What Kind of Food Can I Freeze Dry?

If you’re new to freeze drying at home or are considering if a home freeze dryer would be useful, you might be wondering what kinds of foods you can freeze dry. We love experimenting, and so do our customers, so there’s no shortage of information on the subject.

freeze dried food on trays in a stainless steel freeze dryer

Freeze Dry It

The short answer is, most foods can be freeze dried including:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • meats
  • dairy
  • entire meals
  • desserts

Don’t Freeze Dry It

There are a few foods that don’t do well in a freeze dryer. Remember, freeze dryers work by extracting water from food. It does leave behind oil, so oily foods don’t fare very well in a freeze dryer. Some foods are:

  • peanut butter
  • pure chocolate
  • butter
  • honey
  • syrup
  • jam

honey

Freeze Drying Tips

Now that you’ve got the basics of what can and can’t be freeze dried (or reconstituted), here are some tricks to make your results even better:

  • Peel or halve fruits and vegetables before freeze drying
  • If you leave the skin, cut in half and place skin side down on the tray
  • For small food such as grapes or cherry tomatoes, place a handful between two lids and slice between the lids with a bread knife.
  • Blanch potatoes before freeze drying (or they’ll oxidize and turn black).
  • Don’t be afraid to pour liquids such as soup, milk, raw eggs and broth onto the trays.
  • Note that freeze drying times are not set in stone. Some foods require longer to process.
  • Use parchment paper or silicone mats to help keep trays clean
  • Label fish, meat or eggs that haven’t been cooked – freeze drying does not kill bacteria
  • Buy food in quantities when it’s on sale. Freeze dried food lasts up to 25 years!

Join our community and see more tips to freeze dry like a pro on our Facebook page.

Comments

We are starting to backpack more. We have done freeze dry meals, fruits, vegs. Probably not benefit in weight savings to freeze dry nuts (since they are mostly fat)? What have others found?

For the calorie-weight ratio, nuts are an excellent choice. Look up “Ultralight Dandy” on youtube, he has excellent meals for ultralite through hikes.

I live on a 5th generation farm. I grew up watching my grandma and mom can all kinds of things we harvested on the farm, I continue to can today. I love this concept and am extremely interested to learn how to freeze dry food as an alternative to canning. I would put something like this to use for sure! I will definitely be looking into purchasing one!

Freeze drying is SO much easier than canning! I learned to can with my mom and I love having my work available to me all year, but this has been amazing! I’ll be freezing strawberries this year and making jam fresh with rehydrated strawberries to see how that works! I’m so excited!

We went with the Large Machine. The trays are Deeper (Front To Back) It makes it nice to have more room, especially with having the 5th tray. I wish it had even more!! Also, One final note…I like to pre-freeze my product if possible before I put it in the Freeze dryer. It usually takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. off the dry time. I’ve learned to cut my fruit such as Pineapple in thicker pieces or cubes. At first I read that the norm is about 1/4 in. And they turned out good, but since my first batch, I’ve been slicing mine about 1/2 to 3/4 in. thick. The results were amazing!! Even more flavor than before!! It’s my kids favorite. GOOD LUCK!!! I would buy it again!

I want one of these freeze dryers so bad but do not have that amount of money to buy one now. Do you have a payment program?

We have a great layaway program that is interest free. Many customers purchase their freeze dryers this way. Call to learn more.

Can coffee be freeze dried? I have had my freeze drier less than 2 weeks. Have a million questions. So far we haven’t made any disasters. Really need to know about the coffee. And if it can be freeze dried, would I make it just as always or stronger before freeze drying? Do you have any books, or know of any books to help me learn the different ways to process before and after freeze drying?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze dry coffee. Some customers brew really strong coffee and freeze dry it to create their own version of instant coffee powder. It’s said to taste better than store-bought. Along with your freeze dryer, you should have received a ‘Guide to Freeze Drying’ (Starter Guide) which has some helpful tips and guidelines to help you get started. You can also find a lot of information on our blog and all throughout our Facebook community. They are a very helpful resource!

Can you freeze dry frozen potatoes or other vegetables and fruits which are already partly prepared? I’m interested in knowing about freeze drying directly from frozen items when i find them on sale. Thank you, Lee

Can you successfully freeze dry pure raw honey?
All similar products I see have granulated sugar added, which defeats the whole point. Is it because of the liquid content of honey?
Thank you for your feedback.

Unfortunately honey cannot be freeze dried, it is too high in sugar (and low moisture content). Honey is the one food, however, that will last forever without freeze drying. 🙂

I have been reading about Harvest Right freeze dryers since they first came on the market. With the knowledge I have learned, I have promoted more dryers than I can count. So many of my online friends have purchased these beauties. I can’t afford one myself, but it gives me so much joy, sharing the knowledge and turning people on to this fantastic product!! Thank you Harvest Right, for making your product available to the public. One day….. I ( God willing) I will own one myself!

I have been preparing my own meals and freeze drying them, and so far success. I am thinking about corned beef and cabbage, but my husband has concerns about the cabbage – any thoughts?

The biggest question, I haven’t heard yet from anyone….is how
much does it run up your electric bill…

Retired at 40 on YouTube answers that question! https://youtu.be/f1pgcIhchuw
He said that it was about $3.50 for a long (moist) run cycle that lasted I think 47 hours. Personally, I think that’s pretty reasonable considering how much I’d have to pay to buy something freeze dried already. And you could easily cut that cost nearly in half by freezing in a regular freezer and just running a dry cycle.

Very little oxidation occurs with the freeze dry process. This is one reason that it is far superior to canning and dehydrating.

