Freeze-Dried Items Everything You Need to know

13 Cool Things to Freeze Dry at Home

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Did you know flowers, yogurts, and shampoos are just some of the many cool things you can freeze dry at home? There are tons of fun experiments to try with a freeze-dryer!

When people think of freeze-drying, they often think of food items like candies, meats, fruits, and vegetables. But you can also freeze dry liquids and non-food items like paints and plants. This allows for a lot of family fun and creativity that can be enjoyed with a home freeze dryer.

In this article, we have a list of thirteen (13) cool things to freeze dry. You probably have many of these items lying around your house.

freeze dried ice cream

10 Food Items to Freeze Dry

Freeze-drying is one of the best ways to preserve food items as it can retain nutrients, flavors, and be stored for up to 25 years. This works because the freeze-drying process removes most of the water from an item and then freezes the item at -30 to -50°F (-32 to -35°C).

Since it’s a complicated process, not everything around your house is suitable to freeze dry. For example, you can’t freeze dry foods with high fat or concentrated sugar, such as honey, butter, and jam.

Luckily, there are countless other things to enjoy freeze-drying right now. Here are 10 (ten) food items that can be freeze-dried:

1) Flowers

You can freeze-dry flowers and preserve them, whether for decorative purposes or to compliment a boring dish; you can preserve flowers for decades using the freeze-drying method.

Unlike air drying, this process keeps your flowers in perfect form, which means the petals won’t change color or become flat. 

That’s why freeze-drying is particularly popular for preserving wedding bouquets. The same applies to edible flowers; You won’t believe how a freeze-dried flower can make a boring dish look incredible.

Generally, you can freeze-dry any flower. The process is gentle on delicate flowers, so you don’t have to worry about the foliage falling apart.

Note: However, make sure not to place any poisonous flowers in your freezer. The toxic volatile chemicals in these flowers might escape during the process, which can be dangerous.

2) Candy

Freeze-dried candy is super popular nowadays. Aside from the fun experience, freeze-dried candy tends to have a unique taste and texture.

After removing all the moisture from the candy, it becomes light and crunchy. It feels like you’re eating sweet chips! Each piece of candy will be like a burst of concentrated flavors that will indulge your taste buds.

On top of that, your candy won’t go stale. Freeze-dried candy can maintain its distinct crispy texture and concentrated flavors for ages.

Freeze-dried candy can become chewy again once it comes in contact with moisture, but don’t expect it to go back to its original shape and texture.

3) Alcoholic Beverages

Freeze-drying alcoholic beverages is a fun experiment. While it’s possible to freeze-dry some types of alcoholic beverages, it’s a more complicated process than it normally is with solids.

Since most alcohols have low freezing points, they require special equipment to freeze dry.

It all depends on the type of alcoholic beverage you’re freeze-drying. For example, when you freeze dry beer or wine, you’ll end up with a crusty paste. Unfortunately, this paste doesn’t rehydrate well. So, your precious booze will go to waste!

Furthermore, freeze-drying beverages with high alcohol content is even harder. For instance, ethanol has a freezing point of -173 °F (113°C). Sadly, most home freeze dryers can only freeze to around -30°F.

4) Seafood

Fresh seafood is delicious. The problem is that it can go bad quickly compared to other proteins, like chicken. Luckily, with freeze drying, you can keep your seafood in the freezer for years if stored properly.

So, don’t hesitate to get that salmon on sale! You’ll get to cook it whenever you want and still taste fresh.

Moreover, if you prepare your fish prior to freeze-drying, the process will be much simpler, especially when rehydrating the seafood. That includes trimming unwanted parts, removing the bones, and cleaning the fish.

NoteFreeze-drying does not kill bacteria in raw food, so to prevent foodborne illnesses, you will need to cook the fish before you begin the freeze-drying process.

5) Herbs

Every cook dreams about having fresh herbs all year, especially seasonal ones. However, no matter where you live, it’ll be hard to grow all the herbs you love. That’s where freeze-drying comes in handy.

You can grow or buy fresh herbs and store them for years to come! You no longer need to buy herbs in bulk or spend a fortune on subpar dried herbs. Instead, you can freeze-dry your herbs, retaining all their flavors and nutrients.

For most dishes, it’s not necessary to rehydrate the herbs. Simply toss them in your recipe straight from the container.

Nonetheless, if you need to rehydrate them, place the herbs in a water bowl for 10 minutes to return them to their green and fragrant nature.

6) Pre-Made Meals

Freeze-drying pre-made meals can save you a lot of time and effort. These meals will have a long shelf life. In addition, since they’re dehydrated, they’ll be small, making them perfect for packing.

So, if you’re leaving for a long trip, you can save some money by packing freeze-dried pre-made meals. You won’t have to worry about cooking, as you’ll simply rehydrate your meal in water, and dinner will be ready in no time.

Freeze-dried pre-made meals have lots of benefits. These meals can help you stick to a healthy meal plan. They’re also a great option if you want to stay away from take-out. In addition, you’ll be reducing food waste.

7) Meat

Meat is one of the most delicious foods to freeze dry. You don’t need to be a chef to freeze dry meat; it doesn’t take long and almost always turns out perfectly.

In general, you can freeze dry both cooked and raw meat. However, cooked meat is always safer to avoid contaminating your freeze-dryer.

To get the best results, you should either dice or slice it into thick pieces. In any case, it’s crucial to remove as much fat as possible from the meat. That’s because fat doesn’t release moisture, which reduces your meat’s shelf life.

