How to Freeze Dry Food Without a Freeze Dryer

Freeze drying is the preservation of food, flowers or other items by removing most of the moisture. The process retains the taste and nutrition of the food and gives it a longer shelf life. Because the resulting product is much lighter than its frozen counterparts, freeze-dried items are easy to store and travel with. It is simple and inexpensive to freeze dry items with dry ice, rather than purchasing or trying to locate a freeze-drying machine.

Strawberries are ideal for freeze drying.

Step 1

Place 1/2 lb. of dry ice on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket or cooler.

Step 2

Place a piece of wax or kraft paper over the dry ice.

Step 3

Fill the bucket or cooler with the item you want to freeze dry, such as sliced fruit, flowers, wheat or other items.

Step 4

Replace the lid on the bucket or cooler, but do not seal it. Allow a small gap so that air can escape.

Step 5

Check the dry ice after 30 minutes and see if it has all evaporated. If not, leave it for another 5 to 10 minutes and check again. Once the dry ice has evaporated, either seal the container and store it or place the items you have freeze dried in a zip-top plastic bag.

Step 6

Store the freeze-dried items in a cool, dry place like a pantry or garage. Be sure to label the bags or container with the name of the item and the date you freeze dried it.