The Freeze-Drying Thread

Britesea

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I haven't done any salsa yet. I just finished blanching the last of the bell peppers. They need to be frozen before I FD them. I did some checking in my notes and discovered I can save a full 6 hours of FD time on the peppers by freezing them first.

Salsa will be started tomorrow. My recipe uses 11 chilies, but the ones from my garden were all different sizes so I bought 11 from the market and weighed them to get a ballpark figure of how much per recipe. Then I will just weigh them and separate by batch before fire roasting and freezing. I'm not sure yet how many sauce pucks a batch of salsa will make, or how many I can fit on a tray, but after making 1 batch of salsa and freezing it I will have that info ready.

It's also time to change out the oil in the vacuum pump as well. There's always a small amount of water vapor that gets into the oil, and that needs to be filtered out regularly. There's a very expensive filter you can buy that is especially made for this, but I discovered a cheap alternate: I bought a Britta water filter and discarded the filter. Buy a roll of plain white toilet paper and cut it down to the core with a serrated knife (brush away all the crumbs) and make a roll that will just barely fit into the water filter. This has done a marvelous job so far of cleaning the oil- better than the commercial one in fact. I read that I don't need to change it until both top and bottom are black with gunk, which hasn't happened yet.

The other thing I have to do tomorrow is to seal up the already FD'd peppers in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for long term storage. Right now I have 4 gallon sized ziplocs full. I can keep some in a glass jar for easy access, but most of them will go into the mylar. I found these online http://mylarbagsdirect.com/8x10v.html that you can use in a vacuum sealer. Most mylar bags won't work in a vacuum sealer because they are smooth-textured so the air can't be vacuumed out; these have the little channels that vacuum bags have.

Time to go put those peppers in the freezer!
 

Britesea

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FD Salsa.jpg My freeze-dried salsa worked out great! This 1 quart jar is what I have of the 1 1/2 quarts I started out with. It takes about 1part salsa to 3parts water to make a decent texture. I also did some mixed frozen veggies that were sitting in the freezer, a package of boneless skinless chicken thighs (raw) and 1 lone pepper-crusted steak. I should have cut the steak into thinner slices, because the 1 inch thick cut was too thick- I've had to put a whole bunch of extra time into the final drying time on it. I will let you know how the chicken turns out later this week when I use some up for dinner.
 

Mini Horses

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Very interesting to hear just what all goes into freeze drying. I never got involved with finding out this type info, just appreciated the quality of some of the rehydrated items from such a method. Now that I hear it, seems to be a whole lot of work, LOL. I certainly appreciate the end result of long term storage, lightweight, looks, etc.

I'm enjoying the info and details. Thanks.
 

sumi

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It sounds like a really great way to preserve food, beside canning, or freezing it.
 

lcertuche

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Thanks for the information. I've always wondered about freeze drying. The appliance is so high I can't see ever getting one. I've been drying lemons and onions in my dehydrator. At the price of the little cheap Wally World dehydrator I guess I will stick with that.
 

Mini Horses

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The appliance is so high I can't see ever getting one.
I'm with you Icer.....and I have a great, hard working dehydrator I use. Bought at Habitat store for $8 !!! I don't think it had even been used. Older model but "new". I got way more than my $$ back in the figs & apple rings I've done so far. More apple rings going in today -- love those things! Next yr tomatoes will be done. Probably $30-=45 new, back then, a 4 tray Nesco.

But I love learning about the newer methods.
 

Britesea

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The only reason I could afford this appliance was because I got a nice chunk of inheritance money that I hadn't planned on. I still find my dehydrator and canners and the freezer useful however- so I will be using all methods, depending on what I'm preserving. Each one has its pros and cons.
 
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