Harvest Right: How to Freeze-Dry Food, at home!

 

I mentioned on Instagram recently, that of all the amazing, interesting, and innovative appliances I’ve worked with, this was possibly the most amazing, the most interesting, and the most innovative.  It’s the first appliance of its kind for in-home use.  I’m going to try really hard to not sound like an infomercial when I tell you about it, but I’ve found that’s sometimes how it comes out, haha.  I love sharing cool things with you guys, and bringing light to products and companies that you might not know exist.  I’ve been obsessed with this appliance over the past couple of months and I’ve been so anxious to tell you about it!  Even if it’s not in your budget, or you’re not interested in purchasing one, I hope that you’ll enjoy reading this post simply to appreciate the technology and see what I’ve been up to in my kitchen lately!  

Freeze Dried Food

My husband and I actually heard ads on our local radio a few months ago for the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer and we were completely intrigued.  I purchase and use freeze-dried foods often for snacking, in recipes, and for my home food storage, and had no idea you could actually purchase an appliance to do it yourself.  I called Harvest Right myself and asked if I could come visit their offices to learn more about it before purchasing, since I would be travelling near them for business anyway.  Not only were the people behind the company gracious, kind, and inviting, but the Freeze Dryer itself was as awesome as I had hoped it would be.  I really loved hearing the story of how this company came to be and about the years of work and engineering that went into making this available for the consumer.

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The Freeze Dryer itself carries a substantial price tag, so I realize it’s not an every day appliance like a microwave, or something you buy just “for fun”.  For a little perspective, up until now freeze drying technology was only something that large companies could offer in commercially packaged goods.  A comparable freeze dryer before Harvest Right cost over $30,000 and it processed about the same amount of food in a single batch as this one. The people behind Harvest Right  spent years figuring out a way to make a $30,000 freeze dryer into something that a consumer could purchase for about 1/10 of the price, plug into a regular home electric outlet, and easily use at home.  It was a pretty huge technology undertaking.  Although still expensive at $3-4K, the freeze dryer can dry about $10,000 worth of freeze dried food in a year.  Studies have shown the average American family also throws out about $2,500 – $3000 worth of food each year, so all of that helps put things into perspective a little bit!

Freeze Dried Food

I’ve found with appliances that do unique things, it’s crazy expensive if it’s something you’re not interested in, and a sound investment if it is.  This is about the same price as both the steam oven and the pellet ice maker I’ve shared before on this blog.  So even though this might not be in the budget for some of you, I want to share it, because there area a lot of people, especially those who practice food storing/food storage like myself (where are all of my LDS friends, you guys will get that!), who will be interested in making an investment in something like this. And if that’s not you, then you might just find this post fun to read when you see what happens when you freeze dry stuff!   I know of several church groups, families, and groups of friends, who have purchased freeze dryers to share, and I thought that was a cool idea, too.  I love things like this, and I’ve already seen the rewards from the investment my family made on it so I thought you might enjoy seeing it, too!

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The freeze dryer is about the size of an oven, or mini fridge, but it’s completely movable.  The best place to keep it is in a storage room, laundry room, or garage, but you can move it around if needed.  It is quite heavy and somewhat noisy when running, so it’s not something you would probably keep in a kitchen.  Plus you need some room for the pump and drain.  This video helps you see what’s involved in actually setting it up. 

I keep mine on a rolling cart and it works great.  I’ve had it in my garage, but as the weather heats up, I’m going to keep it in our storage room.  It has a heavy-duty vacuum pump that comes with it.  It is fully automated and very simple to use.  As you can see from the photo below, it has a switch and 2 knobs, and a display panel that let’s you know what’s happening.  Although not complicated, there are some very specific instructions for both use and maintenance.  Once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing and I’ve literally had a batch of food going just about every day!  This machine does require some maintenance, most notably, changing the oil on a regular basis and cleaning the pump. 

Harvest Right Buttons

So let’s get one thing straight right off the bat.  This is not a dehydrator. I’ve found that a lot of people don’t know there’s a difference.   You can buy dehydrators at Walmart for 30 bucks.  That’s not what we’re talking about here.   A dehydrator uses warm air to slowly heat and dry out food over time.   That’s why things shrink, shrivel, and change texture and flavor in a dehydrator.  Imagine putting scoops of ice cream in a dehydrator.  Can you picture how they would immediately pool into a sticky liquid when exposed to warm circulating air for 24 hours?  Here’s a great visual for you: I put scoops of fresh strawberry ice cream in my freeze dryer and this is what I got:

Freeze Dried Ice Cream

They are completely dry, airy, light as a cloud, and they melt in your mouth.  Almost like a little puff of meringue.  When sealed in a mylar bag or a can they’ll still look just like that and taste delicious in 15-25 years.  So how does it work?  The technology is pretty amazing, and it’s what fascinated me from the get-go about this product.  First, you place food on metal trays.

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The trays sit on shelves inside of the freeze dryer.  Once the door is shut and the fully automated machine is turned on, the food is frozen down to between -30° and -50° degrees (that’s cold!)  You can process about 6-10 pounds of food at a time, an amount that generally fills 1-2 #10 cans, or about 2 gallons if that’s easier to visualize.

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After it’s frozen sufficiently, a vacuum pump automatically turns on.  The interesting scientific fact about water, is that it can’t exist in a liquid state inside of a vacuum.  So as the machine very gently warms the frozen food, the water is instantly turned to vapor, leaving your food basically in its original state in form, color, taste, everything.  It’s simply missing all liquid.  While canning and dehydrating deplete food of  up to half of it’s nutritional value, freeze-drying retains almost 100% of the food’s nutritional value.  These raspberries below are completely dry.  They will melt in your mouth, can be ground into a fine powder, be used in baking and recipes, or can be re-hydrated again with water.  See how beautiful they still are?

Freeze Dried Raspberries

Speaking of beautiful, I noticed a HUGE difference in the food I freeze-dried myself, and the food that I buy from the store already freeze-dried.  Here’s a quick side-by-side of a popular brand of strawberry and banana mix you can find in grocery stores (left) and my own batch on the right.

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So, why freeze dry??  
There are so many uses for an appliance like this, here’s a few that I personally am enjoying and applying.  I’ve seen how through all of these ways, this freeze dryer definitely pays for itself over time:

Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness: Freeze-dried foods can be sealed in cans, or mylar bags and last up to 25 years or more (remember, retaining almost all of it’s nutritional value).  In today’s crazy world of natural disaster, or in times of budgetary challenges, having a good food store is never a bad idea.  In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also freeze complete meals like casseroles, or meats, cheeses, dairy, etc.  Even eggs!  It’s a great way to add more protein to your food storage, locking in good prices if you find them.

Cuts down on at-home food waste:  I am notorious for freezing leftovers only to then throw them away months later.  You can freeze-dry entire meals and then re-hydrate, and food actually returns to its original state in color, appearance, and flavor.  I made waaaay too many mashed potatoes the other day, so I simply freeze-dried the leftovers!  They are loaded with all of the good stuff, and now they have become instant-potato packs in my pantry.

