A DIY freeze dryer can preserve the taste and freshness of your food items for a long time. This can prolong their shelf-life without losing their nutritional value. Here are two ways you can have your own freeze dryer for less.
Related: Wise Food Storage – Vacuum Sealing Food
DIY Freeze Dryer You Can Make at Home | 2 quick and easy methods you can follow
DIY Freeze Dryer Using Vacuum Chamber and Pump
This DIY freeze dryer has two parts – the drying chamber and the water trap.
What you will need:
Step 1: Insulate your container
Place your container on a styrofoam sheet, then trace around it. Cut the sheet following the measurements and shape of your container. Do the same process for the remaining sheets.
Then, stack your styrofoam sheets on top of each other until they cover your container. You can apply glue or spray adhesive to each sheet to hold the pieces together. Wrap your container as completely as possible to keep your food items cold.
Then trace the diameter of both the water trap chamber and your pot on another sheet to create a lid for your pot. You can wrap your drying chamber to keep it cool.
Use stainless steel and acrylic vacuum chambers so you can easily control the temperature. You can use a quarter gallon for the drying chamber and a gallon for your water trap.
The gauge that usually comes with a drying chamber quickly reaches its peak. Instead, use a digital vacuum gauge to check the pressure.
Connect this gauge to the dryer chamber using a quarter-inch union. Seal it using quality Teflon tape to prevent leaks and relieve pressure.
Step 3: Assemble Your Water Trap Chamber
Separate the gauge that came with your water trap chamber. Then, drill a hole in your water trap to hold your barbed splicer. Apply epoxy to your splicer, then hold it in place.
Place your water trap inside your two-gallon container. When the epoxy is dry, attach the pipe to the splicer and the vacuum pump to the hose clamp.
Step 4: Test Your DIY Freeze Dryer
Prepare some food items that you can use to make your DIY freeze dryer. Place them inside a plastic bag, then sandwich between two layers of dry ice. Then, wait an hour for the frozen foods to harden.
While you wait, cool the water trap chamber by filling your two-gallon container with alcohol and dry ice. You can also lift your container and place a block of dry ice on the bottom. Maintain the temperature for several hours without checking it every time.
Once your food items are frozen, transfer them to your drying chamber. Cover your chambers to prevent outside air from entering.
Turn on the valve. This will allow gases to flow between the drying chamber and the water trap chamber. Next, start your vacuum pump.
Be sure to wear gloves as dry ice and cryo fluid can burn you. There is also a risk of explosion with vacuum equipment so take proper precautions.
Step 5: Check your digital gauge
If you notice that your gauge isn’t working, the pressure is likely too high. It could also mean that you have a leak in the chamber or in a connector such as tubing.
DIY Freeze Dryer Using Styrofoam Cooler
Another cost-efficient option for your DIY freeze dryer is to use a simple package that maintains a cold zone.
What you will need:
Step 1: Prepare your Styrofoam cooler
Make sure your Styrofoam cooler is large enough for the food you plan to freeze-dry. It should not have a lot of extra room.
Step 2: Prepare your ice layer
Place a single layer of ice in the base of your Styrofoam cooler. However, do this only when you are ready to use your DIY freeze dryer.
Step 3: Arrange your food items
Place your food items on top of your dry ice. Avoid stacking them up on top of each other. Instead, place them side by side inside your DIY freeze dryer.
Step 4: Cover your food items
Add another layer of ice on top of your food item. Then, place additional food items on top of this layer of dry ice.
Do the same process until your DIY freeze dryer is almost full. Make sure the top surface is dry ice. Put the cover on your cooler, then wait about 30 minutes.
Step 5: Inspect your food items
Scan your freeze-dried foods to determine if they are already solid. Otherwise, cover your DIY freeze dryer again, then check your food items every five minutes.
Step 6: Place your food items in a freezer
Once your freeze-dried food items are already frozen, remove them from your cooler. Store them in a freezer until you use them again.
However, if the food items are sealed in vacuum packaging, you do not need to refrigerate them. Instead, keep them in your pantry or pantry.
You can store your camping food and healthy snacks in a DIY freeze dryer. Watch this video from Harvest Rite to learn about other types of foods you can freeze dry:
You don’t need to buy an expensive freeze dryer to preserve your food. Instead, build a DIY freeze dryer using simple tools and it will still give you the same results.
Do you have other ideas about how to make a DIY freeze dryer that you’d like us to know about? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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