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Ambergris

Freeze-drying at home

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I've never seen one up close and personal but I envision them about the size of a clothes dryer maybe.

 

I checked out the prices of Mountain House products on his website. I was floored. You could make all of those things (and much much more) yourself at a fraction of the cost plus you would know what's in it. All you do with most of them is just add hot water or eat as is. And a shelf life of the food is 25-30 years.

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They don't work very well in high heat, like 90 degrees, which is at the lower range of heat for a garage here.

 

The small one holds about enough to fill a #10 can.  Running it for a day or more makes the results feel really dinky.  Standard wisdom is to buy the biggest you possibly could..  That said, the "large" one will probably need an electrician  to install.  The plug on the big one is weird, while the plugs on the medium and small are normal. Any  size will need a dedicated 20-amp circuit.  It's dedicated if nothing else draws on that circuit.  

 

Raw meat doesn't FD well; there's got to be some trick to making it where it doesn't reconstitute smelling like old mutton or old socks were stored with it.  I hear that 97% lean ground beef tastes vastly better than 85% lean, but I haven't tried it.  Generally, fat is bad.  Cooked meat FDs very well, but it keeps well only if low in fat or if chilled.

 

Sugar in a food foams up.  There are people who have a whole unit kept busy FDing junk food like Skittles.  

 

The pump is noisy, but a lot less so if you put a closed cell foam pad under it.  These are sold for cheap as kneeling pads for gardeners.

 

Some things, like onions, are better to just dehydrate.

 

They do an awesome job at vacuum-sealing jars.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Jeepers said:

I've never seen one up close and personal but I envision them about the size of a clothes dryer maybe.

 

I checked out the prices of Mountain House products on his website. I was floored. You could make all of those things (and much much more) yourself at a fraction of the cost plus you would know what's in it. All you do with most of them is just add hot water or eat as is. And a shelf life of the food is 25-30 years.

Way smaller.  The small unit could almost fit inside a standard oven.

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2 hours ago, Ambergris said:

Running it for a day or more makes the results feel really dinky.

 

Ambergris...do you mean that the product shrinks?   Cuz I thot FD doesn't really break the cellular walls...thus retains original texture far better than dehydrating which seriously shrinks the product. 

 

MtRider :scratchhead: 

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5 hours ago, Mt_Rider said:

 

Ambergris...do you mean that the product shrinks?   Cuz I thot FD doesn't really break the cellular walls...thus retains original texture far better than dehydrating which seriously shrinks the product. 

 

MtRider :scratchhead: 

No.  I mean you can run the little unit for 24 or 36 hours, then open it and package only the gallon's worth of stuff that fit onto those three trays,  and then take a hairdryer to the inside to break out the frost,  then clean/filter the oil,  and then put in new food...and that's a lot of time to put in for one #10 can's worth of food.  The large is the same work and mostly the same time for three times the product.

 

Edited to add:  24 hours is a short run.  Lots of runs are 55-60 hours.  You have to time it so you're present to immediately take it out and package it when it's done, or it starts sucking up moisture from that frost that gets caught in there, and if the pan feels cold you have to put it back in for some hours.

Edited by Ambergris
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Ahhhh....thanks for the details.  It seems much more complicated, naturally, than merely dehydrating.  Freeze and dry.  Does it use much electricity...for that many hours of running?  Would a solar system [post-hooey-hits-fan] be able to handle it....depends on the battery bank, I suppose??? 

 

MtRider  ....still, sounds very useful! 

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Wow. That makes them seem far less wonderful. I had pictured maybe 24 hour runs. Not DAYS. I had been eyeing the small version. Now I feel much more ambivalent about whether I want one. :shrug:

 

Thanks, @Ambergris for a real world perspective.

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The length of the run is based on the mass and nature of what's put in.  You can do 24-hour runs, if you keep your loads light (like one layer of diced fruit per tray)  and keep away from slow-drying stuff like cherries.  Sometimes you have to lengthen the freezing time just to delay the moment at which it is "done" and releases all the pressure, because that moment cannot happen while you are asleep or away from the machine.  You have to get that stuff out of the chamber.  Pack it as soon as possible, but you have to get it out of there immediately.

 

It doesn't run constantly.   The freezer runs to freeze things a lot colder than your deep freeze, then the freezing unit turns off.  The vacuum pump (a separate unit you keep on the shelf under the dryer) only runs long enough to maintain the vacuum.  Once there's a vacuum, the food is heated  to liquefy some of the surface and let the vacuum suck out the moisture, then melt deeper and suck out that moisture.  This runs in cycles. 

 

I don't think it would work under post-hooey conditions.  Picture running an electric stove, then a dryer, then a power saw, then the stove again for 24 or 30 hours straight.  All while the rest of your power is coming off a different source.  Plus the air conditioning.

Edited by Ambergris
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I see now where it isn't as big as I thought it was. The guy has it sitting on a cart.

 

They have a new pump now where you don't have to mess with the oil. It's oil-less. It's also VERY expensive. You can either buy it and change it yourself or upgrade to the new pump when you order the freeze dryer. 

 

I don't think they cost all that much to operate. I've been watching another guy and he did a breakdown of the total cost of drying eggs. I can't post his website right now because I'm on the Kindle. It's something like  retired at 40  or something like that.

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I found a little more info and websites.

 

Here is the Retired at 40 site:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn8n_wDeUDrdDMQfoElZlfw/videos?disable_polymer=1

 

Here is the cost of doing strawberries. Note the cost included the can:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqYJGCH03dg

 

Here is a size comparison. These are the inserts only. Not the actual machine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLGq9YIaHMw

 

Some Q &A with a user/owner Bexar Prepper. Yay, she is back on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wibteamasl8

 

From the Harvest Right website. Looks like they haven't updated the site since the first of the year:

https://hrlive.staging.wpengine.com/

 

Some random sites from Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqAsabwhQYM9RKcHAjCTBRs48HN7cLPtQ

 

Here is the PDF from the Harvest Right website:

HR-WhitePaper-FINAL_3.10.17.PRINT_.pdf

 

 

Edited by Jeepers
Edited to add the PDF
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Buzz is that the new ones that started shipping just ahead of Thanksgiving are much faster, quieter, and more reliable.

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I get emails on them too. They are smaller on the outside now. For extra, a lot extra, you can get one with the oil-less motor now. I'd really like one of those. Oh, and the buttons are placed in a better position. All looks like a step in the.right direction. Guess I didn't win the free one. <_<

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