Freeze Dried Ice Cream
How to freeze dry and store ice cream
How to Freeze Dry Your Favorite Ice Cream
As avid preppers, we're always looking for ways to preserve foods with a long shelf life that won't break the bank. One of our favorite techniques is freeze drying, which produces lightweight, shelf-stable food options that can last for many years. With summer heat cracking down on most of the globe, power outages are becoming more prevalent and your ice won't last long...unless..
First let's just touch base on what freeze drying is, and how it works. Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization, is a dehydration process that removes water from foods by freezing and then reducing the surrounding pressure. This allows the frozen water in the material to sublimate directly from the solid phase to the gas phase. The result is an extremely lightweight, porous and friable product that retains nearly all of its original shape.
Below is a step-by-step process for freeze drying your favorite ice cream to create a treat that can be enjoyed for decades to come.
To get started, you will need a few key supplies:
•A high-quality freeze dryer: For the best results, use a freeze dryer specifically designed for home use. More affordable consumer models are available and are suitable for most DIY purposes.
•Ice cream: Use your favorite ice cream, gelato or sorbet. For the best results choose a creamy variety without chunks of candy or cookie dough.
•Molds or trays: Pour the ice cream into molds, trays or shallow pans so it freezes into thin, evenly shaped pieces. This will allow for the most efficient freeze drying. Or, if you prefer, ice cream sandwiches can be freeze dried and packaged whole.
•Vacuum seal bags: To best preserve your freeze dried ice cream for long term storage, vacuum seal portions in an airtight bag with food grade oxygen absorbers.
•Oxygen absorbers: Place one or two oxygen absorbers in with your vacuum sealed bags to help remove oxygen and prevent oxidation. It;s best to buy individually packaged absorbers to avoid unwanted moisture affecting the unused absorbers.
•Storage containers: For short term storage, use an airtight container like a jar, bin or bucket. For long term storage, keep vacuum sealed bags in a cool, dark place. Mylar bags are a fantastic option for long term storage, too.
The basic steps are:
Prepare the ice cream by pouring it into molds or trays and freezing until firm, at least 6 hours. Or, place whole ice cream sandwiches on the trays.
Load the frozen ice cream into your freeze dryer and run through a full drying cycle according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This typically takes 24-48 hours.
Check that the ice cream is dry and crumbly. It should break apart easily and not feel sticky. If not fully dry, run another cycle.
Vacuum seal portions of the freeze dried ice cream immediately in an oxygen-free environment. Include oxygen absorbers in each bag.
For short term storage (up to 4 weeks), keep sealed bags in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
For long term storage (6 months to 5 years), keep sealed bags in a cool, dark place.
Enjoy your freeze dried ice cream by the spoonful or rehydrate it briefly in milk or cream and blend into ice cream, yogurt or smoothies.
Remember to label and date the packages and rotate stock. Thanks for reading, get prepped!