Pros and Cons of Freeze Drying

Pros and Cons of Freeze Drying

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Do you currently own a freeze-dryer appliance in your home? If not, you might be surprised by what they can do that those other food-preserving methods can’t. Freeze-dried products are not only an ideal option for backpackers and culinary masters but especially for preppers who are stocking up for emergencies.

Please let me point out, I don’t own one and don’t plan on buying one based on my current age and storage capacity. If I have a question about one, I ask Matt in our group. At my age, (73) it doesn’t make sense for me to buy one. If I was younger and starting out I would have certainly considered it.

At this stage in life, I’ve been collecting commercially packed freeze-dried food from reliable companies for many years. If you can get fresh food products and preserving jars, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers at affordable prices, I would go for it.

There was a store down in St. George, Utah, where I attended a demonstration on one of the original Harvest Right units. The store owners showed us how to hook it up, place the food, etc. I learned that most of the items will take 24 hours unless you freeze the food in your home freezer first before placing the trays in the freeze dryers. That step will speed up the freeze-drying time considerably.

This would be hard for me because my freezer is full and if I had to place six small trays in the freezer it’s not going to work for me. I was at a civic club get-together a month ago and the woman next to me said she purchased one. She said she loves it but she has never had any food storage skills or equipment in the past, so this has been a stiff learning curve. It has been so much fun for her but she said it does take a long time to freeze-dry your food. It’s really different than canning 3 bushels of peaches in a pressure canner or even processing dehydrated food.

With this method of food preservation, you wouldn’t buy or pick 3 bushels of fruit or vegetables at one time because they would spoil before you could freeze-dry them all. It’s just a different way of preserving food that might need to be done in smaller batches.

Maybe you’re still stuck on the fence and wondering if a home freeze-dryer is really right for you. Instead of throwing a bunch of advertising in your face, I’d love to take a moment and share with you a few of the pros and cons of using a home freeze dryer that I’ve learned so you’re able to make a better decision. Keep reading to find out more about the pros and cons of freeze drying. 5 Freeze-Dried Food Items I Recommend You Store

Strawberry Slicer and Banana Slicer

Pros and Cons of Freeze Drying

Pros and Cons of Freeze Drying

Pros of Freeze Drying

There are several benefits that come with owning your own home freeze-dryer. Freeze-drying food is easier than you ever thought possible, plus it makes for great food storage. Here are just a few benefits worth mentioning. Freeze-Dried Food-How To Use Them

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Freeze-Drying Process = Easy Preparation

One of the great things about freeze-dried food is that it requires very little in terms of preparation. In fact, it’s very similar to preparing food that you plan on freezing or canning. With a few simple steps, you can have your fruits like apples and veggies like carrots ready to be stored away in no time. It’s my understanding the freeze-dryers should be placed in areas without a lot of humidity to be most efficient. I would YouTube some videos to watch if you’re not able to go see a personal demonstration at a store near you.

Longer Shelf Life than Other Food Preservation Methods

Freeze-drying foods will help extend the shelf life of food products significantly longer than other methods, such as canning or dehydrating. This means less worrying about consuming or disposing of what you’ve preserved before it starts going bad. Freeze-dried foods can help your food last a long time, which is every prepper’s dream. Long-term storage for food is always the goal. Freeze-Dried Food

Nutritional Content

Another huge benefit to freeze-drying is that it preserves most of the nutritional content from your original foods. That way they’re just as nutritious as they are in their raw foods form or if they’ve been frozen. So you don’t have to worry about losing out on vitamins and minerals when using this method since the nutrients are still intact.

Tastes Just as Good as when Its Raw or been Frozen

Another huge benefit of freeze-drying is that the food still tastes just as good once it’s been dried. So there’s no need to worry about sacrificing flavor for convenience with this method. Shelf-stable food is possible and a freeze dryer allows us to do this! Since the flavor is still yummy, freeze-dried foods make great snacks. You can eat them right out of the storage container and know that you’re having a healthy snack anytime.

