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First-Of-Its-Kind Unit Makes Freeze-Dried Food
“Freeze drying has been around for years but it has never been affordable for individuals until now,” says Dan Neville, owner and CEO of Harvest Right. The company began selling in-home freeze dryers about a year ago for $3,900. While not cheap, they’re a deal compared to $30,000 for commercial units - and they’re easier to operate and more convenient.
  Neville says the benefits of freeze-dried food is that it preserves taste, color, shape and nutritional value of all types of food. It also reduces waste by preserving leftovers and eliminates the need for preservatives. Freeze-dried foods can last up to 25 years.
  The dryer is easy to use. Place cut-up fruits, vegetables, meats, and even leftover chili on the four stainless steel trays. Close the door, press the button and the appliance automatically senses moisture and operates until the food is completely dried.
  Most food takes about a day, Neville says. The condenser freezes food to -40 to -60 degrees Fahrenheit followed by a powerful vacuum from a pump that takes all of the air out of the chamber. While in a vacuum the food is warmed slightly and the frozen water sublimates out of the food as a gas.
  When the process is finished, Neville recommends putting the food in a Mylar pouch with an oxygen absorber or in mason jars or metal cans with oxygen absorbers. With water and oxygen removed the food won’t spoil when stored at room temperature.
  To rehydrate the food, just add water. Even foods like yogurt can be freeze dried. When water is added it regains its original texture and taste. Freeze-dried ice cream sandwiches are cookie-like, the same that are sold as “Astronaut ice cream.”
  While some customers use the freeze dryers for businesses, such as freeze-drying peppers to make salsa or herbs for restaurants, most are homeowners.
  Some have gardens and orchards and want to preserve produce. The 30 by 20 by 25-in. unit holds 8 to 10 lbs. of sliced apples, for example, yielding 2 full gal. of freeze-dried apples.
  “You can put in different things at the same time,” Neville says, except for green peppers or onions, which have strong flavors that can penetrate into other foods.
  Some of Harvest Right’s customers are those who are concerned about the future and food security. Instead of buying freeze-dried foods to stockpile, they prefer to make their own.
  The cost to operate the freeze dryer 4 to 5 days a week is similar to the cost of operating a home freezer, Neville says.
  Made in the U.S. with U.S. components, Neville notes the freeze dryers have a similar life span as refrigerators. The pump uses 3 cups of oil and requires periodic oil changes. In addition to the black unit for $3,900, Harvest Right sells a stainless steel unit for $4,300. Both are available direct from the company on its website.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Harvest Right, 3070 W. California Ave, #A, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104 (ph 801 386-8960; www.harvestright.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6