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Beef, chicken and salmon in vacuum plastic bag for sous vide cooking, copy space

Must Have Food Preservation Items

Did I just click bait you with this title? Yes. Do I think you NEED any of these items to preserve foods and build a flourishing and successful food storage? Absolutely…


Is Freeze Drying The Future of Food Preservation?

Imagine having your favourite fruits, vegetables, and even entire meals retain their flavours, nutrients and textures for years on end. Sounds unbelievable, like something out of a sci-fi novel, doesn’t it? Well, welcome to the world of freeze drying, where cutting-edge technology and emergency preparedness meet to create food preservation magic. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through the realm of freeze drying, from it’s definition and benefits to differentiating it from other methods or preservation, exploring popular freeze dryer brands, and even uncovering the potential for turning your freeze drying hobby into a money-making venture.

What is Freeze Drying?

Freeze drying is a sophisticated food preservation technique that involves removing moisture from food items while preserving their original taste and nutrients. The process works by first freezing the food at very low temperatures then adding to the vacuum chamber where a controlled heating process called sublimation occurs. In the vacuum environment, the frozen water in the food turns into vapour and is then removed, leaving behind a dried and lightweight product. The result is food that can be stored for much longer periods of time and without refrigeration (up to 30 years in some cases!).

Why Freeze Dry?

The allure of freeze drying lies in it’s ability to preserve food for a long time with minimal loss of nutritional value and flavour. Although enjoyed by the preparedness minded for emergency supplies, it’s also a chosen food option within the hiking, hunting and camping communities (& even astronauts in space!) due to the lightweight nature of the food and the benefit of only needing some water to reconstitute it. Many actually prefer to skip out on adding water to reconstitute, enjoying the taste and texture of freeze dried foods before reconstituting. My personal favourite is freeze dried banana chips!!

Freeze drying vs. other preservation methods?

When it comes to preserving food, humans have explored various techniques throughout history, each with its own set of advantages and limitations. In my opinion, freeze drying is one of the most superior and versatile forms of preservation IF you have electricity to run it. However, to me when it comes to this, its not about either or but instead building a diverse pantry and food system that works for you.

Canning: We truly love canning as a method of preservation. You achieve this by sealing foods in airtight containers and subjecting them to heat, meaning harmful microorganisms are killed and this helps prevent spoilage. Yet, the high temperatures used in canning can lead to the loss of vitamins, enzymes, and delicate flavours whereas with freeze drying you’re keeping these more intact.

Dehydrating: a method that removes moisture by using heat and airflow has been a popular choice for centuries. While dehydrated foods can last for extended periods, they often suffer from changes in taste, texture, and nutrient content again due to the exposure to high temperatures. The removal of water can also lead to shrinkage and loss of volume, making dehydrated foods less appealing.

Refrigeration & Freezing: These are modern popular methods for short-term preservation but they do have their limitations. Refrigeration slows down the growth of spoilage microorganisms but doesn’t halt them entirely, leading to eventual deterioration of the food’s quality. Freezing, while effective in preserving food, can result in textural changes and damage to the cellular structure due to the formation of ice crystals. We must also consider that during any time without electricity the food will begin deteriorating, whereas your freeze dried food will be shelf stable regardless.

Where to buy a Freeze Dryer?

There’s two popular freeze drying companies that I know of.

1. Harvest Right: This is the only brand I have direct knowledge of as it’s the one I own. What I love about Harvest Right is their genuinely helpful customer service and that they offer models that cater to a range of needs, compact smaller units for individual use to larger ones suitable for families or small businesses. I own the Medium Size but could’ve easily gone a size up!
One of these machines will set you back a couple thousand, with prices for small machines starting at $2295. You can find their website here.

2. StayFresh: This is a newer brand that I’ve only come across recently but they have glowing reviews but they are slightly pricier however, with prices beginning at $2999.

From Hobby to Hustle: Can I make money with a freeze dryer?

Owning a freeze dryer not only grants you the power to preserve your favourite food but can also open doors to entrepreneurial and money making opportunities. Let’s explore some of these below!

Selling Products: With your freeze dryer, you can create unique snacks, meals, or even custom freeze-dried pet treats to sell online or at local markets. I’ve seen a lot of success recently with people offering different freeze dried candy options too! Or focus on the growing demand for long-lasting emergency food supplies by creating survival food kits to sell. Cater these to hiking communities too and you’re onto a winner. 

Collaborations & events: Partner with chefs, event planners, and caterers to offer freeze-dried ingredients or dishes that add a twist to their offerings. Freeze-dried ingredients can also be used to create visually stunning garnishes or unique flavours. If you’re a content creator, you could partner with Freeze Dryer companies to create education content to share with your audience and in return gain commission.

Educational workshops: Share your freeze drying knowledge by offering workshops and demonstrations. Many people are intrigued by the science and art behind freeze drying and would love to learn from an expert before investing in one themselves!

Rent your freeze dryer: It’s no lie that purchasing a freeze dryer is a hefty investment and many people would like to test one out before buying. This is where renting out your freeze dryer per run or per day can help you make some money back on your purchase.

Proper Storage of Freeze dried foods: Keeping Flavour and Freshness Intact.

And lastly, you’ve successfully freeze dried but now comes the equally important task of storing your goods to ensure they remain in pristine condition for as long as possible. There are a few things to focus on:

  1. Cool and Dry Environment: Choose a storage location that is cool, dark, and dry. Exposure to light, heat, and humidity can degrade the quality of freeze-dried foods over time. Storing in a pantry, cupboard, or a dedicated shelf in a temperature-controlled room is an ideal option.
  2. Airtight Containers: Invest in high-quality, airtight containers. Mason jars, mylar bags and food-grade plastic containers are excellent choices. The goal is to prevent moisture, air, and light from reaching the freeze-dried foods which could cause them to rehydrate and spoil.
  3. Oxygen Absorbers: To further enhance the shelf life of your freeze-dried foods, consider adding oxygen absorbers to the storage containers. Oxygen absorbers help eliminate residual oxygen within the containers, reducing the risk of oxidation and spoilage.
  4. Proper Labelling: Label each container with the date of freeze drying and the contents. This will help you keep track of freshness and rotation, ensuring that you consume the oldest items first.
  5. Keep Pests at Bay: Ensure that your storage area is pest-free. Rodents and insects are attracted to stored food, so take preventive measures to keep them away. Regularly inspect your storage area for any signs of pests and keep your food in pest proof containers when possible.
  6. Rotation and Consumption: While freeze-dried foods have a long shelf life, it’s still a good practice to rotate your stock and consume older items first. This ensures that you’re always enjoying the freshest flavours and nutrients your freeze-dried foods have to offer.

    And if you want to learn more about the art of preserving and storing foods long term, check out my Preparing Your Pantry course here, where we deep dive into it with hours worth of presentations, video tutorials, worksheets, discount codes and more!

If you found this helpful and are considering buying a freeze dryer, please consider doing so through my affiliate link here. This helps support me by generating a small amount of commission to continue creating content. I love my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and would never recommend anything I didn’t personally use nor love myself.

Do you have any questions for me? Leave them in the comments below!


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