Benefits of Freeze Drying at Home
- Better flavor
- Quicker preparation time
Freeze-drying, is like “suspended animation” for food. In this process, fresh or cooked food is rapidly frozen to a very cold temperature (-30°F) and placed in a vacuum. In that vacuum, the water sublimates (evaporates) out of the food until nearly 99% of the water is removed. [insert a picture of the freeze drying process] The finished product is substantially lighter and more compact, making it a great option of lightweight backpackers. Best of all, after fresh food has been freeze dried, it is still fresh. As soon as water is added, the food returns to its original state. It still has nearly all its nutritional value as well as its original fresh taste.
Virtually any food item and ingredient can be freeze-dried. To do this however, an affordable home freeze dryer from Harvest Right is needed. Few campers and backpackers freeze-dry their own food, but more should. Here is a quote from someone who takes their own, home freeze dried food on their camping trips:
Hello fellow freeze dryers! I’ve had a very busy summer spent mostly dry camping (no hookups). We got our Harvest Right freeze dryer at Christmas and it ran it almost 24-7 until summer started. I purposely focused on one-dish meals for our summer in the 5th wheel. But I worried about taste, texture, and whether or not my husband would be satisfied, even happy. The answer is a resounding YES!
Our favorite meal is Costco’s Chicken Alfredo – I reconstitute it in a disposable foil cake pan, cover it with a sheet of foil, and let it bake in the oven for a bit – AWESOME! I also freeze dried my own recipes for Chicken and Rice Casserole; Beef Stroganoff with home-made Spaetzle noodles; Taco Soup (I rehydrate shredded cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top); Sausage Tortellini Soup; and a tomato-based Hamburger Goulash with elbow macaroni (I baked some cornbread to go with it). I did Hormel Chili (freeze-dried right from the cans – so easy!); I freeze dried some marinated grilled chicken slices which I rehydrated to put on top of green summer salads (YUMMY!)
I freeze-dried all of the following for breakfasts: milk, raw scrambled eggs, and pre-cooked sausage patties, as well as bags of freeze-dried biscuits and gravy (another favorite).
Our refrigerator had fresh produce in the bottom drawers, but the rest was used for pop and water since the rest of the food was freeze dried and only needed to have water added. I didn’t have freeze-dried snacks (I hadn’t spent much time doing that kind of thing, but hope to in the future). We ate like KINGS! I can’t tell you how lovely it was to travel and play hard throughout the day, then be able to eat a fabulous meal with hardly any effort and very little cleanup! I’m in love!
Home freeze dried is not only better than store bought camping food, but far more affordable than store bought. Besides, home freeze dried has none of the food additives found in freeze dried brands that are sold on-line and in stores for camping and hiking.
All fresh foods contain water, which is its main source of weight (fruits are more than 80 to 90% water). However, during drying about 98% of the moisture in the food substance is removed, which reduces the weight by as much as 90%, making it lighter to carry backpacking. Aside from freeze-drying’s use in backpacking and camping, the military also freeze-dries foods to make it easier for one person to carry large amounts.
When it is added to boiling water, freeze-dried food can reconstitute in only a few minutes. However, you may also rehydrate foods in cold water, but requires at least double the time to reach full hydration. Because of its fast rehydration time, freeze-dried foods are great and easy meal while backpacking.
Unlike dehydrated food, many freeze-dried foods can be eaten dry as crispy chips. These dry chips can be added to many different recipes to give meals a unique twist.
When freeze drying food for a specific recipe or trip, freeze dry several pounds of each food item for quickly planned outings.
Original taste, texture, and smell are retained in food after it has been freeze-dried. This is because freeze-drying uses little heat, only removing the food’s moisture and holding in the nutrients. The flavor of freeze-dried foods is fresh and has no added sugar or preservatives.