Why? Because freeze drying and dehydration are two standard food preservation methods. And both methods remove water from food products. Thats why a lot of people mistakenly use the two terms interchangeably.
With $2000 you can get about 295,000 calories worth of store-bought freeze dried food. For a typical family of four (1500 calories per person per day) thats only about 1.5 months worth of emergency food.
By taking any of these approaches you could help justify the upfront cost of buying a freeze dryer. And if you use it as a small business venture your new freeze dryer investment could even turn a nice profit!
With the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, it is now possible for home users to make freeze dried foods that meet their own specific needs. This is a freeze dry machine that functions similar to industrial equipment but is designed for average home users in terms of size, capacity, ease of use, and affordability.
Of course, that doesnt mean its for everyone. Even if the high price tag doesnt scare you off, there are a number of other factors to consider before you buy. This Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review provides the details to help you decide if this is a good investment for you.
Most important for newcomers to this process is to be aware that freeze drying is not the same as dehydrating. Dehydration shrinks foods and changes the texture, which of course is exactly what you want when making something like jerky. If thats your purpose, then you need to look into getting an Excalibur.
With very few exceptions (see Capacity & Performance), the freeze drying process produces excellent results on just about any foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, most dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, etc. but not butter), fruits, vegetables, casseroles, complete meals, leftovers, and desserts.
This machine was designed to be very user friendly for do-it-yourselfers. As youll see in the short video below, there are no complicated settings. The only learning curve you may experience is in how you prep certain foods for faster processing or better results.
Otherwise its all automatic. You press start, and youre done. There is no guessing because the unit will sense when the food is ready, stop the cycle, and alert you with a beep. The usual running time is about 24 hours, but some foods can take much longer.
This machine makes a large footprint and is quite heavy for frequent moving. As you can see in the photo below, the vacuum pump sits alongside the main unit, requiring a little extra room you must allow for.
When the pump kicks on it does make some noise. If you love your peace and quiet, then a walk-in pantry or nearby storeroom might be a better location for your unit. In that case a wheeled cart might be ideal.
You may also be able to use your unit in a basement or garage, but there are limits. The manufacturer recommends that you do not operate this freeze dryer in temperatures below freezing or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Running your freeze dryer in a hot room can increase the time required for processing.
You must also locate your machine where there is an appropriate power source. As noted in the above chart, a dedicated 20 amp circuit is required for large models, and it is recommended for small and medium models. Such circuits are most often found in kitchens for refrigerators and other large appliances, but these type circuits are also required for other uses such as a treadmill or for power tools in a garage or storage room.
Maintenance is not difficult or overly time consuming, but it cannot be neglected. This is not your standard kitchen appliance. Rather, it is the home users version of industrial equipment. Its (basically) a piece of commercial machinery that has been designed to be reasonably affordable for individuals.
Oil should be filtered after each cycle, and you must check for proper oil level before beginning a new cycle. If you dont do this regular maintenance, youll experience problems. It should be part of your normal cleanup routine. If that sounds like too much trouble, a freeze dryer is not for you.
Alternatively, you can pay extra for an oil-free pump. The main advantage is that oil-free pumps do not require maintenance. They can also be less noisy. The bad news is that for a new machine, opting for an oil-free pump will cost you about $1,300 more. Another possible downside is that in some cases oil-free pumps tend to wear out much faster (this is true with the pumps on chamber vacuum sealers).
The bottom line is that an oil-free pump might save you a little time on maintenance, but youre paying a whopping extra price for something that probably wont hold up as well as the oil pump that comes standard on all three models.
For the sake of clarification, the four trays in the medium size freeze dryer will hold 7 to 10 pounds of food. However, your total capacity depends on what youre processing as the amount of air and liquid in foods varies greatly. That is, a pound of ground beef equals about 2 cups, whereas a pound of fresh okra will give you around 4 1/2 cups.
The only performance issues Ive come across related to user inexperience. One example is disappointing results with grapes, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes. The problem is that these are high moisture foods with thick skins, which makes it difficult to completely pull out all the moisture. The solution is to halve such foods before freeze drying. That will produce better results and also speed up your processing time.
About the only foods that do not work well are those with extremely high fat content. Cheese, yogurt and most dairy products work fine, but not butter. One user described his attempt at freeze drying butter as a spectacular failure, but the good news is it taught him that the interior of this machine is very easy to clean.
