Author Topic: Freeze Dried Food Storage  (Read 15447 times)

Offline sshickson

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Freeze Dried Food Storage
« on: March 19, 2015, 10:06:46 AM »
Hello, I am new here and new to prepping in general and have a question that hopefully someone here can answer. My husband has jumped into the deep end of the pool here, we put in a garden that I was concerned was going to be too big and now am planning on tripling in size this next year, he is currently pricing solor panels for off grid power, stocked up on basics and lots of ammo, and bought me a home freeze dryer. He is making plans for chicken pens and rabbits as we speak!

My question today, cause there will be more to come I am sure, is storing my freeze dried items. I have a food saver for vacuum packing, but it does not work with mylar bags, so he bought me a sealer for the mylar bags, but you can't vacuum pack those. So, for long term storage, am I better off vacuum packing meals with the food saver and storing in plastic totes, or going with the mylar bags and using oxygen absorbers and not having them vaccuum sealed? Thanks!

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 12:38:51 PM »
You actually can vacuum pack with mylar bags if you really want to... but it takes a slightly different method. Basically, you cut a strip of plastic vacuum sealer bag to fit inside the mylar where you plan to make the seal.  (The vacuum sealer just needs the little channels provided in the vac-sealer bags to pull the air out properly.) The layers will be: mylar-plastic-plastic-mylar. Use your vacuum sealer as always, including the bag sealer after the vacuuming process is complete. The air should be pulled out of the mylar bag as it would with a regular vacuum sealer bag. Sometimes it takes a time or two to position it just right so that the air is removed. If you can see the air is not being removed, stop, reposition and try again.

That being said... if you use oxygen absorbers in your mylar, you may not need to vacuum seal. As long as the oxygen is taken out, your food should be fine.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2015, 08:25:40 AM by LvsChant »

Offline mnotlyon

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 12:51:40 PM »
You got a freeze dryer? As in a $4000 piece of home equipment? Wow, nice!

I'd go with mylar and o2 absorbers. They do a better job of holding seal, and keeping light and varments out if you're gonna be storing for extreme long term.

For shorter term, I'd probably just use vacuumed canning jars. You can reuse the jars, and the lids. Plus, they do more than one job if you'd like to get into traditional canning. They're also pretty much rodent proof.

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2015, 01:46:40 PM »
Thanks for the responses! Like I said, very new to this. My husband was all ready for me to start canning and as I checked into it, I realized how complicated it can be, and labor intensive. Then he read a few seasoned preppers that have moved away from canning and into freeze drying. I am really excited about our first batch and warned him there would be a trial and error period.

I got the freeze dryer from Harvest Right, it was on sale for $3599. I figured if I bought the prepared survival food for 6 of us for 1 year, that worked out to be between $10K and $12K. This is a cheaper investment. I can also save money not throwing out left overs that don't get eaten. We will see how long it takes to get my money back out of it
Thanks again!

Offline mnotlyon

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2015, 02:42:46 PM »
Thanks for the responses! Like I said, very new to this. My husband was all ready for me to start canning and as I checked into it, I realized how complicated it can be, and labor intensive. Then he read a few seasoned preppers that have moved away from canning and into freeze drying. I am really excited about our first batch and warned him there would be a trial and error period.

I got the freeze dryer from Harvest Right, it was on sale for $3599. I figured if I bought the prepared survival food for 6 of us for 1 year, that worked out to be between $10K and $12K. This is a cheaper investment. I can also save money not throwing out left overs that don't get eaten. We will see how long it takes to get my money back out of it
Thanks again!

This is really cool. Please post some pictures and comments on your experience with the freeze dryer. My wife and I have been kicking the idea around to get one, but the price is slowing us down a bit.

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2015, 09:00:03 PM »
This is really cool. Please post some pictures and comments on your experience with the freeze dryer. My wife and I have been kicking the idea around to get one, but the price is slowing us down a bit.

