Jul 6, 2023
Mangoes are one of the sweetest fruits and one of the most versatile. They go great with smoothies, pudding, salads, and even pies. But just like grapes and kiwi, they only taste better when they’re in season. They’re super sour when you get them outside their peak season. But when you get them at their peak ripeness at the right time? They’re exceptionally sweet and so addicting you’d want to have them always.
True that there are dehydrated mangoes that you can buy. But they don’t have that fresh, bright mango flavor. They also don’t last that long and sometimes get rubbery after a while. But freeze-dried mangoes are on a whole new level. Some even say they taste better than fresh ones. Here’s how to freeze dry mango so you’ll have the taste of summer whenever you feel like it.
The best mango to freeze dry would be the freshest ones at their peak ripeness. Don’t pick the green ones unless you want to have sour crisps to boost your appetite. If you don’t want to bother with peeling and slicing, you can use frozen mangoes. All you have to do is dump them in the freeze-dryer trays and load them for processing.
You can use mango puree if you want to use freeze-dried mango to make juice or baby food. However, making one yourself is better, so it’s free from artificial flavorings and preservatives.
Here’s how you prepare the mango for freeze-dried slices or puree:
You can cut the mango into small cubes or slices. Slice the mango on the side, just past the seed. The seed at the center is usually an inch thick, with the center marked where the stem was. A mango slicer can help make slicing the cheeks easier.
You can use a small paring knife to score the mango flesh. Go deep enough to touch the skin but not too strong that you go through it. Make several horizontal cuts for mango slices. Add vertical cuts if you want cubes. You can slice the flesh depending on how thick you want your mangoes. Then you can use a big serving spoon or a wide glass to scoop the flesh out of the skin.
Or, if you’re in a hurry and don’t care much for appearances, use a tablespoon to scoop the flesh. You can go as big as you want but make sure you don’t go over an inch thick. Also, keep the thickness consistent for an even freeze drying.
It’s easy to make mango puree because it’s almost 84% liquid. If you want to make your own mango puree:
Pre-freezing is an option if you’re going to freeze dry sliced mangoes. But because of the fruit’s high water content, it’s highly recommended. Line the freeze-dryer trays with parchment paper and place your sliced mangoes on the surface. They won’t expand, so you don’t need to consider space. Just make sure you don’t crowd the slices too much because the center or bottom won’t freeze dry well.
For the puree, it’s a must that you pre-freeze. One, it prevents spillage that can cause accidents. Another is it lessens the chance of spillovers and liquid explosions inside the freeze dryer. Mango has a high sugar content, about 22.54g per cup. So if you’re watching your blood sugar levels, eat freeze-dried mango observing strict portion control.
To pre-freeze mango puree, pour it directly on the freeze-dryer trays. Or you could use a separate container with the same height and width as your freeze dryer tray. Using the same tray is far more convenient because you don’t have to freeze the tray separately.
To further avoid spillage, place the tray flat in your deep freezer, making sure it’s both level and stable. Then, carefully pour the puree on the trays using a measuring cup. Pour until you’re a quarter of an inch from the lip to give your puree room to expand. What you need is a bed of mango puree that’s level, if not lower than your tray.
We love using our Harvest Right freeze dryer because it takes out almost all the guesswork for us. It has presets for fruits, vegetables, meats, and even liquid. To freeze dry your mangoes:
This is certainly far simpler than freeze-drying using a freezer or dry ice. If you’re going to freeze dry using
On average, freeze-drying can take about 24 hours. However, some went as far as 32 hours, especially with the puree. If you see some bubbles forming during the process, that’s okay. Any food with high sugar content forms bubbles during freeze-drying.
The slices or cubes of fruit should be airy, crunchy, and dry right down the center. If you made mango cubes or scooped the flesh out, break the pieces in half or eat a piece. If the center feels soft, moist, and cool, put the trays back for 2-4 hours extra dry time.
It’s the same with the mango puree. If you break the freeze-dried puree into pieces, the center should be dry, airy, and crunchy. If you take a piece and it feels like you’re eating soft gum drops, your puree needs a few extra hours of dry time.
Your freeze-dried fruit will do well inside Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for long-term storage. However, if you’re going to eat it every now and then, mason jars are great containers. Make sure to change the oxygen absorbers when you open the jars.
OAs come in packs of 50s or hundreds, so feel confident to use them at will. Unfortunately, many “save” their oxygen absorbers only to find them wasted because of poor storage. It’s better to put them to good use than to waste them in storage.
For the mango puree, pulverize it into a fine powder before storing it. It’s easier to reconstitute this way than in blocks.
Properly stored, your freeze-dried sliced mangoes and puree can last for 25 years or more. Put your bags or jars in a room with a stable temperature below 72°F (22 °C). The room should also be free from draft, moisture, and sunlight.
For the mango slices, let them soak in cold water for 5-15 minutes or overnight in the fridge. Then, just add water until it pools at the bottom of the dish. No need to drown the mangoes because they’ll absorb the water they need.
Add cold water a little at a time for the freeze-dried puree powder. Keep adding and stirring until you reach your preferred thickness.
What do you want to do with your freeze-dried mango? Let us know in the comment section.
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