Preserving Garden Bounty:  This is one I’m excited to use as summer is approaching.  I can never eat my garden goodies as fast as they grow and so much quality food from my garden goes to waste, which is sad.  There are some things I love to can or freeze, but I can’t wait to preserve my fresh produce in the freeze dryer because it plumps back to life so beautifully.  It’s the absolute BEST way to preserve herbs, especially, as they retain 100% of their flavor.  I freeze dried tons of Zoodles this week and popped them in bags.  They’re so easy to drop in a pot of soup and ready in literally seconds.

Culinary Creativity:  At the most basic level, freeze-dried foods simply taste great and are really fun to snack on!  This is bonus feature to me, since my main motivation in getting a freeze dryer were the reasons mentioned above.  Have you ever bought the little packs of freeze-dried fruits commonly available at grocery stores these days?  Since all of the water is removed, the flavor is concentrated and foods take on a whole new level of deliciousness.  I’ve found that the uses in the kitchen are endless.  Often, the biggest challenge in introducing fresh fruits into recipes, for example, is that the water adds too much moisture, and interferes with the fat.  Removing all of the water allows you to add concentrated flavor.  For example, I took those raspberries you saw above and gave them a quick pulse in my food processor, creating a beautiful red berry powder.  100% fruit and nothing else:

Berry PowderThen I added the raspberry powder to a fluffy buttercream frosting, something that’s usually hard to do since the high water content in fruit often separates frosting and waters it down.  The result?  Gorgeous, fluffy pink frosting with perfect fresh raspberry flavor.

Raspberry Frosting

What Can be Freeze-Dried?

Almost anything.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most basic, but you can also freeze dry full meals, like a plate of lasagna or your favorite soups or stews.  Even meat!  I freeze dried a bunch of rotisserie chicken and then added it to soups during the week.  You can freeze-dry cheeses, and dairy as well. I found my favorite coconut Greek yogurt on sale so I freeze-dried it and then pulsed it in my blender into a powder.  I’ve been adding it to smoothies, pancake mix, and baked goods.   I keep it in a jar next to powdered sour cream and powdered cream cheese.  All of them work so beautifully in recipes.

Powdered Greek Yogurt

I have always purchased freeze-dried foods for my babies as their first solids because they just melt in their mouth and make it so easy to eat.  Our very favorite are yogurt drops!  Simply drop yogurt in little drops onto the trays and you have these crunchy, delicate little drops of fruity deliciousness.

Freeze Dried Yogurt Drops

I cannot make these fast enough to keep up with demand at our house!  They make the best snack to keep in my purse or take in the car.  And it’s simply 100% yogurt.   We found sugar free instant pudding was also a hit.  Such a fun sweet treat, that my kids love to munch on.

Freeze Dried Chocolate Pudding

When we visited Harvest Right, my kids got to sample a freeze-dried gummy bear and it’s all they could talk about!  So of course we had to give those a go.  These started as itty-bitty bears.  They puffed up and turned into giant, airy, sweet, crunchy little snacks.  Almost the texture of Pirate’s Booty!

Freeze Dried Gummy Bears

All of the items in these glass jars are freeze dried.  Don’t they look fresh?  They taste just as fresh as they look. Check out that bright green asparagus and those ruby red berries.

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Did you spy the avocados?  You can freeze dry avocados!  They’re just as colorful and flavorful as when they were fresh.  I re-hydrated them and made guacamole and it tasted fantastic.  This is a game changer, considering the very short window you have after purchasing an avocado!  As an example of just how gentle this process is on your food, take a look at this kale:

Freeze Dried Kale

That is AFTER freeze-drying.  It’s completely dry.  If I were to crush it in my palm it would turn to dust, but if you spritz it with water is pops right back to life and it isn’t wilted and gross, it’s green and beautiful.  Isn’t that amazing??  This is another good one for keeping in powder form  if you’re into green smoothies.

Don’t even get me started on freeze-dried pineapple.  It is literally like candy.

Freeze Dried Pineapple

I can’t even describe how yummy it is.  All of that sweetness and flavor is concentrated in these melt-in-your-mouth drops of crunchy deliciousness.  My kids reach for these jars more than the boxes of store-bought snacks in our pantry.  Last night when we watched a movie, they wanted to snack on the jar of grapes instead of skittles.  They’re that good!

Freeze Dried Grapes

Besides all of the useful reasons of freeze-drying, it’s also just plain fun.  I have been having such a great time experimenting in the kitchen with the different foods. Once of our favorites was taking those freeze-dried strawberry ice cream scoops from the start of this post and dunking them in chocolate.  The outside is creamy and decadent,

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and then you get the light airy crunch of the center with rich strawberry-cream flavor.  Pretty killer!

HarvestRight-62If you want to keep up with Harvest Right, make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  And their You Tube Channel has tons of great info as well.  I totally loved this segment of Glenn Beck talking about his freeze dried ice cream!  They just barely joined the Instagram party as well, so go show them some love and follow them there as well!

Let me know if you guys have any questions, and especially let me know if you get one!  I’d love to swap recipe ideas and come up with cool stuff to make with the freeze dried food, or share tips on building your family food storage if you do that.

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228 comments

  1. So interesting! Thank you for sharing these ideas. It would be a fun thing to purchase together with several neighbors/girlfriends and then take turns using.

    1. How do you set the pre freeze cycle so that the ice cream and/or other frozen foods don’t unfreeze when you put them in the freeze dryer? I see it referred to in a lot of places – but how does it work? Thank you! MW

      1. When the first screen comes up, it has an option for customize. Press that and you can change the amount of times for any of the cycles (freezing, drying, final drying). What If I am doing anything that is frozen, I set the freezing for about an hour less than normal, allow the cycle to start and run for about an hour or so, so that the freeze dryer is below 32 degrees. Than you open the valve and let the air in so you can open the F,D. Put the trays of frozen food in, close the valve and allow the cycle to continue. I purchase large amounts of meat or bananas on sale, freeze them until I have time to freeze dry them.

        1. How can I know how much time is needed to Freeze dry frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts? They are whole breasts, not cut into pieces. I figured since they are already frozen, I reduced the freeze time to 5 hours. and I increased the drying time to 9 hours. Is this okay?

  2. Just out of curiosity, how are this satiation wise? It would seem to me that you’d feel hungrier after eating freezer dried foods than you would after eating their fresh equivalents? Since they retain all the calories, I assume?

    1. Interesting thought, Emma. I haven’t eaten an entire freeze dried meal, but I imagine things that are re-hydrated would provide similar results as normal food. Eating the dried stuff though, you can definitely eat more of it because the water is all missing. I found I could pound down that ice cream, haha. And I ate TONS of fruit without feeling super full.

  3. Yes, I want to sample all the things!! That pineapple looked so good and my baby would love the yogurt drops!

  4. How do you rehydrate a meal? Like a casserole–do you add water when you put it the oven? I’m just trying to wrap my brain around it 🙂

        1. Make sure to drink plenty of water when snaking on freeze dried food. Especially kids!
          As far as texture, my family can’t tell the difference. It does take a little time getting used to cooking and rehydrating.

        2. My husband and I are freeze drying meat. We rehydrated a piece of ham and a piece of turkey and were amazed at the texture and taste. We sat them in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes and they tasted just like when I was cuting them .tafter cooking.

  5. This is pretty cool, if I had the money I would totally get one! But since that probably won’t happen, I would love to try the freeze-dried ice cream! (Did anybody else used to beg their parents to buy them astronaut ice cream when visiting museum souvenir shops? Sadly I never got any.

