Do you currently own a freeze-dryer appliance in your home? If not, you might be surprised by what they can do that those other food-preserving methods can’t. Freeze-dried products are not only an ideal option for backpackers and culinary masters but especially for preppers who are stocking up for emergencies.
Please let me point out, I don’t own one and don’t plan on buying one based on my current age and storage capacity. If I have a question about one, I ask Matt in our group. At my age, (73) it doesn’t make sense for me to buy one. If I was younger and starting out I would have certainly considered it.
At this stage in life, I’ve been collecting commercially packed freeze-dried food from reliable companies for many years. If you can get fresh food products and preserving jars, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers at affordable prices, I would go for it.
There was a store down in St. George, Utah, where I attended a demonstration on one of the original Harvest Right units. The store owners showed us how to hook it up, place the food, etc. I learned that most of the items will take 24 hours unless you freeze the food in your home freezer first before placing the trays in the freeze dryers. That step will speed up the freeze-drying time considerably.
This would be hard for me because my freezer is full and if I had to place six small trays in the freezer it’s not going to work for me. I was at a civic club get-together a month ago and the woman next to me said she purchased one. She said she loves it but she has never had any food storage skills or equipment in the past, so this has been a stiff learning curve. It has been so much fun for her but she said it does take a long time to freeze-dry your food. It’s really different than canning 3 bushels of peaches in a pressure canner or even processing dehydrated food.
With this method of food preservation, you wouldn’t buy or pick 3 bushels of fruit or vegetables at one time because they would spoil before you could freeze-dry them all. It’s just a different way of preserving food that might need to be done in smaller batches.
Maybe you’re still stuck on the fence and wondering if a home freeze-dryer is really right for you. Instead of throwing a bunch of advertising in your face, I’d love to take a moment and share with you a few of the pros and cons of using a home freeze dryer that I’ve learned so you’re able to make a better decision. Keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of freeze drying. 5 Freeze-Dried Food Items I Recommend You Store
Strawberry Slicer and Banana Slicer
Pros and Cons of Freeze Drying
Pros of Freeze Drying
There are several benefits that come with owning your own home freeze-dryer. Freeze-drying food is easier than you ever thought possible, plus it makes for great food storage. Here are just a few benefits worth mentioning. Freeze-Dried Food-How To Use Them
Freeze-Drying Process = Easy Preparation
One of the great things about freeze-dried food is that it requires very little in terms of preparation. In fact, it’s very similar to preparing food that you plan on freezing or canning. With a few simple steps, you can have your fruits like apples and veggies like carrots ready to be stored away in no time. It’s my understanding the freeze-dryers should be placed in areas without a lot of humidity to be most efficient. I would YouTube some videos to watch if you’re not able to go see a personal demonstration at a store near you.
Longer Shelf Life than Other Food Preservation Methods
Freeze-drying foods will help extend the shelf life of food products significantly longer than other methods, such as canning or dehydrating. This means less worrying about consuming or disposing of what you’ve preserved before it starts going bad. Freeze-dried foods can help your food last a long time, which is every prepper’s dream. Long-term storage for food is always the goal. Freeze-Dried Food
Another huge benefit to freeze-drying is that it preserves most of the nutritional content from your original foods. That way they’re just as nutritious as they are in their raw foods form or if they’ve been frozen. So you don’t have to worry about losing out on vitamins and minerals when using this method since the nutrients are still intact.
Tastes Just as Good as when Its Raw or been Frozen
Another huge benefit of freeze-drying is that the food still tastes just as good once it’s been dried. So there’s no need to worry about sacrificing flavor for convenience with this method. Shelf-stable food is possible and a freeze dryer allows us to do this! Since the flavor is still yummy, freeze-dried foods make great snacks. You can eat them right out of the storage container and know that you’re having a healthy snack anytime.
Don’t forget that this food doesn’t have to go through the hydration steps to be enjoyed like regular dehydrated food processing items. As mentioned, the foods are tasty as they come out of the container, making them very convenient to use. You can throw them into your recipes when the ingredients call for a particular item knowing they’ll absorb some moisture and still turn out flavorful.
Cons of Freeze-Drying
While there are several advantages to owning a home freeze dryer, it’s also important to consider the disadvantages. After all, I’m not trying to sell you one. We’ve talked about the pros of freeze drying, and here are some of the cons of freeze drying.
High Initial Cost
Freeze dryers can be quite expensive when compared to other food preservation methods such as canning, dehydrating, or freezing. And while they may save you money in the long run since you don’t have to keep buying new food each time something goes bad, upfront costs may put a strain on your budget. You’re looking at spending around $3,000 just for a decent entry-level smaller unit, and others go up in price to $6000 or more!
Size of the Appliance
A freeze-dryer isn’t your average size appliance. They tend to take up a lot more space in the kitchen than other food preservation equipment used for canning or dehydrating. So if you have limited kitchen space, this may be something to consider before purchasing one.
More Time Intensive
Freeze drying also takes a lot longer than other methods, therefore it requires a lot more effort on your part and could add slightly to your utility bills. You have to wait hours and sometimes even days for your food to be fully freeze-dried. To help you put that into perspective, a single batch of peaches or nectarines could take you up to a week to freeze-dry properly based on their water content. Not everyone has that kind of time, so consider the moisture content of the food to be freeze-dried and allow for the necessary time accordingly.
Another drawback of a freeze-dryer is that you have to freeze dry food in smaller batches. That’s because there isn’t much space to work with inside of one even though they take up a fair amount of space in the kitchen. This can be quite a hassle if you have a lot of food that needs to be preserved at once.
Be aware, freeze-drying does require a lot of electricity which could lead to higher electric bills each month. And depending on where you live, this could really add up in cost over the years. Although it is nice that you can make freeze-fried fruits and veggies for home use, it can get costly, electricity-wise. A long shelf life for your foods could make it worth it as part of your long-term food storage plan! When You Lose Electricity For Days
Throws Out Heat
The vacuum pump on freeze-drying equipment puts out a lot of heat in the vacuum chamber to remove moisture, so you’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of ventilation if you plan on using one in your home. Otherwise, it could make the room being used for the equipment to become pretty warm and uncomfortable.
Requires Vacuum Sealing
Vacuum sealing is essential when storing freeze-dried fruit and other foods as it helps keep air and moisture away from the food which can ruin its taste, texture, and nutrition in the final product. So you will need to invest in a vacuum sealer if you don’t already have one in order to properly store your freeze-dried food for any extended periods. How to Properly Store Food for Long-Term Storage
I often keep my opened containers on the countertop for a few days without any refrigeration. If you plan to keep it out for much longer it doesn’t hurt to store it in your fridge.
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Can you freeze-dry meat products?
Yes, meats can be freeze-dried, including beef, chicken, pork, fish, and other seafood products. Since the freeze-drying process is designed to remove the water from the product processing, meats that have a high oil content won’t freeze dry as well.
It is safer to freeze dry meat that has already been cooked since it would lower the risk of bacteria in the meat that might cause food-borne illnesses.
What are the pros and cons of freeze-drying in your book? Even with its downsides, freeze-drying is an incredibly useful and effective way to preserve your food for weeks or even months at a time. As long as you do your research and practice proper safety measures, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience that will save you both time and money in the long run.
So, if you’re looking for a reliable method of preserving food without sacrificing nutritional value or taste, then maybe a home freeze-dryer might be the right choice for you! Food storage just got a whole lot easier for you now that you’ve discovered freeze-dried foods! This can be one of the more expensive food preservation methods upfront, but over time, it may save you a ton of money. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Fruit in Jars AdobeStock_206746416 By Joaquin Corbalan
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