First batch done in about 21 hours, of course, it was strictly fruits and veggies for a start. Did a tray of sliced Sweet Potatoes with a little (Very little) EVOO and Sea Salt, with the low moisture content and thin slicing I could do a couple of layers in the tray; made a tray with fresh green beans the same as above, made a tray of sliced Avocado, and a tray with sliced apples. Had the most "Shrinkage" with the green beans. My other half ate most of the avocado, and the kids demolished the apples. Immediately defrosted the machine, cleaned the trays and did 3 more apple trays (Asst.) and a pear tray. My daughter put cinnamon and a little sugar on one tray to try, I was surprised how sweet the apples in the first batch were, but, anything to get the kids involved since my girls think dad has gone nuts with the prepping anyway. More fruit tomorrow when these are done, my son wants more sweet potatoes and bananas! Hopefully, by the time those are done I will have a couple days of leftovers to try!

Oh, we re-hydrated the avocado slices and they were just as good as fresh! Once I figure out how to post pics, I will!!  Husband is very happy, I wish it was bigger but wouldn't really want something the size of a washer or dryer, no pun intended.

nelson96

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2015, 08:19:16 PM »
If I owned a freeze dryer, I think I would have to go all in with a #10 can sealer

http://www.amazon.com/All-American-Flywheel-Can-Sealer/dp/B001DHKYF0

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2015, 07:38:24 AM »
If I owned a freeze dryer, I think I would have to go all in with a #10 can sealer

http://www.amazon.com/All-American-Flywheel-Can-Sealer/dp/B001DHKYF0

Oooooooooh! I think I may want one!! Thank you! I had not thought of this. My cousin, who kinda began us in the whole prepping thing, told me last night that we are not preppers, preppers have a bug out contingency, we don't: my husband is planning on hunkering down. She told me we are homesteaders. I am ok with that. I have not been purchasing many can goods because I have enough to deal with without rotating cans and staying up on the dates. I had planned on just doing the freeze dried food in single or 2 serving packaging to make it easier to use, but the #10 cans would allow me to do a whole pot of soup in one container easier. Of course, the cans will take up more space. Guess I need to get my husband busy on the root cellar! Thanks again.

nelson96

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2015, 08:28:13 AM »
My cousin, who kinda began us in the whole prepping thing, told me last night that we are not preppers, preppers have a bug out contingency, we don't: my husband is planning on hunkering down. She told me we are homesteaders.

No disrespect intended toward your cousin, but people are weird about so-called prepping and how it is defined.  I didn't know I was a prepper until I found TSP.  My family has always lived the homesteader/prepper lifestyle.

I don't own any freeze dried foods, but I think the thought behind the #10 cans is that if stored properly (with an oxygen obsorber and in a cool stable place) it is the best way to get the longest storage life.  Once you open one I would think a family could easily get the contents eaten before the item went bad.

Offline mnotlyon

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 08:34:50 AM »
I have not been purchasing many can goods because I have enough to deal with without rotating cans and staying up on the dates. I had planned on just doing the freeze dried food in single or 2 serving packaging to make it easier to use,

I bought one of these to help me rotate my foods properly: http://www.thrivelife.com/the-harvest-72.html

If you get a can sealer, you'll probably still wanna rotate your freeze dried stuff.

nelson96

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2015, 08:41:05 AM »
I bought one of these to help me rotate my foods properly: http://www.thrivelife.com/the-harvest-72.html

If you get a can sealer, you'll probably still wanna rotate your freeze dried stuff.

My wife asked me to make her a can rotator for our panty cabinet so that we good utilize space better.  I'm here to tell you that these mechnisms do a great job of adding can rotation convenience, but they don't save on space, they actually waste space. . . .  We left things alone in the panty because we can store more foods in the traditional stacking method than we ever could through a rotator.

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2015, 09:27:39 AM »
I bought one of these to help me rotate my foods properly: http://www.thrivelife.com/the-harvest-72.html

If you get a can sealer, you'll probably still wanna rotate your freeze dried stuff.

