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  1. Freeze Dried Greek Yogurt Harvest Right Freeze Dryer (touchscreen) Quantity - 1 Quart (.946 liter) semi-liquid Ingredients: - 1 Tablespoon yogurt culture taken from unflavored or vanilla commercial yogurt (Chobani in my case) -Amount can be anything from a teaspoon to a tablespoon - not critical - 1 quart Half & Half (regular half&half, not the "light" stuff - and NO, this is not a fat-free food! ) - Clean containers and a small whisk or fork - Parchment paper for your trays Process: I use a home made sous-vide setup for my yogurt making, but use what you have as long as it can maintain a temp of 108F (42.2C) without overshooting more than a degree or two. If you have a commercial yogurt maker, check the temperature to be sure it's between 105 and 108F. Pour the half and half into a bowl and mix in the culture with a fork or whisk. Let this work for 12-15 hours in your yogurt maker/sous-vide gadget When the time is up, you will have a very solid chunk of yogurt. It should be the consistency of heavy sour cream when stirred. If you want flavored yogurt, now is the time to add fruit or flavors. I made some with pureed strawberry that came out very well. Plain, unsweetened seems more versatile, so that's what I usually make. (you may just want to eat your first batch to see if you like this full-fat style of yogurt, trying different flavors - it's very rich and wonderful!) Put parchment into your tray to prevent sticking, and spread the yogurt to about 1/2 inch thick, or freeze in a silicone bar mold like this http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003VPZ14Q and place the frozen bars on the tray. (This bar method works well for a lot of liquid/slurry items, especially for portions of sauce) Run the standard 9 hour freeze, 7 hour dry cycle. The product comes out as a brittle material that breaks down into fluffy powder, and should be carefully stored under vacuum or O2 free environment and well protected from light. It is unknown how long this will store due to the fat content (experiments ongoing), but it should do well properly stored. Reconstitute for use, or add to recipes. You can reconstitute with puree or juice for flavor.
  2. I've been FD'ing fresh spinach leaves for my wife. Turns out she really likes having them on hand! Whole leaves, or better yet shredded with the veggie-slicing blade in the Cuisinart (they pack in the tray better, but still are a bed about an inch thick). Standard HR cycle works fine for this. I think even a puree would work fine, depending on how large you want the chunks. They are delicate and don't stay whole, so slicing them is a good compromise. One thing I tried was putting the dried leaves into an electric spice/coffee grinder and making them into a verdant green powder. This has been getting added to things like burgers (mixed right in the meat) to add a bit of a nutritional boost. Haven't figured out an exact ratio of a tablespoon of powder to a number of baby spinach leaves, but the powder is pretty concentrated. It hides in the food well too, so makes a good fortifier. Stores in a small package, like a 4oz canning jar. Peas and carrots seem to work this way too, and you can make some interesting patterns with them. I'll be experimenting further along these lines.
  3. Agree entirely on the fittings! After many emails and phone calls to HR, some advice that didn't pan out, and some parts replacement, the unit is back in business! Turns out it was the wire passthrough for the heater wires. (had to replace the whole galvanized T piece with new wires in it) Seems they are epoxied in there, and in my experience passthroughs are a problem spot, so it's not at all surprizing that there was a slight leak there. In any case, I thanks the folks at HR for sending parts and sticking with me throughout. I did a couple of batches (peas and carrots, and another load of precooked chicken meatballs cut in half) and it all worked perfectly. Looking forward to trying out some new things and sharing the results.
  4. I think a community-built troubleshooting manual is a great idea. These machines are simple in some ways, and more complex in others, and having a lot of eyes on the problem is always good. You can count on me sticking around to talk about the food side of things! My wife looked at me a little oddly when I got the freeze dryer, but now she's a fan too. I'm discovering things that it can do that I hadn't expected, such as making low carb snacks. It's so much easier to stay on a low carb diet when you have things to nibble on. I've been drying meatballs (cut them in half first), and they make a fantastic savory snack. I'll post to the Tried and True thread when I get a chance. Thanks for the welcome!
  5. Hi everyone - new member to the forum, and I was drawn here by this thread. I have been using my HR freeze dryer for a few months now and it's been great. Reading about all your experiences shows that I'm not alone in loving this machine! . Lately, my machine has decided to be a pain. Wasn't drawing enough vacuum to cycle. Flush pump, clean out pump, and all that goodness, but still no luck. Have been working with HR to figure out what's going on, and they've been very responsive, so kudos to them. Still chasing the problem, however, so I thought I would ask the assembled experts here. A bit of background on me - I used to work in a sold state fabrication lab (university research lab) and had a lot of hands-on work with ultra-high vacuum equipment. The pumping we do for freeze drying was what was required to just start the "real" vacuum pumps on those machines, with ultimate vacuum levels a few more demial places over. I've chased many a leak in my time,but it was: A. Long ago. and B. I don't have the test equipment I did then. I guess what I'm saying is don't be afraid to get too technical with me in your answers. What I wouldn't give for a helium leak detector right now... OK, so what have I done thus far? Flush pumpClean pump interior and re-seat gasketFill with clean oilRun full system test with no food in chamber (results, 630 mTorr lowest steady reading - looking through the oil level window, some bubbling seen in oil even after an hour of pumpdown - some "air" noises from pump)Isolated pump by capping the stack (no meter to measure pressure, but no bubbling after a very short pumpdown - pump sounded normal for a high vacuum situation)Reinstalled the vacuum hose and capped far end of hose to do a hose test. (same results as pump alone)Reattached hose and ran another full system test (results, 750 mTorr lowest steady reading - looking through the oil level window, some bubbling seen in oil even after an hour of pumpdown - some "air" noises from pump)Upon turning off the pump (no isolation valve on the pump - standard setup), the chamber pressure rose quite rapidly going to 2000 mTorr and continuing up in a couple of minutes or so.Observations: Oil has remained clean and clear throughout testing, so it looks like it's well flushed.When isolated, the pump seems to behave well. Short of putting a meter on the pump, my impression is that it is operating properly. I'm considering investing in a good meter to verify that it is reaching a good ultimate vacuum.The hose appears to be OK, and by implication, the gaskets at the connections are working as well.The bubbling of the oil even after long pumpdown indicates a leak somewhere in the system.The differing vacuum levels during the system tests would be consistent with either a door seal leak or an drain valve leak.Wherever the leak is, the pump is unable to keep up.Door seal appears good against the plexiglass side, even stripe of contact, nice and wide. Inside gasket groove has been checked for debris and cracks. Looks OK, but the design seems odd to me!That's what I have so far. Thoughts?
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