freeze dryer

Best Freeze Dryers For Home Food Storage

There are a lot of ways to store food; curing, pickling, freezing, smoking, dehydrating…etc. But, in this post we’re going to talk about the best way to store the majority of foods, Freeze Drying. In addition, we’ll let you know about the best freeze dryers available on the market. 

Here is our layout for this post so you can find the info you need:

  • Why is freeze drying the best way to store most foods? 
  • What foods you can & can’t freeze dry
  • Recommended Products
  • How Freeze Drying Works
  • Should I Get A Freeze Dryer? 

Why is freeze drying the best way to store the most foods? 

 

Nutrition: preserving food via freeze drying maintains the vast majority of nutrients in the preservation process. This is because freeze drying does little damage to the cellular integrity of your food.

  1. Shelf-Life: Shelf life of freeze dried foods lasts 25 years or longer. You don’t have the hassle of rotating your foods. It’s like purchasing a 25+ year term insurance policy, except with this policy you don’t lose all the premium you’ve paid in, you just consume the food if it is getting close to expiration. 

  1. Taste: Freeze drying will in large preserve the taste, color, texture, nutritional value and aromas of food. If you’ve ever tasted Mountain House brand food storage you know what I’m referring to.

  1. Versatility: Unlike other food storage processes that only work at preserving certain types of foods, with freeze drying you can preserve a great variety of foods: fruits, veggies, meat, fish, eggs, even diary like milk, ice cream, and fully cooked meals. 

  1. Savings: You ever buy too much meat or have a great amount of leftovers after celebrating? Freeze dry them and you’ll save money. In fact, most of your own freeze dried foods will taste better than purchasing the food from food storage companies. In my experience the majority of food storage companies that sell freeze dried products taste awful. This isn’t because of the process. It’s because those companies use cheap ingredients, trying to get cost down, thinking most of their customers will not try their products since it is just going in to storage. 
  2. Easy: Other food preserving techniques such as jarring/canning or sugaring are not so simple, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. Freeze drying simply requires the push of a button. 

What foods you can & can’t freeze dry

 

As we said earlier the majority of foods you can freeze dry. Just about any fruit you can think of can be freeze dried. Same with most of your veggies. All your breads. Meats & Fish: Even dairy products like milk, yogurt, ice cream can be freeze dried. Foods that don’t hold well such as eggs, still taste like new when freeze dried. 

Foods that are not good for freeze drying are foods that are high in fat or oil content. The reason being is because freeze drying works through sublimation (the process of changing a solid to a gas without a liquid phase). Foods that have high fat or oil content don’t easily go into a solid or gas state. Also foods that have a very high sugar content, like honey don’t freeze dry well. 

Here is a list of foods that don’t freeze dry well.  There are probably a few others but the list is small. 

  • Honey
  • Butter
  • Syrup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pure Chocolate
  • Jams

Our Recommendations: Best Freeze Dryers

 

  1. Harvest Right Small Freeze Dryer

Harvest Right’s smallest freeze dryer unit allows for batches of food up to 4-7 lbs.Each batch should fill 1-1.5 #10 cans with freeze dried food. 3 trays (7.75″ W x 14″ L x 0.75″ H)

This smaller unit doesn’t take up a lot of space. Being 25” inches tall you could sit it on a kitchen counter provided that you don’t have a hanging cabinet in the way.  Weighing in at 61 lbs it is a little heavy but doesn’t have awkward dimensions so it is fairly easy to move. 110 volt plug which allows you to plug-in the device to any standard outlet. 

Very little maintenance. Periodically you have to replace a filter and oil unless you upgrade to an oil free pump then you don’t have to worry about oil maintenance

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  1. Harvest Right Standard Freeze Dryer

The standard unit allows for batches of food up to 7-10 lbs of food. Roughly, this can freeze dry  1.5-2.5 #10 cans with each use. 4 trays each are (7.5″ W x 18″ L x 0.75″ H)

Being 28.5” inches tall you could sit it on a kitchen counter provided that you don’t have a hanging cabinet in the way.  Weighing in at 112 lbs this is not easy to move. It has a 110 volt plug which allows you to plug-in the device to any standard outlet.

Very little maintenance. Periodically you have to replace a filter and oil unless you upgrade to an oil free pump then you don’t have to worry about oil maintenance. 

Currently, this standard model is only about $450 more than the smaller model, and can freeze dry almost 2x the amount of food per batch. I figure if I’m spending big money on one of these I might as well grab the bigger model, but the smaller model is easier to move around and will still get the job done. 

