January 8, 2022

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer - up and running

Good idea? Bad idea? 

Money well spent? Waste of money? 

For better or for foolishness, our Harvest Right freeze dryer has arrived and is set up in my basement laundry room. This is not where it's going to live on a permanent basis. It's going on a sturdy cart fitted with an extra piece of countertop from the outdoor kitchen project. I need my counter space for folding clean clothes. 

We got the medium-sized unit and as the photo attests, it's still rather large and takes up a fair amount of space. It was simple to set up and get running - a real relief since I was on my own to do it. Cousin Dave helped get it into the house, but I needed to read the manual before I hooked it up. The manual is clearly written, and it helped to watch the YouTube video produced by Harvest Right. 

Our system has the Premiere pump, and it does run quietly. We can't hear it run and the master bedroom is directly above the laundry room. Not a problem.

So far I've only done small batches of fruit, but I'm pretty comfortable with the machine and feel ready to move on to bigger projects. Nothing I'm doing to learn the operation of the unit will be a financial loss if I mess it up. I'm excited to move on to meal projects, concentrating on those things that can't be pressure canned such as pasta and rice meals. 

Will the machine actually ever pay for itself? I'm not sure. We'll have to do a lot of freeze-drying to recoup $3,000. Is recouping the money the goal? Not really. I think the real benefit of the freeze dryer will be in the convenience of having different foods safely stored and at my fingertips. 

We've all experienced issues caused by the breakdown of our supply chain. Twice now our local grocery has not had milk. I have powdered milk in the pantry, but along with the store not having milk, there was no cream or half-and-half for our coffee. If I can freeze dry half-and-half so that all we need do is drop a pellet into our cup, that would be good. 

There are more than supply chain issues to consider. At this point in time, we have enough income to keep up with inflation. That could change at any moment. Having food stores on hand could make the difference between eating and not eating. It's something we worry about as we get older. What if we can't get to a store? Getting older is all about new worries and taking steps to avoid issues. 

Some of the fruits I've processed are strawberries, mango, raspberries, and dark cherries. That freed up freezer space for two half-gallons of milk. Tomorrow's project is freeze-drying bananas and apples and possibly trying a small amount of half-and-half. I have silicone molds that look to be a good size for creamer pellets. It should be interesting. I'll keep you posted.

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

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