Prep Genrl Harvest Right Freeze Dryers

Old Gringo

Senior Member
Do any of you have a Harvest Right freeze dryer?

If so, what types of things do you freeze dry?
Just got ours a bit ago.
Planning on freeze drying excess from garden. Thinking of startng on freezer meat that might be close to expiraon date. Pre-frozen items save time in process. One nice thing is fresh seasoning. Basal, chives, cilintra (can't spell that) Flavor is better than dried. Let us know how you do.
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
Old Gringo - We have done 3 batches of 72 eggs (each batch) of raw eggs -- blended. Can you say we are over run with fresh free range eggs? ;) Also 2 batches of 8 lbs of hot sausage that has been crumbled and browned, a couple of hams, and some mock tenders that were precooked, as well as probably 8 lbs of cheddar cheese now.

I am wanting to try things like fried rice, and possibly chili. Looking for tons of ideas.

I can't wait until the garden comes in this year. :D
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
I was going to start a thread on this!

We've had ours going for a month or so. So far off the top of my head we've done eggs, mashed potatoes, venison steaks (A+), shredded cheddar, asparagus, tomato paste, clementines, garlic, and onions.

How are you storing your dried food? We've been vacuum sealing in canning jars but have been having a hard time getting jars to seal and stay sealed. We've tried used lids, new lids, and Tattlers. Also tried heating the lids with a heat gun.
 

school marm

Contributing Member
I've had mine for six or seven weeks now. While we're excited to try FDing a lot of fruits, the main impetus for getting it was to FD meat, dairy, and eggs for my insulin-dependent husband so that he can reduce the amount of insulin he takes when really challenging times hit us.

So far we have done eggs, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, colby-jack cheeses, ice cream. Bacon, pulled pork, French dip. Mushrooms, bell peppers, kiwi, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple. Ham and vegetable linguine.

Today I cooked up hamburger and that will get FDed tomorrow.
 

Carlyblue

Senior Member
I have looked at the Harvest Right freeze dryers. I see they have 3 different size units. What size did you purchase?
 

Thunderbird

Veteran Member
We freeze dried strawberries, pineapple, apples, peaches, cherries, cooked steak, ham, breakfast omelets, onions, potatoes. Almost anything. Warning we had no luck at all with salad dressing/mayonnaise anything.
 

EYW

Veteran Member
We freeze dried strawberries, pineapple, apples, peaches, cherries, cooked steak, ham, breakfast omelets, onions, potatoes. Almost anything. Warning we had no luck at all with salad dressing/mayonnaise anything.
It's the oil in those products.
 

Thunderbird

Veteran Member
We had the middle sized unit. fine for a small family. For a group buy I would get the larger one, I have no suggestions on how to share it. I do not understand the smaller one.
 

Broken Arrow

Heathen Pagan Witch
We have the small size FD'er, and I run milk, both store and raw, veggies, including onions, garlic, potato's, and any canned veggies that are at their expiration date. I've also done left overs from dinners, and I intentionally make double batches of some things so I can FD them. Eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, regular cheese, fruit, bone broth into powder to drink one cup at a time, ice cream, grilled chicken, and chinese food. Some things do not store well for long term. I've found that meat products start to go rancid within about 6 months. High sugar, and high fat foods do not really do very well.
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
I have looked at the Harvest Right freeze dryers. I see they have 3 different size units. What size did you purchase?
We purchased the Medium. Figured that would be more than enough for this household. Saying that, we are also thinking about a cottage industry possibly with it.
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
I was going to start a thread on this!

We've had ours going for a month or so. So far off the top of my head we've done eggs, mashed potatoes, venison steaks (A+), shredded cheddar, asparagus, tomato paste, clementines, garlic, and onions.

How are you storing your dried food? We've been vacuum sealing in canning jars but have been having a hard time getting jars to seal and stay sealed. We've tried used lids, new lids, and Tattlers. Also tried heating the lids with a heat gun.
We have done the ham and the mock tenders in the bags that they included. Everything else we have done in mainly half gallon mason jars, and have a few quarts. As far as sealing our jars, we have the wide mouth jar attachment for our food saver, but actually use a brake bleeder (search for youtube videos on this), to seal the jars. They have been sealed real good, and we haven't had any fail. We got to 20lbs on the brake bleeder to duplicate what the food saver does. Our food saver doesn't suck much anymore, and the replacement doesn't have the correct hole for the hose for the jar sealer.

How did the asparagus go? I want to do some onions and garlic. Was the tomato paste good and did you powder it?
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
We freeze dried strawberries, pineapple, apples, peaches, cherries, cooked steak, ham, breakfast omelets, onions, potatoes. Almost anything. Warning we had no luck at all with salad dressing/mayonnaise anything.
I believe the issue with the salad dressings and mayonnaise is the oil as that doesn't seem to FD. Chocolate is another from what we have heard.
 

Jackpine Savage

Veteran Member
We have done the ham and the mock tenders in the bags that they included. Everything else we have done in mainly half gallon mason jars, and have a few quarts. As far as sealing our jars, we have the wide mouth jar attachment for our food saver, but actually use a brake bleeder (search for youtube videos on this), to seal the jars. They have been sealed real good, and we haven't had any fail. We got to 20lbs on the brake bleeder to duplicate what the food saver does. Our food saver doesn't suck much anymore, and the replacement doesn't have the correct hole for the hose for the jar sealer.

How did the asparagus go? I want to do some onions and garlic. Was the tomato paste good and did you powder it?
Thanks for the tip on the brake bleeder, I'll check that out!