    1. Becky — you can buy samples directly from the company. They sent me a variety pack and it had a portion of a freeze dried ice cream sandwich.

    2. You can buy it in stores in the camping section. I think Walmart even has it. Go get your inner kid some astronaut ice cream! You deserve it!

    3. They have been having sales on the dryers recently and have a mini freeze dryer (3 trays instead of 4) that is quite a bit less in coat now than when I bought mine in Jan, 2017.

  6. Always love hearing about new tools and gadgets available out there, thanks for sharing your experience and your pictures … seriously, your pictures!! The harvest people should be using them in their advertising, beautiful!! My favorite is your stack of mason jars, it should be hanging on a wall somewhere in your kitchen, or office, or maybe your storage room with your freeze dryer 🙂 Fun!!

  7. Wow. I so wish I could afford this! We went strawberry picking on Sat and ended up with 60 pounds of berries. After 40 jars of jam, 3 gallons frozen, and two trays dehydrated, I was exhausted and wishing freeze drying was an option. I would so use this!!!

  8. This is seriously the most fascinating kitchen appliance I have ever seen. If I lived near my two sisters and Mom I would totally invest in this. Maybe I can talk them into a out of state custody agreement 🙂 It is definitely an asset to a family’s health. I don’t know about anyone else, but my family is worth it.

  9. Way cool. We just got a dehydrator and I love it. I wish I had room for this freeze dryer. It sounds even better. It’s fun that technology has advanced enough to provide these opportunities to a home cook.

  10. This is very fascinating. My husband is allergic to some of the preservatives used in dried & freeze dried food so we have to be careful about what we buy. Such a bummer it’s so expensive!

    1. Stephanie,
      I have a Harvest Right Freeze-Dryer and you use NO Preservatives while drying the food! I freeze-dry food all the time! I have had mine almost 1 year! The thing that I do is to make sure all the meat is cooked (but the book tells me I don’t need to but it won’t last as long)…..so I freeze-dry either cooked or raw fruits and vegetables! This past winter I made soups and served them to the family and freeze dried the rest! My family says it tastes just like I made it homemade! Order one and don’t be afraid of preservatives! We don’t eat them…. ever! I’m getting ready to freeze-dry asparagus, as I type this!

    2. Harvest Right has an interest-free layaway option so that you can pay for your machine over time. It’s how I finally purchased mine. (Which is on its way to me, even as we speak! Can you tell I’m excited?)

  11. Wow! I want to come play with it! Ha ha! I can totally see how this would be such a helpful tool with food storage! And if you went in on one with a group of people, you could definitely make it worth your money!
    I keep thinking of the fun possibilities! How does it work with baked goods? Would a freeze dried chocolate chip cookie be good? I have a bag of Reeses, and now I’m thinking how they would turn out, too! Are there any foods that don’t work well in it?
    My baby is starting on solids/finger foods. He definitely loves grabbing the food more than being spoon fed. This would work great for drying fruits. It would make it easier for him to grab, and not squish everywhere like hydrated fruits!
    Thanks for the fun and informative post!

  12. Thank you for sharing this with us. Yes, it’s expensive for a lot of us. However, look what you can do with this. I love the idea of being able to store perishable items on a shelf. We had a power outage for a week. Everything in our fridge and freezer had to be tossed. We lost hundreds of dollars in meat and frozen products. It still hurts thinking about it. Even though we had food on the shelf, I had no way to prepare it (no oven or microwave). Freeze dried food would have been such a blessing during this emergency we experienced. Some things are worth saving for and I think this is one of them. And, look how healthy you can eat and how much food won’t go to waste. Thanks for all of the ideas. That pineapple is looking delightful!

  13. It looks awesome, but the cost is out of reach for me. I wonder if there’s any way to rent something like this? I’d love a chance to play with one.

      1. Harvestright now has a layaway plan available. I don’t know the details but it may be worth checking it out!

    1. Harvestright now has a layaway plan available. I don’t know the details but it may be worth checking it out!

  14. Thank you for sharing! I’d be interested in trying any of those food items! If you re-hydrate apple slices, will it still have a crisp texture? How do you re-hydrate a casserole? I’m assuming you can’t re-hydrate anything that was originally frozen (ice cream). Do you need to seal those jars for the food to last long?

    1. So for long term storage (years) you seal the food in mylar bags or #10 cans. Mason jars work great for short-term storage, which is what I’ve been doing, since we’ve just been eating all of this stuff. I’m still experimenting with re-hydrating, so far I’ve done potatoes, yogurt and sour cream, and fruits and veggies. With those, they just need warm water (or cold water sitting in the fridge over night). We’ve been eating all of our apples dry, but I would assume it would be similar to a defrosted frozen apple. Not soggy, but not crazy crisp like it was naturally.

  15. We were just talking about going in on one of these with a couple of families on Mother’s Day. I would LOVE to try some freeze dried gummy bears and ice cream. Freeze-dried could be the new deep-fried. LOL! P.S. I still want a tour of your garden. Picture would be awesome but I live in Boise so I would be happy to swing by. Promise I am not a crazy stalker. 🙂

  16. Such an amazing appliance! And funny timing too — we had a family dinner last night with all the kids over and we were talking about how great it would be to have our own freeze dryer. I can definitely see where we could keep it in constant use. Thanks so much for a very informative post! I had no idea you could freeze dry gummy bears and now I really, really want some!!

  17. I think this looks awesome. It’s out of my price range for today, but some day I would love to get one. We are getting ready to plant some fruit trees and maybe when they have more fruit than we can eat, a freeze-dryer will be the solution.

    If you have time, could you add one more set of pictures (or do another post) with a side-by-side comparison of the same food fresh, after you freeze dry it, and after you re-hydrate it? The strawberries and bananas in your photo are gorgeous, but I’m curious how they look after you rehydrate them. Or the guacamole you mentioned, or a lasagna. Or anything else. I have almost no experience with freeze dried food, so I’m curious about that side of it.

    Thanks for a fascinating post.

  18. I purchase freeze dried food to supplement our food storage. This device is fascinating. Thanks for sharing. It is always fun to use freeze dried food in dishes or just for snacking. The cost of freeze dried food is also expensive. I would love to go in with my mom and sister and buy this. So cool!

  19. So cool! The pictures of the food are beautiful. I would love to try the ice cream dipped in chocolate; looks amazing!

  20. This is the coolest appliance I have ever seen in my life! Already saving up for it! I feel like so much less food would be wasted with this. I wonder what dark chocolate would be like?

      1. How do astronauts survive then on the International Space Station for six months at a time with no chocolate?? They can take my name off the list to go to Mars if there’s no chocolate making the trip!

  21. I am not sure specifically about freeze-dried foods, but dried/dehydrated foods tend to be higher risk for cavities because they are chewy, typically high in natural sugars, and get caught in the teeth. Just something to consider.

  22. This is amazing! My husband is in the foreign service (we’re currently in Saudi Arabia), and many of the places we are sent don’t have good options for fruits and veggies, and even dairy products, and we’re often given a consumables shipment to fill in the gaps in what is available locally. It would be such a huge deal to be able to freeze dry all of our favorites and ship them to post with us (and without making a huge dent in our shipping allowance!!). Like here, we can buy berries and avocados, but they are generally flavorless not to mention they cost 10 dollars for a small carton. In a place like Guinea it would be a total game changer. The only fruits and veggies I could reliably find were mangoes, pineapples and avocados (not necessarily a bad thing), so it would be nice to have a way to get more varied nutrients without having to deal with a bleach soak. I feel like the State Department should buy a few of these and rent them out by the hour!

