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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Freeze Dried Food

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Post  Kelejan 8/1/2016, 1:40 am

Another month gone by and now it is time for canning season to begin plus the other methods of preserving.

My friend Persis, the one who delivers little bags of veggie peelings to me every time she passes by on her way to catch the bus, gave me a website address she read in the August edition of National Geographic of a freeze-dried machine she saw advertised that she thought would be a great idea.  She thought that we could share in the purchase of it and produce food that could last for 25 years without loss of nutrition or flavour.

So tonight I looked it up;  www.harvestright.com

Look it up if you have time and give us your thoughts. Please.
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Post  sanderson 8/1/2016, 3:21 am

affraid $$$$

The freeze dry unit would be great if you had to preserve lots of food for lots of people to last lots of years. And if that dyer event happened, would there be electricity to operate the machine? Or internet to reorder the oxygen tabs? I will stick to freezing, canning and drying (and eating fresh from the garden).

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Post  AtlantaMarie 8/1/2016, 8:57 am

I have to agree.... At least with dehydrating, I know I can build a solar dehydrator if necessary. But that's an awful lot of money for something I may not be able to use in a catastrophe.

We've chosen not to use much (if any) freeze-dried food in our emergency stores. About the only exception I might make is powdered butter. And then I'd prefer to can ghee.

I've also heard that freeze-dried food can have a strange flavor... Does anyone else have experience with freeze-dried food & how they taste?
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Post  Kelejan 8/1/2016, 1:25 pm

sanderson wrote:affraid  $$$$

The freeze dry unit would be great if you had to preserve lots of food for lots of people to last lots of years.  And if that dyer event happened, would there be electricity to operate the machine?  Or internet to reorder the oxygen tabs?  I will stick to freezing, canning and drying (and eating fresh from the garden).  

I agree completely with what you wrote. As soon as I saw that opening discount of $2,000 I just knew it was going to be way out of my league, even sharing with my friend.

I carried on reading out of interest, then found that preserving food for 25 years would make me 106 years of age.  The methods I use now will be enough for my needs.

Perhaps some one with enough money, a large family, and the time to do it would be worth while.  As to taste, I have no idea although the advertising says it taste like fresh.

The best option is to do what we are doing right now, growing fresh.
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Post  sanderson 8/1/2016, 3:19 pm

I have changed the Title and moved the thread to Canning and Preserving so it wouldn't get lost Wink .

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Post  CapeCoddess 8/1/2016, 4:00 pm

How big is that thing? It looks like a washing machine. Also kelejan, that $3000 is U.S. dollars. Shocked

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Freeze Dried Food Empty Yet another way to preserve

Post  Chuck d'Argy 7/16/2022, 9:17 pm

If this doesn't belong here in the non canning section, please move it. 

My Daughter in Law has taken up freeze drying candy and selling it on the internet. She really works at it and her company has grown from part time use of a small or medium size machine, to she now has added 3 large ones.  

It's a popular thing. the guy who was supposed to paint my house Pre Lockdown, when I contacted him post lockdown said he'd quit painting, couldn't afford to do that anymore as he had 9 large machines going 24/7 to support his freeze drying candy business.

The point of the above is to note that there is another method you may or may not be aware of. When I save enough pennies, and it takes something like $3000 worth of pennies, I am going to get a small machine to preserve meals and perhaps even garden produce. It is an overnight process, uses less space and effort than canning, and less storage space.

On weekends, my Daughter in law freeze dries leftovers, vacuum packs them, and the are good for 25 years with proper techniques and methods. 

The bottom line is they reconstituted some of their own home made freeze dried beef stroganoff for me once, and it tasted like it was right off the stove, chunks of meat and all. 

For those with the cash, here is another preservation technique that to my limited experience was very good.
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Post  AtlantaMarie 7/17/2022, 6:38 am

chuck wrote:On weekends, my Daughter in law freeze dries leftovers, vacuum packs them, and the are good for 25 years with proper techniques and methods. 

We have a freeze dryer as well.  Keep in mind that items with a higher fat content will NOT last 25 years.  The fat will eventually become rancid...  Those items (like the stroganoff) will need to be consumed within 5 or 6 years.  That's why cycling through your supply is so important.

