Are you new to food preservation or maybe you aren’t new and are curious about freeze drying? Maybe you have been wondering if a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer is right for you and your needs? Well, this episode is all about freeze drying and my experience with my Harvest Right Freeze Dryer.
There are different methods of food preservation – dehydrating, canning, freezing to name a few. Another favorite method that has become quite trendy and popular after Harvest Right created a home freeze dryer is freeze drying!
To keep things simple, freeze drying is a process that removes water from perishable foods so then they can be stored for longer periods of time. We know that water and oxygen are killers of food storage—they cause spoilage. We don’t want either creeping into our food storage! Freeze drying is neat because by using a vacuum to lower the pressure in the chamber, ice converts directly to vapor and skips the liquid stage. The process of freeze drying uses science which I think is pretty cool!
What are the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating?
The processes are entirely different—a freeze dryer uses a vacuum and sublimation and a dehydrator uses heat and air flow! I wrote an in depth exploring freeze drying vs. dehydrating.
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How does a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer work?
This is how I have observed the process when I’ve done my freeze dry rounds: it works by first freezing the material rapidly, so when I put anything in my freeze dryer – the first process is freezing. Even if I have previously frozen the food, the freeze dryer rapidly freezes the food at negative temperatures. The second process is vacuum sealing the chamber. After that, we enter the longest phase, the drying phase. Once the machine doesn’t sense anymore moisture, the 2 hours of extra dry time kicks on to ensure all moisture is eliminated. The extra dry time can be adjusted to your schedule. After the freeze dryer has concluded the entire process, you assess and see if your food is all dry, and if so, you’re done!
How much does a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer cost?
I think the biggest factor most people consider when pondering the purchase of a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer is the price. Right now, as I’m recording this, the small is listed at $2395, the medium at $2895, and the large at $3595.
Is the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer worth it?
This is a HUGE ticket item, but in my opinion, if you are big into food storage and preservation—it pays for itself. You won’t have to purchase dehydrated meals because you can make and store them yourself. For example, if you go to any sporting goods store, most likely they have freeze dried camping meals and they come with a hefty price tag. I would know because I have bought them. You can make those same meals for a fraction of that cost with your own freeze dryer.
Should I get a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?
Let’s dive into the pros of a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and after we have gone over these, we will take a look at the cons and hopefully this will help you decide if a freeze dryer is right for you:
What are the benefits of a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?
- You can preserve tons and tons of food at home—produce from your garden or from the store that you want to add to your food storage. With freeze drying and proper use of mylar bags, jars, and oxygen absorbers, you can store food for up to 30 years. I think that is a huge plus because what a great way to build up your long-term food storage.
- Freeze dried food retains most of its nutrition. I researched this because this was one of the most important considerations for me. As you know, in any circumstance I want to thrive not just survive, so being able to obtain proper nutrition in whatever circumstance, is important to me. I learned that by the use of high temperatures in canning and dehydrating, some of the nutrients can be completely destroyed. A third to a half of Vitamins A, C, and B are destroyed from the high heat. This doesn’t mean I won’t ever can or dehydrate, but it’s just interesting to learn and to be aware of.
- The taste of the food you freeze dry remains intact. Because freeze drying removes the water only and doesn’t involve excessive heating, the taste will be the same, if not enhanced! So thirty years down the road when you open up that mylar bag of dried strawberries, they will taste the same if properly stored. I’ve been freeze drying a plethora of frozen fruit that I’ve had in my freezer, and I feel like the freeze dried fruit becomes even sweeter and tangier to the taste. I’m excited to try freeze drying meals like spaghetti, other types of meat, and any of my leftovers.
- You are able to preserve a larger variety of items than compared to other preservation methods. You can freeze dry almost any food. Yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream, and so much more. Whereas, dehydration or canning, you wouldn’t be able to dehydrate ice cream or can ice cream. A freeze dryer opens up your options for food storage.
- You can create a business from owning a freeze dryer. You can use it for yourself or your family only to build your food stores and have fun. Or you could even start your own business with this product. You could make freeze dried goods and sell them online or at a farmer’s market. You could rent out the use of the freeze dryer to people in your community. I feel like there is a lot of potential that you could do with a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, and I’m all for starting a business and having different ventures. In short hand, this could be an investment for you.
What are the negatives of a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?
- They are a costly investment. BUT if you use it even partially in a business manner by renting it out or selling the goods you make to family or friends; you could recoup the costs rather quickly. Also, you save money by freeze drying your own food rather than purchasing it. Weigh the costs with your budget and future plans and see if you can make it profitable.
- The freeze dryer and necessary equipment take up a good chunk of space. The freeze dryer itself is comparable to the size of a large mini fridge, and it has the vacuum pump sitting next to it, so you will need a tabletop of some sort. I ended up getting a Husky rolling toolbox which I enjoy because it has a wood top and plenty of drawers to store any accessories. I feel the space the freeze dryer occupies isn’t that huge of a deal because if it was beneficial and profitable, you can make a space work. Keep in mind, the large size Harvest Right Freeze Dryer needs its own 20amp circuit, so it has to be the only thing running on that circuit because it’s such a beast. For me, I didn’t want to deal with the electrical in my house so I got the medium size, and it is perfect. It also doesn’t need a dedicated circuit!
- The freeze dryer and vacuum pump can be noisy, but you have different options to alleviate the noise. Harvest Right has three different types of vacuum pumps: the standard, the premier, and the oil-less. The premier, at the time of this recording, comes with the purchase of your freeze dryer, and that is what I have – I have the premier pump. I’ve read and watched some videos, and it is apparent that the standard pump is the loudest of the three with the oil-less being the quietest. The premier is right in the middle. I would compare the sound of the freeze dryer process to a loud fan continuously blowing—it blends in with the ambient noise of my house. The oil-less pump, which I considered getting, comes with a hefty price tag. If you upgrade your purchase to include the oil-less pump, you will pay an additional $1495. BUT you don’t to change the oil which could be annoying to deal with for some. On the other hand, you will have to send in the oil-less pump for maintenance every 2-3 years. You have pay for that maintenance plus shipping. So you’ll end up paying a good chunk for that and be without a working freeze dryer during that period. I personally would suggest the premier pump—it comes with your freeze dryer and it’s not overly loud.
I hope that this pro and con list for the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer helped you in your decision making about purchasing one! I know that I absolutely love mine so far, and I will be documenting and recording my experiences so you can check those out on gubbahomestead.com Thank you so much for joining me and I hope you have an amazing day. Don’t do anything a Gubba wouldn’t do!