    We would love to receive a care package full of freeze dried goods. You should totally do that. 😉

  23. I have a question: Do you need to blanch before freeze drying? I know for dehydrating or freezing you do to retain nutrients.

  24. This is so cool! I’m sure I’ll never have one, but I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing!

  25. This looks like it would be so much fun to play with! I feel like it would open a whole new window into cooking and baking. Something I’ll totally have to think about one day when we are settled in a house of our own!

  26. My questions is, you say it can do so much per year, what happens after that? Why a limit?

  27. I saw these a few months ago and have been coveting one ever since! I am SOOO jealous, and I’ve just informed my hubs that we WILL be saving up for one of these! 😉 I know it may seem a little weird for some people – but those of us who do food storage TOTALLY get it (yes, we may be a little peculiar). Commercially prepared freeze-dried meats at $60 per can (and the can is only half full)…freeze-dried fruits at $20-$30 a can…it adds up. I would love to be able to freeze-dry my own stuff. I love doing meals in jars, but the FD meats are so expensive to buy that it makes them almost too expensive to use for food storage. If I could freeze-dry my own meats, I could make some killer meals in jars for food storage (emergency use) for much cheaper. But even beyond the practical uses, this thing is just plain cool and would be so fun to experiment with just to see the amazing things you could make with it! I could REALLY have some fun with one of these! I do wish they were a little more “affordable” – because let’s face it, $4300 isn’t exactly within immediate reach for many households – but I do know lots of families who spend that much (or more) each year on vacations, or toys (dirt bikes, jet skis, campers, etc.), or even Starbucks or fast food! It’s okay – we’re all allowed to spend our money how WE see fit, and we shouldn’t judge how someone else may choose to use their money. I can think of a lot less useful or practical things to blow that much, or more, on! 😉

  28. My family loves freeze dried fruit, but I am not a fan. I think I may be turned off from it because of a cereal I like. I love the Special K with Red Berries cereal, but once the strawberries get into the milk, I feel like they become chewy. I believe they are freeze dried and not dehydrated, but it has been so long since I’ve had them that I could be wrong. So I guess that would be my concern with freeze drying so many different types of food…the re-hydrating part. I am big on textures of food and won’t eat a lot of things (especially fruit) because the texture creeps me out. I have issues, I know! All that being said, my entire family, loves the freeze dried yogurt (the baby snacks). Every time I have a baby it is a nightmare hiding those things from everyone. That alone make me want to buy on of these! Maybe that $ sitting in the bank from selling our house could be put towards this. Hopefully there is enough interest that you decide to do a tutorial about re-hydrating the food, or specific recipes you use it in… 🙂

  29. I absolutely love all your beautiful photos on this post. I had never heard of this before and of course now I want one. Thanks for sharing.

  30. Oh my gosh, I want one of these! We buy the fruit from Costco; id love to try dairy, veggies or a whole meal! Amazing. I had no idea you could freeze dry lasagna!

  31. I for one am totally intrigued and in awe of just how COOL this technology is. How long does it take to freeze dry a batch? Does it vary based on what you are doing? Should your pantry start to overflow with experiments, I would be happy to sample this for you! I can only imagine how great freeze dried marshmallows would be (Hello Lucky Charms!!) and I would love to try the ice cream, yogurt, or fruits. Too bad I am on the wrong side of the state, I would totally love to be your neighbor and rent this for an afternoon of experimenting.

  32. Thanks Sara! I enjoyed this post. This would be a nice item to have to use for food storage and everyday use too. Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

  33. Amazing! Never heard of this tech. for home use. Love strawberries and those look really good. Would love to freeze dry some Peeps! My fav. treat.

  34. I’m so glad you posted this! I heard about this freeze dryer when it first came out and of course I want it, but this makes me even more excited! I’m glad to know it’s better than I imagined.

  35. Awesome and fascinating post – I covet yours, lol. How long does it take to process a batch? I’m trying to think how I could pitch the sharing of one with some friends – what might that look like logistically? From family to family every week? All depends on how long the process takes, to start…

    1. Harvest Right has a new product now that has twice the capacity for about $900 more than their current sales price. They are offering these to past customers only, as a pre-offer, right now. If you plan to share a freeze dryer with other families, wait just a little longer, and this is the way to go. We ordered one and will be so excited to get it in 6-8 weeks.

  36. Love this post and totally want one! I also don’t understand the haters – it’s all a matter of interests and priorities. Everyone is willing to spend money on things they feel are of value and usefulness for their lifestyle – what those things are is a bit different for everyone.

  37. I’d love to taste test the home freeze dried fruit vs. the store bought. That picture you have is really intriguing. Maybe you could do a giveaway of some of your experiments? The more I look at this post, the more I want to try!

  38. I realize this would be a great tool to help me eat healthier and I love the idea to freeze dry all of our extra garden produce but really……..I just want to eat that raspberry frosting so bad! Haha

  39. Oh man. This is amazing. I need to start saving my dollars!!! I’d love to try the berries. And the pineapple!! The avocado and asparagus have me intrigued. I would love trying them as well. Oh and grapes! I would love trying to freeze dry blueberries and bananas be my girls love those flavored of oatmeal packets but we can’t get boxes of just those flavors. Thanks for introducing the possibilities!!!

  40. Thank you for this review. I have also heard the local ads regarding this product. I had looked at their web site and knew thatI couldn’t afford it right away. However…it is possible to do whatever you want to do with a budget. This will just need to be a priority now 🙂

    Thanks for your honest assessment of this product. I will have to travel to their headquarters and see it for myself.

  41. I am really interested in getting one of these. Does it come with info on re-hydration? I know nothing about freeze dried food except that I love the fruit as a quick snack (pineapple being my favorite, and its usually the most expensive) and astronaut ice cream as a kid. I would be interested in more posts about the topic but maybe you need to start a group like the fit club for those interested. 🙂

  42. So jealous! 🙂 this has been on my wish list for almost a year now. I think it’s a brilliant way to store food. However, I’m still working on justifying it to my less enthusiastic hubby. Thanks for this post. I loved reading about all the creative ways you are using it. Enjoy it!

  43. Anyone live in Chicago and want to go halfsies? haha. The first thing I thought when I read this was wow, we are officially living like the Jetsons! How flipping cool that you can freeze dry dinner in your own kitchen. I just ate a whole bag of freeze dried cherries I got from the store for a crazy price. I’d be sticking everything from herbs to chocolate bars in there. Oooh! And marshmallows! Soup, what happens to soup? I’m so intrigued. Give it another year or 2 and it will be more affordable and all the haters are going to be rushing to get one. Thanks for the futuristic post!

  44. This is fascinating! I’m trying to understand how the rehydrating part works – especially for a casserole. Do you just add water, and then bake? Have you tried it yet – does it taste the same as it normally would? And the fruit – you just sprinkle with water, and does it hydrate quickly? I am just full of questions because this sounds so amazing!

