A freeze dryer may be considered a revolution in the food industry when discussing food preservation and shelf life. This equipment was invented in 1906 to preserve blood serum, and after used by NASA to extend shelf life but keep the quality of food to send to space. Today everyone can have it in their kitchen to benefit from the fantastic effect. But what can you do with a freeze dryer?
The freeze dryer technique cannot work with products with high sugar and fat content and low water content, so there are a lot of products that you can freeze dry and some that you cannot. Products like meat, fish, milk, vegetables, and fruits are great to freeze dry. However, other products like butter, honey, or mayonnaise cannot freeze dry.
Although each product has its tricks to do it, today, I have shared all those tricks with you. So you can start freeze-drying food today and have them safe in your home for years.
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Can You Freeze Dry Chocolate Chips?
Chocolate is not one of the products that can be freeze-dried because the moisture in the chocolate is relatively low. In this case, you cannot apply t the principles of freeze-drying. However, if chocolate is included in a biscuit recipe, it is proven that this technique can work.
Can You Freeze Dry Cocoa Powder?
One of the purposes of a freeze dryer is to extend the product’s shelf life at room temperature. Cocoa powder is a product with a long shelf life itself. It can last approximately three years if it is unopened and one year stored in a dark place.
So I don’t think you need to freeze dry it. In addition, the moisture level in this product is relatively low, 5-6%, so it is not the best product to dry freeze.
Can You Freeze Dry Pancakes?
Freeze dry pancakes are products that you can also find in the American market from military surplus stock. Their version can last up to 25 years in the unopened can, in-room temperature. This enormous shelf-life comes from the can’s lack of oxygen and water.
Pancakes can be eaten freeze-dried without any problems, but if you want to hydrate them again, you can also do that. Wet them in cold water, dry them with a towel and let them rest for half an hour in an airtight container. Also, steaming works well for this product to have back its moisture.
Can You Freeze Dry Cookie Dough?
You can do it under the right circumstances. Another product that deep freezer does not work well with is butter. So firstly, if you want to freeze dry cookies, find another substitute for butter, for example, apple sauce, banana, or pumpkin puree.
Another product that will give you trouble while freeze-drying will be chocolate chips. So better not use them also. This technique can be used with a cookie recipe without butter and chocolate.
Still, there is another small problem after freeze-drying. The dough will be firm, and you don’t want to break your teeth in a cookie. But, unlike pancakes, you cannot eat cookies like that after freeze-dry; they need to get processed again.
You can wet them with milk or water. However, to do so would be advisable to measure the doubt before so you know how much water evaporated during the process and you will know approximately how much water or milk to head.
Can You Freeze Dry Honey?
Unfortunately, honey is one of the products that you cannot freeze dry due to its dense content of almost 18%. Although, there is nothing to worry about here, as honey has a very long shelf life of up to 2 years.
Can You Freeze Dry Marshmallows?
Marshmallows are an excellent product to get freeze-dried. If you store them properly, they can last for decades (if you want to prepare for an apocalypse and have marshmallows with you).
Because they are in small pieces, you don’t need to freeze-dry them for more than six to eight hours. Immediately after getting out of the machine, you need to store them in packaging without oxygen, and they are ready to survive long.
Dairies and Fats
Can Fats Be Freeze-dried?
One of the categories of products that cannot be freeze-dried is fats. They have a small percentage of water, and because of that, this technique cannot work correctly. For example, olive oil has a content of 0,2% water, which is insufficient to succeed. The same deals for butter and similar fat products.
Can You Freeze Dry Almond Milk?
Almond milk or other kinds of milk coming from nuts families, like cashew, can be freeze-dried. You should let them in the machine for approximately 25 hours and, in the end, will have a solid mass that you can easily crumble can with your hands.
You can do the same with soy, oats, and coconut milk. If you want to dehydrate them again, you only need to add water again and mix them very well. All the mentioned types of milk will go back to their initial phase, with the same taste and nutrition values.
Can You Freeze Dry Breast Milk?
One of the best products to freeze-dry is breast milk. As mentioned milk, breast milk can also be freeze-dried and used as a power afterward. Nowadays, mothers are obliged to leave the baby alone for economic reasons, maybe sooner than desired.
To provide the best condition for the baby’s well-being, you can use the power of breast milk to feed it everywhere, even when you are not here. It can be mixed with juice or water and will be ready within some minutes.
This milk can have a shelf life of 3 years. Why may ask why you will need to have it for so long, as babies usually drink breast milk until one year old. However, you can always donate it or share it with other mothers who don’t have milk for a certain period for several reasons.
You can also choose it to give to orphanages for toddlers who unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to drink their mother’s milk. As I said, one of the best products to freeze-dry.
Can You Freeze Dry Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is part of the dairy family that can be freeze-dried and gives satisfying results. It will take around 28 hours to complete, but in the end, you will have a nice cheese ready to be stored long.