Don’t forget that this food doesn’t have to go through the hydration steps to be enjoyed like regular dehydrated food processing items. As mentioned, the foods are tasty as they come out of the container, making them very convenient to use. You can throw them into your recipes when the ingredients call for a particular item knowing they’ll absorb some moisture and still turn out flavorful.

Cons of Freeze-Drying

While there are several advantages to owning a home freeze dryer, it’s also important to consider the disadvantages. After all, I’m not trying to sell you one. We’ve talked about the pros of freeze drying, and here are some of the cons of freeze drying.

High Initial Cost

Freeze dryers can be quite expensive when compared to other food preservation methods such as canning, dehydrating, or freezing. And while they may save you money in the long run since you don’t have to keep buying new food each time something goes bad, upfront costs may put a strain on your budget. You’re looking at spending around $3,000 just for a decent entry-level smaller unit, and others go up in price to $6000 or more!

Size of the Appliance

A freeze-dryer isn’t your average size appliance. They tend to take up a lot more space in the kitchen than other food preservation equipment used for canning or dehydrating. So if you have limited kitchen space, this may be something to consider before purchasing one. 

More Time Intensive

Freeze drying also takes a lot longer than other methods, therefore it requires a lot more effort on your part and could add slightly to your utility bills. You have to wait hours and sometimes even days for your food to be fully freeze-dried. To help you put that into perspective, a single batch of peaches or nectarines could take you up to a week to freeze-dry properly based on their water content. Not everyone has that kind of time, so consider the moisture content of the food to be freeze-dried and allow for the necessary time accordingly. 

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Batch Quantity

Another drawback of a freeze-dryer is that you have to freeze dry food in smaller batches. That’s because there isn’t much space to work with inside of one even though they take up a fair amount of space in the kitchen. This can be quite a hassle if you have a lot of food that needs to be preserved at once.

Electricity Usage

Be aware, freeze-drying does require a lot of electricity which could lead to higher electric bills each month. And depending on where you live, this could really add up in cost over the years. Although it is nice that you can make freeze-fried fruits and veggies for home use, it can get costly, electricity-wise. A long shelf life for your foods could make it worth it as part of your long-term food storage plan! When You Lose Electricity For Days

Throws Out Heat

The vacuum pump on freeze-drying equipment puts out a lot of heat in the vacuum chamber to remove moisture, so you’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of ventilation if you plan on using one in your home. Otherwise, it could make the room being used for the equipment to become pretty warm and uncomfortable.

Requires Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing is essential when storing freeze-dried fruit and other foods as it helps keep air and moisture away from the food which can ruin its taste, texture, and nutrition in the final product. So you will need to invest in a vacuum sealer if you don’t already have one in order to properly store your freeze-dried food for any extended periods. How to Properly Store Food for Long-Term Storage

I often keep my opened containers on the countertop for a few days without any refrigeration. If you plan to keep it out for much longer it doesn’t hurt to store it in your fridge.

More Tips on Food Storage

Can you freeze-dry meat products?

Yes, meats can be freeze-dried, including beef, chicken, pork, fish, and other seafood products. Since the freeze-drying process is designed to remove the water from the product processing, meats that have a high oil content won’t freeze dry as well.

It is safer to freeze dry meat that has already been cooked since it would lower the risk of bacteria in the meat that might cause food-borne illnesses.

Final Word

What are the pros and cons of freeze-drying in your book? Even with its downsides, freeze-drying is an incredibly useful and effective way to preserve your food for weeks or even months at a time. As long as you do your research and practice proper safety measures, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience that will save you both time and money in the long run.  

So, if you’re looking for a reliable method of preserving food without sacrificing nutritional value or taste, then maybe a home freeze-dryer might be the right choice for you! Food storage just got a whole lot easier for you now that you’ve discovered freeze-dried foods! This can be one of the more expensive food preservation methods upfront, but over time, it may save you a ton of money. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Fruit in Jars AdobeStock_206746416 By Joaquin Corbalan

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24 Comments

  1. I don’t personally own one however a team member does and a family member has now bought one from out local Tractor Supply that’s started carrying them.