Two other foods that dont work are hot dogs and bologna, but who cares? Read the ingredient labels and youll never want to eat them again anyway. (Go ahead, look up meat trimmings and mechanically separated chicken.)
Bags and oxygen absorbers are available from the manufacturer, but its a good idea to also check the selection and prices on Amazon. Sometimes you can get a better deal on mylar bags and oxygen absorbers that are packaged in bundles.
Silicone Mats: These reusable mats are dishwasher safe (top rack) and save you clean-up time on your freeze dryer. At this time they are only available from the manufacturer: Harvest Right Silicone Mats
What you will find are posts from owners who have experience with the product. There are some on YouTube, but most are on blogs written by survivalists and others who are heavily invested in off-the-grid living or emergency prepping. That makes it more difficult to research because these reviews are scattered all over the web, and most of them are quite lengthy.
The good news is that these folks provide lots of quality information. Most of the legitimate complaints were written when the model was first released and applied to the original version. For instance, one user felt that the drain hose was too short for convenience. That is no longer a problem because after hearing this feedback, Harvest Right agreed it was a valid concern and started making a longer hose.
The pump sold with the original models also had some issues with leakage. Consumers complained, and Harvest Right solved the problem by developing its own pump that is designed specifically for its freeze dryers. (This solved the problems mentioned in the 2017 comments below where users complain of oil drips and sprays.)
Also worth mentioning is a 2014 buyer who received the wrong pump with his initial purchase (a cheaper versoin of the commercial grade model that is supposed to be included). This fellow emailed the company and got no response, but it turns out this was due to an internet outage. When management realized what had happened, by seeing this unhappy customers post in a forum, the owner of Harvest Right called the customer and immediately rectified the problem. The company sent this customer a new commercial grade pump and also told him he could keep the other pump in case he ever needed a backup.
Harvest Right has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The company has received fewer than 20 customer complaints over the past 3 years with 60% satisfactorily resolved. The rest have been answered by the company with very reasonable responses. Even on Amazon you can see that the company monitors and responds to comments.
One concern shared by a whole lot of people was that in the beginning, this machine had only a 1 year warranty. The company has now increased that to a full 3 Year limited warranty. Thats much better, but still, for an appliance in this price range you may also want to consider purchasing a separate appliance protection plan elsewhere.
There is no question that freeze drying is one of the best methods of food preservation. It enables you to retain the original flavor and texture of foods and also maintain the highest nutrient level. For comparison, dehydration can destroy up to 50% of nutrients in some foods, whereas with freeze drying any loss of nutritional value is extremely small (zero in some cases).
This machine is certainly perfect for anyone seriously involved in preparing for long term, off-grid living. Even if that isnt your intended purpose, it offers plenty of benefits. Stock your pantry with food thats convenient, always fresh, free of unhealthy additives, and diet friendly for you. That includes delicious casseroles and even full meals that can be reconstituted and ready to eat in a snap, whether youre dining in or traveling.
For those who have the budget and the available space, the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer offers the ultimate in food preservation. This well built machine comes with stainless steel trays and a commercial grade pump, and its user friendly design makes it very simple to operate. It now carries a 3 year limited warranty, and the company has established a reputation for listening to consumer feedback, providing service after the sale to solve any problems, and continually working to improve its product.
Harvest Right seems to run sales fairly often, so its always a good idea to check both the manufacturers site and Amazon (click the links below). Harvest Right also offers a lay-away plan that may interest you.
