Access to quick, shelf-stable, whole foods can be a bit of a challenge. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables retain up to 98 percent of their original nutritional value. Blending them into a powder makes fruits and vegetables compact, portable, and shelf-stable.
Freeze-dried fruit and vegetable powders/flours have literally hundreds of potential uses. They enhance the flavor and nutrition in just about everything. Consider using freeze-dried fruit or vegetable powders in:
- Baked goods for natural color and flavor enhancement. Think about what a little bit of raspberry powder could do to the flavor of cakes, pastries, muffins, or cookies. Or add just a little bit of fruit powder in whipped cream for unique natural color and flavor. The potential for flavoring sweet and savory bread is limitless, not to mention the added nutrition.
- Beverages for all-natural flavors and colors. The raspberry powder makes incredible raspberry lemonade.
- Candies and sweets can take on a whole new appeal and benefit from the natural enhancement of freeze-dried fruit powders. Freeze-dried chili powder is a unique addition to chocolate.
- Favorite meals to increase nutrition. Sneak some added nutrition into a meal by adding the freeze-dried vegetable powder to your favorite meals. Add freeze-dried cauliflower or winter squash powder to macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle fruit powder inside a peanut butter sandwich to replace high-sugar preserves.
- Baby foods for convenience and high nutrition. One of my favorite uses for freeze-dried powders is in baby food. We have discovered a great solution to create fresh, highly nutritious baby food that is shelf-stable and inexpensive.
Why is homemade freeze-dried food the ideal baby food? Freeze-drying your own food:
- Gives you complete control over the ingredients in your baby’s food.
- Requires absolutely no preservatives.
- Preserves up to 98 percent of the original nutrition.
- Allows you to have shelf-stable, lightweight foods that you can take anywhere.
- Enables you to control the consistency and quantity of food with little or no waste.
- Saves time and energy in food preparation.
Freeze-dried foods are the perfect solution for delicious, nutritious meals for infants. Blending freeze-dried foods into a shelf-stable powder creates the ideal fast food that can be taken just about anywhere. Freeze-dried fruit and vegetable powders are also a fantastic way to add whole-food nutrients to smoothies, cereals, baked goods, or almost any meal.
The process to make freeze-dried powder is incredibly simple. Just take the freeze-dried food out of the package and blend it immediately into a powder. Freeze-dried foods will readily absorb moisture from the air and turn soft so don’t open the package until you are ready to blend it and repackage it.
You will want to store the powdered baby food in small Mylar bags or glass jars with an oxygen absorber. I have found that it is best to store it in small quantities. A 100cc oxygen absorber is the right size to use for a one-quart container or smaller.
Freeze Dry Your Own Food
I like to freeze-dry my own garden-fresh fruits and vegetables in my own freeze-dryer. This gives me the most control over the ingredients in the food. Check out home freeze dryers from Harvest Right or some of the freeze-dry videos on our YouTube channel, The Provident Prepper.
If a freeze dryer is out of your budget, ask a friend or neighbor who owns a freeze dryer to freeze-dry a few batches for your cute little one. We freeze-dry foods for our friends all the time. Make sure that you offer to cover the cost of electricity and the use of the machine.
Purchase Freeze-Dried Foods to Grind at Home
You can purchase the food already freeze-dried from a reputable supplier. I like Valley Food Storage or Augason Farms for purchasing freeze-dried foods. You may also be able to pick some up in small quantities at your local grocery store.
Purchase Commercially Packaged Freeze-Dried Baby Food
You can purchase freeze-dried snacks if you would prefer to have something already made and ready to go. Look for them at your local grocery store or check out these on Amazon. Varieties of freeze-dried powders are somewhat limited but I found some organic strawberry powder here.
Blending freeze-dried foods into a beautiful powder or flour is simple but you will have significantly better results if you follow these guidelines.
- Make sure that the food product is completely dry and will snap inside and out. Moist foods will result in a gummy mess that MUST be refrigerated or frozen to stay safe.
- Place it in a food processor or blender and watch it turn into a nice dry powder. Correctly freeze-dried foods can be easily milled into flour.
- Package the fruit or vegetable flour immediately in an airtight container with an oxygen absorber. Don’t skip the oxygen absorber or you will have a super short shelf-life.
- Keep the package sealed. Freeze-dried foods will quickly absorb moisture from the air and turn soft.
- Freeze-dried powders are shelf-stable but have a shorter shelf life once they are milled into flour. For the longest shelf life, don’t grind them into powder until you plan to use them within 6 months or so.
Freeze-Dried Pea Powder
Freeze-dried pea flour tastes much better than bottled baby food. Let your baby learn to love the taste of fresh peas along with the nutritional benefits of non-processed foods. Mix freeze-dried pea powder with boiling water, dried onion flakes, dehydrated carrots, bacon bits, pepper, and salt. Simmer for a couple of minutes and get ready to enjoy the best-split pea soup ever.
Freeze-Dried Carrot Powder
Carrots are surprisingly delicious when reconstituted from freeze-dried powder. The texture is good and the flavor tastes like fresh carrots, not cooked carrots. I blanched organic baby carrots before placing them in the freeze-dryer. Seriously, you may even be tempted to take a bite or two.
Freeze-Dried Mixed Vegetable Powder
A combination of mixed vegetables (green beans, corn, peas, and carrots) is a wonderful vegetable combination for babies. The veggie powder can be used as a nutritious thickener in soups.
Freeze-Dried Fuji Apple Powder
Apples freeze-dry well. I like to leave the skin on when I freeze-dry them and then blend it all into a sweet, delicious powder that is sure to put a smile on your little one’s face. You can smile knowing that he or she is enjoying apples that have retained 98 percent of the nutrition of the fresh apple. The flavor is more like fresh apple cider than applesauce.
Freeze-Dried Blueberry Powder
Blueberries can be a fun addition to baby cereals for a little added nutrition and flavor. Organic frozen blueberries are inexpensive and are simple to freeze dry. Personally, I’m looking forward to adding this to my morning smoothies.
Freeze-Dried Winter Squash Powder
Winter squash is a favorite of infants. It is a delightful combination of sweet and savory. Not to mention loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. We cooked the squash completely before freeze-drying it. The texture is still good after mixing it up. Add a little bit of salt and butter and it is the perfect side dish for people of all ages.
Freeze-Dried Triple Berry (Raspberry, Blackberry, and Blueberry) Powder
This combination of berries can be quite tart so I would only use it mixed with cereal. Freeze-drying intensifies the flavor which means that the berries can have quite a tangy kick. We freeze-dried a bag of organic triple-berry mix from Costco. These berries would be absolutely delicious on top of yogurt or ice cream for big people.
Making freeze-dried baby food for my little grandchildren is so much fun. It brings me great joy to know that they are able to eat some of the most nutritious food available while making life a little easier for their busy parents.
Freeze drying isn’t just for baby food either. We use our freeze dryer to preserve all kinds of garden bounty, meats, and cheeses, and we even make our own “just-add-water” meals from our favorite tried and true recipes. The shelf life of freeze-dried foods is incredibly long when stored correctly.
You can learn more about home freeze dryers at Harvest Right. They just might have the right size to meet your needs. Check out our freeze-drying playlist to see some of our freeze-dried food successes … and failures.
Thanks for being part of the solution!
Jonathan and Kylene Jones