First, let’s talk about the load that just came out of the freeze dryer.
Last week we had a casserole of ground beef, rice, mushrooms, green beans and cream of mushroom soup. There may have been other things in there . . that’s all I’m remembering. We had it one night, skipped a few days, ate it again and I spread the rest of it out on a freeze dryer tray and stuck it in the freezer.
The freeze dryer was busy drying eggs so as that load was about to finish, I chopped 6 pounds of onions and filled the three remaining trays with those.
We ended up with 6 quarts of onions, 1 quart and 3 pints of the casserole. That load finished up last night so I left the machine to defrost overnight and started the next load this morning.
I took Vince a few pieces of the casserole and he loved it freeze dried – still crunchy. Sometimes when we’re fixing to go to town and don’t want to eat out but know we’ll get hungry before we get home (and we know not to go to the grocery store hungry!), we’ll fill our travel mugs with ice water and grab something freeze dried to munch on in the car. That’s a real treat because things like this casserole, chicken jambalaya, stuffed peppers . . those are so good but when eating freeze dried foods that have not been rehydrated, we have to remember to drink extra water.
Don’t look at the dirty freezer. I exploded a Dr. Pepper in there a couple of days ago. I cleaned it up quickly but needed to bring some warm, soapy water down and haven’t had the freezer empty yet to be able to finish cleaning it. Actually, it’s empty now that this load is in the freeze dryer so I’m going to go make the water now and get it cleaned before Vince sees that I exploded ANOTHER Dr. Pepper.
I rarely freeze dry candy. I think this is only the second time. There’s too many good, more nutritious foods I want to freeze dry.
This load has one tray of Peeps and three trays of steel cut oats with chopped apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dried cranberries. This load should be ready Monday afternoon. The next load will be ground beef!
Sara Fridley says
How do you label your jars of freeze dried foods? Do you include dates? I’m totally fascinated by the freeze drying process although I have no place to store a lot of things. My older daughter dehydrates s a LOT of fruit and veggies, and her kids eat them all like candy as snacks. Is it quite similar to dehydrating?
I use a vacuum chamber and can seal 7 jars at a time. I re-use canning lids that had been used for pressure canning. Using a Sharpie, I will write something like “Chicken Pot Pies – 23.” I keep a notebook in the food storage area with instructions for things that need instructions. Like . . “eggs – 2 T. egg/2 T. water” so if Chad has to figure out what to do with it all, it will be easier for him.
It’s somewhat like dehydrated but the food stays almost exactly as it was when it was fresh. Most things don’t shrink or change color and then can be spritzed or soaked with water and be almost like it was before it was freeze dried.
Judy, what type of vacuum chamber do you have?
Vince used an old pressure canner (from a flea market) and attached it to a vacuum pump. He found the instructions on youtube 5 years ago. It’s just the regular size Presto and I can vacuum seal half gallon jars too. It’s so nice to be able to seal 7 at a time and be able to re-seal them if needed.
The first vacuum pump we got was from Harbor Freight but he recently had to replace it and found one way cheaper on Amazon.
I can barely imagine eating Peeps, let alone freeze-dried ones. LOL I used to love eating the freeze-dried corn and peas from Thrive, but I can’t have either one now. Such a healthier snack than chips and chocolate, though! And berries – yum! Also can’t have. There are still lots of good things left to eat, though. That’s good, because I still love to eat! Do you have the oats like granola or like granola bars?
I roll oat groats and make granola but it isn’t freeze dried. I use honey, coconut oil, walnuts, pumpkin seeds,or pecans (sometimes two of those things) and a little cinnamon. Then I bake it and while it’s still warm, I stir in dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries. I usually make a half gallon about every 10 days and we use it for cereal with milk or as a snack.
I’m hoping they’ll come out crunchy. A few years ago, I made something – I think I put red hot candies in the blender and turned them into a powder, then rolled mini marshmallows in that and freeze dried them. They were crunchy, cinnamon-y and sweet and I loved those!