A home freeze dryer can make holiday feasts and parties so much easier. Freeze drying allows you to make snacks, entrees and side dishes ahead of time, then quickly re-hydrate and serve. Instead of cooking all day and feeling too exhausted to enjoy your party or holiday meal, you can make, freeze-dry and store dishes and ingredients ahead of time and re-hydrate them just before serving. And, after that big party or meal, you don’t need to throw out your leftovers. Instead freeze-dry those meats, side dishes and goodies to enjoy later. Think of the money you can save and how much less food you’ll waste.

Re-hydrating food is fast and simple, and in most cases re-hydrated food tastes the same as freshly made food.Blog-2cRight-RibsReady

Here are some tips for re-hydrating food for holiday meals and parties:

Re-hydrate meats such as ham and turkey by soaking them in water. Don’t worry, freeze-dried meat will soak up the right amount of moisture–you can’t over-hydrate. Once re-hydrated, pat excess moisture off the pieces with a paper towel. You can easily warm your re-hydrated meats in an oven or microwave or just add them to your favorite dish. You’ll never know they were freeze dried.

 To re-hydrate vegetables, place them in a bowl or on the stove in a pan of water or just put them right into a simmering soup. To keep vegetables as crispy as possible, instead of soaking, Blog-2cLeft-Applesspritz them with water allow the water to absorb, then spritz again until they are rehydrated to your liking. Most fruit is delicious without being re-hydrated, but re-hydrated fruits like apples and berries are great for pies, smoothies and so much more. Or, put fruits right into your yogurt and oatmeal and they’ll rehydrate on their own.

Entrees like freeze dried lasagna can be rehydrated with steam if you want it to retain it’s shape. Or, you can easily break it into pieces, put in a casserole dish, add hot water and cover with foil and bake in the oven it will make more of a “lasagna casserole.” It will taste exactly the same as before you freeze dried it, it just might not look as pretty. If you’re re-hydrating side dishes such as soup, stuffing or mashed potatoes, just add hot water little by little until you have the desired consistency. But, just remember, everyone does things just a little differently, so there’s no right or wrong way to rehydrate your freeze dried food.

Need some more ideas for using your freeze dryer this holiday season? Join the discussion on our Facebook page or take a look at other ideas on our blog or in our Will It Freeze Dry section of the Harvest Right website!