Jul 6, 2023
Got a mountain-load of peas, and you don’t know what to do with them? Why not freeze dry peas and have them ready on demand with a lesser risk of spoilage?
Preparing the vegetable for freeze-drying is easy. Once you harvest pods, take out the peas and then wash them with cold water. Swish them around with your hands, then drain them.
Some also prefer to blanch them because this brings out the vegetable’s flavor. Remember that you’re blanching them, not cooking them. Let them sit in boiling water for 90 seconds, then dump them in a water bowl with ice. If blanching brings out the flavor of the peas, the ice bath stops the cooking process and locks in the flavor.
If you’ve freeze-dried blueberries and grapes, you know that the skins interfere with the freeze drying. What’s good about freezing peas is they expand, breaking open the skin by themselves. So you don’t have to go through the process of either piercing them one by one or using some other technique to break the skins.
You can do freezing in two ways. One is through your freezer or deep freezer, which is a slow type of freezing. In this type of freezing, you create big ice crystals inside the peas. More so if you open and close the freezer/fridge door.
Slow freezing makes the drying process faster. And as ice sublimates to vapor, empty air spaces make the peas airy, light, and crunchy.
The other is flash freezing, which you can do using liquid nitrogen or dry ice. Here, freezing is faster and more suitable if you want to preserve the form and shape of your food. However, freeze drying’s going to be slower compared to the previous freezing technique. This is because of the smaller ice crystals formed within the peas. This is also a bit expensive because these materials aren’t handy. But if you want a better texture, this is worth the extra expense.
When you freeze the peas, use the freezer tray. This helps give your peas a stable environment for freeze-drying.
Once you’ve done the necessary prep, it’s time to start freeze drying.
Harvest Right freeze dryers have sensors that let the machine know the vegetables are ready. But usually, freeze-drying peas can take 16-18 hours to complete.
Yes, it’s possible to freeze-dry without using a freeze-dryer, but it will take longer.
Place your peas inside a Ziplock bag and put them in the freezer. Let it stay there undisturbed for 4 weeks. The dry coolness of the freezer will slowly draw out moisture from the peas the longer they sit.
This is a bit more complicated but does the job faster than using a freezer. Choose a well-ventilated room to do this. This method will release carbon dioxide in the room and can suffocate you. If you don’t have an airy room, it’s best to do this outdoors, preferably in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight.
You also need a cooler you can drill holes at the top or sides. If you prefer to keep your cooler intact, just place a pencil between the lid to keep it open. The holes or gab serves as an escape path for the released carbon dioxide. If you keep the lid closed, the cooler’s going to explode.
Place the freeze dried vegetable inside Mylar bags and seal them. Add in oxygen absorbers to help take out oxygen left inside the bag. Once you seal the bags, place them in a dry, draft-free room with temperatures no higher than 72°F (22 °C).
Reconstituting freeze-dried peas is as simple as adding water double the amount of the vegetables. Some suggest you use warm/hot water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
But if you’re going to cook this in soups, there’s no need to rehydrate. Just add an extra amount of water so your soup won’t dry.
Peas are cool-weather crops, growing best in the cool weather of early spring. After this growing season, peas won’t have the best flavor. Or it can be hard to grow especially in winter. However, when you freeze dry peas, you have a stash of vegetables that are sweet and at their peak nutrition.
Speaking of flavor, peas are at their best after harvesting. As time passes, oxidation takes place, and the flavors break down. This is where the best benefit of freeze drying comes in. Unlike other preservation methods, freeze-drying locks in flavor and nutrients. This means your freeze-dried peas will have the same flavor as it had on the day you freeze dry it.
Freeze drying also intensifies the flavor of the food. Many would say the peas taste sweeter and have better flavor than fresh, canned, or frozen peas. The peas taste great and crunchy that they’re good for snacking.
Can you tell us where you got your peas for freeze drying? Let us know in the comment section.
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