A lot of us are trying to stretch our food budgets by growing our own or purchasing in bulk. Many are also joining CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, which provide them with produce (and sometimes other items) throughout the growing season. To take full advantage of local food sources, we need to find ways to store food after harvest. This post will give you a brief overview of different home food preservation methods, and direct you to addition resources. Then you can decide which methods works best for you.
Several people have asked me, “What's the difference between dehydrating and freeze drying?” or “What's the difference between a dehydrator and a freeze dryer?”. Although they perform similar functions – food is dried for storage – how they do it and the resulting product is quite different. We'll take a look at the equipment involved and the final product. [Read more…]
Buzzing around Instagram and online freeze drying groups, I see a lot of photos of people showing off their home freeze dried goodies – and a lot of freeze drying mistakes. We got our home freeze dryer earlier this year, and it's pretty easy to use, but there are some things you should avoid to get the best results for your food and your freeze dryer. Some of these tips are for flavor, some shorten your drying time, some avoid messes and a few are real safety issues. [Read more…]
Our neighbors have a beautiful pear tree that's over 50 years old, and each year they invite us to share in the harvest. Big tree = many, many pears, so over the years I've used many different ways to preserve pears. No matter how you store them – canning, freezing, drying, freeze drying or fermenting – their high sugar content makes them a naturally decadent dessert. In this post I'll cover both short term and long term storage options. [Read more…]