Jul 6, 2023
Freeze-drying pork chops is a convenient way to preserve meat without refrigeration. Unlike dry aging or curing, you can freeze dry pork chops cooked, raw, seasoned, or unseasoned. As a result, you have a lot of room to play with the meat when you need to use it. Here’s what you need to do to freeze-dry your pork chops.
Cut the pork chops in 3/4 of an inch thickness. You can go thinner, but not thicker than that. Thick cuts of meat often lead to longer freeze-drying, if not failed, so go for this size.
Once you get your pork chops cleaned, trim off as much fat as possible. Not only does fat have a high melting point, but it also prevents water from evaporating. Many failed with freeze-drying pork chops because they didn’t take out the fat. This applies whether your pork chops are cooked or not. Better save the fat for something else.
If you got batches of cooked and uncooked pork chops, put them on separate trays. This is to prevent cross-contamination, the major cause of foodborne illness.
You also need to debone your meat. Bones do freeze dry, but they longer to get done.
You can freeze dry both raw or pre-cooked pork chops.
Raw pork chops give you more freedom to use them for different recipes. For example, you can freeze-dry them as is or rub them with seasoning.
Pre-cooked pork chops give you the convenience of having a ready meal after reconstituting. No more cooking or prepping. Just rehydrate it, and you can stave off hunger in 15-30 minutes.
Yes. Pre-freezing helps your machine freeze-dry your pork chops efficiently. There are two ways for you to pre-freeze your meat.
You can use your deep freezer at home to freeze your pork chops. The good thing about deep freezers is that they have a stable temperature. As a result, they freeze food faster than those connected to your fridge.
The process is slow, though. Usually, it takes about 1-3 hours to freeze food, sometimes even overnight. This creates large ice crystals that often damage cellular structures. Although this makes the drying cycle faster, they also leave behind numerous air pockets. This creates that airy, crunchy texture of freeze-dried food, which you may or may not appreciate.
If you pre-freeze your pork chops, use the freeze dryer trays. Placing frozen meat on room-temperature trays causes them to thaw slightly on contact. This makes the meat stick on the tray and hard to remove.
Lining the freeze-dryer trays with parchment paper is also good. This keeps the meat from sticking, especially when you freeze-drying raw meat.
If you’re in a hurry and have frozen pork chops, use liquid nitrogen or dry ice. They work so well in preserving the cellular structure of your food that they’re perfect for flowers.
This is because of flash freezing. Deep freezers have a temperature of 0°F (-18 °C), while liquid nitrogen has a temperature of -320°F (-90°C). On the other hand, dry ice has a -109° F (-78°C).
Because they flash-freeze meat, they produce smaller ice crystals. This gives your meat better consistency, especially when reconstituting. But because they produce smaller ice crystals, freeze-drying can be slower. They’re also hard to come by and expensive.
Freeze-drying pork chops is easy once you got all the prep work done.
This will depend on several conditions as well as your machine. For example, thicker cuts mean longer freeze-drying and a hot environment.
Harvest Right recommends 9 hours of freezing time and 7 hours of dry time. If you pre-freeze your meat, freeze time won’t be a problem.
Some experienced 24-38 total hours of freeze drying. This is the average, but some may take shorter or longer. Many variables can affect the freeze-drying time, but don’t be afraid to test and experiment.
Your pork chops should be dry to the touch, with no cold spots. They also should be crumbly and snap into two. If you feel any soft, cold spots, extend the drying time to 2-3 hours.
To objectively check the dryness of your pork chop, you can use a food moisture analyzer. They will beep to let you know you need to dry your meat some more. This is especially useful for raw meats because moisture can cause harmful bacteria to grow.
Mylar bags are poplar storage solutions for freeze-dried pork chops. They keep well, are easy to seal, and don’t need much space.
If you have Mason jars, that’s fine too. Just make sure to vacuum seal it to keep air out.
Also, throw in an oxygen absorber or two to take out all the unneeded oxygen. Use them regardless of how small your bag or jar is. You can never use too much, but it’s harmful if you use too little.
Reconstituting raw pork chop needs tepid or cold water. This way, you don’t pre-cook the meat and allow the flesh to absorb the flavor of your recipe. But to make it more flavorful, you can reconstitute it in beer, wine, broth, or your favorite marinate. This can take overnight in your fridge or a little bit more, depending on how thick your slices are.
But if you’re going to use the freeze-dried pork chops in a recipe that has sauce or broth, there is no need to reconstitute them. Instead, you can add in the pork chops while cooking and add extra liquid to the recipe.
For cooked pork chops, you can also reconstitute them using warm water or broth. You can also place them in a bowl of water, then heat it up in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Don’t take too long because you might overcook your meat.
Your meat can last for 10-15 years, depending on how well you store them. They don’t keep long because of the fat content in the meat. Remember to store them in a cool, dry place with a room temperature equal to or lower than 72°F (22 °C).
What’s your plan with your freeze-dried pork chops? Let us know in the comment section.
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