Sources: Aqua-calc Food Volume to Weight Calculator, https://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/food-volume-to-weight American Institute for Cancer Research, https://preventcancer.aicr.org Preparedness Pro, https://www.preparednesspro.com/preparedness-pro-says-team-freeze-dried Prepared Christian, https://preparedchristian.net/ Survival Blog, https://survivalblog.com/harvest-right-freeze-dryer-part-1-by-hjl/ The Survivalist Podcast Forum, https://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=49103.0
Im surprised you mention excellent customer service. Thats not what I experienced. This machine is not ready for prime time yet and requires lots of work. Someone would have to spent quite a bit of time with this machine, troubleshooting, dealing with the oil and food prep to even try to get their moneys worth. Its a loud machine that you really can only put in a garage, although they say it shouldnt be stored in high or low temperatures. And they also dont mention that it should have its own 20 amp breaker. Much more complicated than they lead you to believe
High end appliance would be the applicable word, if you like to spend hours trouble-shooting and cleaning up oil that the pump sprays around or drips on the floor. The videos and photos show these machines sitting in a kitchen, but they are huge and heavy and are as loud as a lawn mower. A freeze-drying cycle takes 12-24 hours and during that time it is not possible to be in the vicinity of the machine. The whole story about the oil for the pump is enough to turn anyone off they neglect saying anything about that until after youve purchased the machine who wants to spend time filtering and cleaning oil out of the pump in between every batch? How about the dedicated electric line that is required to supply the power it needs? That comes as a not so nice surprise. I gave up and sent mine back. Had to argue for weeks to get a refund, still had to pay the shipping. Think twice. Three times. Then, spend the money on something else. You can buy alot of commercially freeze-dried food for $3000.
I bought a Harvestright freeze drier bout 2 mos ago. I was leery after reading mostly good, but a few bad stories bout em, but Im really satisfied. Mine works perfectly. Lots of complaints about oil leaks and sprays are customers fault. Ive had neither. Used it almost continuously and have had great results. Got my RV full of great meals. Also, NAPA auto parts sells a great 90 elbow with swivels to connect to hose outlet and then connect hose allowing it to hang straight down instead of sticking out. Also, I highly recommend you use a measuring cup every time you bleed pump or drain oil and replace with exact amount you drain out. Okay, I could go on bout my machine forever. Sorry, but DO get one. I get most of my food for free by asking people I know can cook well to make a big meal and Ill freeze dry it for half of it. They furnish food and I furnish machine. Getting bout third of my meals like this, but want to eventually get enough people so I can run it everyday and get all my food like this. Eating good food for free will pay for machine sooner or later. Ill really shut up now. ;-)
Thanks Bill, for the info re; 90/swivel/meas. cup, oil. I understand the need for dedicated circuit(normal for any piece of equipment of any size) How loud is this thing for real? I hear about the oil filtering, changing and adding. How does this work, how often, how much is the cost, etc. and how big a pain is this.
Im not an electrician, but to me that means that if you want to avoid problems, and possibly for safety reasons, you should have a dedicated 20 amp circuit even for the small or medium size freeze dryer.
Do you have a branch in Canada that sells Harvest freeze dryers in Canada to avoid double taxing if buying in the US where I would pay around 9% WA sale tax and then another 12% Canadian sale tax at the border to bring it into Canada.
Please understand that this is a review site, not a retail site. Im not aware of a Canadian branch, but I highly recommend that you contact the company directly with that question. Hopefully the folks at Harvest Right can help you. Nobody wants to be double taxed, and especially on such a high ticket item!
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A home freeze dryer from Harvest Right allows you to preserve the food your family loves to eat. Freeze drying locks in both flavor and nutrition and can last for years, making freeze-dried food even better than fresh! A home freeze dryer is perfect for any lifestyle.
A freeze dryer allows you to keep your home-grown fruits and vegetables fresh for years and years. Freeze drying at home is the very best way to preserve your garden harvest. It truly is the gardeners best friend.
Harvest Right lets you freeze dry your own food at home to be used on your next hike, backpacking adventure, hunting trip, or camp out. It is lightweight, has less salt, and tastes better than anything else that will fit in your backpack.
Buying freeze-dried food from a store is expensive. The food is full of salt and other preservatives and the limited choice means you buy meals you may not even enjoy eating. Freeze drying your own meals and produce is a great way to save when building your emergency food supply.
This is the best thing we have purchased in a LONG time and we cant wait for summer to freeze dry fruits and veggies from our own garden. I cant recommend your freeze dryer enough! We have told everyone we know about it.
Your customer service went above and beyond their duties to help. Their efforts and courtesy were extraordinary and deserve a big pat on the back. I tell everyone about your wonderful freeze dryers and fantastic service. Blessings to you all.
We are so pleased with how all of the foods come out.we have freeze dried roast beef, chicken, peas, carrots, green beans, lima beans, potatoes, strawberries, bananas, cauliflower; and we even preserved a roasted vegetable medley mixall with great results. Everything tasted as if we had just harvested it.
