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My Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

 
pollinator
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A little over 1.5 years ago, I bought a large stainless steel freeze dryer. I have tried so so many foods and each new dish is always an experiment but so far I have not been disappointed. By freezing the foods in a conventional freezer beforehand, it shortens the FD time by up to a few hours in some cases. I have made FD Lasagna, peas and carrots, shallots, squash, yams, fajita mixes, mushrooms, citrus, apples and peaches, yogurts, cooked or raw steaks, cooked poultry and fish. I've tried lots of stuff. Italian, Asian, French cuisines...Meats, I've noticed take much less time than fruits or veggies. I've even FD'ed store bought ham steaks but they come out encrusted in salt or some form of commercial sodium. Oils, fats and many condiments don't FD well at all. Oils do better if they're mixed in with other ingredients. My goal is to eventually FD all the cancer fighting antioxidant super food berries I'm growing in my orchards. As well as many of the veggies I'll be raising this year as long as we don't get CME'd 1st.  Lastly, I really appreciate being able to make meals that the big FD companies don't offer like shrimp and scallops in a Linguini de la Pescatora dish. I love to cook!
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D. Nelson
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Just finished a couple cases of Brussels sprouts and a bunch of other stuff from my buddy's restaurant, when they closed for the season.
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D. Nelson
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If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.
 
pollinator
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What are the trays of what looks like rabbit droppings?
 
D. Nelson
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Michael Cox wrote:What are the trays of what looks like rabbit droppings?


Sausage crumbles precooked
 
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I have one of the large Cabela's dehydrators and have really been considering replacing it with one of the Harvest Right freeze dryers. What size did you opt for? For a comparison for me what time did it take for a tray of vegetables/fruit?
 
D. Nelson
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Robert Ray wrote:I have one of the large Cabela's dehydrators and have really been considering replacing it with one of the Harvest Right freeze dryers. What size did you opt for? For a comparison for me what time did it take for a tray of vegetables/fruit?[/quotes




I bought the large stainless steel model. Times are different due to the amount of water within the produce. Pre freezing helps but it can be anywhere from 24-48 hours. I ran 5 dehydrators before getting my FD’er

 
author & pollinator
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Amazing! I didn't even know there was a freeze dryer available for small-scale producers. Great photos.

How are you storing your freeze dried items?

And, (I almost hate to ask this) how much energy does the FD take?
 
D. Nelson
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Leigh Tate wrote:Amazing! I didn't even know there was a freeze dryer available for small-scale producers. Great photos.

How are you storing your freeze dried items?

And, (I almost hate to ask this) how much energy does the FD take?



At some point I plan on making some videos for my YouTube channel on my cooking skills and preservation.

https://harvestright.com

I use mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. I try to only use 6 mil bags due to anything thinner and the bags tend to puncture. Some foods become sharp when they break and can puncture the bags. Another thing I like to do is place the food and Oxy absorber inside a large ziplock bag then placing the ziplock inside the mylar pouch and either iron or use an impact sealer to close the mylar. It's important though to leave the ziplock bag open inside the mylar pouch. Gotta get out that oxygen and if the ziplock was closed, you might get poorer results. The benefits of the internal ziplock is to add extra protection from sharp edges foods from puncturing the mylar bag from the inside, but also, To give you a way to have a way to close the food once opened, in case you're not consuming everything and don't have access to an iron or impact sealer.

As far as power, the Large models run on 220v and the smaller ones on 115v. So, before you order a large unit make sure you have a way to plug it in in your home/kitchen etc...I can't give you exact numbers but depending on use, it can make you bills rise for sure but, in my mind, It's worth every cent especially for what you'll be able to reap way down the road. Typically most FD foods gain a shelf life of 20-30 years without loosing flavor and nutrition. FD foods aren't typically effected by temperature changes either.

Hope this helps and thanks for your interest.
 
Leigh Tate
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I agree, it definitely sounds like it's worth it. So much better than ordinary dehydrating.

I hope you let us know when you do those videos!
 
pollinator
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I love my harvest right freeze dryer. Two things i want to add:
1) they are probably best utilized as a shared appliance unless you are really  committed to food independence. They are not cheap and I feel like I can never keep mine full.
2) Harvest right will finance you. If I recall correctly I had to pay around 50% of the cost to get it shipped and then they split up the rest of the cost over the course of 1year.

And I guess a third thing. They are much louder than normal dehydrators.
 
D. Nelson
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I would also recommend buying the maintenance free oil less vacuum pump up front. Chaging the oil and filtering it can be a big PITA. My pump started to fail and one of the sales people told me they don't expect a long life from them. They gave me a new maintenance free one with a slight discount. It was still very expensive! I f you have the money, I'd say buy it.
 
pollinator
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I have always wondered the energy cost vs. dehydrating or freezing, taking into account the shelf life and nutrition retained. It really shines for crops that have a bumper crop every 3-4 years and maybe nothing in between.  And bulk buys and windfalls like the Brussels. The group share sounds great as long as a schedule can be worked out, but it isn't a simple machine and one bonehead in the group could screw up and break it $$$

I looked into it as a home based business, using it to dry herbs for teas and such.  It didn't pan out for other reasons for me, but that could be a way for some to justify it.
 
s. lowe
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D. Nelson wrote:I would also recommend buying the maintenance free oil less vacuum pump up front. Chaging the oil and filtering it can be a big PITA. My pump started to fail and one of the sales people told me they don't expect a long life from them. They gave me a new maintenance free one with a slight discount. It was still very expensive! I f you have the money, I'd say buy it.



To add to this, it may well be worth it to skip the harvest  right pump all together and get one from Robinaire, those things are absolute monsters that you cannot break and are not any more expensive than the pump that comes with it
 
D. Nelson
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s. lowe wrote:

D. Nelson wrote:I would also recommend buying the maintenance free oil less vacuum pump up front. Chaging the oil and filtering it can be a big PITA. My pump started to fail and one of the sales people told me they don't expect a long life from them. They gave me a new maintenance free one with a slight discount. It was still very expensive! I f you have the money, I'd say buy it.



To add to this, it may well be worth it to skip the harvest  right pump all together and get one from Robinaire, those things are absolute monsters that you cannot break and are not any more expensive than the pump that comes with it




thank you, I wasn't familiar with Robinaire. Do they require the oil changes?
 
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Gracie's backyard - a film about permaculture farming in the far north with Richard Perkins (stream)
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