Is Freeze-Drying Worth It?

Freeze-drying has many benefits, including saving money in the long run, but it has significant upfront costs, so the question is, “Is it worth it?” 

The answer is, “It depends.” The process requires expensive special equipment, time, power, and whatever fresh food you put in. The entry cost of starting freeze-drying is steep. A new at-home freeze-drying machine is typically between $2,000 and $5,000. But once you have the machine, you can use it as much as you want.

If you’re considering buying a freeze-dryer, here are some questions you should ask yourself before spending the money.

Why do you want to start freeze-drying?

This is an important question because it might predict whether you feel your freeze-dryer was the best purchase or the biggest waste of money ever in a year.

Many people start freeze-drying because they think it will save them money over time, and they like the idea of being able to preserve their own fresh, high-quality foods. But not everyone realizes it requires a lifestyle change to make it worthwhile.

Buying a freeze-dryer is sort of like buying a treadmill. It can become a tool to transform your life in positive ways if you are prepared to commit. And if you do, it will almost definitely be worth the costs. But if it becomes something to hang your clothes on, it will only become a source of guilt every time you see it.

If you’re passionate about freeze-dried food becoming a significant part of your life, and have the willpower to keep at it, then you have a good chance of coming out on top.

How much food storage do you have space for?

The most common use for freeze-dried food is long-term food storage. This is because storing it correctly in airtight cans can last up to 25 years. It may seem like a good idea to freeze-dry everything you can get your hands on, because why not. But you may find that space becomes a limiting factor. Cans of food start to take up a lot of real estate. 

We don’t recommend letting your food storage get in the way of living your life now. For example, please don’t line your hallways, living room, and kids’ closets with cans of food. 

This doesn’t mean that once you fill up your storage space, you’re done freeze-drying.

The best approach is to rotate your food storage so you can stay perpetually 25 years out. This means you frequently use the oldest of your freeze-dried food stores and continuously replenish it. So meticulous labeling is essential. Not only what’s in the can, but when it was sealed.

Rotating your stock keeps your food fresh and gets you and your family accustomed to the taste and the process of cooking with it. This leads to our next point:

Do you enjoy freeze-dried food?

Eating and cooking with freeze-dried food is an entirely different experience from regular food. It has different textures and often more intense flavors. Most kids enjoy eating it, but some don’t. If you’re rehydrating freeze-dried food, you must add that step to your cooking process.

We recommend trying a lot of different freeze-dried foods before you invest to see if you enjoy enough different things to work them into your weekly meal plan. If not, freeze-drying probably isn’t for you.

Do you have unique dietary needs?

If you have allergies to certain foods, you’re vegan, or you follow religious dietary restrictions (such as eating kosher), you know how difficult it can be to find a wide variety of foods you can eat. This is true at grocery stores and restaurants. It’s even more so with commercial freeze-dried food options. 

Because there’s a smaller market for freeze-dried foods, there just isn’t yet as much variety available, and this probably means fewer options for specific dietary needs.

This is a great reason to do your own freeze-drying. You’re likely already used to preparing your own foods, whereas others are used to trusting prepackaged food labels are accurate. So let this practice extend to your freeze-drying as well. If you make the foods to your specifications, then you know exactly what’s in them when it’s time to eat.

Do you have the time?

What kind of time do you have to work on freeze-drying? Remember that the condition your food is in when you freeze-dry it will most likely be how you eat it. This means you’ll have to do a lot of upfront prep work – coring apples, hulling strawberries, cutting meat into bitesize pieces, etc. Then you’ll need to store your freeze-dried food by vacuum packing it in order to preserve it.

Of course, this means when you are ready to eat your freeze-dried food, it will be easy and quick to prepare, but to have this luxury then, you’ll need to put extra work in now.

If you’re planning to make complete meals from scratch, expect it to take at least as long as it would to make them for a regular meal. It’s true that when you’re freeze-drying, it’s easiest to prepare in bulk. It doesn’t make sense to not fill up your machine before starting a 24-hour cycle. 

Maybe a better question than, “Do you have the time?” is, “Are you willing to prioritize this and forego something else?” That’s what we really mean, but that’s a more complicated question to answer because it makes us be a little more honest with ourselves and confront our commitment level.

Candy Jan is always here when you need freeze-dried candy

Doing your own freeze-drying at home is a big decision to make, and you can never predict where it might lead, believe us… We know! 

But while you’re making that decision, know that you don’t have to get your own machine to have amazing freeze-dried candy at your fingertips. Here at Candy Jan, we are passionate about providing you with a variety of tasty freeze-dried candy that you can enjoy now or save for (much) later. We can probably ship it to you faster than you can freeze-dry it yourself anyway. Contact us and order today!