Freeze drying is a great way to store food. It allows for food to be stored for decades, without spoilage. Freeze dried food can be stored at room temperature, and unlike many other forms of food storage, it retains most of its nutritional value. When it comes to long term food storage, freeze drying is the way to go if the option is available to you.
Freeze drying was created during World War II. The allies would transport serum to the front lines, but due to a lack of refrigeration technology available to them, it would often spoil. Freeze drying was invented to solve this problem.
The process of freeze drying works like this. Organic matter (whether it be serum or food) is flash frozen (frozen quickly, so the moisture doesn’t form large crystals and damage the cell membranes). While still in cold temperatures, and often with the aid of a vacuum chamber, the moisture is drawn out of it. The end result is that the matter is nearly 100% dehydrated.
It is then placed in a moisture and air proof package. Once this is complete, the freeze dried food can be stored at room temperature, for decades on end. To use the food, all that needs to be done is add it to boiling water. It will revert to its original form, with its texture, flavor and nutrients still intact.
The quickest and most effective way to freeze dry is with a vacuum chamber. The food must be frozen for 48 hours, and then placed in the chamber with a pump level below 133 x 10-3. Once it has dried, place the food in a vacuum sealed bag. Ziploc bags are fine, just be sure to press all of the air out.
You can also freeze dry at home, however. If you place the food in the freezer, with no covering on a metal tray, it will freeze in a few hours. If you leave it there for a week, all the moisture inside of the food should sublimate away. After a week, you can test it. Let one of the pieces unthaw- if it quickly turns black, there is still moisture inside and you must let it freeze longer. If not, it is ready. Package the food in air tight, moisture proof bags, and you have freeze dried food ready to go!
Good luck and stay prepared!
You can read more from RamboMoe at preparedforthat.com.