Freeze Drying and Re-hydrating Crunchy Vegetables

It’s the end of the final harvest time for many gardeners around the country. Cooling temperatures and more rain give vegetable plants a boost, so you’re likely to end up with more than you can handle. Traditionally, gardeners would either can or freeze their surplus for use in winter. However, those two methods tend to do strange things to vegetables. Frozen vegetables are easily freezer burned, and both frozen and canned vegetables lose their crunch when subjected to boiling water or canning.

If you have a Harvest Right home freeze dryer, the days of making do with soggy vegetables in winter are over. You can freeze dry vegetables whether they are raw or cooked. If you plan to rehydrate your vegetables, we’ve found that blanching them beforehand will help bring them back to that perfect texture. But, either way, simply spread your vegetables such as broccoli, green beans or Brussels sprout on the freeze drying trays and run them through a standard cycle. When the process is complete, store them in air tight containers or Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber so they don’t absorb moisture from the air.

When you’re ready to use them, rehydrate them with hot water or toss them right into your favorite soup recipe as you’re making it on the stove. Your rehydrated freeze-dried vegetables can retain so much freshness that they’ll even stand up to your favorite summer salad recipes weeks or months after they came out of the garden. Or, if you’re just in the mood for a healthy substitute for chips, spritz your veggies with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning and you’ll be so glad you skipped the can of Pringles.

green beans on a freeze dryer tray broccoli on a freeze dryer tray sliced brussels sprouts

Comments

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Should I season the raw veggies (they would be tossed in oil first) or is it better to season after rehydration?

I do a quick blanch (maybe like 2 minutes), then toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle salt, then freeze dry. That’s what has worked for me for zucchini and squash when I am making veggie chips.

Some customers shred the cabbage, dip in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then in cold water, then freeze dry. It freeze dries perfectly. However, blanching is not a requirement, as many people have found no difference between blanched and non-blanched before freeze drying. Think frozen, as far as the rehydrated texture goes, but, is nice for soups, coleslaw, egg rolls, sauerkraut, etc., so many uses. It’s good just to munch on crunchy, too.

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