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Freeze Drying Raspberries Continued!
Check out our other raspberries post!
I have great memories of my Mom’s beautiful garden with long rows of raspberry plants. She would pick huge bowls of this lusciousness and share them with us.
One time when our second son (Bonnie’s husband) was a little boy, he was “helping” her pick raspberries in her garden. She brought her big bowl heaped with raspberries up to the house and began washing them in the kitchen sink.
I asked why they were so dirty and she said that a little 4 year old helper tried to step over the bowl and ended up stepping in it and knocking them all out in the dirt.
I said to him jokingly: “How in the world did you do that?” He raised his leg up high and stomped his foot down –to show me how in the world he did it!
Raspberries Are A Staple
We’ve had our own raspberry patch now for many years and have had countless little helpers in there eating and picking….and mostly eating! We’ve shared raspberries and starts with neighbors, family and friends. That’s what you do when you finally get gardening figured out!
Over the years as they became more prolific, it got easier and more practical to store the berries in FoodSaver bags in the freezer laying flat. So, I’d stir them in my Vitamix to make a puree and put it into FoodSaver bags to freeze.
How To Use Freeze Dried Raspberries In Jam
The first jam I ever made was the MCP Pectin raspberry freezer jam that my sister-in-law made and shared with me (see–it’s all about sharing)! After freezer jam, it’s hard to go back to cooked jams–at least for me!
I found that If I put 3 1/4 cups in each bag, that was just the right amount to make a batch of this freezer jam (which to me is worth the freezer space because it always tastes like fresh fruit). So, if someone wanted to make more jam, I knew just how much to give them.
How To Prepare Raspberries For Freeze Drying
Bonnie mentioned in a previous post how my food saver bags fit perfectly in the HarvestRight trays which they do, but because they’re thicker, they wouldn’t be finished when the cycle completed. I would have to flip them over and do quite a long Final Dry on the other side. I didn’t want to have to babysit anything! When it tells me that the process is complete, I want it to be complete!
I have since found that if I slightly thawed the bags over the sink (another good use for my stainless steel roll up rack that I use constantly in freeze drying prep), and mashed one bag per tray with the flat of the meat tenderizer that it worked much better and were always freeze dried when the processing was complete. 4 trays raspberry puree @ 3 1/4 C. each tray = 26 hrs 30 min.
Another thing to remember: You can’t over freeze dry. If your food is supposed to be done by 10:30 pm and you want to go to bed, just add final dry time until you want to get up.
Here is our freshly picked raspberry puree on trays. Isn’t that gorgeous? It works best, as with other liquids like raw eggs, sauces or soups to place the raspberry puree right on the tray. Save your Silicone mats for fruits, veggies, meats, etc.
Here I have “slabs” of raspberry puree that my daughter in law prepped on a cookie sheet and brought frozen for me to freeze dry for their family. It worked out great because she put waxed paper in between each one and then wrapped them all in cellophane wrap, in a large plastic bag.
I was afraid they would stick together and be a pain to separate, but a butter knife worked just fine and they popped apart easily. I slightly “scored” each piece with the butter knife and hit it on the side of the tray and they broke in half to fit on the HarvestRight trays perfectly.
After freeze drying is complete, I use the potato masher to turn it into a beautiful powder. Two trays fit in quart Mylar bags making that method of storage very cost effective. My daughter in law likes chunks in her freezer jam, so I did this batch a bit chunky so she can see if that works after it’s reconstituted. We’ll see!
One of my favorite things to do with the powder is to keep a gallon pitcher in the fridge of raspberry lemonade, made with 2 packets of Crystal Light Lemonade and 4 tablespoons (or 2 coffee scoops–that I keep in the powder) of raspberry powder. It’s a simple, light, refreshing punch that’s easy on the belly fat!
Things that you freeze dry and turn into a powder are the easiest to re-constitute. You can just start slowly pouring water into the powder while stirring until it’s the proper consistency. You can still make jams and desserts with the powder.
Freshly picked Pre-Frozen Freeze dried Raspberries
I was hesitant about freeze drying whole raspberries (they took 26 hours) because they take up space in Mylar bags and I thought they’d just end up falling to pieces anyway. Honestly, I was quite surprised to find that they are actually very firm and oh…..what a wonderful treat! I was amazed at how resilient freeze dried whole raspberries are. They stay together and hold their shape well. Their wonderful flavor is enhanced, and they are a v-e-r-y nice snack!
It’s easy to put freshly picked berries right on your trays to freeze dry, but I couldn’t keep up with the picking, so I had to pre-freeze some on trays. Recently, I purchased my 3rd set of HarvestRight trays and I haven’t regretted it for a minute, especially during harvest season!
If you have some space in your backyard, get a little raspberry patch going. They’re not hard to grow and It’s nice to have something wonderful right there for your family to enjoy!
HOW DO I FREEZE DRY RASPBERRIES?
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 RASPBERRIES?
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.