Jul 6, 2023
Nothing beats the taste of freshly squeezed OJ, especially during summer. If only you could have enough storage space to have enough juice to last you for years. We’ll show you how to freeze dry orange juice so you’ll always have a drink that tastes like you just squeezed it the same day.
You can prepare freshly squeezed orange juice in three ways
This is your best option if you don’t like too much pulp in your OJ. Just slice the orange in half, and squeeze it against the juicer to get the liquid out. Of course, this means you’ll miss the fiber, but it will give you the smoothest drink.
Very convenient if you’re hard-pressed for time. All you have to do is slice the oranges to fit your juicer and then peel off the skin.
Go for this if you want a thicker orange juice, and don’t mind the pulp. What’s good about this is that you also get that fiber from the filmy skin of the oranges.
Just like with the juicer, slice the oranges and take the peel out. Make sure you choose seedless oranges for this, or you’ll get bitter drink. Compared to the previous two, you’ll get a thicker, denser freeze-dried OJ with this one.
This is what people are anxious about freeze-drying liquids, especially orange juice. OJ explodes because it has high sugar content. It contains three types of natural sugar: fructose, glucose, and sucrose. And according to the USDA FoodData Central, a medium-sized navel orange carries 11.9g of natural sugar.
Here’s how you can prevent OJ from blowing up in your freeze dryer:
It’s easy to get excited with freeze-drying orange juice that you overfill the trays up to the brim. Because of the pressure inside the freeze dryer, you’ll see a lot of expansion in the tray. You’ll see this magically happen when you watch a timelapse video on freeze-drying gummy bears.
To prevent the juice from spilling over, fill the trays 2/3 or 3/4 full. Anything higher would be pushing your luck with OJ. Some even filled it 3/4 full and still had their OJ expand up to the roof of the tray compartment.
Pre-freezing does help because it changes the OJ from liquid to solid. Then, all that’s left is for your freeze-dryer to sublimate the ice into vapor without melting the juice.
Ever seen a jar of orange juice separate? You had to shake the jar to mix the two and make the juice easy to drink. Depending on the density of the pulp, the water can either go up or settle at the bottom.
If the water settles on top, carefully use a ladle or spoon to get as much water out. If the pulp floats to the surface, use a scum strainer to separate the pulp out from the water.
Not only will this help keep your juice from exploding. Getting the liquid out decreases the freeze-drying time considerably.
Here’s how to use your Harvest Right Freeze Dryer to get the best freeze-dried OJ.
On average, freeze-drying orange juice can take 24-31 hours. However, some say they went as far as 41 hours on their trays.
The time the juice takes to freeze dry depends on how much water the juice has. If you get concentrated juice from the store, freeze-drying will be faster.
A YouTuber also had sliced oranges freeze-drying with the OJs. But the slices were thick, so it took a while for the freeze dryer to finish the cycle.
Freeze-dried orange juice should be dry all over, with a raspy ASMR grating sound when you scrape it. If any surface feels cold, moist, and soft like gumdrops, put the trays back for 2-4 hours of extra dry time.
When you get the trays out, use a kitchen spatula or cooking scraper to break the freeze-dried orange juice. If you’ve got some bubbles, go after those first before breaking the more solid areas.
You can store them in big chunks like that, but it’s better to pound them into a fine powder. You can use your food processor here but be careful not to overdo it that the powder clumps together.
If you want a bit of exercise, put the freeze-dried orange juice in a zip-lock bag. Close the seal and then use a rolling pin to pound and roll the freeze-dried OJ into a fine powder.
When your freeze-dried orange juice is ready, put them in Mylar bags for long-term storage. They keep away air and moisture better than zip-lock bags can. You can seal them with a heat sealer or a hand-held flat iron.
Use Mason jars if you consume freeze-dried orange juice within weeks or months. You can open and close them at will, and there’s even a handy vacuum sealer to help you keep them airtight.
Think of this as preparing orange juice powder with a 1:3 ratio. Depending on how concentrated you want your juice to be, you can add more or less powder. If you keep it in the fridge for a while, you’ll notice some settling. Mix the juice to make it uniform again before drinking.
How are you going to use your freeze-dried orange juice? Is it for refreshments or for cooking delicious meals? Let us know in the comment section.
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