It came…it finally came! My brand spankin’ new Harvest Right freeze dryer arrived this week, and it brings me so much joy!
My mind has been flooded with freeze dry ideas, items I want to add to my long-term food storage: fruit, meat, candy, and a plethora of other goodies! My first official, non-test run is currently in the freeze dryer right now is frozen peaches, pineapple, strawberries, and mango! I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out!
Watch the official unboxing video of my Harvest Right freeze dryer here.
I wrote an in-depth blog about the benefits of dehydrating and freeze drying and the advantages/disadvantages of both. Read it at Difference between freeze dried and dehydrated food.
This article describes the unboxing, setup, and the items that came with my freeze dryer. Before ordering the freeze dryer, I had to decide which size to get and what vacuum pump I wanted to use. Let me help you determine the best freeze dryer options for your needs!
What are the different sizes of Harvest Right Freeze Dryers?
Small, Medium, and Large are the options for their noncommercial freeze dryer selection. Small comes with enough space to hold three trays and can process 4 to 7 pounds. The tray size for the Small is 7.75” W x 14” L x 0.75”H.
The Medium dryer can hold four food trays and can process 7 to 10 pounds of food per batch. The tray size for the Medium is 7.5” W x 18” L x 0.75 H. You gain additional space by increasing the tray size plus you get FOUR trays compared to THREE with the Small—a dramatic increase!
The Large is an absolute beast, though. It makes 12 to 16 pounds of food per batch with a tray size of 9” W x 20.5” L x 0.75 H.
Both Small and Medium require a 110 volt outlet. The Large requires its own 20 amp circuit in addition to a 110 volt outlet! For this reason, I decided to go with the Medium since it is big enough for my food storage projects, and I don't want to mess with the current electrical situation in my house.
What pump should I use with my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?
There are three vacuum pumps to choose from: a Standard vacuum pump, a Premier vacuum pump, and an Oil-less vacuum pump. The Standard requires that its oil be changed every 4 to 5 batches, while the Premier can go 20 to 30 batches without a change. Obviously, the Oil-less pump doesn’t use oil.
The main considerations for me are noise and maintenance. Apparently, the oil-less pump is the quietest, BUT I would have to send in the oil-less pump every few years for maintenance. I would have to pay for the service AND for shipping this big, bulky machine. I didn’t want to deal with that, so I opted for the Premier. The Premier oil pump is included with every freeze dryer purchase, and I read that it's quieter than the Standard pump, so I'm okay with that.
What comes with my purchase of a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?
A Premier pump, a hose to connect the pump to the freeze dryer, a power plug-in for the freeze dryer, Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, trays, an impulse sealer, oil, an oil filter, manuals and the freezer!
How loud is a Harvest Right freeze dryer?
Someone on YouTube is claiming that the freeze dryer with the Premier oil pump is only as loud as a refrigerator. I would say it’s a bit louder than my fridge. I'd say it sounds like a loud fan, but it blends in with the ambient noise in my house.
Keep in mind that a freeze dryer can run for long periods depending on the moisture content of the food—sometimes longer than 24 hours, so it can operate while you sleep. I wouldn’t sleep in the same room with it (especially with oil misting off the pump) but by having it down the hallway behind a closed door, I can sleep safe and sound. I can still hear it through the door (my house isn’t huge) and it’s just down the hallway, but it is not overbearing. I am very pleased that the premier oil pump comes standard with each of the different freeze dryers!
What's an impulse sealer?
One of these comes with your Harvest Right purchase. An impulse sealer is used for plastic packaging, such as sealing the ends of Mylar bags. It heats up, using electricity, and melts plastic layers together. This is necessary when using Mylar bags. Some people use a straightener if they don’t have an impulse sealer.
Is a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer worth it?
I think so! Although my first batch isn’t done yet, it increases my options for food storage. The nutrients are preserved in the freeze-drying process, which is a bonus above and beyond making food last longer. Getting the moisture out of food is necessary for long term storage since water and air lead to bacterial growth. It is a great tool to preserve your extra garden bounty and food you get from the store! I am so far obsessed with my freeze dryer!
How do I run the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer the first time?
The first batch will be a bread batch. Purchase a throwaway loaf of bread for cheap and load er’ into the freeze dryer! Having bread be the first batch will eliminate any “new car” smell from the freeze dryer and help determine if the machine is running properly!
Heck, you could even invest in a freeze dryer and start a freeze drying food business! Freeze dry a surplus of sale items from the grocery store or your garden, and sell them at Farmer’s Markets. Fun items like candies, ice creams, and fruits are especially popular. The sky's the limit and I can’t wait to test different foods with mine!