It used to be that dehydrating fruits were all the rage in American homes more than a decade ago. Today, freeze drying fruits is possible for in-home use thanks to the affordability of freeze dryers. Additionally, food dehydrators are now more affordable than ever before; learn how you can preserve fruits that a dehydrator often failed to live up to.
A Short History Of Freeze-Drying
It’s only been since the 1970s when commercial food dehydrators were beginning to become more common. Foods that we now take for granted such as instant noodles, beef jerky, and obviously freeze-dried instant coffee were among the first products that became wildly popular. Even as far back as the NASA moon missions in the late 1960s, freeze-dried Astronaut Ice Cream was later marketed to the public, but failed to gain popularity.
By the time the early 2010s rolled around, it was unheard of to have a freeze dryer in your home. It was evidently so expensive for factories in the 1980s to buy these machines, they were simply an oddball out for being a useful product in any private hands. Somehow this changed when a small venture company by the name of Harvest Right first marketed an affordable solution that first sold for $5K.
This price tag seemed pricy at the time, but the cost has since dropped due to the interest of freeze-drying enthusiasts. Nowadays you can purchase one of their newest models for about $2800.00 and is still a medium-sized model! With so many people looking for ways to preserve and extend their food storage, freeze-drying is catching on like wildfire. But like anything else, people often wonder about how fruits will best be preserved.
Which Fruits Work Best In A Freeze Dryer?
Before we start with the official list, you have to wonder why freeze-dried fruits are going to be worth the effort to freeze dry. It seems that one of the better abilities of freeze-drying comes from preserving the nutrients which are often affected when you dehydrate fruits. Other times, the problematic nature of dehydration comes from unwanted sugars forming and obviously storing these for years without becoming rancid or going bad.
It’s also worth noting that certain fruits will absolutely be terrible to freeze dry and most of these come in the form of jams or jellies. It’s not that they aren’t great for home canning, but the amount of sugar in them is too hard to turn a gelatinous material into a dry lump just doesn’t work well at all. With that in mind, what you want to freeze dry must be freshly washed and prepared before they are placed into your freeze dryer.
- Apples (must be sliced)
- Grapes (sliced in half)
- Peaches (must be sliced)
- Apricot (must be sliced)
- Blueberries (poked with small holes)
- Raspberries & blackberries (cut in half or poked with small holes)
- Cherries (pitted and cut in half and blanched)
- Pineapple (must be sliced)
- Strawberries (best when sliced)
- Mango (sliced)
- Plum (sliced in half)
- Banana (sliced)
- Watermelon (must be sliced)
- Lemon & Lime (sliced thin)
- Avocado (pitted and sliced)
- Olives (pitted and sliced)
- Tomatoes (sliced in half)
- Zucchini (sliced)
- Squash (sliced)
- Coconut (small chunks)
- Kiwi (sliced in half)
- Cantaloupe (must be sliced)
- Jackfruit (sliced)
- Oranges (must be sliced)
- Star fruit (sliced)
- Tangerine (pit removed and sliced)
- Mixed fruit (sliced)
How To Best Store Freeze-Dried Fruits?
As you can see from this list above, there are no limits to the type of fruit you can dry freeze. Obviously, citrus fruits do need to be a little thinner so they dry easier, and fruits with naturally more sugar or water within them take longer to dry as well. The hardest decision to store these may come to be a bit of a surprise since you want the optimal results for years of preservation over the next few years (if perhaps decades) before you use any of these fruits.
At face value, thanks to the efforts of Super-Preppers who have pioneered storing tips for preserving food, they have perfected the art of storing freeze-dried foods. And though they might be looking ahead to an unforeseen future, you got to hand it to them for understanding how to best handle packing freeze-dried fruits for the long haul. Here are some great tips that will work best for your needs too.
Use Mylar Vacuum Seal Bags
Mylar is the same stuff that is used for those metal-looking balloons you see at amusement parks and county fairs. The only difference between the balloon version and food bags is the thickness of the material and weight. Although you can choose plastic vacuum seal bags, the advantage of Mylar is that light cannot get into your food and preserves the color for longer. Not that you want to store your fruits in a sunlight-lit room, it needs light protection.
This is why special Mylar vacuum seal bags are a great option to help preserve fruits that can easily survive up to 25 years (yes- 25 years!) when sealed in Mylar bags. Aluminum cans are a better option except this takes a canning setup that seals these cans whereas Mylar bags can be labeled and kept in storage in a cool place under 72 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll have to consider which bags are good for you, but thicker Mylar bags continually work much better.
The Advantage Of Freeze-Dried Fruits
The magic ingredient that rehydrates all freeze-dried food is water, but luckily, fruit is one aspect that will not require water if you decide to eat these as snacks. The saliva from your mouth is often enough to rehydrate any fruit slices in seconds and will be just as tasty as it was when it was fresh. The only downside is having plenty of water available to enjoy these fruits to make fruit smoothies or fruits that are made in various pastries or desserts.
All that’s needed is a bowl with your fruits inside and then add a small amount of water to reintroduce the moisture once again,. Within seconds, your fruit will be ready to eat. The texture may not always be absolutely the same but the flavor and nutrients certainly will!