-dried foods can last from 15 to 25 years on your pantry shelf. Fruits and vegetables are a natural fit for freeze drying, but freeze drying goes far beyond the produce section.

You might not be able to can or dehydrate that leftover package of shredded mozzarella or Grandma’s homemade strawberry ice cream, but freeze drying can preserve those indulgent flavors for years to come. If you’ve ever regretted having to toss that last scoop of yogurt or an overripe avocado, regret no more. Here are three surprising foods that you can hold on to thanks to freeze drying – and how to best enjoy them.

Ice Cream & Greek Yogurt

freeze dried ice cream

We all know that dairy comes with an expiration date, and if we don’t get all of our favorite yogurt finished before that deadline, we’re out of luck. But thanks to freeze drying, you can enjoy every last ounce of your favorite ice cream or Greek yogurt. Because freeze drying preserves the by first freezing it to -30 and -50 degrees, then slowly sublimates (evaporates) out the liquid in a vacuum state, you can literally freeze dry a scoop of ice cream and save it for later. In fact, the ice cream in this photo has already been freeze dried.

Freeze-dried ice cream isn’t as soft as the initial creamy scoop, but it will have the same decadent taste. You’ll experience a more airy, meringue-like texture but your tongue will have a hard time telling the difference as the ice cream dissolves in your mouth.

When it comes to yogurt, freeze drying gives you the chance to turn your favorite coconut or lemon treat into a flavor-packed powder to add to smoothies, pancakes, or give an extra zing to your famous pound cake. And if there are kids at home, try freeze drying dollops of yogurt to offer as a great on-the-go snack that’s healthy and delicious.

Leafy Greens

kale

Freeze drying makes it possible for you to prolong the life of your favorite leafy greens while simultaneously turning them into delicious snack food. Freeze-dried kale with a spritz of olive oil and some seasonings makes a perfect, healthy chip. Kale and spinach can also be re-hydrated by tossing them in your favorite soup or casserole. Or, with just a spritz of water from a squirt bottle, they can be tossed with berries and nuts to make a perfect salad.

Now you don’t have to worry about planting too many greens in your garden, because freeze drying lets you use every last bit your harvest. And you’ll be able to enjoy the taste and health benefits of garden-fresh greens all year long. As a bonus, you can add an extra punch to your morning smoothie. Just skip sprinkle in a little freeze-dried kale powder to amp up your nutritional intake.

Eggs (raw and cooked)

eggs in a frying pan

Very few foods provide the nutrition that’s contained in one, small egg. Freeze drying makes it possible to preserve those nutrients and proteins in a far less fragile state. Cooked or raw scrambled eggs are a perfect fit for freeze drying. For example, raw eggs can be whisked, freeze dried and kept in their powdered form to used in all baking and cooking recipes (2 tablespoons of egg powder equals one egg). Or, eggs can be freeze dried in their scrambled state and easily re-hydrated with a little water in a hot skillet.

With a freeze dryer, you’ll never have to throw out old eggs again, and you’ll always be prepared for an impromptu brunch or get-together with blueberry muffins, waffles or a soufflé.

Meats (raw and cooked)

pork ribs

Meat is quite easy to freeze dry. It doesn’t take long, and it turns out great. It doesn’t matter whether the meat has been cooked or is raw, just place thick or thinly sliced pieces on your trays and let the freeze dryer do the rest. It will beep at you when it is done. Package meats with an oxygen absorber to help it last 10 to 15 years.

The best thing is that when you re-hydrate the meat, it will look the same as it did before you freeze dried it and it will have all its nutritional value. If it has been cooked prior to drying, you can easily submerging the meat in water, pat it off with a paper towel and voila — it’s ready to put on sandwiches, in soups, casseroles or by itself on a plate with freeze-dried mashed potatoes and gravy.

If the food was freeze-dried while raw, you can submerge the food in water for a few minutes, pat it dry and grill, bake, or fry it. You will be surprised to find that it is great—just as if you had used fresh raw meat.

Have you tried freeze drying any of these foods? How did it go?

Comments

I have freeze dried cooked hamburger with onions ready for use in anything from tacos to spaghetti or stew. I have also freeze dried diced ham. I diced it because I wanted something that could be warmed up without using a lot of heat/energy since I am preparing this food for emergency use.
I run 5 or 6 batches of food a week. I have a load of beef stew in process now.
LOVE MY FREEZE DRYER!!!

I’ve done everything from chili and stroganoff to eggs (raw and cooked), cheese, ice cream and yogurt, to chicken, ham, and beef. We love the convenience and cost savings of having our own home freeze dryer!

