When you can freeze dry your own food, you get the added benefit of storing food that you’ve grown or chosen yourself. You can reduce or eliminate preservatives and chemicals and create your own healthy combinations of stored meals. If you’re interested in boosting the nutritional impact of freeze drying your own food, here are five super, nutrient-dense foods that can easily be freeze dried:

Salmon – Packed with Omaga-3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, potassium, selenium and B-vitamins, salmon may lower your risk of heart disease, depression and more. Choosing wild salmon reduces toxins that may be found in farmed salmon. Grill, broil or smoke salmon filets then freeze dry in individual or family-size portions. Smoked salmon is an excellent choice for freeze drying because it’s so versatile and can be eaten hot or cold. When you’re ready, add the freeze dried salmon to fresh salads, serve it for breakfast or add steamed vegetables for dinner.

Kale – This often-overlooked leafy green may be your new nutritional best friend. Kale has twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, three times the amount of vitamin A and is loaded with vitamin B6, potassium, calcium, magnesium and more. Freeze dried kale has a mild taste and can be easily added to soups and stews. If you have leftover steamed vegetables, chop them with one bunch of kale and freeze dry. When you’re ready for a quick mean, put a can of white beans and some chicken broth in a stew pot with your freeze dried vegetables and simmer 20 minutes. Toast a loaf of French or Italian bread, rub the toasted slices with garlic and serve on top of the soup.

Blueberries – While some superfoods may require an adjustment period, blueberries require no introduction or cajoling. These berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. Like fresh blueberries, freeze dried blueberries are an anti-inflamatory and can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Sure, you can put them in muffins and on cereal but we like to eat them right out of the freeze-dry bag.

Red Bell Peppers
One red bell pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange but, unlike citrus fruit, has almost no impact on blood sugar levels. Red bell peppers also contain beta-carotene and lycopene, two antioxidants that can decrease your risk of eye diseases. We like using freeze dried red bell peppers as a scoop for hummus or in stir fry.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin isn’t just for carving jack-o’-lanterns. This long-lasting root vegetable is packed with nutrients that benefit the whole body and may ease the symptoms of arthritis. Think of freeze dried pumpkin like butternut squash and add it to soups and stews.