Whether you're disaster-proofing your pantry or simply stocking up on everyday meal essentials, you've probably purchased a few bags of freeze-dried ingredients at one point or another. And freeze-dried fruits and vegetables have likely topped that list.
While freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are convenient and accessible, they can be tricky to incorporate into food preparation when you’re accustomed to utilizing fresh ingredients. Will the appearance, flavor, and texture remain the same?
The truth is, freeze-dried fruits and vegetables can be just as enjoyable as fresh fruits and vegetables if you know how to use them properly. In this blog post, we will explore the various ways you can use freeze-dried foods to boost your meal-making as well as share some of our favorite recipes.
Uses for Freeze-Dried Fruits
Many know that once rehydrated, freeze-dried fruits can be used in any recipe that calls for fresh fruit. However, few know that their versatility can extend far beyond their tried-and-true uses.
Here are eight of our favorite ways to implement freeze-dried fruits into meals:
Without a punch of fruit, trail mix can become a boring bag of chocolate chips, raisins, and peanuts. Upgrade your trail mix from a blah snack to a source of fruit fuel with freeze-dried fruits. Try adding sweet, sliced strawberries or crunchy banana chips to lift up your trail mix!
An ice-cold glass of water is just the drink you need after a hard day’s work. But it doesn’t hurt to beat the plain taste with a boost of flavor! Toss in some freeze-dried ingredients like blueberries or raspberries for a refreshing, fruity flavor.
Freeze-dried fruit isn't just a sweet spike for cold drinks like water and juice; it’s also a delicious addition to hot drinks as well. Just drop some freeze-dried fruit into hot tea for a unique, fruit-flavored twist to your favorite brew.
Savory, salty, and buttery popcorn is the perfect pick for movie night. But sometimes you're in the mood for something on the decadent side. Substitute salt for sugar and add your favorite freeze-dried fruits to your popcorn for a sweet and crunchy treat that will be a hit with the whole family.
Freeze-dried fruits are more than a tasty way to preserve important ingredients long-term; they can also make beautiful, colorful, and edible decorations! Whether you're using them to add flair to a holiday cake or top an Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl, freeze-dried ingredients are perfect for adding visual appeal to your meals.
Fruit leather is a fun and easy way to utilize freeze-dried fruit and provide your family a tasty treat that’s free of what can be found in store-bought alternatives. Simply puree rehydrated freeze-dried fruits, then spread the mixture thinly and dry to create your own homemade fruit leather. Yum!
Fruit-Infused Ice Cubes
A fun and refreshing addition to any cold drink, fruit-infused ice cubes add flavorful flair to your beverages. When you use freeze-dried fruit instead of fresh fruit to make your ice cubes, you significantly reduce the likelihood that juice will bleed into the cube. This improves the visual appearance of the ice for both guests and everyday use at home!
While fresh fruit can be too wet to incorporate into treats like chocolate bark, freeze-dried fruits are up for the task. Just mix them into homemade candy, in full slices or smaller pieces, to add a bit of flair to your bark. Check out the recipe below to try it for yourself.
- 1 cup freeze-dried mixed berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries
- 8 ounces white chocolate chips or melts
- 2 tablespoons chopped nuts (optional)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt the white chocolate in a microwave or with a double boiler.
- Spread the melted chocolate evenly on the parchment paper.
- Quickly sprinkle the freeze-dried mixed berries and chopped nuts over the chocolate.
- Allow the bark to cool and harden in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Break into pieces and enjoy a sweet, fruity treat.
Uses for Freeze-Dried Vegetables
Freeze-dried fruits can be used in countless unique ways. But freeze-dried vegetables are equally as versatile!
Turn to these eight creative methods to make the most of freeze-dried vegetables in your meals:
Freeze-dried vegetables are an excellent ingredient for savory dips you can take to parties and events. Simply stir your favorite seasonings and some freeze-dried vegetable powder into Greek yogurt or sour cream for a flavorful veggie dip.
Craving guacamole, but don’t want to put in the effort to make it? Freeze-dried vegetables to the rescue. Instead of wasting time chopping peppers, onions, and tomatoes, just add rehydrated freeze-dried vegetables—already cut up and ready—to your guacamole.
Salads don't have to be a bunch of boring, limp greens, especially when you have freeze-dried vegetables on hand. Simply sprinkle freeze-dried vegetable crisps over salads for an extra crunch, and an added energy boost.
While sweet popsicles are usually the go-to when someone wants a refreshing summer treat, savory popsicles can be just as satisfying when made the right way. To make your own, blend rehydrated freeze-dried vegetables with seasoned tomato juice and freeze.
Vegetable Pasta Sauce
Sneaking vegetables into your diet—or your kids' diets—can be a tricky task. Make it easy by blending freeze-dried vegetables into your pasta sauce for a hidden vegetable boost. No one will ever know!
It's easy to enhance your soups and stews with freeze-dried vegetable medleys. Pouring them directly into the broth as-is will rehydrate them throughout the preparation process. The vegetables will also absorb the flavor of the broth, enriching the overall taste of your meal. Try this method for yourself to see the difference!
Homemade Veggie Chips
Due to their low moisture content, freeze-dried vegetables are ideal for dry baked dishes like homemade veggie chips. All you have to do is season your freeze-dried vegetables, toss them with oil, and bake them until crispy. You can follow the recipe below to get started.
- 1 cup freeze-dried carrots
- 1 cup freeze-dried zucchini
- 1 cup freeze-dried green beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Seasonings of your choice (e.g., salt, garlic powder, paprika)
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
- In a bowl, toss the freeze-dried vegetables with olive oil and seasonings.
- Spread the seasoned vegetables across a baking sheet.
- Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until crispy.
- Let them cool and enjoy your homemade veggie chips!
Creativity Made Delicious
We hope you found these ideas using freeze-dried ingredients inspiring. By getting creative with freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, you can take your meals to the next level.
How do you use your freeze-dried fruits and vegetables?