The Freeze Drying Process
This process involves the rapid freezing of either fresh or cooked food, and then drying it inside a vacuum. The aim of the process is to convert moisture inside the food into gas. Since the process takes a short period, the conversion bypasses the liquid state. As a result, the food does not lose its nutrients. Although it is hard to replicate this process in a standard home kitchen, you can use a freezer and vacuum sealer to make your own freeze-dried food at home. To achieve this goal, follow these steps.
Without drying trays, you cannot freeze dry your fruits or vegetables effectively. You can use trays made from metal mesh. If you do not have any of these, you can improvise. Roasting trays are good substitutes. Use a sharp instrument to puncture the bottom. Make sure that the holes are no more than a quarter inch. These holes act as airways and speed up the drying process.
Prepare the Food
Whether you are freeze drying fresh or cooked food, preparation is very important. If you are preparing fruit, remove any parts that can go bad. This includes the core and pith. After this, dry your food using paper towels.
Packing the Produce into Trays
There is no standard way of packing your food into the trays. However, you should make sure that you fill the trays properly. In addition, it is not advisable to mix different foods in the same tray. Just make sure you have enough trays to pack the food that you have prepared. Before placing the food inside your freezer, remember to cover the trays with lids. Once again, there is no set way of stacking the trays inside your freezer. So long as you can fit all of them inside, you do not have to worry about the arrangement.
Testing and Sealing
Keep your food trays inside the freezer for a period of about three weeks. During this period, your food will be drying slowly. To test if it is completely dry, you can pry the cover open and take a piece from the tray for testing. If the mentioned piece of food changes color, it is not yet completely dry. As such, leave it there for a few more weeks and then test it again. When the food is dry, transfer it into bags, and then use a vacuum sealer to suck the air and seal the ends.
Benefits of Freeze Drying Food
Freeze dried food at home has many health benefits including the following:
• Preserving Taste
This process does not affect taste or texture in any way. The only change that occurs is the state of moisture inside the food. Nutrients do not change in any way.
• Weight Reduction
Most fresh and cooked food contains a lot of water, up to 90% water content, so freeze-drying removes the excess water. As a result, your food, vegetables, meats, or fruits will weigh much less. In fact, you will be able to carry larger amounts of the same food.
• Faster Rehydration
In spite of the reduced moisture content, freeze-dried food rehydrates very fast. Just put your food inside boiling water and it will rehydrate in a few minutes.
According to a study carried out by researchers from the University of Connecticut, people suffering from ulcerative colitis should take freeze-dried black raspberry powder. On this evidence, freeze-dried food is not only lighter but also healthy. With a little bit of effort, you can begin preserving your own food at home. For the best results, make sure you wrap and seal the food properly. To drive this point home, meat exposed to cold air will get an ugly freezer burn. Foods and fruits that you can freeze dry at home include carrots, meat, pineapples, sprouts, apples, spinach, celery, broccoli, beans, and plums.