It is wonderful to freeze dry food that we have prepared. Drying the food ourselves is significantly less expensive than what we would have to pay to buy such food elsewhere. We are in control of the ingredients and are able to prepare long-term food storage that meets our needs.
This unit is heavy duty construction, reliable and user friendly. We have enjoyed freeze drying fruits and vegetables in season, meats, leftovers and dessert itemsthe only limit is your imagination. Harvest Rights customer service is knowledgeable, friendly and trustworthy.
I freeze dried both cooked and raw pork chops; the cooked pork chops tasted great cold without reconstituting them, the raw pork chops reconstituted beautifully and fried up great. I could not tell them from fresh pork chops. Now I can put away exactly the foods I want.
Although this method used to be primarily used in the commercial market for making canned foods, you can now use a home freeze dryer for household use also. If you are a garden owner, you can use gear such as these appliances to preserve your garden produce for long.
Given below is a list of top 7 best freeze dryers that can help you in preserving a lot of your food and organic materials for a long time. We will also inform you about a few factors you must consider while selecting one, along with some other useful information.
This small size freeze dryer from Harvest Right is a very useful appliance used for food preservation. Freeze drying food can undoubtedly be an excellent way for saving on your food waste and also saves on your budget for groceries. It is empowered with the expert technology of large and commercial freeze dryers right to your convenience at home.
The parts which are put together to manufacture this equipment include a small freeze dryer, an efficient vacuum pump and its oil, trays made of stainless steel, oil filters, an extensive guide to freeze drying, along with mylar bags, impulse sealer and oxygen absorbers.
The size of this appliance is small, and thus it is easy to be used and stored. There is plenty of room inside this appliance for making your creations. This appliance has the magical power of converting fresh food into edible products, which can be stored and consumed until 25 years.
This medium size Pharmaceutical Freeze Dryer from Harvest Right is a perfect appliance for freeze drying concentrates, oils, herbs, extracts, resins, remedies, medicines, flowers, dairy starters, cultures, taxidermy and several other organics.
The process of freeze drying by this machine preserves the overall nutritional content, appearance and potency of the products for several years, just like they had when they were in their fresh state.
This medium size freeze dryer from Harvest Right is an efficient freeze dryer that works similar to industrial level equipment, but the appliance is designed for the common home users when it comes to the size, user-friendliness, capacity and affordability.
The freeze drying procedure of this machine produces excellent results on most of the foods, including poultry, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits, desserts, leftovers, complete meals and dairy products like ice-cream, milk, cheese, yogurt etc.
There are four trays of stainless steel in this machine, and it can hold up to 10 pounds of food in one go for freeze drying. However, the total capacity fairly depends on the kind of food that is being processed, as the level of air and liquid in different foods varies.
This is a piece of pretty useful equipment, and experts say that the cost of operating this appliance would be around $1 per day. If you use this appliance daily, then it has a potential of saving food worth $3000 in a year for an average family.
This is a premium freeze dryer that is built with a patented technology to keep the products fresh and also preserve the overall potency, shape, color and nutrition of any edible organic material. This appliance is largely useful in the freeze drying of the several oils, herbs, medicines, pharmaceuticals, remedies and compounds.
The best part is that its in-built intelligence automatically adjusts the ideal drying temperature and vacuum pressure, depending on the material that is kept inside for freeze drying. This facilitates the overall freshness and potency of the foods which are freeze dried in this appliance.
This medium size freeze dryer from Harvest Right would be a perfect addition to any laboratory. This appliance is completely customized and can be useful in various purposes. You can have several manageable profiles in this appliance, which offers the facility of switching on or off the power once it attains the condensing unit.
This appliance is equipped with an efficient and oil-free vacuum pump along with controlled, ascending temperature, and its time setting features make this appliance all the more desirable. This is a 4-tray dryer that is of the size of a tabletop unit. It also has the facility of touch-screen and full-color display.
The facility of 4-liter ice condensing capacity is very useful. There are certain advanced features like the log of the temperature and pressure during all parts of the freeze dry cycle. The ongoing display of the real-time temperature and pressure is very useful for scientists working in the lab.
This appliance is an efficient freeze dryer that works on patented technology and keeps the freeze dried products fresh and preserves the overall color, potency, nutrition & shape of any organic material.
