Author Topic: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer  (Read 32650 times)

Offline ShannonB

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2012, 04:57:37 PM »
NAG - have you thought about freeze drying for other preppers or maybe a small local floristto help augment the cost and overhead?
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Offline FloridaHillbilly

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2012, 07:12:32 AM »
Do you take custom orders? We have the food shipped to you, you ship the end product to us?


I am a techie-type, and this thing has me seriously jealous! I'm already trying to talk my wife into one :)


db
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Offline jeff_prep

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2012, 03:01:12 PM »
Finally, after almost two months my freeze dryer arrived.  I bought it on a used equipment auction site.   I couldn't resist putting something in it as soon as it arrived - here are some pictures.  This batch isn't for storage - it's just to see how various foods react to being freeze-dried in this particular machine.   I'm going to have to play around with it until I come up with optimal processing times for each type of food.

Hi, I wondered how this has been going for you. I was considering doing the same. Do you like this Northstar unit?
Anything you don't like about it?
You mentioned canning w/ LDS. I read something that said you have to go with a member to LDS to use their
cannery these days. Is that true as far as you know?

thanks for any info....

Jeff

Offline CanningDiva

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2012, 01:27:13 PM »
I am still in hot pursuit of a freeze dryer machine...  I am learning a lot about the various types of machines but am having a heck of a time locating one in my price range!  I did however want to share what I have learned in case others may be able to benefit from the info I've gathered.

I spoke with a representative of Freeze Dry Company out of Wisconsin.  He has several models and specifically designed models geared for food freeze drying - the models are not listed on their website however...  A typical food freeze dryer - which will freeze dry 4 to 5 pounds of food in 24 hours - ranges in price from $15,000 to $27,000.  Yeah - not even near my ball park price range.  So...  I am calling around for used models.  I am finding that the majority of the used models are for the floral or taxidermy industry - which will work, however it can take up to a week to freeze dry the food; which is not in my budget electricity wise...we pay a high price for electric...because we "use too much".  Cap - n- Trade baby...Ugh - I digress.

Freezedrying.com has several used models and I am just waiting to hear back regarding price...  Wish me luck!   ;)
Diane Devereaux
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www.CanningDiva.com
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Offline rikkrack

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2012, 03:14:20 PM »
 :popcorn:
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Offline GreeneAcres

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2013, 07:11:21 PM »
NAG,

In an earlier post you mentioned selling this unit once you completed freeze drying for your crew. Is that still an option? If so, what kind of a time frame? Keep us posted, I'm sure you won't have any problem selling it here. ;D

Offline Erigorn

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2013, 12:31:33 AM »
Yes when you are done selling it won't be a problem on here.

Also thanks all those who posted that florists and taxitermists may have them as well. Good to know and possibly look into.

Offline chezart

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2013, 12:01:56 PM »
I have one too, but no manual.  Would you copy yours and share?  I would be happy to pay for the copy.  Thank you very much!

Offline The mad Vaper

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2013, 01:35:27 AM »
Finally, after almost two months my freeze dryer arrived.  I bought it on a used equipment auction site.   I couldn't resist putting something in it as soon as it arrived - here are some pictures.  This batch isn't for storage - it's just to see how various foods react to being freeze-dried in this particular machine.   I'm going to have to play around with it until I come up with optimal processing times for each type of food.

My plan is to freeze-dry stuff in bulk and then seal in #10 cans from the LDS cannery (w/ O2 absorbers).



"Specimen" (food) chamber on top.  This is cooled to about 0 degrees.  Condensation chamber on bottom.  This is cooled to -45 degrees.  Water sublimates from food and condenses in the lower chamber as ice.  The ice is removed periodically by a defrost cycle.




Pre-cooked fajita seasoned chicken strips, pre-cooked boneless chicken breasts and pre-cooked burger patties.  All of these are just grocery store items from the freezer section.


Food loaded.  Chicken, burgers, broccoli, green beans, corn and ice cream sandwiches (of course).  I don't have the rack assembly installed yet.  I'll have five racks after I do that.


After freeze-drying overnight.


Ice cream sandwich blowout.  These weren't frozen solid enough before I turned on the vacuum.   The lesson is one I should have remembered:  You need air in the freeze dryer to properly freeze the food.  Without air there can be no convection, which is the most efficient way to move heat away from the food.  The food has to be totally, completely rock-hard frozen before turning on the vacuum.

I pulled an ice cream sandwich out and they are nearly done.  They taste just like the Mountain House version and are crunchy and dry.  The other food isn't nearly done.  I expect it to take at least a week.

I'll update after this batch is done.



Can you share the auction where you bought this? I would love to find one like it. Thanks.

Offline Erigorn

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »
@nelson96:  I bought mine on a site called bidonequipment.com.  Search the site for "northstar".  Most of the other freeze dryers are too expensive or are for laboratory use.

Here is the answer to your question. None currently listed as of 1/30/2013 noon MST.

