Bacon lovers rejoice!
Have you ever wondered if you can freeze dry bacon? Well, the answer is yes!
Freeze drying is a great way to preserve food for long-term storage without sacrificing flavor or nutritional content.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of freeze drying bacon, how to do it properly, and some creative ways to use your freeze-dried bacon.
So, grab a slice of bacon and let’s dive in!
Can You Freeze Dry Bacon?
Yes, you can freeze dry bacon! In fact, raw bacon can be freeze dried to a moisture content of less than 1.0 percent, making it a great option for long-term storage.
Freeze drying removes water from the bacon while leaving all the flavor and nutritional content intact. This means that when you reconstitute your freeze-dried bacon with water, it will taste just as delicious as fresh bacon.
It’s important to note that freeze-dried bacon won’t last as long as other freeze-dried foods due to its high fat content. However, if prepared and stored properly, freeze-dried bacon can last for 15-25 years.
What Is Freeze Drying And How Does It Work?
Freeze drying, also known as lyophilization, is a unique process that removes water from a product by turning it from ice to vapor. This process is achieved by placing the completely frozen sample under a vacuum, allowing the ice to change directly from a solid to a vapor without passing through a liquid phase. This process is called sublimation and is ideal for preserving the integrity of the sample’s biological and chemical structure over the long term.
Freeze drying can be achieved in various volumes, from small at-home freeze dryers all the way up to large production-scale equipment. The process involves two primary steps: freezing and vacuum drying. Foods are first frozen to well below 0°F. Once frozen, foods are subjected to vacuum drying, where air and water vapor are removed from the food processing chamber using a vacuum pump. This includes removing the water vapor that was once inside the food.
Freeze-drying is different from conventional dehydration methods because it operates at low temperatures, which helps retain much of the original qualities of the product. The process preserves a product’s nutritional value, taste, and appearance while extending shelf life. Freeze-drying is commonly used in various industries such as biological, biomedical, food processing, and preservation.
The freeze-drying process involves two stages: primary drying and secondary drying. Primary drying is also known as proper freeze-drying, where frozen free water is removed through sublimation. Secondary drying is also known as desorption drying, where products are dried to their desired humidity by removing the remaining bound water. Freeze-drying should be performed in controlled conditions that do not melt the water because liquid water may change the product’s composition, shape, and physical properties leading to a significant reduction of the product’s shelf life.
Benefits Of Freeze Drying Bacon
There are several benefits to freeze drying bacon, including:
1. Long-term storage: Freeze-dried bacon can last for up to 25 years when stored properly. This makes it a great option for emergency preparedness or for those who want to stock up on bacon without worrying about it going bad.
2. Retains flavor and nutrition: Freeze drying removes water from the bacon while preserving its flavor and nutritional content. This means that when you rehydrate your bacon, it will taste just as delicious as fresh bacon.
3. Convenient: Freeze-dried bacon is lightweight and easy to store, making it a great option for camping trips or other outdoor activities where refrigeration is not available.
4. Versatile: Freeze drying works well on a variety of meats, including bacon, as well as fruits, vegetables, and even fully-cooked meals. This means that you can use your freeze dryer for a variety of foods and not just bacon.
5. Saves money: Buying bacon in bulk and freeze drying it yourself can save you money in the long run. Plus, you’ll always have bacon on hand when you need it!
How To Freeze Dry Bacon Properly
Freeze drying bacon is a simple process that can be done at home with the right equipment. Here’s how to properly freeze dry bacon:
1. Start with raw bacon that has been sliced to your desired thickness. It’s important to use raw bacon as opposed to cooked bacon, as cooked bacon can become brittle and lose its texture during the freeze drying process.
2. Lay the bacon slices out in a single layer on a freeze-drying tray. Make sure to leave some space between each slice to allow for even drying.
3. Place the tray in your freeze dryer and set the temperature to around 0°F (-18°C). The drying time will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon slices, but it typically takes between 12-24 hours.
4. Once the bacon is fully dried, remove it from the tray and store it in an airtight container or Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. This will help to prevent oxidation and extend the shelf life of your freeze-dried bacon.
5. When you’re ready to use your freeze-dried bacon, simply rehydrate it by soaking it in water for a few minutes. You can then cook it up just like you would fresh bacon!
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your freeze-dried bacon is properly prepared and stored for long-term use.
Storing Freeze-Dried Bacon
Once you have freeze dried your bacon, it’s important to store it properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible. The first step is to place the freeze-dried bacon in an airtight container. This will prevent it from reabsorbing moisture from the air and spoiling.
For long-term storage, Mylar bags are the easiest and least expensive option. These bags can provide a 25-year shelf life for your freeze-dried bacon. It’s important to ensure that all the oxygen has been removed from the bag before sealing it. This can be done by using nitrogen to pump out any remaining oxygen.
If you have a home vacuum sealer, you can also use this to reseal the pouch and remove any residual oxygen, which will extend the shelf life of your bacon even further. However, once you open the bag and remove a portion of the bacon, you should use the remaining portion within about a week.
It’s also important to keep your freeze-dried bacon away from sunlight and in consistent temperatures below 72°F. If exposed to oxygen, it’s best to treat any remaining portions like regular household leftovers and refrigerate them.
It’s worth noting that dehydrating bacon for long-term storage is not an approved method of preservation for home cooks. Bacon contains fat, and no amount of cooking or dehydrating will get rid of all of the fat. Fat will go rancid fairly quickly, so it’s important to store your freeze-dried bacon in the fridge or freezer for the safest storage.
Creative Ways To Use Freeze-Dried Bacon
Now that you know you can freeze dry bacon, the possibilities for using it in your cooking are endless. Here are some creative ways to use freeze-dried bacon:
1. Breakfast: Start your day off right with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich or a bacon and cheese omelet. You can also add freeze-dried bacon to your pancakes or waffles for a savory twist.
2. Lunch: A classic BLT sandwich is always a crowd-pleaser, but you can also add freeze-dried bacon to your salads or soups for extra flavor and protein.
3. Snacks: Bacon-wrapped dates or jalapeño poppers are the perfect party appetizers. You can also make bacon avocado fries or cheesy bacon spinach dip for a tasty snack.
4. Dinner: Add freeze-dried bacon to your pasta dishes, casseroles, or even on top of your pizza for a delicious and hearty meal.
5. Desserts: Yes, you read that right! You can even add freeze-dried bacon to your desserts for a sweet and savory flavor combination. Try adding it to your chocolate chip cookies or brownies for a unique twist.
Conclusion: Is Freeze-Dried Bacon Worth The Effort?
In conclusion, freeze-drying bacon is definitely worth the effort if you’re looking for a delicious and long-lasting food option. Proper packaging is key to ensure that the bacon stays fresh and doesn’t spoil. When freeze-dried to a moisture content of less than 1.0 percent, bacon has good storage stability and can last for up to 25 years.
While there are other methods of preserving meat, such as salt curing and drying, freeze-drying offers the advantage of preserving the flavor and nutritional content of the bacon. Additionally, freeze-dried bacon can be cooked prior to packaging, making it a convenient option for quick meals or camping trips.