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Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review


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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review

Viewing 22 posts - 1 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #3732100
    Drew Smith
    BPL Member

    @drewsmith

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review

    The Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer is a fantastic – and fantastically expensive – way to prepare backpacking meals.

    #3732171
    marjolein Keuning
    BPL Member

    @laincha

    Locale: netherlands

    I must say I sometimes get so tired of gear reviews of things we don’t need. Does anyone here share my concern about the resources we have available on this planet? About the pfas in our goretex clothes? About the attraction of simplicity in hiking in nature, and the ridiculous amount of stuff we amass trying to find this simplicity? This seems yet another example of things we don’t need. And yes, of course I’m also vulnerable to being exposed to things that may seem my hike will be better, I will be warmer, my gear will be lighter still. So that’s why I would prefer this website to be more about the experience, and less about stuff we can easily do without…..

    #3732172
    JCH
    BPL Member

    @pastyj-2-2

    It’s a niche within a niche market for sure.  I’m perfectly happy with the results from my 8 year old $60 dehydrator.  Only thing I haven’t been happy with is dehydrating chicken but it’s easy enough to purchase freeze-dried chicken.

    #3732173
    Mike M
    BPL Member

    @mtwarden

    Locale: Montana

    interesting

    I’ve gone to straight freeze-dried meals for my suppers (Peak Refuel to be specific) higher calories, more protein, better tasting.  They are spendy at $10-12 a pop, but I figure I’m not eating them every night so what the heck.  Thirty to forty nights out a year equates to roughly $300-400 annually.  It would be many years before I could recoup and savings.

    The ability to put exactly what you want into your meals and then put exactly how much you want in each meal is appealing, but not quite $2800 appealing :)

    #3732174
    NoCO-Jim
    BPL Member

    @noco-jim

    Locale: NoCO

    +1 Mike M

    #3732175
    Carlo D
    BPL Member

    @chdade

    Interesting. The variety of freeze dried meals & number of companies offering them is growing, so that kinda cuts down the need for this. Also, it’s getting easier to find freeze dried components like meat, eggs, potatoes & peppers, etc., to assemble your own. If I get out a dozen nights a year, I can easily find 8 to ten pre made meals that I really want to eat, & I can even substantially tweak these by adding other freeze dried components. (Don’t think this works with dehydrated because reconstitution time). But, even if that weren’t the case, the return on investment on this would be waaaay too long in exchange for marginal improvement of getting exactly what one wants to eat on the trail. But, I could see this working in some sort of a shared arrangement where a club or store or something like that charges to use it. I’d pay to freeze dry some components I can’t find e.g., my fav salsa, maybe also a meal or two…

    And please keep articles line this. Site has a good variety. Plenty of stuff in which I’m not interested (but I assume others are) that I just skip but plenty of stuff in which I’m interested.

    #3732176
    Kevin Babione
    BPL Member

    @kbabione

    Locale: Pennsylvania

    I have no need for one, but I was surprised that a freeze-drier was not more expensive.  I agree, unless you get out 100+ nights a year it’s probably overkill, but if I had 10 friends who could use it as well, the cost per person drops to something quite reasonable.

    I appreciate learning about things like this.

    #3732190
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    It does seem like a great way to meet other preppers in your neighborhood –  by sharing the machine.

    I’ll observe that when we get berries in the Fall, we get a whole bunch at one time.  And, sure, freeze-drying 7 pounds of them would help, but if you can’t do another batch for 3 days, that’s a big throughput limit.  Even more so with harvested meat or fish.  It tends to go like this:

    {this image removed by moderators: flagged by google bots as inappropriate 🙄; image description: a pickup full of healthy meat…}

    Or like this:

    and then you have a lot of meat to deal with THAT EVENING.

    OTOH, I assume if you freeze it immediately and accept 3 or 6 days of freezer-burn, you could put those next batches in right from the freezer.

    I couldn’t find anywhere on their site the wattage of the vacuum pump.  That could add up over 3 days per batch.  I’d think it’s at least 1/4-hp.  If so, that’s $3.22/batch at my electric rates.  And if it’s 3/4-hp, then it’s $10/batch.  Plus the refrigeration equipment.  If Ryan put an energy monitor ($15-$30 from Amazon or eBay) on the unit and its vacuum pump in future tests, we could find out:

    #3732195
    James L
    BPL Member

    @bikemerchant

    Thanks for reviewing this. I have one and I love the flexibility it gives my family. Those of you that have just one person backpacking, I get that it is hard to justify. But for me, we backpack and camp as a family. It also has opened up a wider variety of recipes than commercial meals. Yes, even with the growth of small companies making meals. In CA, I’ve calculated it at about $3-4 per batch. Adding in food costs it’s way lower than the cost of cottage freeze-dried food manufacturers.

    For future reviews, I’d like to see more info about food safety. Not just for freeze-dried food but for home dehydrated and commercial foods that will last a month or two.

