Late Summer and Early Fall Freeze-Drying Tips
The Benefits of Freeze-Drying Your Food
- Better Than Canning and Dehydrating: Freeze-drying is an easier method of preserving food and lasts 7 to 8 times longer. Without the presence of water and oxygen to spoil the food, it can last up to 25 years!
- Preserves Taste, Color and Nutritional Value: Freeze-drying does not damage the nutrition of food. Canning and dehydrating use high temperatures that can destroy more than half of the food value. Freeze-drying also retains flavor, aroma, color, and shape. It does not shrink or toughen food.
- Cuts Down on Food Waste: Studies have shown that the average family of four throws away 40% of the food they purchase each year, a value equal to $2,250 or more. Using a freeze dryer, leftover meals, including overly ripe fruits and vegetables that are typically wasted and thrown away, can be preserved until you are ready to eat them.
- Freeze-Dry Large Pieces of Food and Complete Meals: You don't have to settle for the small dices or shavings of fruit or meat that you find in store-bought, freeze-dried products. Prepare your food and preserve it how you want it. Freeze-drying allows you to preserve large pieces of tasteful, high-quality food.
Tips for Freeze-Drying Your Harvest This Season
Vegetables that are ready to be picked now are great candidates for the freeze-dryer. Zucchini and squash can be used a variety of ways. You can slice them up and freeze-dry them with a bit of salt and seasoning to be used as a substitute for potato chips. You can also freeze-dry zucchini noodles, which makes for a fantastic way to preserve zucchini to be used for making zucchini bread well after it's out of season.
Adding to your food storage on a budget is easy during this time of year. Supermarkets, farmers markets, and your own garden will be full of fruits and vegetables that make for a healthy and delicious addition to your home food storage. At this time of year, many in-season produce items are marked down and can be bought in bulk. Take advantage of these opportunities.
Hurricane season is here and it's a reminder that preparing for an emergency should be a year-round exercise. Freeze-dried food is the best type of food you can have in an emergency, and if you are forced to evacuate, it's lightweight and easy to pack along. If you're left for an extended period without utilities, freeze-dried food is easy to prepare and provides all the nutrition of fresh food.
There is still time to enjoy good weather outside, and freeze-dried food helps you fuel your days and nights in the backcountry. As temperatures drop at night on the trail, freeze-dried soups and stews are the perfect meal next to a warm fire. Hunting season is also in full swing, and freeze-drying can be used to not only give you the food you take on your trips, but also to preserve your game after the hunt for long-term storage.
As temperatures begin to drop, many of us pet owners naturally spend less time outdoors, which often means that our pets do as well. If you're the type that is less active through the fall and winter, and your pets follow suit, you should adjust the amount of food you give them to help them avoid putting on weight. On the other hand, if your pet spends as much time outdoors through the cooler temperatures of fall and winter as they do in summer, make sure to give them additional calories to help them stay warm.