How to Buy Equipment for Freeze Dried Food

How to Buy Equipment for Freeze Dried Food
Avid hikers, campers and backpackers know that packing in freeze dried foods decreases the weight these items would usually have without processing. Once at the campsite or on the trail, simply reconstitute the food with water. Outdoor enthusiasts may purchase freeze dried food at outfitters and online retailers, but for the frequent buyer this soon gets to be rather expensive. Learning how to buy equipment for freeze dried food and making your own can save you money in the long run. You can shop for ingredients at discount stores and prepare larger batches at home.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Meal planner
Step 1
Determine how often you plan on freeze drying food. Purchasing a new unit is costly; a basic multi use bench-top freeze drier starts at about $12,000. It processes a little over two pounds of food during one session. A bigger unit that processes about 20 pounds starts at around $16,000. You may be able to pick up a used model for less money, but it could take a little while before you find one in the size you want. For example, a used freeze dryer with a 1.59 gallon tray capacity starts at about $4,000.
Step 2
Once you own a freeze drier, purchase fresh ingredients. Use your meal planner to carefully plan for the kinds of meals you want to freeze dry. Avoid marked down meat or produce, since these items are nearing their "sell by" dates and may not be as fresh and flavorful as their fully priced shelf mates.
Step 3
Decide on freeze dried food packaging. You may choose to freeze dry entire meals containing one or more servings each of starches, proteins, vegetables and fats. Pack these individually in pouches that are oxygen- and also moisture-proof. On the other hand, you may opt to freeze dry and pack individual servings of the meal components to mix and match later. Adjust your packaging choices accordingly.
Step 4
Invest in a label maker. Labeling your food packets prior to storing them makes it possible to quickly identify individual pouches and put together nutritious meals. This is especially important if you try to follow a calorie-restricted diet and need to keep track of your energy intake.
Step 5
Plan for long-term storage of your freeze dried foods. Purchase airtight food storage buckets to protect the individual packs, shelves on which to stack the food pouches or even a cabinet to place in your basement or other cool area. Store like foods together since shelf lives may vary, depending on fat and remaining moisture contents.
Step 6
Consider freeze dried food transportation options. As a hiker you may simply put your food supply into a backpack, but it is a better idea to have a dedicated small bag that is puncture-proof. This protects the food during a hike and prevents accidental damage.

Tips & Warnings

Freeze dried foods lose vitamin C content over time; mark your food pouches that contain this vitamin and consume the meals more quickly than you might your other foods.

Article Written By Sylvia Cochran

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.

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