If there’s one thing Brigette Petersen knows a bit about, it’s stretching a dollar – and an hour. The busy wife and mother of three knows what it’s like to look for the cheap and fast solution when it comes to preparing meals and feeding the family. But a nightly dinner of chicken nuggets and French fries doesn’t really mesh with Brigette’s more health-conscious ideals.
Most families can relate to Petersen’s dilemma; after all, balancing budgets, diets, and schedules, all in one fell swoop, can seem impossible with a busy family. That’s why Brigette purchased a Harvest Right freeze dryer.
Before Harvest Right, freeze dryers were too big and too expensive to fit in a single family home, required a lot of electricity, and took over a week to freeze dry a batch of food — depriving families of opportunities to freeze dry home-cooked meals and personalized recipes.
Freeze dried food has an extremely long shelf life — 15 to 25 years — and preserves freshness, nutrition, color and taste.
“We were trying to be healthy, trying to do things fast and do things cheap. And that’s tough. . . We’d just go grab something at McDonalds – stuff that we shouldn’t really be eating,” said Petersen.
She also said having a freeze dryer at home has made family outings and events easier and cheaper. “I used to give my kids fruit snacks and other unhealthy snacks. The alternative was to buy freeze-dried fruit at the store, but that is really expensive and there isn’t a lot of variety. With my own freeze dryer, I can freeze dry all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and snacks so my children are happy and healthier.”
With a home freeze dryer, she quickly turns fresh foods and produce into snacks, ready-made meals, and long-term food storage that is both nutritious and cost-effective.
Of course, freeze-dried food in the Petersen’s house doesn’t last that long because her family enjoys eating it regularly. Her homemade spaghetti sauce, salsa, pot roast and mashed potatoes are among her husband’s favorite things to freeze dry because, in less than 5 minutes, he can pull a meal off of the shelf, add water, and warm it all up in the microwave for a dinner that tastes just as good as it did when it was first made.
Freeze-dried food has also been convenient for unexpected circumstances. “One lazy Sunday, we were out of fresh eggs,” said Petersen. “We went down to the basement and just pulled out a bag of freeze-dried eggs and some cheese – cheese is great freeze-dried too. We made a whole breakfast from our food storage that tasted amazing.”
Eggs and cheese aren’t the only surprising foods that are easy to freeze dry. Whole meals like casseroles, bbq pulled pork, meatloaf, chicken, and steak freeze dry and store beautifully for eating next week or several years from now. Even desserts like ice cream, yogurt, and puddings can be freeze dried. And of course, the freeze dryer is perfect for fruits and vegetables, allowing families to make the most out of their home gardens. No more wasting fresh peaches and tomatoes when you have grown too many to eat right away and have no time to do canning.
“Before we had the freeze dryer, a lot of our food would go to waste, so we couldn’t grow a big garden like I have always dreamed of having,” said Petersen, who is a gardening enthusiast. “Now, the freeze dryer allows us to grow a bigger garden and have healthier snacks on-hand for our kids anytime we need them.”
She also has a new secret trick for getting her family to eat healthier. She freeze dries vegetables her kids normally don’t like to eat like spinach, kale, and squash, and then blends them up into a powder that she can easily add to her spaghetti sauce or casseroles to add all the vitamins and nutrients without affecting the taste of her family’s favorite meals.
With busy family schedules, dietary restrictions and limited budgets, Petersen isn’t the only person looking for this kind of solution. Harvest Right freeze dryers offer an innovative and creative way to keep busy families healthy and on-budget – while eating deliciously.
Originally published on KSL.com