Freeze Dry your own produce?

by Carol
(Pineville, Missouri)

Without a doubt, freeze dry is the BEST way to store foods. It is frustruating to not be able to store my garden produce this way, so I'm trying to learn how to do this.

The cold temperature can be produced using dry ice, available from a local grocery store. An engineer friend tells me that the trick will be to keep the dry ice as long as possible. For that purpose, I will be making my own 'ice chest' soon per his instructions. That chest will fit into my smallest chest freezer after food and dry ice has been added.

Just wondering if anyone here has experimented with using dry ice to freeze dry their own foods?

RESPONSE:

Wow! Now that would be a good thing to know how to do. Anyone got a comment about this? I would like to know also.

Carol, will you let us know how this works out for you?

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How to freeze dry at home
by: Anonymous

1) FREEZE DRYING WITH A VACUUM CHAMBER

The quickest and most effective method of freeze drying is with a vacuum chamber. After the food is frozen, it is put in the vacuum chamber at a pump level below 133 x 10-3. The vacuum environment will cause the sublimation process to happen much quicker, and you’ll be able to prepare more food in less time. When fully sublimated, the food is ready for storage.

How to freeze dry at home 2
by: Anonymous

2) FREEZE DRYING WITH A FREEZER

If a vacuum chamber isn’t available to you, though, you can still freeze dry. You just need more time. You can cut the food into small pieces and place them on a perforated tray in the freezer (This process works much better in non-frost freezers). The food will freeze in the first few hours, and over the next week the process of sublimation should take place (all the moisture will be removed). You can test the food by taking a piece out and letting it thaw. If it turns black quickly, it isn’t ready. If not, you’re ready for the next step, storage.

How to freeze dry at home 3
by: Anonymous

3) FREEZE DRYING WITH DRY ICE

There’s a third way to freeze dry, and that’s by using dry ice. In a low humidity environment, water molecules are drawn out of a material. Surrounding the food you want to freeze dry with dry ice (CO2 in it’s solid state), will create a near-zero humidity environment, drawing out the moisture very efficiently.

You’ll need a container twice the size of the amount of food you’re going to freeze dry (Tupperware is fine for your container). Poke a few holes on the lid for the gas to escape. Put equal volumes of dry ice and the food you’d like to freeze dry into the container. One layer of dry ice, one layer of food, etc. works well. Put the container in the freezer, to keep the dry ice solid for as long as possible. Check every 24 hours until the dry ice is gone. The food should be fully freeze dried, and ready for storage.

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