I thought the beauty of freeze dried is to have a 20-25 year shelf life.  We are planning on playing around with it, freeze drying say a batch of Spaghetti, trying one package in a month or so, some at a year, etc. Just to see how well it taste. I don't know if I posted here or on another thread that we figured it was more cost effective to purchase the freeze drier and do our own rather than pay the cost of the "Survival" tubs of freeze dried. $1795 for a year supply for 1 person and I have a family of 6! The freeze drier with sealer and mylar bags came in at $4000.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2015, 09:37:47 AM »
Hi S., welcome to the forum!

Many of the companies that seal freeze dried foods in mylar purposely leave a large volume of air (20% of which is oxygen absorbed by the properly sized absorber) with the intention of NOT pulling a vacuum.  Because many freeze dried foods become soft or brittle, pulling a shrink-wrap vacuum will crush the contents into bits.

~TG

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2015, 10:40:27 AM »
Hi S., welcome to the forum!

Many of the companies that seal freeze dried foods in mylar purposely leave a large volume of air (20% of which is oxygen absorbed by the properly sized absorber) with the intention of NOT pulling a vacuum.  Because many freeze dried foods become soft or brittle, pulling a shrink-wrap vacuum will crush the contents into bits.

~TG

Thanks for the welcome! Nice to see another Texan here! My girls did Vacuum seal the apple slices we did to see what would happen, they are very brittle but actually held up quite well. Another one of our experiments. We are actually keeping a "Freeze dry Journal" to keep track of what we have done, how it worked out, etc. Thanks for the info!

Shelli

Offline Gypsyman

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2015, 10:19:14 PM »
Hi S., welcome to the forum!

Many of the companies that seal freeze dried foods in mylar purposely leave a large volume of air (20% of which is oxygen absorbed by the properly sized absorber) with the intention of NOT pulling a vacuum.  Because many freeze dried foods become soft or brittle, pulling a shrink-wrap vacuum will crush the contents into bits.

~TG

This is exactly what we've found. If a large O2 absorber is used in a small mylar bag they can REALLY pull down hard. Takes a bit of practice with freeze dried products that are fragile or easily crushed.

Offline mnotlyon

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2015, 03:08:43 PM »
I thought the beauty of freeze dried is to have a 20-25 year shelf life. 

Sure, a 20 year shelf life is great. But, if you like to eat the food that you freeze dry, if it's properly rotated, you'll still have quality food 50 years from now. :)


Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2015, 10:33:03 PM »
Sure, a 20 year shelf life is great. But, if you like to eat the food that you freeze dry, if it's properly rotated, you'll still have quality food 50 years from now. :)

Oh, I totally agree, my hubby would like to get a years worth of food for the family stored, minimum, while the grid is up and working, lol. He doesn't want us dependent on the fridge, which will be getting its fair share of food as well, and wants me to start canning too. It's going to be hard because the kids keep eating what we have been freeze drying! My youngest, Senior in HS, wants me to freeze dry ice cream for her to take to school to munch on throughout the day...like I have nothing else going on. So far, we have just tried different fruits but I have some pasta dishes drying tonight...we will see how they turn out. Thanks for all of the input everybody!!

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2015, 12:05:22 AM »
Well, it's a good sign that they are enjoying the end product.  Sounds like a great project and a good goal.