But we love our freeze dryer....!
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Post  plantoid 8/2/2022, 9:54 am

That sounds like a good thing to have when one considers the precarious situation with respect to electricity supply & fuel security .
A week or so with no electricity or permanent brown outs leading to defrosting of  fridges or freezers & most cold preserved grub will  be lost . 

 Electric vehicle take up will further weaken the supply grids .
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Post  plantoid 8/9/2022, 1:16 pm

Have any of you with the freeze dryers / dehydrators  done white dutch or green cabbage or onions in thin slices then vac packed & heat sealed them if so can you piut up some pictures and let me know what type of long lifer bags you are using please?

 Can any of you suggest any decent books to read up on the subject please ?
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Post  AtlantaMarie 8/10/2022, 7:07 am

plantoid wrote:Have any of you with the freeze dryers / dehydrators  done white dutch or green cabbage or onions in thin slices then vac packed & heat sealed them if so can you piut up some pictures and let me know what type of long lifer bags you are using please?

 Can any of you suggest any decent books to read up on the subject please ?
We've done raw pieces in the fd.  They come out like very tasty styrofoam chips, lol.  Next time I'll dip in water seasoned with sea salt for an extra flavor boost.  

Long life bags will be mylar - at least 5 mil thick.  But 7 is recommended.  Be very careful in choosing your bags.  They may say Xmil thick, but they mean total vs each side.  If it seems to be cheaper than the competitor, that's probably why...  We get rolls that we can cut to the length we want.  Sheild n'Seal from Amazon seems to be pretty good.  But shop around.  We also just keep in vacuum sealed canning jars.

Currently there really aren't any books out, although there are a couple in the works.  Your best bet is to watch some youtube videos.  Retired at 40, Epicenter Bryan, Betty Sills are all pretty good.
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Post  lisawallace88 8/15/2022, 9:36 am

I would absolutely LOVE to have a freeze dryer, but cannot justify the expense at this time.  For me it wouldn't be so much "stocking up for the apocalypse" as "saving leftovers for when I'm either too old or too tired to cook".  I've watched several homestead youtube families and am reminded every time that even if the fd stuff only lasts 10 years, if I start NOW, I won't have to be one of those little old ladies who either gets meals on wheels or eats cat food because I am either incapable of cooking for myself any more or can't afford it.  I can afford it right now, so I would like to preserve some meals for hubs for when I'm sick or just not in the mood to cook.
Of course, it would be nice to have a successful enough garden to fd the bounty, but so far, my harvests can be consumed in a single meal, lol
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Post  AtlantaMarie 8/22/2022, 7:29 am

I completely agree, Lisa!  It was a business expense for us...  And it's certainly come in handy.  We're working on meals for those days we're too tired as well.  (This getting old is not for sissies!)
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Post  OhioGardener 10/30/2023, 10:08 am

Bump this old thread.

We don't have a freeze dryer, though we have thought about it a few times. We preserve all of our food by either freezing or canning, but have often thought about longer term preservation, without the fear of a power outage causing the freezers thawing out. This fall, after the huge harvest of fresh vegetables, the thoughts have once again turned to whether or not to consider a freeze dryer.

We were invited to dinner at a friends house some time ago, and she had prepared a beef stroganoff that was delicious with apple pie for dessert. After the meal the discussion turned to how delicious the food was, and she mentioned that it was from their freeze dried storage. I would have never guessed that either that beef or the apples could have been from re-hydrated food.  Makes me wonder if we should re-consider looking at the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer?  Very Happy

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Post  lisawallace88 10/30/2023, 11:28 am

I have wanted one badly for a few years, now.  Have finally convinced husband it would be a good purchase.  I do can (and will continue to do so) and freeze (also continuing) but a freeze dryer will give the option to preserve food that will not need either heavy, breakable jars or continuous power supply.
I often make more that we can enjoyably use, even as leftovers, so beyond "regular" food preservation use, I plan to use it for leftovers that we won't eat in the next couple of days.  Then, if either I don't feel like cooking or TSHTF, we have simple, home cooked meals that can be eaten with no more prep than hot water!
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