Being a new freeze dryer owner has been such an exciting experience! We decided to purchase a freeze dryer so that we could make and preserve our own food for long-term preservation as well as camping, hiking, etc. Most of the available freeze-dried food on the market such as Mountain House Meals, aren’t very allergen friendly, they are expensive, and they’re filled with fillers and preservatives that we just weren’t thrilled with. You can learn more about our decision to freeze dry, which machine we went with and why, and the set up in this previous blog post HERE.
This post is going to outline the first three things we freeze dried with our Harvest Right freeze dryer, and how we did it.
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Egg, Turkey Sausage, & Potato Scramble
The first thing we chose to freeze dry was a breakfast scramble. We used our farm fresh eggs, gluten free turkey sausage, and herb roasted potatoes. For this, we cooked our eggs, but since then I have been freeze drying all of our excess eggs raw. I’ll talk more about that in a future post! This was a super simple process, we just filled up the medium size trays, stuck them in the Harvest Right, and pressed start! This process actually didn’t take a long time, I think it was only around 24 hrs or so. The end result was a tasty, ready-to-go, healthy meal perfectly preserved for future use. I saved this in Ball quart sized mason jars with an O/A absorber. They sealed down perfectly, and I’m excited to take this with us on our next camping trip.
Now THIS is something I had seen the Retired at 40 guy do on a YouTube video, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it, but with a dairy and gluten free allergen friendly version. Basically what you do with these bars, is you freeze dry cereal and your milk of choice together, and the end result is a dried cereal bar that you can either eat as-is, or add a little bit of water to, and you instantly have a bowl of cereal and milk that tastes as fresh as if you just poured it!
I made two different kinds, the first I used Strawberry Banana Cheerios with fresh organic blueberries mixed in, and vanilla unsweetened almond milk.
The second flavor I did was using the organic, gluten free Leapin Lemurs peanut butter and chocolate cereal from Nature’s Path with Silk chocolate almond milk.
These also didn’t have a super long processing time, as far as processing time goes with freeze drying, I think these were also around 24-27 hrs total. The end result was AMAZING.. The whole family was obsessed with both flavors, and I think we could have eaten the whole batch without preserving any of it. I put these into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and this, even today, has been one of my favorites to date!
The amazing part about them is that all I had to do to reconstitute was just put a little bit of room temp filtered water over some in a bow, and it almost immediately reconstituted, and the texture of the cereal was perfect. It wasn’t soggy at all, and the whole thing tasted like I had just poured a fresh bowl of cereal. If you’re wanting something fun to freeze dry, I definitely recommend this one!
Ham n’ Beans 15 Bean Soup with Turkey Ham
Another key reason that I decided to start freeze drying for food preservation is the long-term preservation capabilities even when preserving meat. If you have ever dehydrated or canned meat, you know that the shelf-life isn’t especially long. Even frozen meat can start getting that freezer taste after about a year or two. We have a lot of meat, especially with my husband’s wild game hunting, such as Elk, and I really wanted a great way to preserve meat and meat dishes for longer term storage.
A meal that we love to make is the Hurst HamBeens 15 Bean Soup with turkey ham. The bean packets come in an original “ham” flavor and also a Cajun flavor, and they are both delicious! I love that the seasoning packets are labeled certified GF, and don’t contain any other allergens, and despite the ham name, they are vegan and don’t contain any pork. Our family in addition to several of us being either gluten and dairy free, are also Biblically clean eaters, and we don’t eat any of the biblically unclean foods such as pork, most seafood, etc.
One thing you will hear a lot with freeze drying is that some things freeze dry better than others, and fats and oils do not freeze dry well, especially for long term storage. Fats will go rancid after a time, and therefore just don’t keep as long. We sometimes use beef sausage when we make the beans but this time, I used turkey ham which is also delicious, and has much less fat in it.
A great way to remove extra fat before freeze drying is this. I cooked the beans and turkey ham in a big stock pot, we had some for dinner, and then I let the rest cool, and stuck it in the fridge over-night. When you do this, especially with a soup-based meal, the extra fats will solidify at the top of the pot, and you can scrape it all off the next morning. This is a great way to remove as much of the fat as possible before freeze drying. I had just the right amount to cover my 4 medium sized trays. This took much longer than the other things I had freeze dried to date, but it ended up freeze drying beautifully! It re-constituted well with boiling water poured over it and is another delicious allergen-friendly meal that I have preserved for the future!
I hope you enjoyed these three simple allergen friendly meals that were among my first in the freeze dryer. As of the date I’m writing this, I have been freeze drying now for a few months, and love it as much as I did the first time. I have freeze dried some things over and over again, (like the abundance of farm fresh eggs I’ve had this spring), and also tried several new recipes! I’ll be posting new recipes every week, and how they ended up working for me in the Harvest Right medium freeze dryer. Subscribe for all new updates, so you can be the FIRST to know when new recipe ideas are posted!
And if reading any of my posts, has you considering purchasing your OWN freeze dryer I’d love it if you’d use my personal link to shop the Harvest Right site for yourself, and see their latest and greatest deals!
Until next time!