~TG

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2015, 06:01:49 AM »
Ok...update on the freeze dryer...I forgot to take pictures to post, I will get better about this I promise! The fruit trays: I have done apples, several varieties, pears, grapes (which have to be sliced in half), strawberries  (also sliced), blackberries  (should have sliced, didn't work well whole) and sliced avocados. I full freeze drier took about 22 to 23 hours to process and are very tasty. Monday night the kids wanted Tuna Noodle Casserole, not my favorite but they enjoy it occasionally so I made a double batch and filled 2 trays with the second casserole And put in the fridge. Tuesday night hubby wanted beef tips with mushroom gravy and pasta so I did a double batch and filled the last two trays, cooled it down and put the four pasta trays in the dryer. They took about 34 hours to process. I don't have a big assortment of mylar bags yet so I divided each tray into 2 quart sized bags. I have been trying to keep my trays pretty evenly layered with food that will have same drying time/moisture content, although you supposedly don't have to as you can not over freeze dry food. I really wish I had taken pics. When it finally finished this morning hubby jumped in to help me get the bags and absorbers ready we sealed it all up before I thought about it. The trays were filled and when they came out there was a 1/4 to 1/2 inch gap aound the edges. Kinda had the texture of Ramen noodles. I have to go out of town this weekend with my girls...maybe my husband and son will declare that an emergency and breakout our homemade MREs!

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2015, 09:47:24 AM »
Ok...update on the freeze dryer...

sliced avocados.

 :jaw-drop:
Freeze-dried avocados!  That alone would be a good enough reason to buy a freeze dryer.

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2015, 03:29:15 PM »
Update on the freeze dryer:

My son and husband went fishing and brought back about 78 small bass, got them all cleaned and they ran several batches in the freeze dryer. Not much shrinkage at all and I added quite a bit to my storage! My garden has been producing more spinach than we can eat and I have two girls that eat it salad almost daily so my last harvest I cleaned it, chopped it, and freeze dried it! It comes out like paper! Took some advice and stored it in Vacuum sealed Quart Ball Jars. I made a beef barley stew today and threw in some of the spinach and it worked amazingly well! Couldn't tell that it wasn't fresh!

Waiting for a sale on chicken to start drying some meat!  May do some broccoli since I had to pick all of mine!

 

nelson96

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2015, 03:43:29 PM »
Totally Jealous.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2015, 07:10:57 PM »
Very cool.   

Curious to see how the fish rehydrates, if the texture is good enough to be pan cooked afterwards and such.

~TG

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2015, 09:23:04 PM »
Very cool.   

Curious to see how the fish rehydrates, if the texture is good enough to be pan cooked afterwards and such.

~TG

 :popcorn:  Me too

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2015, 07:02:02 AM »
When I get home today I will take some pictures of the fish before and after and get them posted. I am not a big fan of fresh water fish myself but my boys are!

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2015, 08:59:01 AM »
How much electricity does it take to run a batch?

~TG

Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2015, 10:59:01 AM »
I received an e-mail a week back or so that these home freeze driers were on $300 markdown.  The black version less expensive than the stainless steel.  It may have been in conjunction with the APN giveaway drawing though.

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2015, 01:16:23 PM »
I received an e-mail a week back or so that these home freeze driers were on $300 markdown.  The black version less expensive than the stainless steel.  It may have been in conjunction with the APN giveaway drawing though.

I went with the black one, I couldn't justify spending the money for one that is stainless steel.

How much electricity does it take to run a batch?

~TG

The figures that we have come up with is about $1.50 per load/24 hr. run time. Some batches have only taken 17 to 18 hours and one batch took almost 30 hours so it probably cost a little more. Just depends on the water content of whatever you are freeze drying.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2015, 10:17:14 PM »
The figures that we have come up with is about $1.50 per load/24 hr. run time. Some batches have only taken 17 to 18 hours and one batch took almost 30 hours so it probably cost a little more. Just depends on the water content of whatever you are freeze drying.

How many watts (KWh) would that be for a 24 hour batch?  (Electric rates vary place to place)

~TG

Offline sshickson

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Re: Freeze Dried Food Storage
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2015, 12:56:30 PM »
How many watts (KWh) would that be for a 24 hour batch?  (Electric rates vary place to place)

~TG

Will have to check with hubby when I hear from him. He figured it all out, but he is off kayak fishing at High Island and e better bring me back some flounder! Love salt water fish, just don't care for freshwater, tastes muddy and too fishy for me. Anyway, I will ask him when he checks in.