Freeze drying foods is a great way to ensure that you have food that is safe to eat in your home in any situation or circumstance. The freeze drying process greatly differs from other preservative methods because it dramatically affects the texture of the food. However, after freeze drying is completed, while the food will feel different, it will not lose any of its nutritional content or flavor. It will also last for a very long period of time when sealed up and stored away from moisture of any kind. Freeze dried emergency foods last a great deal of time, are extremely lightweight and are perfect for survival kits, disaster preparation, bug out bags or just to take on a long hike or camping trip. They are even used by astronauts. If you’ve ever had a piece of astronaut ice cream while visiting a space museum, then you should have some idea of what a freeze dried food product is like.
The method in which freeze drying is accomplished results in the removal of all water from the food. This is achieved by converting all of the moisture contained in the food into water vapor. The best candidates for freeze drying are foods that contain a large amount of water. For this reason, fruits like apples and berries are perfect. You can also freeze dry ice cream, vegetables, and full meals like pasta with sauce or cooked chicken. However, it may take a little practice before you will be able to successfully freeze dry full meals and meats. Start out with something simple like an apple or a banana. It’s also very important that, when freeze drying, the food you select is in its freshest state. To prepare the food, clean it and cut it up into small pieces.
From here, there are a few different methods that can be used to successfully freeze dry food. One method can be done with your freezer at home. To begin, put the sliced pieces of fruit on a plate and spread them apart. From here, put the plate in the freezer on the lowest temperature setting available. It’s better if the food you are freeze drying is the only thing in the freezer. At this point, you will simply want to leave the food in the freezer until the freeze drying process is completed. Depending on the temperature of your freezer and the food you are freeze drying, it will usually take somewhere around a week to complete. One way to test if the freeze drying is completed is to remove one piece from the plate and let it thaw. The piece will actually turn black if it has not completed the freeze drying process. Once this process is completed, store the food in a sealable bag. Make sure to remove all air from the bag. This can be achieved by zipping the bag up 95% of the way and then to fold and push out all the air through the small opening. Once the bag is completely empty of air, zip the bag up completely until it is air tight.
Another effective method of freeze drying is to use dry ice. This process begins in the same way the freezer process ends. Take the newly cut fresh food and place it into a sealable freezer bag. Make sure the food is spread out and then remove all of the air from the bag. At this point, you can take the bag of food and place it into a cooler that is small enough to fit in your freezer. With this method, it’s easy to freeze bag many bags of food at once. The next step is to place the dry ice over the bag or bags of food. Make sure to wear thick gloves when handling dry ice as it can cause serious burns when direct contact is made with skin. If you want to freeze dry a large portion of food at once, you can make multiple layers of bags of food and dry ice, stacking each on top of the other. After all of this is completed place the cooler in the freezer without its lid. After 6 hours, open the freezer and place the lid on top of the cooler. When 24 hours has passed, check the cooler to see if the dry ice has completely dissipated. When the dry ice is gone, the food should be completely freeze dried and can be stored.