Offline LibertyBelle

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2013, 02:02:03 PM »
 :popcorn:
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain



Offline NotAGrasshopper

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2013, 11:40:38 PM »
I have one too, but no manual.  Would you copy yours and share?  I would be happy to pay for the copy.  Thank you very much!

Yes.  Sorry for the delay.  PM me a mailing address and I'll copy the manual and send to you.  I would scan it but since I went to Windows 7 a few years ago my scanner doesn't work (no drivers that work).

Mine is a 2452' by the way.  Others will be similar but not identical.  I yours is also a NorthStar BE CAREFUL if mucking around in the electrical panel.  Shi stuff is energized in there when it's not supposed to be.  I think the guys that build these things were also in charge of space shuttle o-rings and 787 batteries.

Offline Vulcan

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2013, 03:22:33 PM »
:popcorn:

Offline scherjds

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2013, 07:40:20 AM »
Okay, a couple more pics.  First, the chicken breasts.  These weighed on average 4 ounces each (six in a 24 oz. bag).  After freeze drying three weigh a total of 3.5 ounces (!) with zero shrinkage or deformation:




I'm calling everything in the first test batch successful except the peaches, which never got cold enough to dry properly.

Next batch is 8 ounces each of cheddar and mozzarella cheese and 16 ounces of low fat cottage cheese.  Based on the timing of the last items, I expect these to take about 3 days for the shredded cheeses and 4 days for the cottage cheese.  We'll see.  You can see here how much extra capacity is available in the machine.  I'm starting to lean toward having six or seven levels instead of five.  Especially in the middle (widest) section, each extra level will be nearly 10 square feet of additional drying space and won't add appreciably to the total drying time.



While we're here, let's do some math...  Mountain House cottage cheese in the #10 can consists of 20 1/2-Cup servings.  My 16 ounce container of cottage cheese claims four 1/2-Cup servings.  So that makes the MH can equivalent to 5 pounds of cottage cheese (remember there is no shrinkage so the cups/serving is the same).

Nitro-Pak (fine establishment) sells the MH cottage cheese for $65.39.  Sam's, plus a can, lid and O2 absorber (<$1.25 total) will run less than ten bucks for the same amount of cheese (bottom cheese in the pic).  MH is "just" $2.67 per serving.  Mine will be 46 cents.



Offline attaboygirl

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2013, 11:01:00 AM »
Have you thought about drying bridal bouquets and such too cut your costs?

Offline LizardGurl

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2013, 06:34:09 PM »
It takes so long to do a batch that I wanted to know how well various things work.  Might as well try a variety now.  My next batch will probably be 100% chicken breasts or 100% diced chicken.

I'm also going to try scrambled eggs, meatballs, cooked shrimp, all types of vegetables...

I work for a company that sells air dried and freeze dried foods to the wholesale market.  I don't work on the production side, so I don't know all the nuances for different products. 

I think you'll get more consistent results if you load it up with one thing at a time, all the same size.  You are right about the need for things to be frozen very hard before starting.

Julie
I have a blog that covers Paleo recipes, gardening, food preservation and whatever catches my fancy.  http://www.paleopassage.com

Offline NoahsArk

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #46 on: March 23, 2013, 04:55:46 AM »
@mxitman         I am in NorCal.. You are on my side of the US..Do you really think that you can build one of these machines? What do you think it would cost? I am REALLY interested...Thanks!!! :-)
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Offline TexasGal

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #47 on: March 26, 2013, 07:56:17 PM »
 :popcorn:

Offline mxitman

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #48 on: March 27, 2013, 11:45:30 AM »
Yeah I could definitely make one, I was thinking that maybe making one and renting it out might be more suitable for someone or even prepper type groups. I figured a smaller 120V model might be best for most people rather than trying to wire it in to 240V, but of course both models could easily be made.

I figured the cost around $1800-$2500 to build from scratch, and that's just the cost of the materials not the labor, shipping and the R&D needed to get it dialed in.

I just don't have the time or space right now to play around with building one, were looking to move next year where I will have a regular shop space to make this sort of thing.Right now I'm watching the kids and trying to run a small business from home...I have barely enough time for that.

But I will keep it on the list of to do projects and hopefully next year I can report back on a working model. I bet if you owned one of these and and a #10 canner you could rent it out as a set for $250 a weekend or $500 a week and really make some money.

Rick
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I'd rather have it and not need it, than not have it when I do need it.

Offline doublehelix

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2013, 01:22:12 PM »
Completely jealous.

I've been looking for a functional one of these for a while.

