Prepper back in 2015. The doc raved about his home freeze dryer. He loved the quality of the food, how much money it saved him, and what a great addition it was to his preps.
In early 2016 Harvest Right home freeze dryers contacted me to do a review of their product. I could purchase it at a discount, as long as I did a review. My other option was to get it for free, if I committed to a series of endorsements.
Being the stubborn individual that I am, I didn’t want to commit to selling you something that was such a big investment without thoroughly testing it. I purchased a freeze dryer and have been using it since May 2016.
My conclusion – if you want long term food storage or portable food storage, check out freeze drying. Commercial freeze dried foods are pricey and often have questionable ingredients. Home freeze drying puts you in control.
How Does Freeze Drying Work?
Here’s the official definition of freeze drying (Lyophilization) from the FDA:
Lyophilization or freeze drying is a process in which water is removed from a product after it is frozen and placed under a vacuum, allowing the ice to change directly from solid to vapor without passing through a liquid phase.
The process consists of three separate, unique, and interdependent processes; freezing, primary drying (sublimation), and secondary drying (desorption).
So, how do we do that at home?
First, you get a heavy duty freezer (the Harvest Right units drop to -30°F (-34°C) or colder).
Second, you pair this up with a completely airtight chamber that can hold a vacuum (no oxygen) every single time you use it.
Third, you tie in a high end vacuum pump strong enough to suck the stripes off a zebra.
Fourth, you add a heater and thermostat, so you can cycle the temps up and down, repeating the sublimation process for hours on end.
Fifth, tie in a humidity sensor to make sure the water is out, triggering the cycle completion.
There’s a reason the big commercial freeze drying units are priced from $5000 to over $100,000 – the freeze drying process is significantly more complicated than other home food preservation options.
If you’re wondering how freeze drying compares to dehydrating, you can read more about that in the post “What’s the Difference Between Dehydrating and Freeze Drying?”
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