    We have done about everything you can think of from comfort foods like skittles to ice cream all the way to salmon and steak. It’s a great way to use the overflow of eggs from your flock.

    It is time intensive and not something you want to do during storm season when power loss is probable. My family member recently went all solar so the outages don’t affect them as much.

    Our guy is a techie and has a camera setup in his that runs through his phone and he also works from home so timing is more adjustable.

    High fat foods aren’t recommended.

    We also did a lot of condiments which seems to be controversial in the community as well as the comfort foods. So here’s my challenge to you: take a day and eat your (ONE TIER ) bucketed plain oatmeal, plain rice and plain pasta from your buckets.
    Now I can add (ANOTHER TIER) : salsa, ketchup, hamburger, chicken, mustard, fish, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, squash, pickles and top it off with an ice cream sandwich from my tote that weighs a few pounds. I also store dry seasonings (ANOTHER TIER) like cinnamon, pepper, salt, sugar, cayenne, basil, etc.
    Now put all three of those level’s together and look at the quality of life aspect and barter. Now add (ANOTHER TIER) with canning and look at you exploded menu.
    See where I’m going with it?
    Absolutely condiments and comfort food are last but once the main frame of protein, carbs and good calories is set up there’s no reason not to “always improve your position”

    1. Hi Matt, thanks for sharing, you have so much more experience than I do. But I would like my readers to think about investing in one if it fits their budget and is just getting started with food storage or have been canning, and dehydrating food for years. It’s another option. Linda

        1. Hi Matt, I totally agree. I see on FaceBook that people are upset that their bags have split. Do it right the first time! What Mylar Bag mil do you recommend, Matt? Linda

          1. 7 mil with zippers and tear tabs is what we use. Whatever is the best you can find

  2. We bought one last year and love it .We had garden failures last year due to weather but we’re able to freeze dry our elderberries and corn .We have freeze dried frozen vegetables and fruit We bought at Sam’s and Costco We have done buttermilk sour cream salsa Cole slaw meats and many other things its a learning experience and we have found some things are not worth the effort.We are not using up our bottled stuff fast enough and throwing it out is a hard thing to do.im older than Linda but would still invest in a freeze dryer if it worked for your famy

  3. I had one of the very first Harvest Right dryers. I found that I rarely ever had food dry in 24 hours- took more like 48 hours and of course the cycle would finish in the middle of the night! My vacuum pump was old style- you had to change the oil frequently and drain off accumulated water, and it blew a seal after maybe 100 batches. They have new oilless pumps now which save a lot of time but are pricey as replacements. I liked the products it produced but the batches were small. We did meat, (cooked) veggies, fruits, as well as cooked shrimp.

    1. HI Jan, I have heard from a neighbor, not sure if this is correct, but if you buy one of the newer oil-less pumps they break down more often and you have to ship the whole unit back to have repaired. They said this is a freeze-dryer FaceBook group. Has anyone heard this? Linda

      1. Hadn’t heard that- The old pumps are extremely heavy- would probably cost a lot to ship it back and then there is the lost time…..

  4. My friend has to change her oil every other batch we bought the pump that does about 25 batches I don’t know about the oil less pump changing oil takes about 5 minutes I keep a notebook listing everything we dry and how long it takes then we can time batches so we are not up in the middle of the night taking care of the food the food refreezes if you don’t get it out when it is done.our grandkids tell us forget the boring fruits and veggies get to the candt

    1. HI Arlene, oh the grandkids and the candy!!! I have the giggles now! My neighbor did Skittles! Thanks for sharing your tips about a notebook and tracking how long it takes to freeze dry. Linda

  5. I got my freeze dryer last August and was able to put in veggies I got from my garden. I also bought a lot from the Farmer’s Market and have a lot freeze dried. I cleaned out my small chest freezer of freezer burned meats and freeze dried them for my dogs. I plan on making fresh dog food in case I can’t find their specific brand at the store.
    I am 73 and only my daughter and two big dogs live with me. I got the medium size and so far haven’t had any troubles (other than remembering to close the drain valve!). I definitely love the freeze dried bananas that are so easy to do. I buy 18-20 bananas at a time, and let them ripen then freeze dry them. Also potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, hamburgers, pork, fish, chicken, and any other food I want to try.

