4 Unique Foods You Can Freeze Dry

FOURProviding 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

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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

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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)

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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)

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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?

By | 2017-10-19T02:59:11+00:00 March 10th, 2016|23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Jean harvey March 11, 2016 at 8:17 am - Reply

    We freeze dried raw pork chops and it looks great. Did cooked buffalo burger ready for spaghetti or soup.

  2. Ron March 11, 2016 at 10:19 am - Reply

    That’s quite a range of foods, all l which I like!

    Ron

  3. Judy Heer March 11, 2016 at 10:31 am - Reply

    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!!!

  4. Sherri Hodgson March 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    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!

  5. Serena Terra March 12, 2016 at 2:05 am - Reply

    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.

    • Stephanie Barlow March 12, 2016 at 8:41 am - Reply

      Thank you so much! We love to hear things like this.

  6. DingyDeb March 13, 2016 at 7:46 pm - Reply

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

  7. Mindy March 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm - Reply

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

    • Stephanie Barlow March 16, 2016 at 10:51 am - Reply

      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.

  8. Linda Fox April 1, 2016 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    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!

  9. Philis Cook April 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    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.

  10. Ella September 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Has anyone freeze dried any baked goods? Is that even possible?

    • Stephanie Barlow September 27, 2016 at 10:16 am - Reply

      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.

  11. Jacqueline November 11, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    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!

  12. donjames March 25, 2017 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    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?

    • Matt Neville March 29, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

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

  13. Peggy Rios March 27, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    My mother has a wonderful Indian Chicken Curry Recipe. Can we cook it and then freeze dry it?

    • Matt Neville March 29, 2017 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Yes! It would be perfect for freeze drying.

  14. Peggy Rios March 27, 2017 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Can you freeze dry already cooked meals like cassaroles? Thank you!

    • Julie Booekr May 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      Yes! I do it all the time.

  15. Carol Womble April 14, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

    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?

  16. Melody September 26, 2017 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    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?

    • Matt Neville September 26, 2017 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      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.

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