If you love the convenience of keeping a stash of freeze-dried food on hand but you’re interested in making your own, we’ve got great news: it’s pretty easy. Here’s how to freeze dry food.
What You’ll Need to Freeze Dry Food
Before you get started, here are a few things you’ll need for freeze-drying food:
Deep freezer – A deep freezer is necessary to freeze dry fruit. A regular refrigerator/freezer will not be cold enough for freeze-drying.
Freeze dryer – This is the machine that will do the freeze-drying. There are many different brands and models available, so consider which features are important to you before purchasing.
Dry Ice – Dry ice is used to lower the freezer’s temperature to -40°F, which is necessary for freeze-dried fruit.
Step One: Preparing the Fruit
To prepare your fruit for freeze-drying, peel, and core if necessary. Cut into small, uniform pieces about 1/2 inch in size. If you aren’t sure how much fruit you’ll need, just make an extra batch. You can always eat any leftovers after they are prepared.
Step Two: Loading the Freeze Dryer
Once your fruit is prepped, it’s time to load the appliance. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model. Generally, you’ll need to load the trays one at a time and ensure that the fruit is not touching or crowded.
If the trays are not removable, you may need to line them with parchment paper to prevent sticking. A word of caution: if you are using a dryer that requires pre-frozen trays, do not put the prepared fruit directly on the trays. The fruit must be frozen before being put into the device, or it will not dry properly.
Step Three: Turning on the Freeze Dryer
Now it’s time to let the dryer do its job! Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model, but generally, you’ll want to set the timer for the longest drying time possible.
The fruit will need to be in the dryer for anywhere from 12 to 72 hours, depending on the type of fruit and the size of the pieces. When the drying time is up, check the freeze-dried fruit to ensure it is properly dried. If it is not, you can put it back in for a little longer.
Any moisture in the frozen food will cause it to spoil, so be sure to check it carefully. Once it is completely dry, the fruit will be crisp and light.
Step Four: Packaging and Storing the Freeze-Dried Food
Proper packaging is crucial to prevent moisture from spoiling the freeze-dried fruit. Use an airtight container, such as a zip-top bag or canning jar. It is best to keep the containers in a cool, dark place for long-term storage. The freezer is ideal for storing food. Freeze-drying fruit will help it last for years when stored properly.
And that’s it! You’ve now learned how to freeze-dried foods at home. With a little practice, you’ll be able to produce high-quality food that you can use for years to come. Be sure to experiment with different fruits to find your favorites. And don’t forget, you can also freeze-dry other foods like vegetables, meat, and even yogurt!