This post starts after already having freeze dried strawberry puree.
We filled our freeze dryer trays almost to their max, which made for a very long dry cycle, but it produced a decent amount of strawberry powder. We have found the freeze dryers to be most cost efficient when they are loaded as much as possible.
Quick tip: When freeze drying purees (especially fruits), make sure not to overload the machine. If your machine is overloaded, you’ll have to defrost mid-cycle, and restart to get a completely dry cycle.
Once the freeze-drying cycle is complete, make sure the puree is completely dry…and then get it powdered and into jars before things get sticky (which can happen quickly.)
You’ll want to make sure that your hands and work area are completely dry. Don’t wash your hands right before doing this; wash up in advance, or you’ll get everything sticky and create clumps in your strawberry powder.
I know it’s rather simple, but we used the “one-finger test” to see if it was dry. Push your finger into the thickest part of the the thickest tray. If you don’t feel any coolness and it crushes, the rest of the batch is most likely dry. You’ll obviously want to spot-check the pieces as you break them apart to put them in your mixer.
We used an empty tray to zero the scale, then recorded the dry weight of the dried puree.
Here’s a close-up of the frozen texture. It’s pretty cool to see the ice crystals, and even cooler when you feel how dry it is.
You’ll do this a few times…
Break up the dried puree sheets into smaller pieces to fit into your mixer. This is one reason we found the Bosch easier to use than our blender. With a much wider opening, the process is much quicker.
Quick note: We’ve also used a blender to pulverize the dried puree. But we found the powder to be a bit too fine and clumped up more. We took advantage of the fruit residue that was left in the blender, and made some great smoothies :).
Run each set for about 10 seconds, as seen below:
Then pour the powder into the jar. Powder massively reduces the storage space required for your food. Sometimes I wish we could powder everything just for the space-saving advantage.
All done. Now just toss in your O2 absorber, vacuum seal the jar(s), and you’re good to go.
Look for recipes that use the strawberry powder, such as, sorbet, ice cream, and many more.