Jul 6, 2023
Preserving food has always been crucial. It saves you time and money in preparing your meals. Over the years, different methods have been developed to provide better options for preserving and storing food. Using cold storage like a freezer has become a popular way to achieve this. But in the past decades, freeze-drying was developed.
Freeze-drying could be done on different types of food, including meats and protein.
Freeze-drying is a process that uses extreme temperatures to preserve protein without refrigeration. It started after World War II with coffee beans. Fruits and vegetables came next. Eventually, meat and other protein were successfully freeze-dried.
The concept is based on a process called lyophilization. That means lowering the meat to below-freezing temperature and then using a high-pressure vacuum to remove water and moisture. The temperature is then slowly increased to complete the process. When you are ready to eat the protein, you will need to give back its moisture through rehydration.
One of the main advantages of freeze-drying is that it does not damage the structure of the meat, unlike other preservation techniques. Conventional methods like using chemicals can affect the taste and texture of the food. That is not an issue with freeze-drying.
You can freeze-dry different types of protein and meats. Chicken has a wonderful texture once you rehydrate them. Sausage pieces are great for omelets and toppings. If you like tacos or burritos, freeze-dried beef is perfect for these.
Try different brands to find the taste and texture you prefer. If you choose to freeze-dry at home, you can experiment with different cuts to find what suits your taste.
If you are into freeze-drying your food and protein, you can do it at home instead of purchasing your stocks.
The first step is to prepare the food. Pick the freshest meat to get the best taste and the most nutritional value. Wash the meat properly to remove contaminants and other particles. Cut it into smaller pieces to better facilitate the elimination of moisture.
From here, you have several options. You can use your typical home freezer or a deep freezer. Spread the cut meat onto a tray and place it inside. Set your freezer to the lowest temperature. After two to three weeks, it will become completely freeze-dried. Pack it in an airtight bag after.
Another option is to use dry ice. Place the meat into freezer-safe bags and then into a cooler. Cover it with dry ice for 24 hours. Remove the meat from the bags and put them in airtight bags.
If you are into freeze-drying meats and other food, you can purchase a machine dedicated to this. The step-by-step process will depend on the model you buy, but the process is generally straightforward. Place the protein into trays and freeze them for 24 hours before sealing them.
Purchasing a machine can be worth it for those who want to store lots of food at home. However, if you do not plan to use it regularly to refill your food stocks or you do not have access to fresh protein, purchasing canned freeze-dried protein is a better option.
If you are interested in trying freeze-dried protein, you can purchase the food directly from stores. Amazon is one of the most convenient places to do this. Visit the site or app and search for freeze-dried meat. You pay online, and it is delivered directly to your home.
While that is convenient, it is not always the best place. If you have specific needs and preferences, you can try other sellers or brands.
TheEpicenter.com sells a variety of items from different brands. Cabelas.com is available in most major cities and offers popular products.
If you prefer to buy in bulk, SportsmanGuide.com carries some of the most popular freeze-dried brands, like ReadyWise and Mountain House. This seller focuses on large-scale purchases. MyPatriotSupply is another good option for bulk orders.
Augason Farms makes its freeze-dried products, including meat and protein. This supplier is not the cheapest, but the taste is worth it.
The average cost of freeze-dried food comes out to around $7 per pound of canned rehydrated food. If you do your own freeze-drying, the computation comes out at around the same price.
For proteins, the price depends on the type you are purchasing. A can of beef costs around $45 and contains a little over 4 pounds. That comes out to $10 per pound.
When you are ready to prepare your food, rehydrating meat is easy. Place the dry meat, either raw or cooked, in warm water. The meat will only absorb the moisture that it needs. That means you do not have to worry about over-rehydration.
Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. If the protein has been cooked before freeze-drying, you can eat it at this point or prepare it for other recipes. If the meat was freeze-dried raw, you can prepare it the way you normally would.
You can add more flavor to the meat by rehydrating it in broth. Ground meat can be placed directly into the sauce to rehydrate and cook at the same time.
There are many ways you can rehydrate meat, depending on how you plan to cook it. You can find recipes that can give ideas on what to do to make the protein more enjoyable.
The best way to store freeze-dried food is in an airtight container. To achieve the best results and taste, place the protein in the container as soon as it finishes the freeze-drying process.
You can store the protein at room temperature, and it will last for years. The optimal temperature for storing freeze-dried protein is 32 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to expose it to excessive heat, which can compromise the integrity of the meat.
Moisture can also affect the quality of the meat. The idea is to remove as much of it as possible so you want moisture to stay out. A good container plays a crucial part in this. If you use a vacuum-sealed plastic bag, a small hole can compromise the quality as it allows moisture to seep in.
Exposure to oxygen is another thing to avoid when storing freeze-dried protein. Make sure that the container is airtight. Push all oxygen out before sealing the container. It is recommended to use glass or Mylar bags.
Light can also cause the fats and protein to break down if exposed. You can choose an opaque container to avoid this. Store the food inside cabinets.
The general rule for freeze-dried protein shelf life is 25 years for cooked food. If the protein was freeze-dried while raw, it would last for 15 years.
The food needs to be stored at the right temperature to achieve a long storage time. Canned food with oxygen-absorbing packets can help with the life span of your stored food.
Most people hesitant with freeze-drying protein have the same worry, the taste. The assumption is that the process and amount of time stored can deteriorate the quality of the product. What makes freeze-drying meat unique is the taste.
Nutrition is another issue for people who are hesitant to try this. The food will lose some of its nutrients, but it is negligible. It retains most of the original nutritional value.
The texture can be affected, especially with certain proteins. But if you want to store food that lasts for years, freeze-drying is the ideal solution. Either buy from stores that offer what you like, or you can make your own using different methods.