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Why Freeze Dry Dairy?
We all have foods that our family loves and expects –that have been family favorites forever! Many times they are main dishes….but the unforgettable ones are the desserts! I had to come up with a way to freeze dry dairy. This would make it so that everyone gets their treats.
There are some foods everybody loves and some that you remember being a particular favorite of one child. When any one of my four sons comes home to visit, I know just which one to make, that will bring a smile to his face!
These are the things that show love and make memories. If things in this world don’t go so well, and we need to depend on the foods we have stored, I think it’s still important to try and keep things as normal as possible. Yes, you can survive on wheat, but you can keep your family happy, healthy and reassured by making sure you can provide a family favorite once in a while.
With my HarvestRight freeze dryer I can do this! At first, I wasn’t sure, so I decided to do some experimenting. This isn’t something easy like rotisserie chicken or even veggies. This would take risking an investment.
What Can I Put In My Food Storage?
I had 4 things in mind that I wanted to try: Cool Whip, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese …and I had a few cartons of Pineapple Greek Yogurt that I didn’t want to go bad.
Can I Freeze Dry Cool Whip or Whipped Cream or Whipped Topping?
Cool Whip seems to be an essential ingredient in most of our favorite gooey desserts, so I wanted to know if this could be freeze dried?? I put the entire 16 oz. container on one of my HarvestRight trays and smoothed it out.
Can I Freeze Dry Cream Cheese?
Cream cheese is another ingredient I use a lot with cheese cakes and fruity desserts. I get it from Costco in the large block, so I was able to cut 4 – 8 oz squares. I mashed them out onto the trays to get them even with the rim so everything would dry about the same.
Can I Freeze Dry Cottage Cheese?
Cottage cheese is good anytime, and one of my favorite Jell-O salads uses that as the main ingredient. I’ll share that recipe in the vault if you’d like. It’s low sugar and easy on the belly fat! I smoothed a large 48 oz. container out on one tray.
Can I Freeze Dry Ricotta Cheese?
I buy Ricotta cheese in a 15 oz container. That’s good in lasagna or a new favorite of mine: after visiting New York, I had to figure out a good easy way to clone cannoli’s which I love! I’ll share that recipe in the vault if you’d like as well! I still had quite a bit of space on my tray, so I also included 4 or 5 small cups of Pineapple Greek yogurt.
It was all completed after 28 hours.
The Cool Whip was all puffed up and looked beautiful! It reminded me of the fluffy white divinity candy my mother used to make.
As I tapped it, it sounded hollow, which it was! I guess there is so much air in that whipped topping that it has to go somewhere!
How Would I Reconstitute Freeze Dried Whipped Topping?
It was crunchy, but mashed into a powder very nicely with my potato masher. I rehydrated it by slowly, adding a tiny bit of water at a time, while stirring. It got very creamy and tasted amazing, but it wasn’t the same fluffy stuff I had before. BUT, I will do it again, because even with the consistency of a runny whipped cream, it would taste good on anything and you can’t freeze dry heavy cream! Next time I do it, I want to see what would happen if I cooled it and beat it a little in the mixer. Also, I think it would mix with the freeze dried cream cheese and be the start of a good dessert.
How Did Cream Cheese Do?
The cream cheese did nicely too. As I scraped it with my spatula it flaked into a dense flake, not the light flake like evaporated milk.
I measured out 8 oz which is what most recipes call for and found that 8 oz of freeze dried cream cheese powder equals 1 1/3 C. So, I was able to put two portions in each quart Mylar bag. I could have done 3 per bag, so next time perhaps I will do 6 of the 8 oz portions.
As a test, I reconstituted a small amount just to see what it would do. I was surprised to see that it held its shape and tasted good. If it was refrigerated, I think it would solid-up a bit more. I’ll definitely do more of it!
How Did Cottage Cheese Do?
The cottage cheese scooped up all crumbly as you’d expect.
As I reconstituted it, it plumped up into little curds and looked just as it should. I suggest after reconstituting that you strain the excess water. The milky-ness that is normally with the curds freeze dries into a powder, so unless you reconstitute the entire batch, you may not restore that part of it. But it tasted good and could be used normally with a fruit over it or in a salad as we usually serve it.
Check Out My Video On How To Reconstitute Cottage Cheese
The Ricotta cheese (lower) and pineapple Greek yogurt (upper) both powdered perfectly and tasted good. The Ricotta is more dense like the cream cheese, but breaks into chunks which is how I put it into the bags.
The yogurt goes very powdery. It seems to do better in a mold, but this can be added into smoothies, Jell-0 or reconstituted and put over granola. It tasted great!
A good friend of mine who freeze dries, just shared with me a great little tool to help bagging foods into the Mylar bags and I think it would work great with everything I just shared with you. You’ve seen workers in restaurants or theaters bag those French fries or popcorn into little bags so efficiently–well they work great with all kinds of foods! I just ordered my Multipurpose Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Scooper Tool and I can’t wait to get it! It can do double duty: scoop food items from the tray and then direct it into the bag and you don’t need 3 hands to do it! If it’s powder, just direct the scooper tool deeper into the bag and it works.
HOW DO I FREEZE DRY DAIRY?
Many people think it’s next to impossible to do the freeze drying for themselves. This is far from factual. Freeze drying at home is made easy by Harvest Right. They sell three different sizes of freeze-drying machines that do everything in the machine – except prep and package.
That’s up to you.
For all intents and purposes, here at Freeze Drying Mama we use the medium sized freeze dryer. You can check out the sizes offered at Harvest Right here.
What this machine does is first freeze the items on stainless steel trays to -41 degrees or lower. This takes about 10 hours or so.
Then a vacuum pump turns on and creates a vacuum inside the drum. This is the drying stage and will vacillate the heat of the tray up and down to a pretty warm temperature. This makes the frozen items release any water in them in vapor form. The vacuum sucks the moisture to the drum. This collects in ice form on the inner circle of the drum.
Then there’s the final dry which is essentially the same thing, but with a time associated with it and an end in sight!
WHAT SETTINGS DO I USE TO FREEZE DRY DAIRY?
On the Harvest Right freeze drier – this works on all sizes – after putting the trays inside the drum on the shelves, I put in the drum cover and then tighten the handle as I lock it shut. On the computer touch screen, I selected START > LIQUID > FROZEN > CONTINUE. After inputting the settings and making sure my drain tube was closed, I walked away.