  45. I’m very glad you posted this. My husband sent me a link months ago to research this appliance and I’ve never gotten around to it. He mentioned it a couple days ago and wondered what I found out. I may just send him over to you to get his questions answered. This looks amazing. I wish I would have done the research months ago for him. I may have one of my own by now.

  46. Sorry if this was already asked, but how long does it take to freeze dry something? I’m sure its different for each fruit/veggie, but a ball park estimate would be nice.

    1. Hey Marseille! It does vary depending on what it is, things with higher water and sugar contents take longer. On average, a batch is about 24 hours. Things like berries and yogurt are a lot faster than that, and things like candy and pineapple take a little longer.

    1. Exactly! She obviously uses the DAYLIGHTS out of it and it’s not a frivolous or “just for fun” item for her. Very useful and smart investment, if you ask me.

  47. This is fascinating!!! I have never thought about the actual freeze-drying process before, but that’s so cool and everything looks AMAZING! I want to go to the space center to get some freeze-dried ice cream now 😉

  48. Who knows, if this appliance becomes popular the price might drop like the microwave, computers, etc. It is good to learn about these things, so thank you. I just wondered if it would be more difficult to keep calories down eating freeze dried items. I can eat quite a bit of dried fruit (high in calories) compared to fresh. Might this become a problem?

  49. Is the freeze dried food cold? And how do you know how much water to add to rehydrate? Obviously a strawberry needs less than a casserole. Very cool machine! Thanks for sharing.

    1. It’s cold when it comes *out* of the freeze dryer, but then it’s just dry and normal temperature. And honestly, I’m still learning about rehydrating because we’ve been making and eating most things that are yummy, dry!

  50. Wow, that sounds amazing! So many benefits and uses. I wish this was something we could afford right now. My youngest is very picky and doesn’t like the textures of most fruits and vegetables. However, we are able to get her to eat a couple of freeze-dried fruits and veggies.

  51. My daughter left most of a bowl of cereal and almost a full cup of orange juice sitting on the table this morning. The first thing I thought when I saw them was, “if only I had Sara’s freeze-dryer!” It gives a whole new meaning to the threat our parents used to give that if we didn’t finish our dinner we would have to eat it for breakfast the next day. LOL.

  52. I am completely blown away with how incredible this is! Avocado? Amazing! Ice cream? Wow! With the way things are trending, moving closer to healthier living, who is to say that this won’t one day become the next staple appliance in our kitchens? I would love to toss some powdered kale into a smoothie instead of pulling out my blender. My Husband is always complaining about our kids eating in the car, especially strawberries or grapes that could be squished. Eating freeze-dried fruit would eliminate the mess, but keep the nutrition. Thank you for sharing this with us! I would love to try a sample of ice cream. I wish there was a contest I could enter so we could have the chance to win one. 🙂

  53. Though not a member of LDS, I have learned very much from them about food storage and currently buy freeze-dried foods, but how much more convenient it would be to be able to freeze-dry my own fruits and vegetables without having to drive 5 hours to a Honeyville store or ordering it online. There are things I would like to have but can’t find at Honeyville or Thrive Life. We do this because we are on a fixed budget and need to have a supply in case anything happens to the other or we happen to have a financial crisis.

  54. I still can’t believe those were gummy bears! Very cool post. I never knew this existed for the home. I looked up the cost and that’s a pretty penny! I think you should add freeze dried fruits to the OBB Shop, so we can try it out without investing in the appliance. 😉 I’m curious to try the grapes and pineapple. Thanks again for posting this!

  55. This is really neat. Can you explain what you and other commenters mean by food storage or the food storage thing? It seems to be shorthand for something. Do you have to store a certain amount of food? Are there regulations about what kind? I hope it isn’t rude to ask!

    1. Hi Trisha! Not rude to ask at all! “Food Storage” just means having a personal short & long-term food/water supply in case of emergencies (natural disasters, being out of work, etc.). There may be regulations depending on where you live about how much you can store, but the LDS Church has guidelines as to how much would be a good amount to store for a 3-month short-term supply and for a 1-year supply. Here’s a link that should help explain more: https://www.lds.org/topics/food-storage?lang=eng Hope that helps! 🙂

  56. How cool is this! I’ve bought freeze dried food storage but never used it because I wasn’t sure what to do with it:) I never knew it was so versatile! My baby is just a few weeks older than yours and I never know what to feed her. I never thought of my freeze dried food but it makes perfect sense! Thanks for such an informative post! We just recently moved away from family:( or i would totally be talking them in to getting one together!

  57. I work with low income families and one of their issues is not being able to afford fruits and vegetables when they’re out of season but not having the freezer capacity or to buy in the summer and store for the winter. This would be great for a community garden or collective kitchen or another food security program to share among community members. It’s a creative enough idea that there might be grants or other funding programs that would help with the cost.
    I have a couple of questions though. How do you know how much water to add to re-hydrate the food – are there guides available? Does the food stay the same size or shrink – I’m wondering about storage space.

  58. This is quite possibly the coolest thing ever. It was like reading an article from the future, like the food on Star Trek that appears with the touch of a button when needed, fresh veggies, fruit and meat in space! Haha! Yep, I’m a nerd. Thanks for sharing. I’m completely geeking out about this. Maybe I can convince my sisters to go in on one with me. My hubby gets so angry when we throw out food that has gone bad.

  59. This is amazing! I wish I had the money and space for one! I can see its value for sure! I think people just get jealous of what others have and what they don’t (I know I do that sometimes). But like others have said, we all have different priorities on how we spend our money and there isn’t anything wrong with that! Plus it’s none of our business how much money you make or how you spend it–and you’ve worked hard to be where you’re at anyway! This was an interesting post even if I’ll probably never own my own freeze dryer!

  60. This is so awesome, thanks for sharing Sara! Maybe I should start a go fund me account for this 🙂 I would totally use this.

  61. Wow! I loved this post. It would be fun to make yogurt drops in metal molds of various shapes: hearts, animals, flowers, letters, etc. Maybe metal lollipop molds with a sticks for lollipops. It would also be great to do cake bites. You could dip them in chocolate. Coconut cake bites freeze dried and dipped in chocolate! 🙂

  62. You have me sold! But you’re right that price tag is definitely something to consider when making such an investment. Thanks for sharing some amazing ideas 🙂
    ~ Krys

  63. That food looks amazing! I would love to buy a freeze dryer! Well, in a few years that is. This is like canning on steroids, I love it. And if you do pick someone to share all that deliciousness with….. I would love to try some pineapple or ice cream. *wink wink nudge nudge*

  64. I have one of these. I would buy it again in a heartbeat! A few of my favorite things to freeze dry are: roasted red onions (they taste like Funyuns but are real food!), yogurt with an almond in the middle (in a mini cupcake paper), and squash. The squash gets put in the food processor and the powder is a perfect baby food that rehydrates in seconds. Besides squash, I’ve made other baby foods, like applesauce, avocado, etc.

    The best thing about having this freeze dryer is that I get to control the ingredients.

  65. Love it! And wish I had an extra $4k! I would love to see post on rehydrated meals. I would have no idea on how much watery you add back. I love avocados on my salads and wonder if you could rehydrate them to be able to slice them and not mush it up for guacamole.
    When did this product roll out? I’m wondering if it might drop in price over the next couple of years. It’s amazing and I hope I get to try it out someday!

