I’ve been plotting and scheming to get my grubby little mitts on one of these ever since I heard that they existed about 8 years ago. Then when we decided to acquire a shed we had it wired specially…knowing that some day it would be mine. Oh, Yes. Someday it would be mine. Well, back in February that day arrived.
We got it set up and had to run a cycle with just bread to break it in. The bread was interesting and it mostly just crumbled, and because it was the test batch we threw it away. Once those technicalities were taken care of, it was game on…I would begin to freeze dry all the things.
I’ve been putting away breakfast stuff like crazy. Banana bread, pumpkin bread, french toast, pancakes, waffles, muffins…I’ve done it all. And it’s all so tasty, even if I am still perfecting the re-constitution process.
One of the things I was looking forward to trying the most. If you blend freeze dried fruit in a food processor until it’s a powder, you can mix it in whipped cream or frosting to get all the flavor and color without changing the consistency. Berry cream was magical.
Skittles were fun…they got poofed and crunchy. Gummy bears we never got right. They are supposed to get puffy and big and crunchy. I don’t think we left them in long enough and they were mostly like leather.
Speaking of puffy and crunchy…Goat milk caramel (or cajeta) turns into this madness when freeze dried. Light and huge (this was maybe a teaspoon worth of cajeta) and delicious.
Speaking of madness…this is Jello.
Dairy freeze dries beautifully and I’ve done sour cream, yogurt, milk, buttermilk, all kinds of cheese and cream cheese cubes. I crunch it up and store it in jars. The yogurt drops are especially fun.
Also ice cream. And Tres Leches cake. And whipped cream. Unfortunately I only got a picture of the ice cream scoop. You’ll just have to take my word on the awesomeness of the rest of it.
Key lime pie bites and any kind of fruit (even grapes) are all solid candidates.
Liver pate was weird…even for me and that’s saying something. Might not ever do that again. Roasted onion slices on the other hand I might do every week. They are the coolest snack food on the planet. Hot dogs are my new favorite training treat for Tatanka. Way cheaper than official dog treats and she will work hard for any kind of hot dog.
But the meats. Can we just talk about the meats? This is the best method for getting meat shelf-stable that I’ve ever seen ever. It’s delicious straight freeze dried and it is easier than anything else to re-constitute because it won’t absorb too much water. I love it straight. When we go to Disney world I’m bringing pulled rabbit (above bottom picture) and pork and grilled beef patties and meatballs and beef stew meat. I’ll happily eat it all instead of junk non-carnivore theme park food (well, for some of my meals…Churros are still totally happening). I’ve done all the straight meats, but also chicken alfredo and chicken enchiladas. The night we get to Orlando I’ll dump a bag of taco soup in a pot and we’ll have a homemade dinner with zero effort. It’s spectacular and worth the price of admission right there.
I’ve also done all sorts of herbs from my garden and that’s really cool but this might be my favorite discovery. My mom-in-law developed a rose allergy early on so can’t be around them. But she loves them. It occurred to me that freeze dried roses could be put in a sealed jar and not out-gas whatever bothers her body. Neil and I finally figured out a way to give her flowers, something we’ve always wanted to do for Mother’s Day or her birthday. This year we made it happen with some of our yellow climbing roses.
Once the water has been sucked out, I have to store the food where water in the air can’t re-hydrate it. Glass jars are awesome but most of my food is going into these mylar bags with an oxygen absorber and then sealed. Stored this way most of the food will last 15-25 years with no loss of taste or nutritional value. So suddenly putting together a year supply of food we actually want to eat, isn’t such a daunting task. My new hobby will give me plenty to plot and scheme about while i indulge my inner prepper.