  6. We butchered a steer. Had lots of ground beef. Cooked, drained and freeze dried it with a bit of salt and pepper. Rehydrated it was great. I had canned sloppy joe sauce and will use it in that, soups, S#i+ on a shingle too. I’ve done mashed potatoes (perfect), sliced cherry tomatoes (like a sweet snack), diced peppers (easy to use), carrots (not my favorite). I did sour cream and powdered it, put in mason jar with vaccum seal. The blueberries and raspberries would be good powdered. Bananas get stuck in your molars but are pretty good. I’ve only had it since last summer so this year’s garden will have more to try out.

    1. HI S.Lynn, oh I love hearing what people are doing with their food storage. It feels so good knowing you have food stored for your family in your home. I LOVE it! I’m starting to think I may want one after our home gets built. I love everyone’s ideas. Linda

  7. Linda,

    I agree with Matt on the mylar bags. Sorbent systems and Mylar Bags Direct sell 7mil bags, or at least they did because that’s where I get mine. Ask Matt where he gets his.

    I’m with you on passing on the freeze dryer. I loved that food when I was backpacking because it was so lightweight (and tasty) but since I’m planning on bugging in I don’t need to worry about the weight.

    Regarding adding water. Freeze dried fruits or ice cream don’t need it, but everything else does, at least in my opinion.

    1. Hi Ray, when they first came out I rushed down to the store to see a demo. I was disappointed at how small the trays were back then. But now they have every size a family may need. Thanks for the tip on where you get your Mylar bags. Thank you, Linda

  8. I purchased a freeze dryer about 9 months ago and love it. I go through my pantry and freeze dry soups,canned meats, sauces, anything that is nearing expiration. Also love freeze drying food from my garden. In my opinion this is saving food from being wasted and extending the shelf life. I do not notice much of an increase in electricity cost. It is loud, takes up considerable space and gives off a lot of heat. Recommend doing a lot of research before deciding to purchase if budget allows. Highly recommend it.

    1. HI C B, oh I’ve heard really good things about having a freeze dryer! My friend Wendy sent me a picture of freeze-drying asparagus she picked up for $.68 cents a pound! We have a few neighbors that have them and love them. Their husbands are more mechanical when they break down than my husband or me. Linda

  9. I have had my freeze dryer now for 3 years. It’s been an adventure. Fortunately the staff at Harvest Right has been helpful and patient with me as I learned the “particulars and hiccups” that this machine offers.
    The last 3 years were good harvests from the rather large garden and orchard, which kept “Chilly” humming all through fall and into winter months. The freeze dried quality of the food is unmatched with any type of food preservation I have used in the past. This winter we will rely on this long term storage more than planned. We had a fire that devastated our area this fall. We salvaged our house, but orchard and garden are gone, along with the barn, stables, the breakfast club chicken coup, and shop. It was for “reasons such as this” that we have been preparing for. A good test run, as my husband says. I would encourage anyone to consider this type of food preservation if they are able. Even without my garden / orchard, I have been utilizing the family farm stands and local markets to offset the loss. We feel very fortunate.

    1. Hi Sandra, thank you so much for letting us know how much you love your freezer dryer. I love hearing this! I’m so sorry to hear you had a fire, thankfully your home survived and as well as your family. My heart aches for you to hear you lost the barn, the stables, chicken coup, and your shop to name a few. It’s truly a blessing you had 3 years to practice preserving your food in your freeze dryer. May God bless your family, Linda

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