  66. Oh, man, I want one of these! But first I want to try the pineapple and the ice cream in the worst way!

  67. I love it! I have tried a lot of freeze dried foods, but the gummy bears look fascinating. I would definitely love to try those. My sister also likes freeze dried foods. She had been making “food storage cookies” with only stored ingredients just to *practice* for emergencies. She also makes frosting with butter powder and says she would use it anytime, not just in an emergency. I would love to know how freeze dried butter would turn out. Or chocolate! Try chocolate next. 🙂

  68. I, too, had no idea that a home freeze dryer was available! Very cool. I am curious if you notice your electricity bill is considerably higher next month.

  69. This is fabulous! Definitely on my dream list. Would love one someday, hopefully they go down in price, but even if not, you never know 😉 Didn’t even realize they had these for home use, am daydreaming of the camp meals from awesome leftovers.

  70. I almost didn’t read this because I knew it wouldn’t fit in my budget, but I’m so glad I did! this is AMAZING. I have a hard time building a long-term food storage because I don’t like most canned veggies and meats, and frozen food doesn’t stay good in a power outage. I’m also not into pre-packaged food for taste and cost reasons, which makes a pantry system or instant meals very difficult. This would solve all of those problems for me–although I would want to sample some different foods before actually investing in one. This is going straight to the top of my “when I’m rich and famous” list 🙂 I can totally see how it could save money in the long haul.

  71. Have you tried a meal that you freeze dried and then “brought back to life”? I’m always looking for ways to store meals for later. And if I could have yummy meals instead of cans of wheat in my food storage that I have no idea how to use, then I’m on board! Oh, and have you tried coconut? If it turns out anything like the kind they sell at Costco, then it will be worth every penny 😉

  72. Wow! What an awesome contraption! My mother, sister, and I are thinking of getting one and splitting the cost since we all live so close to eachother. Just wondering though. Some people say it is difficult to get the freeze dry right depending on the food? But it looks to me like yours is pretty easy to use and there’s not much of a learning curve??

    1. It took me a few batches to understand how the different foods worked, but once I did it was pretty smooth sailing. It’s not complicated, but some things with really high water content, like melon or soups, need to dry longer, and some things with really high sugar content, like pineapple and grapes, need to freeze longer. Once I understood those “rules” I was able to get everything just right. Plus, if you open the door and food isn’t quite done, you can close it up again and turn on the drying phase to finish it. There’s definitely a bit of trial and error involved, but if I’m doing anything ‘experimental” or trying something for the first time, I do a little sample piece first along with a batch that I know will work great so I don’t waste anything. I also called their customer service line a few times to ask for tips on specific foods and they were super helpful! If you end up getting one and want any pointers, shoot me an email any time!

      1. Thanks so much! I’ve been in contact with Scott and he’s been helping me with some of my questions. They are super helpful! Thanks again!

  73. This is THE CRAZIEST thing I’ve ever seen… and I mean that in a good way! my mind is boggled. I love looking at all these pictures and I can’t even imagine the limitless “foodsperiment” options (the gummy bears… holy cow!!) Totally can’t justify it for myself (we don’t even buy freeze dried food as it is) but I still loved this post. (Oh and I was obsessed with the astronaut ice cream as a kid, too! LOL!)

    Side note, if anyone cares to explain to me… in your post and in some of the comments here I saw a reference to something I’ve seen elsewhere on the internet, namely the idea of stocking up on food to prepare for possible financial lean times… and I don’t get it. I mean, I get stocking up on items when they’re on sale or buying in bulk when it’s cheaper, but it seems like people are talking about something different here… but wouldn’t it be better to just save MONEY in an interest-bearing savings account rather than store up food for that particular purpose? LOL, I might just be clueless but maybe someone can enlighten me 🙂

    1. I’ve had experiences in times of natural disaster where food just could not be purchased at the grocery store. I remember going to the grocery store before a big storm in the Midwest, and the basics were gone; you couldn’t buy milk, bread, or eggs for any price. Fortunately, after a week the snow melted and the shelves were full again, but I’ve heard that most grocery stores have only a two-day supply of groceries for the community that shops there. Also, in recent years, I’ve seen basic items like rice & wheat spike in their price. Food shortages are pretty rare here in First World America, and hopefully they always will be, but in politically and economically uncertain times, it makes sense to build up a storage at home.

  74. My mom heard the same ad on the radio! she was seriously considering one, im so glad i can show her this and help her decide. 🙂

  75. That looks like such an amazing product to invest in! Maybe down the road for me as that’s such a hefty price tag!

  76. I was curious if I missed it, but how long does each batch take?
    Also, I notice the grapes are sliced but the blueberries aren’t – is it advisable to slice larger items to make sure the liquid inside can be evaporated?

    That chocolate-dipped ice cream looks AMAZING. I always try to pick up astronaut ice cream when I see it, I love that airy crunch, melt-in-your-mouth taste!!

    Also, those pudding/yogurt drops look so yummy. I would totally mix some of those yogurt drops with dried berries to have a ‘dry yogurt parfait’!

    I loved the idea of the raspberry powder keeping the intense raspberry flavour but without the watering down issue….. just makes me think up a whole new set of interesting mixes! And for me, even when I buy fruit, it so frequently ends up spoiling because I just don’t eat that much of one fruit at a time.

    Thanks for the informative post!

    1. Hi Laura, each batch takes anywhere from 24-48+ hours to cycle through – it depends on what you are freeze drying and how much water is in the food you are freeze drying. We’ve had our HRFD for nearly a year and started a FB group with others to share tips and ideas…I’m learning every day. Also I too love this idea of adding FD crushed berry powder to icing (or maybe even coolwhip) as a desert topper. v/r Deanna Cole

  77. Sara,
    Hello,I have a few questions concerning the FD veges that you show stored in jars, specifically the cherry or grape tomatoes and the asparagus. How do you use the tomatoes,in their dried form or do you rehydrate them? I guess what I’m asking, do the skins get tough or leathery when eaten?
    Secondly,I grow TONS of asparagus and I do not like it any way other than fresh. I’m sure that freeze drying would be the way to go to be able to enjoy my harvest all year not just the eight short weeks that I pick it. My question is: when you rehydrate the asparagus is there any differences in FD versus fresh picked? I noticed that the spears looked a little dented.
    Thank you so much . 🙂

    1. Hi Eric,

      With the tomatoes, I have only put them in soups and sauces so far and they have turned out great in both. I will try re-hydrating some plain and let you know how the texture is then. With the asparagus, I haven’t rehydrated any yet, so I’m not much help! I would imagine they would be similar to thawed frozen asparagus; not as crisp as fresh. I’ll try it and find out.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. Please let me know how your little taste and texture “experiment” goes. I’m excited to hear your answers.Thanks again!

