Welcome to Freeze Dried Friday on SurvivalBlog! We’ve been making so many things in the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer that we want to share some of them with you. If you have something wonderful you’ve prepared in your freeze dryer that you would like to share with SurvivalBlog readers, take a photo of it and send it in along with a description. We might just feature you here!
Vacation is over
The Latimer household is back online after a wonderful vacation. We are still unpacking and cleaning out the camping equipment though. I’m happy to report that the freeze dried food offered us gourmet meals at a fraction of the price of standard commercial offerings. We didn’t even repack into Mylar bags this time, instead just choosing to take the Mason jars and store them in the trailer separated by a sheet of cardboard to keep them from bouncing against each other as we traveled. It was rather refreshing to not lose any food to spoilage or cooler sogginess.
Question From a Reader
Reader “Uncle Joe” wrote in about his new Harvest Right Freeze Dryer:
I’ve just finished re-reading your freeze drying exploits from earlier this year, as well as referencing your original article(s) on the topic. Several months ago, we invested in the Harvest Right unit, based on our need and your recommendation (among others).
We are encountering an issue with storage. It seems that regardless of what we do (ziplocs or mylar) we cannot seem to get the food stored quickly enough, or sealed completely enough, to eliminate the re-absorption of moisture. We have had a number of batches which go from crispy freeze-dried product to mushy, spongy packages in a matter of days. Is there something we can do to eliminate this? Or is this somehow an acceptable state for our stored food?
Soggy food is certainly not acceptable. This is mainly an indication that either packaging is not fully sealing or the product is not ready to remove from the freeze drier at the end of the cycle. If this is happening within an hour of removing the food from the machine, I would tend to think the food was not ready. The machine gives you an opportunity to check the food before completely shutting down and you can run it for a couple of hours to finish it off if you find it isn’t quite there yet. Just follow the direction on the screen prompts. When you are checking the food, lift it from the tray and check the underside. Some foods (like sauces) may seal moisture so you may have to break the chunks up to check the inside.
Packaging for Storage
If the sogginess occurs over several hours or days, I would tend to focus on your packaging process. Freeze dried food is very hygroscopic and will readily absorb moisture from the air. On a humid day, you only have a few minutes to move it from the trays to your packing and seal it before it becomes noticeably more moist. Make sure you are fully sealing the packages as well if you use a Mylar bag sealer.
We use mason jars and it is often enough to simply place a clean lid on top of the jar while you fill the other jars to keep it from absorbing more moisture. If you need to hold the jar for any length of time before you vacuum seal it, just screw a ring onto the jar to keep moisture from migrating in. You will have to remove the ring to use the Tilla Food Saver lid sealer, but it’s easy to do.
I would stay away from Ziplocs though. Despite the manufacturer’s claim, the plastic does breath some and the zip lock is not always reliable. While convenient, it is probably the least reliable storage medium you can use.
o o o
If you would like to include pictures of your freeze dried products in your comments, just send them to us via email along with the name you posted the comment under and I’ll place the pictures for you. Alternatively, you can host them on your own server and use the html <img> tag to include them