Recently one of the Harvest Right team was traveling in Europe and overheard a woman in a restaurant attempting to explain to a waiter, in broken Italian, that she had broad and severe food allergies. She couldn’t have fat, dairy, gluten, eggs, beans, corn, and a whole other list of foods. It was a difficult conversation and the diner could only hope the waiter understood her requests – and took them seriously. To add insult to injury, she was clearly having a business dinner and seemed uncomfortable talking about a personal issue in her colleague’s presence.
Sadly, she isn’t alone in her complex dilemma. According to Food Allergy Research & Education, over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies increased in children nearly 50%, and one in 13 suffers from a potentially deadly allergy.
Now imagine trying to travel for work, or vacation, with severe food allergies. Those with allergies are constantly on defense against hidden ingredients and menus that have nothing for them. And, if you have severe allergies how do you survive a transatlantic flight when you can’t eat the chicken or the pasta? The struggle is real.
If you have severe food allergies, having the ability to make your own portable meals and snacks is a game-changer. Freeze dried meals are compact and lightweight so they’re easily transported. You can travel with all of your favorite (safe) comfort foods, and have the peace of mind you won’t be hungry and you won’t be sick. Many freeze dried foods are easy to eat anywhere – just add hot water – or snack on them in their freeze-dried state.
If you or someone you know lives with severe food allergies, we invite you to join our social media community and share your questions or stories about freeze drying.
Yes! I really hope to save up enough to get a freeze dryer. We have multiple severe food allergies and have yet to find a brand of freeze dried food that is safe for everyone- buying each person a safe meal is cost prohibitive and relying that there will be safe food for us when we travel is not a safe thing for us to do.
Surprisingly, I didn’t see anything in detail on your site about how to package the food in airtight bags. Maybe I just missed it, but that seems to be one of the most crucial parts if you are preparing the food for use much later. Do you have to buy some contraption that sucks all the oxygen out of a bag and seals it super tight? You also mention just putting the food in mason jars. Obviously, the food is very exposed to oxygen in a jar, so are you only advising that when you’re going to eat the food within a few weeks?
On our site and in other blog posts, we talk about packaging quite a lot. For long term storage we recommend heavy duty mylar bags with an oxygen absorber, #10 cans with an oxygen absorber, or mason jars with an oxygen absorber.
Those people who have food allergies will have so much idea after reading this article. Having food allergies is really hard, it is good to know that by freezing dried meals that can be transported anywhere can ease you out in looking for a restaurant which has menus for those who have food allergies.
I have a child with a few severe food allergies of some foods we would like to freeze dry (eggs and fish). If we do not mix batches, is there a possibility of cross contamination (ie. remaining allergen/particles)? If so, is there a recommended cleaning process?
We would like to know, too.
I would say yes, there’s absolutely a chance to cross contaminate foods. I also think it’s possible to minimize it by cleaning the insides of the machine and trays in between batches but I was just thinking to myself how nice a second machine would be to keep separate foods that my son has allergies to. The food does get dusty dry and I can see little bits of it on the inside of my machine when I shine a light in there.