  78. Great lil write up & I LOVE YOUR PICS! You gave me some great ideas to try I hadn’t even thought of. My husband & I have had ours nearly a year, and my mom got hers a few months ago – and today I learned she ordered her a 2nd machine. My husband thought it would be a good idea to start a FB group so we could all help each other, share tips, ideas, and you’ve got me thinking about recipes. I found your blog tonight by googling freeze drying foods – I look forward to subscribing to your blog. v/r Deanna Cole

  79. I so want one of these. I live in Australia and waiting for them to respond to my question about shipping to here. I think you should break up pieces of your strawberries, raspberries or pineapple and stir them through melted chocolate and let it set again…How yummy would that be? Mmmmmmmmmm

  80. I just bought a freeze dryer and so far have done four loads of entrees, they each took about 48 hrs, I wonder if you have friends who share recipes form diabetics? So far I’ve done meats, stew, white bean/ ham, I love your blog, thank you , Cheryl White

  81. We have had our FD for about a month and would love to follow a blog where people share ideas and tip. So, if you know of one please let us know! We have been drying our pineapple for 48 hours and it is still tacky and we don’t know why? Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  82. Thanks for your information and enthusiastic testimonial of this fascinating appliance. Have a question: since many of the batches take over 24 hours, has your electricity increased quite a bit as well? Kinda like having the Christmas lights on in December compared to the rest of the year???
    I would also find it interesting to see what items looked like reconstituted vs original and freeze dried. And taste. Too bad chocolate chips can’t be freeze dried then made into cocoa.

  83. Read all the comments but no one asked if it was noisy to run. I was thinking about
    putting in my kitchen, but you state yours is in storage room or garage. If it is noisy, perhaps it could go out on my patio. We are in LasVegas. I have been buying
    Thrive foods, so know about the wonderful taste compared to dehydrated, but it would
    be less expensive to freeze dry at home than to buy food already freeze dried.

    1. Hi Gail,

      It’s not crazy noisy, but definitely louder than say, the hum of a dryer drying clothes. It’s rather large, so the kitchen probably isn’t the best permanent place for it. I had mine in the garage until it got too hot (I imagine that would be a problem in Vegas, as well!) and I now keep it in a basement storage room. If you had a large laundry or mud room, that might also be a good spot for it. Hope that helps!

      1. I have a HRFD and have it on my back patio. It works fine although while it was high 90s and 100s, it never froze below -24F. I was told by HR that is okay and my food was definitely freeze dried! Now that it is cooler, I actually saw it down to -40F and it seems that the cycles are a bit shorter. Hint/tip: I almost always start with frozen foods rather than room temp and run the freeze drier for an hour before putting the frozen foods into it.

        FD then rehydrated* and heated a spaghetti casserole – we could not tell a difference to the one just heated and eaten! *Added some water and let it soak it up for a couple minutes then poured out the extra water before heating.

  84. Wow, this is like the most awesome thing ever! Thank you so much for posting this and telling about your experience with freeze drying. I HAVE to get one now! I can’t wait! Fantastic blog!

  85. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience with us! We just bought one. I have food sensitivities so it’s great. I was wondering if you’d ever tried mini marshmellow or ice cream sandwiches and how long the freeze and dry times were for these two? I’ve read conflicting information. Thank you again Sara!

  86. My husband and I have looked at this and weighed the pros and cons for several months now. We decided tonight to take the plunge and order one. The only way we could afford it was to wait until one of our credit cards offered a promotion for 0% for several months. An 18 month offer equals out to $211 per month. Right now, we can afford this monthly payment. We might not be able to later. My husband retires in 3 years. This will save us tons on groceries because we can buy when everything is in season that we don’t raise ourselves. This company that sells them also finances. I know some don’t like to finance, and that is understandable, but if it helps us save money in the long run, we are willing to cut cost somewhere else to save later. Its just a thought for those that can’t afford to let go of 4G all at once. We can’t either. Thanks Sara for all the information.

  87. I’ve had mine for about a week, and I’m quite impressed. My question is do you ever do a run when you’re not using all the shelves? Doesn’t seem like it would be very productive, or do you just spread things out a little thinner? Also seems like one should do “like” items in the same batch? As not mixing meat with veggies (unless it’s a casserole or such)? And how would one do a regular casserole ~2″ thick in those little shelves? More like a soup base or stew? Thanks for any info.

  88. I just got my HRFD about 3 weeks ago and I LOVE IT! We have a huge pear tree in our yard that I have always felt guilty about not taking full advantage of it bounty ( or at all ) I did my first batch of pears yesterday -peeled and sliced – and they were fantastic! The freeze dryer makes the flavor of all the foodsI have tried ( black-eyed peas, corn ,strawberries, peaches and now pears) more intense and delicious ! The black-eyed peas actually had a delicious nutty taste to them and I had to stop myself from snacking on them!!! You need to warn people one thing about this freeze-dryer – how hard it is to put this yummy stuff in long-term storage! ( and not eat it up as soon as it comes out!)
    I have a question for you too . Have you tried freeze-drying baked goods – for example banana nut bread? I have a delicious recipe for B.N.B. but it makes a lot! Would it just be better to freeze dry the bananas ? Thanks so much for your post. If you ever make a HRFD group count me in!!!!

    1. So glad you are enjoying yours as well! Baked goods don’t freeze dry well, so definitely better to just do the bananas. Are you a part of the HR Freeze Dry group on Facebook? If you haven’t found that yet, let me know and I’ll send you a link!

      1. Can’t find the HR Freeze dry group on Facebook. Please send me the link! Just tried FD some blueberries that I had frozen this spring – they were good but I think my pears with the cinnamon sprinkled on top were better.

  89. Thank you for all your info! I just got mine today…. I got one in canary yellow! And on sale! It is awesome! Have you or anyone else started a group on yahoo groups? I am not a FB or NSA fan. Have you noticed that when doing a batch and it is hot in the room the machine is in that it adds several hours to the total process time? Also, they don’t go into great detail about how long the food can be left out when the freeze drying is done before you put it into canning jars and vaccum seal. Do you know if you need to put oxy absorbers in the vacuumed sealed jars?

    Just west of boise”…..
    Lisa

    1. I don’t know about any groups besides the facebook one. Make sure you have good air circulation wherever you are using it; it will get warm if you shut it in a small room. You will want to put your food in a sealed container (jar, bag, ziplock, etc.) as soon as possible or it will start absorbing moisture just from the outside air. Have fun with it!

  90. I see on your sight you talk about freeze drying eggs but no instructions. Can you tell me how this is done with the raw eggs? Thanks for all the good ideas. We are loving ours. Now doing tomatoes as fast as I can and then onions, peppers and then will powder with spaghetti herbs. Just wish it held more! Look forward to your idea on eggs.

    1. Just crack all of your eggs and whisk them up before pouring the liquid onto your trays. You will probably want to increase drying time since it’s all liquid. After they are done, pulse in a food processor for a fine powder.

  91. we just ordered ours today! On sale until Sept 9th I think.
    Anyway so glad I found your post we live In a rural area so I am looking forward to experimenting and preserving my harvest as well as additional storage options!
    I’m also planning to use it for dog treats and supplement their kibble besides emergency dog food by using up my veggie ends and wild game odds and ends.
    I was very interested in all the snack possibilities. And pantry supplies.
    Do you store in the jars? I ordered the 5 mil Mylar bags but I am always worried about mice getting into bags. I have TONS of half gallon jars I would love to use. I also ordered and currently use the oxygen packs. I see there is also a product similar to the oxygen pkg. that regulate humidity. I wonder if they would be needed?
    Will be following you on this one!
    Thanks

  92. How did you freeze dry grapes? Pineapple? I have a freeze-dryer but I have trouble getting grapes completely dry – they tend to be chewy. Any tips?

