How to Freeze Dry: Butternut Squash Soup, Hash Browns, and Strawberry Bananas

Since getting my freeze dryer a few months ago, I’ve been able to freeze dry all sorts of things. While I enjoy doing “fun foods” like cheesecake bites and ice cream, the reason I got my freeze dryer was for the practical purposes of preserving food and creating healthy convenience and emergency foods.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate with Harvest Right. If you find this article helpful and want to purchase a freeze dryer for yourself, I make a commission if you use my affiliate link –> click here. I really appreciate your support in this way! While I did purchase my own freeze dryer, I did received a discount on it.

How to Make Freeze Dried Butternut Squash Soup

Hands down my favorite way to preserve winter squash in the freeze dryer! This recipe calls for butternut squash, but you can use any flavorful orange winter squash– try kabocha or hubbard!

Unlike most of the freeze-dried butternut squash soup recipes I’ve seen out there, this one has TONS of flavor and is not just squash combined with broth– it’s much more complex and lovely than that. My goal was to first and foremost make a fantastic squash soup, that also happens to freeze-dry really wonderfully.

This is a fat-free soup, which means that when packaged properly should last 20+ years. Because it has no fat, this also means that you’ll want to add some when reconstituting…. because fat is flavor, and fat is what helps you absorb all those wonderful fat soluble vitamins.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe for the Freeze Dryer

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large apple, diced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 cups water
4 cups butternut squash puree (see Note)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

  1. In a large soup pot over medium heat combine the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, apple, parsley (if using), salt, and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the squash, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and turmeric, and simmer until the flavors are well-combined, about 20 minutes longer.
  3. Allow the soup to cool to a safe-handling temperature, and then use an immersion blender or transfer to a countertop blender and puree on high until smooth.
  4. Pour the cooled soup directly onto the freeze-dryer trays, and pre-freeze. Freeze-dry as normal.
  5. Powder freeze-dried squash soup in a blender for quick and easy reconstituting.

To reconstitute: Place the freeze-dried soup into a pot and add just enough water to rehydrate to your desired consistency. Add a small pat of butter and a splash of heavy cream or coconut milk for each serving. Once hydrated, heat over medium heat until warm.

Note: To make squash puree, start by cleaning any dirt from the outside of the squash. Remove the stem and cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Use a spoon to scrape out the guts and seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side down on a large rimmed baking pan, and roast at 400ºF for 45-60 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Once cooled, use a spoon to scoop the flesh, then puree it in a food processor or blender.

How to Make Freeze Dried Hash Browns

Potatoes aren’t difficult to freeze dry, but they are a little particular. Unlike a lot of other vegetables, potatoes should be cooked before being freeze-dried, otherwise they will discolor and turn dark.

Because they hold their shape when cooked, waxy or all-purpose potatoes work best for hash browns. Save your Russets for something like mashed potatoes!

Hash Browns Recipe for the Freeze Dryer

Any quantity of waxy or all-purpose potatoes

  1. Start by choosing medium size whole potatoes, around a similar size if possible. If your potatoes are very large, cut them in half. Do not peel.
  2. Boil the potatoes until tender, and err on the side of being underdone rather than over. Do not over-cook. Expect around 20 minutes of boiling time for medium-sized potatoes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and chill overnight in the refrigerator. It is imperative that the potatoes are completely chilled, otherwise they won’t shred nicely.
  4. Use a box grater to shred the potatoes. Press firmly and use long strokes to make the biggest and longest shreds you can. The peels will mostly come off as the potatoes are shredded. In my experience, a food processor with a shredding attachment just turns them into crumbles.
  5. Pile the shredded potatoes onto freeze-dryer trays and pre-freeze. Freeze-dry as normal.

To reconstitute: Add very small amounts of water and toss, until the shredded potatoes are just hydrated and have turned from white to having a translucent quality. Fry in a skillet with plenty of fat.

How to Make Freeze Dried Strawberry Bananas

Fruity banana slices have become a favorite treat of ours! It’s amazing how the freeze dryer can transform just 2 ingredients into something that tastes so delicious!

While I love making these with strawberries, they’re great with any berry… I’ve tried raspberry, blueberry, and honeyberry with success. A combination of berries is nice too!

Strawberry Bananas Recipe for the Freeze Dryer

1 cup frozen berries (heaping cup for larger size fruit like strawberries)
2 pounds bananas

  1. Line your freeze dryer tray with parchment paper. This recipe makes 1 medium tray’s worth. Feel free to double it to make 2 trays at a time.
  2. Partially thaw the berries. The goldilocks point is about half frozen and half thawed. Blend the fruit until pureed (it sticks better to the bananas when partially frozen). It should be the consistency of a thick fruit smoothie.
  3. Cut the bananas into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the bananas into a mixing bowl and pour the fruit puree over top. Use a spoon to tumble the banana slices around in the fruit puree until they are coated.
  4. Use a spoon to lift one banana slice at a time out of the bowl and onto the tray. Line up the slices so that they are touching but don’t overlap.
  5. Once all the banana slices are on the tray, spoon the remaining fruit puree over top of them. Try to get it on top of the slices not between them (since there will already be a puddle of fruit puree around the slices).
  6. Freeze immediately. Pre-freeze and then freeze-dry as normal. Break apart the slices and enjoy as a crunchy healthy snack!

How do I like my freeze dryer?

So far I absolutely love it! Once you pass the learning curve of setting it up and understanding how it works, it’s so incredibly easy to use and FUN! Every time I take a new batch of something out and package it up, I’m just so tickled and delighted. I am regretting that I didn’t get one years ago… this is really going to change my preserving game!

If you do buy one for yourself, I really appreciate you using my affiliate link –> here. I make a small commission, which helps support the things I share here on my website and social media. Thanks!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through them and end up purchasing an item,  I may receive monetary or other compensation. The price you pay is unaffected by using this link, and buying stuff you were going to get anyways through an affiliate link is a great way to support your favorite blogger and fellow homesteader! Thanks!

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