This appliance is perfect for freeze drying medicines, oils, herbs, compounds, pharmaceuticals and remedies. This appliance is large-sized and has 8 trays that provide a total tray space of 10.25 sq. feet. This appliance has a capacity of six liters of ice.
One of its best features is that the drying temperature and vacuum pressure are maintained for every material and this preserves the overall potency and freshness of the products which are freeze dried.
Most of the freeze dryers usually communicate the stats on the size of the vacuum chamber they have, and also the amount of food that can fit in it in a single batch. If you are planning on smaller batches of food or organic materials to be freeze dried, then you can certainly get away with a small dryer. But if you have a joint family or usually have a crowd to feed most of the times, then you should plan for a larger machine in which you can freeze dry bigger quantities of food in batches.
Just like any other appliance like a refrigerator, washing machine, or air conditioner, a freeze dryer also occupies a considerable amount of space in your house. The vacuum chamber, control system and the pumps of the system also occupy major space along with the main unit.
There are a few machines available in smaller sizes, which fit on a countertop, but the larger ones are usually the size of a dishwasher. So, you need to choose the one as per the space available in your house.
If your chosen model of the freeze dryer has a large pump and also other machinery, then it may take some serious power and add up to your electricity bills. For the larger models, you may require a dedicated electrical circuit as well. So, you need to necessarily check this parameter before choosing the model of the appliance.
These days, five star electrical appliances are available, which are designed in such a way that they consume minimal amount of electricity without compromising on performance. Find such appliances and get the best out of them without boosting your utility bills.
Most of the freeze dryers are of fairly low on repair and maintenance. They do not require frequent cleaning and inspections, and their critical parts also keep working well for long. However, they are equipped with a vacuum pump that requires oil changes, but only once in a while. Some of the freeze dryers can even be upgraded to have an oil-free pump, but that is certainly at a premium.
Different brands and models of freeze dryers vary in price too. The more features you opt for, the more you will have to pay. So, find the one within your budget, but make sure that it has all the features you require in your equipment.
A medium freeze dryer has a batch capacity of 2 gallons and it can freeze dry 200 batches in a year. This means that you can easily freeze dry 400 gallons of food or organic materials with a medium freeze dryer in a year.
A large freeze dryer has a batch capacity of 3.5 gallons and it can also freeze dry 200 batches in a year. This means that you would be able to freeze dry 700 gallons of food or organic materials with a large freeze dryer.
You can successfully freeze dry a large variety of foods, herbs and organic materials. Almost every kind of vegetable, fruit and meat tastes wonderful after freeze drying. The major amongst these include apples, tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, green beans, peaches, spinach, potatoes, onions, pork, shrimp, turkey, beef, and even ice-cream.
Also, your favorite meals that contain meat can be freeze dried, like cheese macaroni, rice dishes, lasagna, chili, scrambled eggs, pasta sauces, etc. You will certainly find that it is a delight to experiment with various meals and foods in your freeze dryer.
After this, you can remove the food from the freeze dryer and place it in proper vacuum-sealed containers which are oxygen and moisture proof. This can be a vacuum can or a mylar pouch which retains the freshness of the freeze dried food until opened.
A scientific freeze dryer works in remarkably advanced technology and is a perfect addition to any scientific laboratory. The scientific freeze dryer can be completely customized with all the required processes.
There are several manageable profiles and each of them provides the right ability to automatically get the appliance powered on and off with the desired condensing unit, and also the vacuum pump in conjunction with the time settings and controlled temperature.
The best freeze dryer unit requires minimal maintenance. However, there is a vacuum pump attached with the main unit that requires some level of maintenance, including includes adding and draining of oil at frequent intervals of time.
The freeze dryers vacuum pump is filled with a supply of oil initially. There are three cups of oil which a vacuum pump holds. This oil needs to be replaced at regular intervals in order to keep the freeze dryer working efficiently. This is a very simple procedure and can be done with least effort.
Freeze drying of various foods is undoubtedly a great way of adding variety to what you eat, and you can considerably extend the shelf life of a large assortment of foods with this appliance. These are useful not only under normal circumstances, but also during an emergency or long-term crisis.
The freeze dried food retains the original flavor, texture and taste of the food when consumed. Also, it has been found that certain nutritional improvements also occur in certain foods after they are kept freeze dried for a long time. So, choose the best freeze dryer that perfectly suits your requirements, and enjoy all the benefits mentioned above.