Everything Freeze Drying with Sonya Boone

Join Rachel as she interviews Sonya Boone of Dave and Sonya in Michigan about everything freeze drying.  Sonya has decades of experience in the kitchen as a professional baker and food preserver. She owns a homestead in southern Michigan with her husband Dave.

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They were featured last year on the podcast talking about off-grid and emergency power, which is Dave’s specialty.  This in-depth conversation will help answer questions about how freeze-drying works, what foods you can preserve this way, and how much a single load costs to run. 

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Sonia’s interest in freeze drying sparked many years ago. Initially deterred by the high costs, the couple eventually acquired a used machine, leading them to explore and teach the art of freeze drying.

Freeze Drying vs. Canning and Dehydrating

Sonya practices canning, dehydrating, and freeze drying, choosing each method based on the specific needs of the food item. While canning is great for certain foods, freeze drying retains about 96-97% of the nutritional value, offering a different texture and preservation method.

The Process of Freeze Drying

Sonya’s medium-sized freeze dryer can hold up to 10 pounds of food. The process involves a cycle of 36 to 40 hours, depending on the food’s moisture content. Sonya also discusses the importance of understanding the freeze dryer’s manual for optimal results.

Storing Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried food is primarily stored in jars or Mylar bags. Sonya explains how she labels and measures the food to ensure proper reconstitution when needed.

Foods Suitable for Freeze Drying

Most foods are suitable for freeze drying, except those with high sugar content, which can be problematic in the machine. Sonya has experimented with various foods, including dairy products and meats, tailoring the process to each item.

Maintenance and Running Costs

The freeze dryer requires regular maintenance, like changing the oil in the pump. The cost of running the machine is relatively low, around $6-7 per load, depending on electricity rates.

Practical Uses and Benefits

Sonya shares how the freeze dryer has become an integral part of her family’s lifestyle. It’s especially useful for preparing meals for family members with dietary restrictions, like her daughter who is Celiac. The versatility of freeze-dried food, from easy snacks to reconstituting full meals, makes it a valuable tool for homesteading and preparedness.

Conclusion

Freeze drying offers a unique way to preserve food while retaining its nutritional value and flavor. Sonya’s journey and expertise in this field highlight the benefits and practicalities of incorporating freeze drying into a self-sufficient lifestyle.

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