The asparagus took about 36 hours. I don't know if I like it for a dry snack, we still haven't rehydrated any yet.

The tomato paste looks like it worked OK, we did powder it in the food processor. Just did that a couple days ago and haven't used it yet.
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
Jackpine - Be sure to buy a new brake bleeder. Hubby does that for me, as if I do that type of things with my hand, I will get trigger thumb. Had it a couple times, and it takes me about 18 months to get back to normal, so I try to not do things I KNOW will trigger it.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
I believe the issue with the salad dressings and mayonnaise is the oil as that doesn't seem to FD. Chocolate is another from what we have heard.
We have the large unit. I highly recommend getting the oil-free vacuum pump.

I'm told that anything with a significant amount of fats in it (as in oils or uncooked hamburger, etc) will not process properly. The same issue is what prevents the chocolate, I guess. One thing which didn't turn out worth a darn was doing some gummy bears; that was a waste of time, I thought, other than they weren't sticky like fresh ones are.

We've done lots of cooked burger and it turns out great. We've also freeze-dried a bunch of stews and such; those turn out real nice and light but we haven't rehydrated any of them yet.

Rabbit meat freeze-dries up real nicely; we've gone completely to that instead of canning it. Mrs. Walrus did some sliced onions a while back and we haven't tried any of those either; the reason for not trying those things is that we're building up the stores of FD in case we have to boogie; the light foods will significantly increase the amount of food we can haul if we're load-limited (read: amount of excess notice).

I take that back about the rabbit; we have made some stews and casseroles with the FD meat and they did real well.
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
Running a 4 tray unit.

Everything goes into mylar bags.

So far, we've been concentrating on the first things that might become unavailable...fresh foods.

Mostly the ingredients that you want to make normally plain foods better, onion, celery, carrots, etc.

I do pick up 93/7 ground beef when it's marked down, brown it and FD.

Did a bag of potatoes, ran 'em through a french fry cutter first to get a uniform thickness.

As a general rule, we avoid things that store well enough on the shelf, pasta easily available can goods and such.


Definitely still learning about the particulars of the process.
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
Jackpine - Be sure to buy a new brake bleeder. Hubby does that for me, as if I do that type of things with my hand, I will get trigger thumb. Had it a couple times, and it takes me about 18 months to get back to normal, so I try to not do things I KNOW will trigger it.
My mother has trigger finger ... but it is her middle finger and not her thumb. My grandfather, her father, had it as well. So did his father, my mom's grandfather. A couple other people in the family from that line tend to get it as well. Makes me think it is a hereditary thing. All I know is that Mom says it hurts and that I don't want it.
 

Donna_in_OK

Contributing Member
Kathy
My mother has trigger finger ... but it is her middle finger and not her thumb. My grandfather, her father, had it as well. So did his father, my mom's grandfather. A couple other people in the family from that line tend to get it as well. Makes me think it is a hereditary thing. All I know is that Mom says it hurts and that I don't want it.
Kathy -

Mine is DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis and is from overuse strain of the thumb (for me at least). Many of the activities that I do put an extreme amount of pressure on the thumb, and when I do them for long periods of time it will start to irritate the tendon. It was so bad the first time I got it, that I couldn't even hold a pencil let alone a coffee cup. As the years have passed, it seems like it takes less and less to get it flared up. We are working outside a lot right now since it is warmer to clean up more of the massive damage to the trees from a freak ice storm at the end of October, and I ahve been carrying small limbs and/or dragging them. That is putting tremendous pressure on the thumb tendon.

Getting older totally blows sometimes.
 

Walrus

Veteran Member
As a general rule, we avoid things that store well enough on the shelf, pasta easily available can goods and such.
I listened to a presentation day before yesterday in which the guy made an interesting comment about freeze-drying pasta. He pointed out that things such as pasta, rice, beans - what have you - will rehydrate much faster after having been FD than cooking the same from scratch and only require boiling water poured in. I hadn't thought about that. Also, the mylar pouches can be cut in half and used as bowls in a pinch.

After considering it for a bit, I concluded that it made sense in a couple of specific cases: 1. Where your fuel supply is precious or difficult to replace, and 2. If you're on the move and don't want to take as long to shut down and eat or otherwise expose your site by cooking smells which would give away your location.

I was all hung up on whether or not said pasta, etc. should first be cooked before FD - silly me, eh! Of course it should.

Am I missing something? Are there other good reasons to FD things which we would normally store as shelf staples?
 

Millwright

Knuckle Dragger
_______________
I listened to a presentation day before yesterday in which the guy made an interesting comment about freeze-drying pasta. He pointed out that things such as pasta, rice, beans - what have you - will rehydrate much faster after having been FD than cooking the same from scratch and only require boiling water poured in. I hadn't thought about that. Also, the mylar pouches can be cut in half and used as bowls in a pinch.

After considering it for a bit, I concluded that it made sense in a couple of specific cases: 1. Where your fuel supply is precious or difficult to replace, and 2. If you're on the move and don't want to take as long to shut down and eat or otherwise expose your site by cooking smells which would give away your location.

I was all hung up on whether or not said pasta, etc. should first be cooked before FD - silly me, eh! Of course it should.

Am I missing something? Are there other good reasons to FD things which we would normally store as shelf staples?
I guess it depends on your projected use.

At some point, maybe I'll try some cooked meals.

There was a deal on Mountain House buckets of pouches a few years ago, that's my grab-n-go stash for now.

An unavailability of "fresh" ingredients is my main target.


Also, how long does a batch of eggs take to run?

That's a lot of water to pull out.
 
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