  93. i guess you are to only fill the tray so full i filled with peaches and it swelled up now having to defrost to get trays out and redo them or freeze them or what? I have xxxmt code and all vacume exits are sealed only thing i can think of is it froze up don’t know what else to do

  94. Sara:

    Your grapes look great! I bought 2 4-lb. containers of grapes from Costco and cut them in half crosswise. I dried them through 2 cycles and they were prefrozen. I noticed from your picture that you cut yours lengthwise. How long did your grapes take to dry? What cycles did you use? Were your grapes smaller than Costco’s somewhat jumbo size? Some of my grapes were dry but many were not. It also seemed to me that the top trays dried more than the lower ones. Also wonder about the way they were sliced. Any thoughts or info would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, what size scoop did you use for your little strawberry balls of ice cream that you later dipped into chocolate? They look SO good!!

    Again, thanks for your help.

    Kristine

    1. Hi Kristine,

      I don’t really remember what cycle I used, it was from the very first week I had my FD and the first time I tried them! One trick I learned though, from an expert, is that grapes need increased freezing time because of the high sugar content. I would definitely slice them length-wise so they have the most possible surface area open and then increase the dry time as well just to be safe. Good luck!

  95. We just got our harvest right freeze drier! We are having a hard time finding other people who are experimenting and learning about this machine. Do you know of a forum or online group? Maybe I can email you? Thanks!!

  96. How do you seal your freeze dried food in the mason jars? Do you prefer that over the mylar bags?

  97. I love this! I am saving up to get one for sure! I am wondering if it is loud when it is running? I will definitely use it for food storage!!

  98. One last question! (Ok, I’ll probably have more, but for now, just one more 🙂 ) Have you tried making your own peanut butter powder with the freeze dryer? I was just reading your post for Thai Peanut Zoodles and had the thought about making your own.

  99. This is a wonderfully informative post! I would love to freeze dry my own food! I have bought commercially produced freeze dried foods for emergency preparedness but making your own makes so much more sense! I may have to wait until the price drops some more but when it’s “affordable”, I will totally get one!

  100. I just ordered one for Christmas! 🙂 Thoughts and tips for getting started? Lessons learned? So very excited!

  101. My family just purchased one of these for Christmas, I am very excited to get started using it. I would love to hear your tips and tricks of what works and what doesn’t. My family is kind of picky when it comes to food storage so it will be nice to have things they love.

  102. Great article Sarah! It was very well written and extremely informative! We made the decision to buy one two weeks ago and are waiting on delivery and now after reading your article I can’t wait to get started! Thank you for your time writing this! God bless you and yours!

  103. I agree with everyone, great article! My husband has been talking about getting one but we can’t afford one right now, although I did go to the website and they are running a special plus you can put one on layaway. I will have to give this some serious thought. Thanks!

  104. This sounds so interesting! I read some reviews about the machine itself. Have you had any trouble with it and is the maintenance difficult? I am in my late sixties, live in a condominium, and there are just two of us, but we do manage to garden. We had the most wonderful cucumbers last summer. I would have loved to freeze dry cucumber slices. Thanks!

    1. You definitely need a good place to store it. It’s very heavy, and besides space for the actual machine, you’d need space for the pump. I think it would also be quite noisy in a Condo. Those would be my two main concerns in a small living space. The maintenance isn’t bad, but it does exist. You have to change the oil and clean the pump very regularly. Hope that helps!

  105. Hi.. I have been sort of obsessed since reading this.. did a lot of research and took the plunge..any tips on the ice ceeam.scoop would be appreciated. Also do you put a liner in your trays? You mentioned kale rehydrate with spritz if water…would that work for salad? I had when the bagged stuff gets slimy… thanks

  106. We just bought one of these and I was wondering if there is a good place to find specific directions for different specific items like eggs, sour cream, etc. So far it has been kind of trial & error. We absolutely love the machine though, and it is going pretty much 24/7. Thanks

  107. really enjoyed reading about the freeze dryer. I bicycle a lot and take a week long trip every summer, we take freeze dried meals with us because they are light. Hoping to get one..thanks for the information

  108. Did you see an increase in your electric bill when you started using the dryer. Do you have any idea how much electric it uses? Also, have you tried to freeze dry okra. I’ve bought some before and it is wonderful! Thanks

  109. How much work is it to drain the oil and clean? I have a neighbor who has one and she doesn’t use it any more because she can’t do it herself and has to have someone help her.

  110. I just barely got my freeze-dryer and was so excited to try yogurt drops as my first batch! I used Zoi Strawberry Cream Greek yogurt and filled my trays with pretty little drops. However, once the cycle was done, a good 3/4 of them simply pulverized when I tried to remove them! (So now I have a bunch of yogurt powder. Still cool and still useful, but not at all what I intended or wanted. ) How do you get your yogurt drops not to stick to the tray?? Do you put parchment paper under them or something?? Which also has me concerned about trying other things…I was thinking of doing bananas next. But does everything stick severely and get pulverized when trying to remove it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hey Olivia- sorry I didn’t see your comment before! Greek yogurt works best as a powder and if you want pretty little drops, use regular (non Greek). I’ve actually found the regular ol’ yoplait works great!

    1. Baked goods like that aren’t the best. They don’t reconstitute well, and don’t taste very good dry, so there’s not much to do with them.

      1. If you do rehydrate things like baked goods, you need to do it slowly. Like, put a damp paper towel in a ziplock bag and put your baked goods in the fridge and let the moisture very slowly rehydrate the items.

  111. Hi Sara
    Have been researching this new technology since it was introduced to us consumers.

    Recently, spoke with Jason at HR, and obtained samples of different veggies, fruits and meats (turkey).

    Now my better half is particular and fussy about certain foods – point was zucchini. Put a couple pieces in cold water to hydrate – well other Z – Chip ended up mushy – not crisp as before they are FD’d. Said it was discussing 😩 So my question is – how to rehydrate with out the limp texture (suppose cuks would be the the same. Ideas? A tough sell.

    1. Well those are probably the two worst things to hydrate, haha. Things with a high water content (like cucumber and zucchini) don’t have the cell structure to spring back to life just like they were. Fruits and vegetables will taste fresh, but the texture will obviously be different, more similar to if they had been frozen and then thawed. Other foods, like grains, potatoes, rice, most meats, soups, and dairy, will have an almost identical texture as pre-freeze drying.

  112. Hi so very interested in buying one. I made pavlova yesterday and it turned out great, loved by all. This reminded me of looking up on the computer just how to freeze dry foods. My 2 small dogs love dehidrated liver & thought I would look it up, when I came across your awesome sight. Ps can you please let me know where I can purchase one. Thanks tons Anna

  113. Great review. We got ours set up last night and I started with smoked pulled pork. It is running right now. We are imagining our years supply with Bang Bang Chciken and Shrimp and Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes! Everyone is excited. Question. In your ice cream balls – they are a lot taller than the trays. How did you do that? I was going to freeze dry some Ben and Jerrys for the guys backpacking trips but thought I had to do flat pieces.

    1. Sorry my reply is very late here, but I used a cookie scoop! I just placed scoops of ice cream on the tray and immediately placed them in the freezer so they would stay in that shape.

  114. I bought mine a month ago and have done raspberries. Tomorrow I will do pineapple. Any ideas on eggplants? I have a lot this year. Barb in Mississippi

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