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  1. Harvest Right Large Freeze Dryer

The largest residential freeze dryer made by Harvest Right can typically freeze dry 12-16 lbs of food per batch. Having 5 trays size (9″ W x 20.5″ x 0.75″ H)

Weighing in at 138 lbs this thing is a beast to move but easy with a dolly. A height of 30.75” and 20.25″ W x 23.75″ D may not make it suitable for some countertops. 

Very little maintenance. Periodically you have to replace a filter and oil unless you upgrade to an oil free pump then you don’t have to worry about oil maintenance. 

If you decide to get this model then you need to be aware this model requires a 110 volt (NEMA 5-20) outlet. A dedicated 20 amp circuit is required. Some homes don’t have these kinds of outlets installed. Here is a picture below of the kind of outlet that would need to have a 20 amp wiring. 

Very little maintenance. Periodically you have to replace a filter and oil unless you upgrade to an oil free pump then you don’t have to worry about oil maintenance

250x207-2

How Freeze Drying Works

We’ve spoken about all the benefits of freeze drying over other methods of storing food and you may be still wondering about freeze drying works. Let me break down the process for you. 

The scientific term for freeze drying is called – Lyophilization. Freeze drying involves 3 steps with a special vacuum to complete the process. 

  1. Step one is to freeze, the food bringing it down to a negative -40 F

  1. Step two is sublimation or drying of the food. Sublimation is a term meaning that a substance passes from a solid to a gas without ever becoming a liquid. For example, Ice changing to water vapor without ever being liquid water. This is very important because if you were to remove the water from a food in its liquid state you’d remove a lot of nutrients, texture, and flavor of the food. 

  1. Step three, is desorption of the food, which is just the opposite of absorption. In desorption the food is having water pass outside the barrier of its cell walls. With freeze drying the water passes outside of the cell walls of the food in a vapor form then the vacuum quickly removes this vapor. You are then left with freeze dried foods.

Should I get a Freeze Dryer? 

You may be asking yourself should I invest in a freeze dryer? To answer this question let’s look at all the benefits you’ll have from a freeze dryer and then you can decide if it is worth the cost. 

  1. Food Quality: Nutritional Value, Texture, Taste, Color, and smells of the food are preserved.
  2. Shelf Life is up to 25 years. No other food storing method is even comparable when it comes to long-term storage.
  3. Versatility. You can freeze dry almost any food. Earlier we gave just a small list of foods you can’t freeze dry.
  4. Easy. Other food storage methods can be somewhat complex and a hassle to complete. With a freeze dryer you simply put the food in and press start. Of course if you want it to work more efficiently you could cut the food up and that would be one extra step, but yes this process is very simple.
  5. Savings. Have you ever gardened and been blessed with a surplus of food? Or had extra leftovers worth preserving? Or there was an outrageous sell of meat, fish, or some kind of produce because it needed to go but you didn’t have anywhere to store it? 

Well a freeze dryer can help you save so much in cost. To me it makes so much sense to have a freeze dryer if you have a large garden or do some small time farming. 

  1. Space: With freeze dried foods you can save on a lot of space, think about how much space jarring or canning takes up. Freeze dried foods are excellent for conserving space.
  2. Organization: Being able to organize your meals will save you time. For example, you could freeze dry some beef strips, sour cream; add in some rice and seasonings, vacuum seal it in a bag and you have a meal of beef stroganoff. All you need to do later is just add water.
  3. What about when survival scenarios? Personally, I believe the U.S. and world as a whole is headed on a course for complete disaster. The economies of the world will be so devastated that for a short time the only way to make any desirable money will be if you have food. 

Ask anyone who lives in a communist state, the only rich people are politicians. The well off people are the ones who have food. 

If you have stores of freeze dried food. You’ll be able to help out all your neighbors, those you love, maybe a few you don’t. And, when everyone is hungry needing food it will work like currency. You may be able to get someones labor for something you need in exchange for the giving of your food reserves. 

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this article informative. We believe there can easily be a breakdown in the food supply system, and food scarcity is a real thing that happens constantly in other countries. It may be difficult for us in the U.S. to imagine such a scenario since nobody in this country has experienced this unless they lived during the great depression in the 1930s. 

We don’t believe in always preaching doom & gloom. We only do this so we are aware of the inevitable scenarios in the future. We believe in being prepared. If you’re adequately prepared you will not only survive, you may even thrive when disastrous conditions present themselves. 

Was this article helpful? Please leave us a comment or any questions you may have.

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