Offline SuperPrep

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #50 on: April 07, 2013, 10:23:46 PM »
This machine looks pretty awesome! I am new to these boards, but am a bit of a prepper myself. I am curious, have you tried to freeze-dry any pasta dishes? Surprisingly, a friend of man has started a business that manufactures freeze dry machines for in-home use. I tried some simple things that he had freeze dried with a machine in his home (strawberries, bananas, pineapple, plums) and it tasted awesome! I'm wondering if there is a way to make smoothies with freeze dried fruits/vegetables (they are the only way my kids will eat healthy). I think the machines cost between $5000-$7000. I"m saving up right now to buy one. I asked him if it would be ok to put his email on here and he said that it would would be fine. It is matt.neville2@gmail.com. I'll try and take of picture of one so that you can see it. It looks sweet!

Offline Renman

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #51 on: April 08, 2013, 11:19:50 AM »
Yes.  Sorry for the delay.  PM me a mailing address and I'll copy the manual and send to you.  I would scan it but since I went to Windows 7 a few years ago my scanner doesn't work (no drivers that work).

Mine is a 2452' by the way.  Others will be similar but not identical.  I yours is also a NorthStar BE CAREFUL if mucking around in the electrical panel.  Shi stuff is energized in there when it's not supposed to be.  I think the guys that build these things were also in charge of space shuttle o-rings and 787 batteries.


New to the forum and of course awed by all the knowledge available. I too would be interested in a manual if you have one you could share. More than willing to pay for postage and or copying.  Thanks.

Cliff

Offline PureMilkFarms

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #52 on: March 27, 2014, 03:13:20 PM »
Hi NaG are you still willing to rent out your freeze dryer.  I understand you live in TX if so please reply thanks

Offline Erigorn

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #53 on: March 27, 2014, 10:56:10 PM »
This machine looks pretty awesome! I am new to these boards, but am a bit of a prepper myself. I am curious, have you tried to freeze-dry any pasta dishes? Surprisingly, a friend of man has started a business that manufactures freeze dry machines for in-home use. I tried some simple things that he had freeze dried with a machine in his home (strawberries, bananas, pineapple, plums) and it tasted awesome! I'm wondering if there is a way to make smoothies with freeze dried fruits/vegetables (they are the only way my kids will eat healthy). I think the machines cost between $5000-$7000. I"m saving up right now to buy one. I asked him if it would be ok to put his email on here and he said that it would would be fine. It is matt.neville2@gmail.com. I'll try and take of picture of one so that you can see it. It looks sweet!



I met Matt NeVille at an Expo in Salt Lake City. He was selling his residential use Freeze Dryer. I was quite impressed and am trying to figure out how to afford it.
He said they used to sell for 6500 but now his volumes are up and has recouped some of his R&D costs so he can sell them for 4500. He offered me a show special for a bit less than that. The thing is really nice. runs off 110V and all self contained. It is about 2x2 in the footprint and maybe 3.5 tall. It has an auto moisture sensor and claims to be as simple and press start and it runs on its own. Obviously not the size of these large ones but his website says it will do about 1.5-2 #10 cans worth in a batch. His cycle time is 24-27 hours.

I've been trying to think of a way to get the cost down either by referring a lot of people to him or getting him to be a TSP sponsor or come on the show but haven't pursued it much. Would love to have one but man you can buy a lot of freeze dried food for 4k.  Renting out for a week at a time in a small portable unit has some potential but with the smaller batch sizes i don't know how much you could charge.

His website is www.harvestright.com. He sell some other geodesic greenhouses and shelters.

Offline Jarrett2800

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #54 on: April 07, 2014, 08:35:47 PM »
Ice cream will blow up like yours if you use a cheap product. Reason for this is they inject air into the ice cream to make it "fluffy". The vacuum expands the air causing the ending results. I haven't seen it for myself until now but I have read it in my freeze dryer manual.

Offline doublehelix

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #55 on: May 06, 2014, 01:05:54 PM »
Wow, the NorthStar's have suddenly gotten popular.

I was quoted $20K for a used unit delivered.

Not in my price range unless I make it into a business.

Anybody finding these cheaper anywhere out there??

Offline GottaGo323

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #56 on: June 16, 2014, 08:58:34 PM »
<imagine emoticon eating popcorn here>

Offline Insidious

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #57 on: June 21, 2014, 08:52:53 PM »
An ad for this unit showed up in Backwoods Home Magazine this month:

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

Has anyone tried one?
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Offline mxitman

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2014, 10:01:37 PM »
I saw the ad as well, and looked into at their website but there is little to no info available as to the specs of the unit, will need to email to get the low down I suppose, cost is $3900 though and if it's only running on 10-12 amps @ 120V would take awhile to some things but if built right would be a good purchase I think...I still think if you were in the right area you could market one of these as a rental unit, just mount it to an aluminum hand truck/cart for easy transport and rent them out for $100 a week or something like that.
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I'd rather have it and not need it, than not have it when I do need it.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Finally Got My Freeze-Dryer
« Reply #59 on: June 21, 2014, 11:46:01 PM »
An ad for this unit showed up in Backwoods Home Magazine this month:

Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

Has anyone tried one?

Here's a thread started by someone who bought one.

http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=49103.msg563125#msg563125
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