I am just starting to use my machine. I have done apple slices, cherries and some creamy soup. They all turned out amazing! It is fun to think that even with a power outage, I can have some really nice foods on my shelf. I have been storing them in glass jars using an attachment that goes with my food saver/sealer. People who try these food items have lots of questions about how the process works and it is fun to tell them. I a very much looking forward to trying more types of food. I love this purchase.

I freeze dried turkey sandwich meat and also smoked salmon, both turned out perfect. The hard part is waiting to eat it! lol

How do you rehydrate cheese? I freeze dried slices of colby jack and when I tried to rehydrate it, it was just soggie.

Mindy, we would try wrapping sliced cheese in a damp/wet paper towel or cloth and letting it sit for a little while. That should help it come back to life the way you’d like it. Also, if you use shredded freeze dried cheese, you can generally just add it to your favorite casserole or recipe and it will rehydrate from the moisture in the rest of the food.

BEST THING I HAVE SEEN I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING HARVEST RIGHT AND WANT THE BIG FOOD DEHYDRATER BADLY. I Am saving up for it. My son and I are always thinking of new things we will do with it. Great invention!

My dryer has been going nearly constantly since I got it. Right now I am drying eggs since our hens are laying so many eggs. I have dried them raw, plain scrambled, and scrambled with sweet peppers and onions to use in breakfast tacos. I had sweet potatoes from the garden last year. It was the end of the year and they were starting to sprout. I dried them raw cut like french fries, sliced thin for chips, mashed, and baked.

I have a recipe for a quiche that uses thinly sliced sweet potatoes for the crust. I tried the thinly sliced dried potatoes for the crust and it worked just like fresh and tastes wonderful.

I have also dried leftovers such as casserole, grilled steak, and roast. I just love my dryer. I just wish it was bigger.

Yes. We do pound cake and brownies. We rehydrate by wrapping in a moist paper towel, a warm towel, or by wrapping in a moist paper towel and putting in a ziplock bag in the fridge. We’ve also done lemon bars and cheesecakes. We just like them as a crunchy snack.

I just got mine started! I bought it a month ago, but worried about setting it up right after reading too much online! It went together so well and was so self explanatory! I have done a batch a day – starting with smoked pulled pork, then cheese, and on to shredded roast beef, shredded chicken and what everyone has been waiting for – Fat Boy ice cream bars.
The pork just melted in your mouth and when rehydrated – it was the exact same texture. Wow, we are in love. The boys all backpack in the summer and they are dreaming of the meals they are going to bring with them – starting with Cheesecake Factory’s Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp!

dryer will be here in a few days and I am dreaming of all the things I want to dry meats are on the top of the list, there is a pic of ribs with bone in above.
Does it dry well with the bone or does it just have a shorter shelf life, like a year or 2?

It is normally best to freeze dry without the bone. The shelf life is longer and you maximize the space in your freeze dryer.

My husband loves all types of greens cooked in chicken broth with added pieces of chicken. If I dry the greens raw, will they have substance to cook like that or should I cook first then dry?

Hi there! Curious about dairy, the site says no butter but then lists milk. Can you freeze dry whole fat milk? Or heavy cream? Cream cheese? Also, I raise my own meat- chickens and goats, soon cows and pigs but I’m wondering if you can FD bone in and if it all has to be prepped in smaller pieces, like I couldn’t do a roast? Or good size steak?

The items listed are all great for freeze drying. Packaged properly they will last for many years. Freeze drying is limited to 1″ pieces or smaller. So most customers cook and then put the smaller pieces in their freeze dryer. The large freeze dryer can handle up to 17 lbs. of food per batch.

Has anyone freeze dried prepared, but uncooked, cake or brownie batter? I saw mention of cake, but it seems like if you did the batter and then ground it up, you could have a just-add-water then bake long term storage cake mix? Does anyone know if this works?

You would be better just having a normal cake mix and adding powdered egg and adding oil and water. You might could try experimenting with butter powder too, but the oil acts as a tenderizer So it might be best to just add oil and water

Ive been doing a bit of everything. My daughter has autism and sensory processing disorder. The interesting thing is that she has been eating foods she would never have tried before just because it’s crunchy now. Her nutrition has greatly improved and I’m saving a lot of money not having to buy freeze dried foods. The added bonus of knowing what’s in the food makes this purchase one i am thrilled about.

