Freeze Drying Hamburgers


Freeze Drying Hamburgers – So Easy – And, So Very Necessary

Many people use the canning process for meats – both raw and cooked.  But, it can be a real mess.  Additionally, the meat never seems to taste the same as it did when it was fresh.  Hot water will leach out flavor in meat – faster than junk food disappears at a Weight Watcher’s meeting!

Geico 2004 ad - So easy a caveman can do it.

The most intelligent and practical choice is to freeze dry meat.  And freeze drying hamburgers is “so easy, a caveman can do it!”

Furthermore, freeze dried hamburger is my all time favorite freeze dried meat!

These days hamburger meat can get pretty expensive – sometimes approaching $4.00 per pound or more – for lean meat – 80/20 or better.

So, when I see hamburger on sale for less than $2.00 a pound, I’ll “scarf up” as much as I can – at least 20 pounds or more!


A word about meat storage life:  Even though most freeze dried items will last up to 25 years on the shelf if store properly – using Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber – or, Foodsaver vacuum packed with an oxygen absorber – most meats will only last between 10 and 15 years.

Meat should be fresh when freeze drying.  Don’t let it linger in the fridge for weeks at a time.  The taste changes quickly – for the worse – if it is not preserved in a timely manner.  Everyone has experienced whether or not to cook and eat that questionable looking – and smelling – meat in the refrigerator…


Freeze Drying Raw Hamburger

When I freeze dry raw hamburger, I always make it into patties.  Because, thawing out frozen hamburger is tough and once thawed, it can’t be made into patties very easily.  If I do not turn raw hamburger into patties beforehand, I only use it for making Sloppy Joes, chili, spaghetti sauce, tacos, Hamburger Helper, etc.

Raw hamburger patties

Arrange the raw hamburger patties on the freeze drying trays, keeping some space between them to help them freeze dry thoroughly.

Stick the trays in the Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer and let the machine run its course.

When done, remove a tray and break open one of the thickest patties to ensure that it is dried completely through.  If not, put the load back in the freeze dryer and add more time – usually a couple of hours will do it.

When the raw hamburger patties are fully dried – top, bottom, and middle – store them in Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber – or preserve them in Foodsaver Bags adding an oxygen absorber and vacuum pack them using a Foodsaver Vacuum System.

NOTE:  Don’t forget to label the bags so you know what is inside – and add the freeze dry date.


Reconstituting Raw Hamburger

Place the freeze dried hamburger patties in beef broth – at room temperature – for a couple of hours – then blot them dry with a paper towel.  Now, they’re ready for grilling.

Some folks use cool water to reconstitute them but, I find that the water sucks out a goodly portion of the hamburger flavor.  Beef broth will actually enhance the flavor.


Freeze Drying Cooked Hamburger

My preference is to freeze dry cooked hamburger patties.

I always add some extra ingredients to the ground beef – chopped onions – sometimes bell pepper – crumbled crackers (or Panko), a little milk, and a few eggs – the same additives I use when making a meatloaf.

Grilled hamburgers are absolutely delicious!

Then, I grill the hamburger patties.  I gotta tell ya – there is nothing that tastes better to me than eating a grilled hamburger – and that’s not just a summertime thing – it’s a year ‘round thing!

After grilling the burgers – or cooking them in any other manner – just lay them out on paper towels – to capture as much grease as possible.

Then load them onto the freeze dryer trays – with a bit of airspace between each one.  Pop the trays in the freeze dryer.  Crank it up.  And, allow a couple of days to complete the process.

Grilled hamburger patties ready for the freeze dryer:

Grilled hamburger patties ready for the freeze dryer.

NOTES:  Just like with freeze drying raw hamburger, follow the Freeze Dryer Operation Procedure and you’re good to go.

These hamburgers just finished their freeze drying cycle:

These hamburgers just finished their freeze drying cycle.


Reconstituting Cooked Hamburger

Again – just as in the case of raw freeze dried hamburgers – I use beef broth to bring the burgers back to life.  The only difference is that I use hot – almost boiling – instead of room temperature – broth.

Hot beef broth facilitates absorption – and, I don’t want to wait all day to chow down on a reconstituted deliciously grilled hamburger.

To remove all doubt, I can assure you that my reconstituted burgers retain all the texture and grilled flavor they possessed when they were first cooked.


Thanks – To Harvest Right!Hats off to Harvest Right!

Before I discovered the Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer, it was like I was living in the Dark Ages.

I thought that my only preservation options were freezing, canning, and dehydrating.

But, with this amazing piece of equipment, I have a much better and longer lasting way to preserve not only my famous grilled hamburgers but also any other meat, veggie, fruit, dairy product, etc. – not to mention prepared meals.

What a boon this has been to my preservation arsenal!

I’m ready and available to answer questions and respond to comments (below).  Or, feel free to email me about this stupendous product or freeze drying foods!


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener

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