Letter Re: Pantry Building Basics


This was an excellent article to which I would add home freeze drying (fd). Canning fresh foods is a lot of work, but you know what went into those canning jars. Freeze drying at home is almost no work and is fun, in addition to you having the knowledge of what went into those jars. A home freeze dryer costs less than $3,000; that’s less than a one year’s supply of commercial fd food for one person. You can fd almost any food at home. Imagine ice cream sandwiches after the SHTF! Those cans of commercial foods that are in your preparedness pantry and about to reach their expiration date can be easily fd. Freeze-dried food has a shelf life of up to 25 years. Re-hydrating fd foods is done by simply adding water. Scramble raw eggs, freeze dry them, and then when they are needed in recipes simply add equal parts fd egg and water (1 1/2 T fd egg + 1 1/2 T water= 1 egg). We store all of our fd foods in canning jars that we vacuum seal with our “Food Saver”. Once opened, a jar can be re-sealed with a new lid, unlike a #10 can. Just like canned foods, fd foods do not require any refrigeration. Freeze drying a batch (four trays) of food takes between 20 and 36 hours depending on the moisture content in the food. We raise our own beef, so we know what goes into a pound of our hamburger. We cook one pound of hamburger at a time on our “George Forman Grill”, which drains away the unwanted grease. The fd trays hold 1 1/4 pounds of hamburger each, so we fd five pounds of hamburger per batch, which yields 6 pints of fd hamburger and takes about 24 hours. The hardest part about fd is waiting to see what the product looks like at the end of the cycle. It reconstitutes back to its original taste and texture without losing its nutritional value and you know what’s in it. – M.C.