I’ve had a HR FD for nearly 2 years, still experimenting and packing away food for survival and camping. I FD:
(1) thin sliced ham (which I cut into smaller pieces) – awesome reconstituted or dry like a cracker;
(2) scrambled eggs, with bacon bits OR some of the ham pieces — take camping;
(3) ice cream (slice it with electric knife into pieces about 1 inch thick;
(4) cooked ground beef (wash in hot water to rid of fat.);
(5) homemade chili w/ beans — break in chunks to store.
(6) any frozen fruit from the store (slice large strawberries w/electric knife after soften 10 minutes);
(7) mini marshmallows for homemade hot chocolate mix;
(8) canned tuna and canned chicken (remove as much moisture as you can first);
(9) cooked sliced chicken breast or turkey;
(10) small globs of yogurt;
(11) COOKED vegetables (so they are ready to eat);
(12) fresh kale (from garden)
(13) seeds in their packets for long term storage;
Then I vacuum seal everything AS SOON AS I take it out. Ziploc bags don’t work for long term storage (more than a few weeks). That was an expensive lesson.
Flavors and aromas don’t mix. I FD ice cream and ham on the same tray. Awesome appliance!

Yes, you can use canning jars to store your freeze-dried food. Be sure to include an oxygen absorber, keep the jars out of the light, and store them where the temperature stays cool.

For long term storage we recommend freeze drying lean meats. For short term 1-2 years it should be fine if packaged properly.

Cam you freeze dry latte’s- making a powdered instant latte mix? Would be great to have at work for a quick hot drink.

Can you freeze dry a coconut cream ice cream? We are non-dairy and mix fruit, sugar, and coconut cream to make our ice cream at home.

My understanding is that foods with fats do not freeze dry well. If I roast vegetables lightly coated with olive oil, will they turn rancid over time? Thanks.

Any fat will eventually go rancid. Heat, light, and oxygen are driving factors for rancidity. If you keep your roasted vegetables in a vacuum sealed bag that doesn’t let light in and put in a silica or water absorbing packet and store in a cool area, they will last the longest- at least a few years. Would they last longer without the addition of oil? Most likely, but you can still get a good shelf life with the oil.

Has anyone done fish? We spend a lot of time fishing during the year so the freezer is always full of fish like Walleye and Wiper, any suggestions?

I just did frozen tuna medallions then rehydrated one in 1/2 cup water and cooked in microwave. It was really good although I did 30 seconds and overcooked it a bit.

I use lean bacon and remove as much of the fat as possible. After it’s cooked, I rinse it in hot water and then pat it dry. I put paper towels under and over the bacon when I freeze dry it, just to avoid any mess. Fats will go rancid over time, so, bacon is one of my short-term food storage items. I’ve done it for bacon bits and full strips and it works well. 

How long is “over time” I fd some bacon with scrambled eggs for a camp trip in a few weeks, do you think it will be ok with less than a month of storage?

I bought Great Value dried bacon chunks in a plastic bag and the expiration date is several months out. However, they warn you to refrigerate after opening even though there’s a ton of preservatives in the bacon. I would recommend freeze drying single use packets and they should be fine as long as they’re used right away.

I have been looking for different items to fd, have had success with jello very pretty when you do several colors, gummy worms the size of giant cheetos, and milk duds. Any other strange ideas out therr

I have done donuts, twinkies, apple fritters, ice cream sandwiches and have even done Cherry Pie!!

My favorite is the Twinkies though!!!

I freeze dried onions and they are great! I ground up half of them to use for onion powder and kept the diced for sauces, casseroles, soups, etc.

How about vitamins and nutrients in powder form if dumped out of their capsules? Or even cocoa powder?

What kind of meats ,dairy,fruits and Vegas can u freeze dry? Can u fd milk just from pouring in the pans? Bread cakes brownis that have been cooked? If something was frozen do u need to defrost before freeze dried?

I grow lots of fruit, I have a hard time trying to store them (freeze) or give them away or compost. Has anyone FD these fruits?
avocado, mango, papaya, pineapples

Those fruits all freeze dry very well. In fact, you have listed some of my personal favorites. I would love to have your problem of excess!

Pineapples chunks are fabulous tasting, but my batch took over 40 hours. I’m guessing due to the high sugar content in the fruit…? I’m trying peaches in a batch now. Strawberries and blueberries taste like candy 🙂 I get a 4-5 lb bag of frozen fruits or veggies and then just put them on the trays. Its made prepping easier and more dependable.

Pineapple is the best!!! So much flavor. I have Done peaches and pears ( my favorite) blueberries , apples and pineapples. The blueberries required a little extra time but all were great!!!

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