In contrast, low-fat meat will typically last for up to 25 years, depending on the storage conditions.

Once you are ready to use the meat, you can rehydrate freeze-dried meat easily in water, broth, or another liquid of your choice.

8) Fruits

Freeze-dried fruit tastes like candy while still being just as nutritious. So, they make healthy snacks for you and your kids to enjoy.

Unlike dehydrating, freeze-drying doesn’t change the shape or taste of the fruits. As for texture, freeze-dried fruits tend to be crunchy, airy, and light, while dehydrated ones are usually chewy and thick.

You can also rehydrate freeze-dried fruit with water as well as juice to make the fruit even sweeter.

9) Vegetables

Who hasn’t found plenty of spoiled vegetables when cleaning out their fridge? Vegetables are one of the most popular foods to freeze dry for this reason. Freeze-dried veggies can be stored for up to 25 years instead of the usual 2-4 weeks.

Additionally, freeze-drying vegetables retain their taste and nutritional benefits. You can freeze dry both leftover cooked vegetables and fresh ones.

Freeze-drying vegetables ensures you’ll have access to your favorite healthy greens year-round. 

When it’s time to cook the vegetables, I’ve found that blanching, as opposed to defrosting, gives you the best flavor.

Freeze-drying makes the vegetables lose their shape and texture, but you can then rehydrate freeze-dried vegetables with water in just a few minutes.

10) Dairy Products

Normal dairy products last a few weeks in a refrigerator, but did you know most dairy products can be freeze-dried and stored for over a decade in storage?

Some popular freeze-dried dairy products are:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Ice cream

Freeze-dried foods with high-fat contents like butter have a much shorter shelf life. Butter powder has a shelf life of about five (5) years.

3 Non-food Items that can be Freeze-Dried

Food isn’t the only thing you can freeze dry. This technique helps preserve all sorts of items, including the following:

1) Plants

By freeze-drying plants and rose petals, you’ll transform them into everlasting decorative pieces.

Additionally, you can make powders from freeze-dried plants and use them for skin care, medicinal purposes, and home remedies. For example, if you have aloe vera, it can be freeze-dried and used to make a potent powder that can be used on your hair and skin.

2) Insects

Insects are an essential part of many reptiles’ diets. If you have a reptile pet, freeze-drying insects can make them last longer. Nonetheless, you should use a separate tray to avoid contaminating your food.

3) Shampoos

Since shampoos mainly consist of water, they freeze dry well. They’re also easy to reconstitute.

After freeze-drying, the shampoo will come out like a small soap bar. It’s super fun to rehydrate the bar into shampoo.

You might even use a silicone mold to shape the bar, which can be particularly helpful for making travel-friendly shampoos.

freeze dried edible flowers

Shelf Life of Freeze-Dried Items

Freeze drying removes around 98 to 99% of the moisture from items. Since moisture is the main cause of mold and bacterial growth, freeze-drying makes for an excellent preservation method, lasting for 25 years or more.

Food ItemShelf Life (Years)
Staples (flour, oats, sugar, etc.)30+
Vegetables25 – 30
Fruits25 – 30
Desserts25 – 30
Meat Products15 – 25

Keep in mind that freeze-drying doesn’t remove the need for proper storage. In fact, if freeze-dried items absorb moisture, they’ll go bad quickly. That’s why you must store them in an airtight container and place them in a dry, cold area.

Mylar bags and mason jars work well for storing freeze-dried foods long term.

People Also Ask

How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Food?

To rehydrate freeze-dried meat, seafood, fruits, and other food items, simply allow the food item to absorb a hot liquid for 10-30 minutes. The hotter the liquid, the faster the food item will absorb the water.

Can you Freeze-Dry Anything?

No, although you can freeze-dry all sorts of items, not all food items can be freeze-dried. Items that cannot be freeze-dried are:

  • Syrup
  • Jam
  • Honey
  • Whole nuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Coffee Beans

Can you Freeze Dry Water?

No, pure water cannot be freeze-dried because it would evaporate in the freeze-drying process. However, food items with a high moisture content, such as jello, can be freeze-dried.

Can you Freeze Dry Juice to Make Juice Powder?

Yes, grape juice, lemonade, and other fruit juices can be freeze-dried to make juice powder that can be rehydrated at a later point. These juice powders can be preserved for decades and enjoyed again by adding them to water.

Can you Freeze Dry Raw Meat?

Yes, however, it is suggested to cook the meat before beginning the freeze-drying process. This is because a freeze dryer does not kill bacteria that can cause a foodborne illness. So, to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses, it is suggested you cook the meat and other raw food items before freeze-drying them.

Can you Freeze Dry Lettuce?

Yes! Lettuce follows similar rules to other freeze-dried vegetables. Lettuce can be stored either raw or cooked and can be kept for up to 25 years. You can rehydrate freeze-dried lettuce by simply placing it in hot water. After a few minutes, the lettuce will restore to its normal size, shape, and taste.

Final Thoughts

There are tons of cool things to freeze dry around your house. That includes flowers, candy, herbs, meat, and even alcoholic beverages. Aside from food, dry freezing paints, shampoos, and plants can be a fun experiment to try with your kids.

With freeze-drying, the possibilities are endless! So, be creative! 

Generally, freeze-drying can preserve food for longer periods while maintaining its taste and nutritional content.

If you would like to learn more about freeze drying, see our related articles on Soulful Prepper.


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