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EDITED TO ADD A WARNING:
When freeze drying ketchup and mustard, I would highly recommend getting the ketchup that is reduced sugar – if you’re going to do it at all.
P.S. on Freeze Drying Ketchup:
To run a flush on your oil pump follow these steps below.
Can I Freeze Dry Ketchup and Mustard?
We had to try to freeze dry ketchup and mustard because in our family, we LOVE our condiments! It’s actually quite well known that we don’t usually have a lot of food in our refrigerator — we have condiments! All the condiments you could ever want! Ketchup, being the main one, is a necessity in our home. My husband proudly wears his red T-shirt that says “Everything’s better with Ketchup” and he stands behind it! You’d be surprised at some of the things he puts ketchup on….like Chicken Pot pie. Yep, It’s pretty good.
I’m not much better. One of my memories, was when I was a little 6, 7 and 8 year old coming home from school when my parents were at work and making a ketchup sandwich. I’d spread ketchup on a slice of bread, fold it over and I was good to go!
Can You Freeze Dry Condiments
So, I decided it was time to try some condiments in my HarvestRight freeze dryer. If you’re doing ketchup you can hardly skip mustard now, can ya. And if you are going to do something like that, you want to get it in bulk. I like to get stuff in bulk at URM, Cash and Carry or Smart Foodservice Warehouse. It’s good quality and usually pretty good prices. (You can leave that out if ya want–won’t benefit you at those places, huh?)
Here you can see that it’s right around $5.00 each for the large 7 lb. containers of each –brand names Heinz and French’s.
I looked forward to doing these mainly to satisfy my curiosity and also because it’s pretty easy to snip the corner of a bag like this and squeeze out the contents or scoop mustard out of a container on to your stainless steel trays.
I do measure out both the mustard and ketchup before spreading on my trays. It’s hard when I learned the hard way that you don’t want to put more than 4 cups of anything liquid or partially liquid-y on the medium trays. You could have a real mess in your freeze dryer.
How Do You Prepare Condiments For Freeze Drying
Just look at those beautiful trays! All ready to go into the freezer for the next 24 hours so they’re ready to freeze dry when my next batch is complete. Pre-freezing is just as important as not over filling your trays!
Here they are after the cycle completed at 42 hours. When they started taking much more time than I thought they would, I started thinking that ketchup probably has a LOT more sugar in it than I realized.
Here it is: the third highest ingredient: high fructose corn syrup. Maybe it’s NOT so good for us, or maybe we choose to ignore that, because we love it so much?
What Does Freeze Dried Ketchup Look Like
Anyway, don’t let a pretty face fool you! Freeze drying ketchup is wicked evil! As beautiful as it was, it freeze dried like cement to my trays.
I did NOT enjoy scraping it out, but didn’t want to waste the ketchup.
At first, because the chunks are hard I thought I could powder it in my VitaMix. But, because the ketchup is a bit sticky it sounded like it was too hard on my machine. So, the best thing was to just pound the chunks into a powder with my meat tenderizer.
I do want to say that the powder was nice and it re-constituted thick and perfect. Yes, I could have easily thinned it more. It tasted GREAT –just like the original!
What Does Freeze Dried Mustard Look Like
How Long Does It Take To Freeze Dry Mustard
The mustard, I’m sure would have been completed in MUCH less time. It turned out perfect, just as powdered eggs do. You could lift the whole dried slab of mustard up and it powdered beautifully with just my potato masher.
The powder reconstituted perfectly and tasted good. It would be good to try reconstituting it in a little mayo in a sandwich or in a potato salad or egg salad sandwich, etc. I’m glad I will have it on hand and I wouldn’t mind doing another 7 lbs. of it.
A couple of interesting things I found when freeze drying mustard and ketchup:
I measured off 1 gal. of water from the 4 trays of ketchup and mustard. That’s a LOT of liquid! Also, I know that people are always concerned about the odor of onions in your machine because you can smell them all over your house. Gotta say….mustard is much more potent! I don’t smell it in the food, but sure do in the canister of my Freeze dryer!
Would I Freeze Dry Ketchup Again
Now, I can’t leave you without a conclusion to my ketchup love/hate relationship! Because of the cement-like attachment it had to my trays and the fact that after I powdered it, it wanted to clump, I wondered if it may have needed some more dry time.
I decided to experiment a little more. Before scraping my second ketchup tray, which I didn’t want to do, I had visions of perhaps starting the process over (you can’t over freeze dry) and having it result in the ketchup popping right out of the tray like the mustard did!
So here’s my second go-round! Top tray is one of the original ones. Bottom tray is my slightly clumping powder. Next to that is some of the powder that I reconstituted and the next 3 rows are fresh ketchup that I just squirted little dollops onto the silicone mats.
I put 2 trays of raw eggs in with these and this is what it was like after 26 more hours when my HarvestRight ended on its own. The sugar in the ketchup causes it to bubble up a bit, as you’ll see if you look closely at the dollops (which popped right off the mat). I think the powder might have not clumped quite so much after this second try. The dollops of ketchup all powdered easily, but the large tray still had to be scraped –terrible!
Can You Store Ketchup Long Term
I have stored ketchup for many years in the #10 cans and in the 7 lb. plastic containers. It has a pretty good shelf life, especially at our house because it gets rotated regularly. We’ve only had it go bad in the can, where it bulged and turned dark once and I had to discard it. I had hoped that by purchasing the pouch, which was cheaper, I could freeze dry it and have what we need on hand that way.
Another down-side was that because the ketchup bubbles, it turned my oil an ugly brown that didn’t filter out (unlike the nice blue on the left). And, in doing it twice, I wasted my oil twice. Ugh, I hate doing that!
But, being the die-hard that I am, I decided if I were to try it again, I would line the trays with parchment, even up the sides. I would only do one tray at a time with other veggies and plan on maybe 10 extra hours of dry time. A part of my plan would be to wait until my 6th batch (when I’m about to change my oil anyway) and NOT filter it so I don’t have to change the filter as well. I think that would work!
But for right now, I’ll store some 7# plastic containers of ketchup while I continue emptying my freezers!
OW DO I FREEZE DRY KETCHUP AND MUSTARD?
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 KETCHUP AND MUSTARD?
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.