Why would you pay someone else to make food you're not sure if you'll want to eat forever?
Freeze dried food companies are great if you have the extra money to outsource that part of your food prep. But the reality is that we don't all have 20k to drop on preprepared meals, and it might not even be food that you like!
So why not turn YOUR favorite meals and snacks into freeze dried foods that can be preserved for when the SHTF?
We're going to go over the DIY way to freeze dry foods at home to prepare for the time when food might not be as available. There are a few proven ways to safely and easily freeze dry foods at home, and a few myths that we'll bust so that you don't make costly mistakes!
Quick List of What We'll Need and Go Over
Why Freeze Dry Food at All?
One of the reasons you might want to freeze dry food is because you know that the safe bubble we live in where food is plentiful isn't going to last forever, and you want to make sure that you and the ones you care about are well taken care of when the bubble bursts. Or you have tried company made freeze dried food, and you know that you're food tastes better and you'd rather eat your cooking than theirs.
You can go to sites like Mountain House Meals, Wise Company, and others to get prepackaged freeze dried meals that are pretty dang good.
But that costs money. And you landed on this page because you're wanting to get the benefits of freeze drying food without paying someone else to do it.
Lowest Budget Option: Using Your Freezer to Freeze Dry Food
This option is probably the place to begin if you don't have much of a budget.
However this method is going to take some practice to get right, and it takes a lot longer than the other methods we're going to go over. But it works and that's what matters!
You'll be a little limited by this method because you'll need the food to be cut into smaller pieces, so no runny foods with sauces. You'll want to stick with meats and fruits to get the best results.
Step 1: Make it Small for the First Freeze
Once the food is cooked you'll want to cut it into small pieces (about 1.5" by 1.5"), this is so that the food freezes and dries faster. Then you'll place the food on a rack or surface with holes to minimize the surface area of the food touching the base so that all the water can escape.
Step 2: Start the Deep Freeze
When you put the food in your freezer for the first few hours that will form the freeze on the outside, after that the real magic begins!
You're going to need to leave the food in the freezer for multiple weeks to get all of the moisture out of the foods. The best way to speed this project up is to remove everything from the freezer so that your food is all that's being frozen and the moisture can evaporate easily.
Step 3: Test Your Freeze Dried Food
There's no way to tell by looking if your food has been successfully freeze dried, but there is one way to test if for sure. That's to take one piece out of the freezer and let it thaw.
If the food turns black then you know it's not ready, but if it keeps it's color then you've done it! Now to get the food back to life all you have to do is add water and eat! 🙂
Moderate Budget Option: Using Dry Ice to Freeze Dry Food
If you have the spare cash to make it happen, using dry ice to freeze dry food is one of the best and most effective ways to do it without buying equipment.
This method of freeze drying food is much quicker than using your refrigerator to get the job done. And you'll have a lot less prep, in that you can put the food into a box with the dry ice, put that in the freezer and forget about it until it's time to take it out.
Step 1: Get Your Prep Work Done
This method requires a few more tools than just cutting and placing in the freezer. First you're going to want to prepare the food you're wanting to freeze dry, again don't do anything with watery sauces. You can use molds to make food pastes into little edible cakes, but don't get too fancy.
Get a container that has a volume twice the size of what you're wanting to freeze dry. This will create enough space for the moisture to escape. Next put the food or molds into plastic bags, seal them and place them in the container.
Then place the container in the freezer.
Step 2: How to Tell When it's Ready
The best part about this method is that you have evidence of when the freeze drying is complete, and that is that there will be no more dry ice in the container. This process should take less than 24 hours, so make sure you have time to dedicate to make sure the food doesn't spoil.
Because once the ice is gone you'll need to seal the food in air tight packages, preferably mylar bags, to prevent light getting through and the fact that mylar is a thick material that will seal and protect your food.
Step 3: Sealing the Food
Like it was stated earlier, you're going to need to seal the food before it's safe to store for a long time. The best way to do that is with a vacuum sealer and press.
Without taking this step you're risking all the hard work you've put in going to waste, so make sure it you're going to freeze dry your food this way that you follow through with this step!
Fastest Option: Using a Machine to Freeze Dry Food
If you have the money to spend then this is by far the best and most effective way to freeze dry your food at home!