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How to Freeze Dry Food From Home Without a Machine

April 13, 2019 4 min read

freeze dried food without machine

Can it be done?

Can you make freeze dried food at home with NO machine? 


This may come as a shock to many, but you don’t need one of the big fancy freeze drying machines to actually make your own freeze dried food.

Instead of spending $2000 - $4000 on a freeze drying machine, I'm going to show you how you can freeze dry food for a fraction of the price.

Let’s discuss how you can do this at home.

1. Freeze Drying Food - The Home Freezer Method

freeze drying food freezer

Quick Step-by-Step to Freeze-Drying with a Freezer:

  1. Place Your Food On a Tray
  2. Put The Tray In Your Freezer
  3. Wait 2-3 Weeks
  4. Store Your Food in Air-Free Bag

One misconception is that the freeze drying is a massively complex procedure, when in reality, you can do it in your home freezer.

The only thing you need is a normal cookie sheet or cooling rack.

All you need to do is place your food in small pieces and place them in your freezer.

A deep freezer works best but your normal freezer will work.

The food starts to freeze in the first few hours itself, but it's important to note that the drying process will take weeks before you'll have the freeze dried food you want.

This process is known as sublimation and is what separates freeze drying from simply freezing food inside of sealed bags or containers like we’re all used to doing.

The best way to check when the food is done drying is to remove a frozen piece and let it come to room temp.

If the food turns dark or black, it means the drying process is still not over.

Frozen food that doesn’t change color has been freeze dried thoroughly.

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Knowing if you've made freeze dried food is definitely more of an art than a science and will take a trail and error process to get it right.

It is important to note that starting out with simple foods that have a high water content is the best place to start.

Try things fruits like apples, berries, and bananas. Or try vegetables like broccoli and peppers. These are the easiest to do and practice on.

Once that has been achieved, you can go ahead and store the freeze dried food in ziplock bags.

Freeze-dried food should be kept in storage that stays under 75 degrees.

2. Freeze Drying Food - The Dry Ice Method

freeze drying food dry ice

Quick Step-by-Step to Freeze-Drying with Dry Ice:

  1. Put Your Food in Freezer-Safe Bags
  2. Place The Freezer Bags in a Large Cooler
  3. Cover the Food with Dry Ice
  4. Wait 24 Hours
  5. Remove the Bags of Food and Store

Because dry ice let’s all moisture from food evaporate very quickly, the whole process is much faster than method one.

The most important thing is that you need to find a day where the humidity is zero, if not the process will be substantially harder.

Using insulted gloves and a container at least double the size of the food you are freezing.

Place the food in the container and completely cover the food with dry ice.

Using a 1:1 ratio of 1 lb. of dry ice for every 1 lb. of food.

DO NOT SEAL THE CONTAINER!!! It will explode because of the expanding gasses.

If you have to use a lid, make sure to drill holes.

Let the process take its course and wait until there is no more dry ice in the container.

The container is now completely full of carbon dioxide and free from any moisture.

Do not remove the food until you are ready to place it in bags immediately.

We suggest using these bags to store your food, also make sure to remove as much of the air as possible, use a vacuum sealer for best results.

Pay attention to the bags and make sure no moister enters the bag, that will ruin all your hard work!

Conclusion - How to Freeze Dry Food at Home

If you are dead set on doing your freeze drying from home, this could be a great option for you, over spending $3,000-$4,000 on Harvest Right Freeze Drier.

Lucky for you - we've given you the best ways to freeze dry without any more expensive equipment.

If all of that sounds incredibly time consuming, not to mention expensive, you can always let us here at Valley Food Storage do all of the hard work for you.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy freeze dried food that tastes like you just picked it up right from the farm.

Click here to check out our wide selection of freeze dried fruits and vegetables now!