    #3732206
    Ken White
    BPL Member

    @kenw

    I’ve had the mid-sized one for three years with the oil free pump. Yes, it is expensive, and the vacuum is noisy. I’m out at least thirty nights a year so it will take time to pay for itself. BUT, I’m totally in control of my food and seasonings. I’m freeze drying persimmons as I type and seasonal fruit on the hike is so tasty. Single items like eggs or complex meals are easy. It’s a guilty pleasure, but one that works for me.

    #3732217
    matthew k
    Moderator

    @matthewkphx

    I don’t get out anywhere near enough for this to make sense (plus we have an 800 sq/ft home) but I love the idea of having FD takeout Chinese food from my favorite restaurant when backpacking.

    Also I think I recall seeing that RJ had FD’ed some guacamole which sounds like an amazing, high calorie, compact option.

    #3732227
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    Sometimes, it’s not about how often you get out, but what you can eat: hike with someone with a medical dietary restriction once or twice – or, even better, hike with them in a different country/culture – and you’ll quickly see how items like this one can have a place in your life’s arsenal.  I see this as just another example of how my journey is different than yours, and everyone else’s, and vice-versa.  Decent read: thanks.

    #3732245
    Jean Swann
    BPL Member

    @angelfire

    Locale: Middle Georgia

    Thank you so much for this article! I have been at least mildly interested in this machine for several years, but I didn’t know any details about it. I can’t wait to read subsequent articles giving a more in-depth look.

    #3732262
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    I concur with Bonzo. In addition, we eat freeze-dried ingredients as a practice in our daily diet – we spend a bit of time living in remote areas without access to quality produce, Costco, etc., and freeze-dried foods can really help maintain a high-quality, nutritious diet. Then we can purchase local foods seasonally (e.g., farmers market produce), freeze-dry a bunch, and have access to them throughout the winter, when we’re traveling, etc.

    #3732349
    humorless
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    Not everything comes down to a cost-benefit ratio, at least not for me. If I had the money and was still backpacking frequently I’d buy one of these in a heartbeat, regardless of whether or not (and it would be not) I’d save any money in the process. Sometimes something that just makes you smile more is worth the cost, for me anyway.

    #3732369
    Greg F
    BPL Member

    @greglena

    I appreciate these articles even if I can’t currently justify buying one.  I think of it as new technology, and some backpackers will be early adopters. Eventually the market gets large enough and the prices will come down a little more.

    #3732483
    Drew Smith
    BPL Member

    @drewsmith

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Wow – some great comments here, thank you all.

    There are some good ideas for future installments of this series. This is good, as Ryan asked for a dozen articles and I could only come up with ideas for about 8 on my own.

    A lot of concern about cost here, and rightly so. I’ll dig into costs and benefits in more detail in a future installment. The gist of it, for me anyway, is that the investment doesn’t work if you only use it for backpacking and only use it for yourself.


    @David
    Thomas – I have a Kill-a-Watt meter. Your calculations are on the high side, but pretty close. More details to come when I write about cost-benefits.

    #3732589
    Drew Smith
    BPL Member

    @drewsmith

    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    @JCH – try dehydrating canned chicken from the grocery store. It is pressure-cooked and rehydrates well. Better yet, you can pressure cook it yourself if you have an InstantPot. I recommend getting boneless thighs – they are cheaper than breast meat (canned chicken is expensive) and thigh meat tastes more chicken-y. Add white wine or vegetable broth in the pressure cooker for added flavor and nutrition. Pressure-cooking also works well on pork shoulders.

    #3732789
    Kelly C
    BPL Member

    @drsolarmolar-2

    Great topic!  Part of the reason I come to BPL is for things I know I’ll never do or gear I’ll never have.  If all this site did was talk about gear I already have it wouldn’t provide much value.  Looking forward to more of this!

    #3732790
    JCH
    BPL Member

    @pastyj-2-2

    @DrewSmith – Thanks for the suggestion, I will give it a try.  We just happen to have some canned chicken on the shelf that I couldn’t bring myself to open…maybe this will rehabilitate it into something than can be used :)

    #3732854
    Jon Solomon
    BPL Member

    @areality

    Locale: Lyon/Taipei

    Trying to get one of these to Europe would probably double the cost.
    One thing that air dryers don’t do well are oily foods.
    I mostly cook Chinese and Asian style meals. Works okay for me but a freeze dryer would take it to a whole ‘nother level.

    #3736704
    Walter Isenberg
    BPL Member

    @wisenber

    It’s nice to see a freeze dryer covered on here. For those with specific dietary desires on the trail, this is certainly something to consider. Being able to preserve fruit and vegetables in season without canning is also a big plus.

    For a  solitary weekend hiker with no interest in other applications for the device, I can see where it’s not of interest. However for families, groups, gardeners, fishermen, berry pickers, etc., the utility can exceed the cost. The longevity of the end product (and retained nutrients) certainly pose a compelling option to dehydrating.

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