Wondering how home made granola bars and little bites do in the freeze dryer machine. We use nut butters and maple syrup / other raw vegan ingredients. Anyone know how these do?

I noted that “Pure Chocolate” is noted as not being able to be freeze dried.. so does that mean Milk cholocate can be freeze dried? We bought a post Easter sale of choco bunnies… solid that we planned on breaking into chunks but also considered leaving them whole.

I see freeze-dried bread for sale (at an astonishing markup), but I have never seen a video of anyone reconstituting it for it to be used as a sandwich.

Any ideas?

Yes, bread freeze dries really well. To rehydrate bread, just wrap with a damp paper towel, put it in a sealed plastic bag, and store in fridge overnight. It’s like fresh!

But, freeze-dried bread works really well just smothered in sausage gravy, SOS, or dipping it in soups, chilis, etc. We also have a lot of customers that make grilled cheese sandwiches, cut them into bite-sized pieces, and freeze dry them. It’s like a crunchy grilled cheese crouton that naturally rehydrates in a bowl of hot soup. Yum!

Here’s a link to a video that one of our customers made showing how they rehydrated banana bread (a different method than what we suggested above for sandwiches): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daLV8ktpXCc

Can foods that are already low in moisture be freeze dried? I was specifically thinking about sun-dried fruits.

They sell bulk bags of organic sun-dried blueberries & apricots @ Costco for a good price. I was thinking of putting them a freezer overnight, followed by freeze drying them for an optimum electricity, time & cost saving approach.

However, will the fact that they have very little moisture content to begin with cause a problem to the vacuum pump?

The optimal water content of honey is 18% as per USDA guidelines. Canada is 17%. If honey is higher it ferments and is referred to as ‘baker’s honey’.
If as you say the water content is too low, would a higher water content work ? To check water content, we use a refractometer.

What of the following can I freeze dry to enhance their storage longevity => dry beans, coffee beans, brown rice, lentils, dried herbs, peppercorns, oatmeal, barley, tea, edible seeds, corn meal, flour, spices etc. that are already sort of dried? In general does it help to vacuum seal freeze dried food and then seal again in a Mylar bag? Which bag should get the oxygen absorber? Thanks!

You can freeze dry any of the mentioned products (and many others) that are already “dried” to some degree. Removing the remaining moisture and then placing the oxygen absorber directly into the pouch containing the dried product, and sealing the pouch, is sufficient to increase the storage longevity.

Keep the product away from heat and sunlight. Freeze drying planting seeds also increases their longevity and does not harm them.

Vacuum sealing freeze-dried food eliminates the need to add the oxygen absorber.

Hello,
I have certainly used and enjoyed our freeze drier – Thank you!
I have experimented a lot; however, this is one thing I want some advice on, as it may respond like honey.
I want to make date sugar. Do dates have too high a sugar content or will they freeze dry leaving my drier clean and pretty?

If I CAN freeze dry them, do you suggest making a date paste, pouring it on the sheets then grinding them in the blender when done OR do you recommend cutting the dates in half and placing the cut side on the tray to freeze dry them? I can blend them afterward as well (the second step seams like a better option as it has less steps/requires less time:)

Thanks for your help!
Beth

I do not have a freeze drier, but I use a lot of freeze dried foods, and intuitively what I would try is pit the dates then freeze dry (whole or halves as they are small and thin enough), then grind up the dried dates into a powder. No harm trying. Please report your results if do it.
PS: I based my intuition on the fact that I have noticed a huge difference between fresh dates and older dates that have naturally dehydrated. The longer they stay the drier they become to the point of being slightly powdery.

Can you just vacuum seal your freeze dried foods, instead of sealing in Mylar bags. does it effect the shelf life? I saw where one reply said if vacuum sealed there is no need for oxygen bag. I love my freeze dryer have had it about a month and trying a lot of different things. It is amazing how the flavor in fruit it heightened by freeze drying. My husband doesn’t like fruit but he loves it freeze dried.

Our freeze dryer has not arrived yet, but my plan is to use a vacuum sealer instead of Mylar bags. I don’t need the food to last 25 years, and Mylar bags are kind of a pain to work with.

Can I freeze dry vegetables that I juice like carrots, cucumbers, spinach, beets, etc., and rehydrate them to make vegetable (or fruit) juice?

We have a lot of sliced frozen fruit leftover from last year’s harvest. Can it be freeze dried directly from frozen?

Thanks
Jeff

Does anyone else have a special needs child who has a feeding tube and requires special formula??? What happens to them in a disaster? Can the formula be freeze dried (her’s is a liquid form not powdered)?

can we freeze dry cream cheese? and will it still be tasty?
do you have any tips?
thank you so much for making this article

Cream cheese is so easy to freeze dry. And it’s a great staple to have on-hand because it seems like you never have fresh when you need it. The key, I think, is to powder it after it’s been freeze dried. When rehydrating, it can sometimes turn out gritty if you didn’t powder it well. Then I just mix in cold water with a whisk. Add just a little water at a time, if you need more, just add what you need. A mini food processor might work better than a whisk, but whisking has worked well for me in the past. I’ve used it for dips, cheesecake, you name it. Turns out great.

Yes! Pre-freezing the food will help reduce the freeze time greatly. Your freeze dryer will automatically sense that the food is pre-frozen and will reduce the time.

Have seen above 3 years ago regarding freeze drying nuts. We have lots of pecans. Dry time we understand. What about the reconstituting? Storage time? Thanks for your input.

looking to getting one of these but one thing I’m interested in is seeing if I can freeze dry Almond Milk. I know you can do regular milk but what about almond milk

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