Cream cheese won’t lose its shape and won’t be easily crumbled. Please keep it in the fridge before putting it in freeze-dry to have a more solid form.
Can You Freeze Dry Mayonnaise?
Not the best selection to freeze-dry because it has a significant content of fat and eggs. In case that you do it, you will face difficulties in gaining the initial texture of the mayonnaise. It will end up very thin and not that enjoyable anymore.
Meat and Plants
Can You Freeze Dry Lettuce?
It depends on the way how you plan to consume it after. If you want to consume it in fresh salads, then better do not freeze-dry it. This is because the water content in lettuce is pretty high, almost 96%. So if you apply to freeze-dry, all the water removal will destroy the cell walls of the lettuce, and you will practically destroy the product.
Overall, lettuce seems too fragile to resist this kind of treatment. Still, if you want to include lettuce in soups or smoothies, you can try it. The texture won’t be the same, but the dehydration will happen through the moisture of the soup.
Can You Freeze Dry Nuts?
You can freeze-dry nuts only if they are an ingredient in a recipe, but otherwise, it’s not a good idea to freeze-dry them separately. This is because they have a lot of fat that will prevent a good result.
Can You Freeze Dry Fish?
Fish and seafood are a fantastic selection for freeze-drying as this method help them keep all the tremendous nutritional values same as fresh, but the shelf life is much longer. It does not matter if the fish is raw or cooked, grilled or broiled, smoked or non; either way, you can freeze it.
A suitable type of fish to be freeze-dried is Cod. High in vitamins, minerals, and protein, if you use this method, you guarantee a shelf life of 25 years for Cod. A sufficient time to travel in space and come back, right? And basically, you can store it in the long term outside the fridge.
Another good fish to freeze-dry is salmon. Salmon is very diverse in nutrition and usage, and salmon has reacted well to freeze-drying. But you can also apply this technology with shrimps or other seafood. However, I recommend avoiding soft and fatty fishes as they are more fragile and should be consumed fresh.
A good piece of advice to store fish is to keep them in a separate room from other products you may freeze dry to avoid odor influence. Also, make sure that the room’s temperature is not very high.
Even the process of rehydration is pretty simple. First, put the fish or seafood in a bowl full of hot water and let them absorb all the necessary quantities to obtain their initial texture. After that, you can dry it with a towel and start cooking or consuming it raw.
Can You Freeze Dry Sausage?
Meat is very likely to freeze-dry; from bacon to chicken, beef, and sausage, you can choose whichever you prefer more to have for a long time around. Make sure that the sausages do not contain a large quantity of fat.
Apply in the freeze-drying them the same techniques used in other meats. To dehydrate the sausages, you need to put them in a bowl with water and leave them overnight in the fridge to gain the initial form.
Can You Freeze Dry Dates?
Dates are a fruit that goes through some maturation phases until it reaches the final stage. In the beginning, dates contain a lot of water, 83,6%. Going through 4 steps, dates have no more than 12,7%.
Still, the sugar level in the final stage remains very high, as it may vary from 49,9% to 64,1%. As mentioned before, a large quantity of sugar does not help the process of freeze-drying, so it will be better not to use it for the dates.
Although, you have to know that the dates can last up to 1 year when refrigerated in the fridge, so maybe freeze-drying is unnecessary.
Can You Freeze Dry Coffee Beans?
One of the best products to dry freeze is coffee beans. Studies have shown that this technique perfectly creates an excellent qualitative coffee. Freeze-drying is a superb technique and the primary step in instant coffee production. Flavour, aroma, and taste are kept unchanged throughout the whole process.
How to Use Freeze-dried Coffee?
You can use it the same as regular coffee. It is perfect for taking it with you on trips or camping where with a hot cup of water you will have it ready within 3 minutes. You can also try to sell it. Due to the organoleptic attributes that remain the same good, but the shelf life will be longer, everyone would like to have it in their homes.
Can You Freeze Dry Liquids?
It depends totally on the type of liquid you want to freeze dry. Do not use this method at Industrial beverages like coca-cola at any cost. You will just clean a big mess made by the final result. Fresh juices also, even why are fresh and with no additives, contain a lot of sugar, so again it’s a no. Maybe apple or orange juice can work, but I cannot give a full guarantee for it.
So what liquids can you freeze dry? Fresh and organic green smoothies are a good option. You freeze, dry them, convert them into powder, and then use them according to your needs in your everyday life by mixing them with water or milk again. For example, after the gym session, during your lunch break, or on other occasions.
Can You Freeze Dry Soda?
Soda is one of the products that you should not freeze dry. Soda is practically composed of water and sugar, so this large quantity of sugar makes it impossible to succeed in freeze-drying. There is a significant change that the can of soda destroys as well.