Freeze Drying · Prepping · Preserving · Recipes

Freeze Drying Handcrafted Large Batch Beef Pasta Sauce

Harvest Right is running a sale on their freeze-dryers through February 15th, 2024. If you have been thinking about getting a freeze-dryer, this is the time – prices are up to $500 off.

Harvest Right freeze-dryer sale

We had found a great sale on the large cans of tomatoes on Amazon. Then the order showed up and nearly every can was dented. It’s been a learning lesson for sure. You might save money (and often a lot) but they don’t always pack well. Amazon refunded our money because dented cans considerably lower your storage time. You want to use them up first, as soon as possible especially if the seam of the can or the lids were dented.

As I mulled over the many meals we’d be eating with like 36 cans of tomatoes, one idea I had was to make a double batch of pasta sauce and then freeze-dry it. It’s an easy sauce to have on hand. And I could reset the clock on the storage time for the tomatoes.

Now then, this is a sauce I enjoy consuming. It’s a fast-fix recipe for busy nights. It doesn’t need to be cooked all day long. A half-hour is plenty of time to simmer it. Now, why do I use canned beef? Easy. It will freeze-dry far better than fresh will, as it isn’t fatty. We pick it up in packs at Costco (the roast beef is next to the canned chicken).

New to freeze-drying? See all our posts here.

Harvest Right Freeze-dryer

We run a Harvest Right Large-size freeze-dryer on our homestead. There is another company out there now, Blue Alpine, that makes the equivalent of a Medium freeze-dryer.

Beef Pasta Sauce



Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium, add onion, and saute till tender.

Meanwhile, open the tomato cans and squish each whole tomato to break up.

Add in the herbs, pepper, vinegar, tomatoes with juices, and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium-low. Let simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring often.

Drain and break up the roast beef with a fork. Add to the sauce and heat through.

Taste for salt and your personal taste if sugar is needed (I did not add any).

It makes enough to cover 2 pounds of pasta. Made 11 cups of sauce.


Prep 2 pounds of favorite pasta, and cook till al dente. Drain well.

Toss with the sauce and proceed.

If using a long pasta such as spaghetti or angel hair, break it into thirds for easy drying.

Pasta sauce ready to be frozen, then freeze-dried.

To Freeze-Dry:

Line 2 freeze-dryer trays with parchment paper.

Divide the sauce evenly between the 2 trays. (We put 5½ cups sauce on each tray.)

Let cool down, then cover with lids and place in freezer, ensuring the trays are flat.

Freeze fully.

Place trays in freeze-dryer and do setting as usual (Harvest Right machines do auto sensing). When done, test the middle of the powder to ensure it is fully dry. If not, add another 6-8 hours.

Place each tray of dry powder into a mason jar or a mylar bag.

Add in the desiccant packet and oxygen absorber packet, and seal.

Mark on bags when produced.


Mixing with pasta will take 3 to 4 trays on a Large-size freeze-dryer.

It is best to divide it into 8 servings and measure it beforehand.

That way, you can pack it into the “MRE” style mylar bags for ready-to-go meals.

Freeze-dried pasta and pasta sauce, ready for long-term storage.