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Kerry Beal

Freeze Driers and Freeze Dried Food (Part 1)

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If you add gelatin to orange juice it should dry well (like the freeze dried ice cream but crispier) I believe. Kerry, you may find that the result would be good enrobed in chocolate. If you reconstitute it however, it won't be pure orange juice.

 

Beth, you could use a Foodsaver to store it, but, you should include O2 absorbers in the package - and mylar would be a longer term storage solution. You can also use mason jars (if you have a jar vacuum attachment) but again, include an O2 absorber. My chamber vac can seal mylar (can't be done well with a Foodsaver) but you can also use a flat (or round if you are careful) hair straightener/curler or an iron to seal a wide strip across the top after vacuuming with your Foodsaver. Mylar is difficult to vacuum with a regular Foodsaver type machine however because the bags are completely smooth - it can be done by inserting a piece of a textured bag into the top but may not be worth the effort if you are doing many bags.

Wrote this in a hurry this morning .. before my coffee was fully imbibed. Sealing mylar can be done with a Foodsaver - I was thinking of sealing my retort bags (which are part mylar - inside - and paper - outside. That can be difficult even with many chamber vacs. I have found it difficult to get a good vacuum on mylar with the Foodsaver (or my Weston) however without inserting something with texture at the top of the bag while suctioning but perhaps the mylar I was using was much heavier.

 

Kerry ... there is a youtube video online where a guy is trying to make his own mini freeze drier and tests it with Jello. It yielded very crispy cubes of Jello. Using that same logic, I think if one used freshly juiced oranges (the juice from which is much thinner than straight from the can concentrate and hence should be much less sticky) it should work. What occurred to me when I saw that experiment was that I would love to try making tomato aspic 'cubes' or even Caesar 'cubes' to munch or add to drinks perhaps.


Edited by Deryn (log)

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Kerry,

Attached is a pic of what I am talking about.

Tighten the rings down and them back off about a quarder of a turn.I run the vacuum cycle for 30 seconds on my machine.

Pint size jars I can actually stand up in the vacmaster.

 

You could do something simliar with the HR itself. Just put the jars in the chamber and manually operate the vscuum pump

 

The only thing is to be real sure the jars have no cracks. I had a cracked jar that had a "blow in" and got glass all over the food inside .

II had to throw that whole jar away.

vac_ball.jpg


Edited by dbinokc (log)

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Deryn -- what is your source for retort bags?  I've asked google and I've asked in the chamber vacuum sealer thread but no one has been able to tell me where I could purchase them.

 

 

dbinokc -- I can fit a pint jar, on its side, in my Polyscience (I just checked!) but I don't understand what you are accomplishing by doing so?  Does the vacuum and inrush of air actually seal the jar like heating and cooling?  It sounds neat but possibly a little dangerous.

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When the vacuum is on, the air is drawn out through the loose fitting lid. When the air comes back into the chamber,, the air pressure forces the lid on tight. The ring is tightened to maintain the seal.

There is a little bit of a experimenting  to determine how much to loosen the ring without being too loose.  However I have found a about a quarter turn from fully tight is more than enough to ensure the air can get out and then have the lid reseat.

 

 

In what way would doing this be any more dangerous than what can be done with a foodsaver adapter?

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JoNorvelleWalker - sent you a PM but check out Vacupack.


Edited by Deryn (log)

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When the vacuum is on, the air is drawn out through the loose fitting lid. When the air comes back into the chamber,, the air pressure forces the lid on tight. The ring is tightened to maintain the seal.

There is a little bit of a experimenting  to determine how much to loosen the ring without being too loose.  However I have found a about a quarter turn from fully tight is more than enough to ensure the air can get out and then have the lid reseat.

 

 

In what way would doing this be any more dangerous than what can be done with a foodsaver adapter?

 

I didn't say it was, but I have never used a foodsaver.

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Here are some of the items I have dried and is by no means all I have done.

I have lots of pic of everything I've done... and continue to do both processing and sealing.

 

The pics here are of the finished product.... all dried ready for bags or #10 cans.

 

turkey pastrami

IMG_0357.JPG

 

Pizza topping- Italian sausage

IMG_0355.JPG

 

BBQ Ribs, chicken

IMG_1011.JPG

 

Loaded baked potato

IMG_1012.JPG

 

Pickles-peppers... Mushrooms- cooked .

Doing the pickles-peppers made them REALLY salty as a dried product... reconstituting should remove the saltyness.

IMG_1013.JPG

 

Cheese Omlet

IMG_2214.JPG

 

Grilled Veggies

IMG_2295.JPG

IMG_2298.JPG

 

Ham

IMG_2947.JPG

 

Ice cremes  Puddings, twinkies.

IMG_2952.JPG

 

I'll stop here as I don't want to make this post more humongus than I already have...

 

I have TONS more to show-post if there is interest in other foods and a few tricks I've developed for processing along the way.

 

Let me know if there is are any questions.

 

My Best,

 

Mr. Mike

 

P. S. Thanks to Smithy for the "how to post a pic" notes


Edited by Mr. Mike (log)
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I like the pictures. Have you tested all these as far as how well they rehydrate.

I am particularly intereested in the how the omlettes rehydrate.

I would definitely be interested in any tricks/techniques  you have learned so far.

 

I have done a few raw hamburger patties so far. One I tested right away and another I vacuum bagged and left sitting on my counter for a week.

Both cooked up just fine after rehydrating. However the vacuum sealed one took a little longer to rehydrate because I think the vacuum packing compressed

the burger meat which made it harder for the water to soalk in.

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Eggs:

 

Rehydration:

Cover  product with boiling water until soft.   Drain off excess and cook off excess as needed.

 

I eat the omelet-eggs dried… Omelets.. tasty good dried.   It does take a little “drink” to make it easier to go down and you do get filled up faster.  The wifee' loves eggs just seasoned n  scrambled.  She eats them on the drive to work.

 

IMG_2213.JPG

 

IMG_2214.JPG

 

TIP : Freeze liq. egg product flat in the freezer.  If you try to move liq. eggs in a tray, the product will slosh over the sides during transfer to the shelving and the machine rear tilt can allow eggs to over flow.  And THAT is a real pain to clean out.

 

TIP:  Four trays of liq egg product will overwhelm the machine with ice causing what I call a “false positive”.  The machine thinks it still needs to dry due to ice getting into the shelving-trays.  Three trays of lig. eggs is about right.  For the fourth shelf… dry shredded cheese.   It has a low moisture content.

 

The dried lig. eggs is like a flakey crystal powder.

IMG_4278.JPG

 

IMG_9594.JPG

 

TIP: I fill my mylar with a flexible cutting board rolled into the bag.  It makes filling very easy by keeping the bag open and makes for a very fast fill with any product... eggs, sourt  creme, to corn...anything.

 

IMG_4284.JPG

 

Hard boild eggs. Kinda flaky, crunchy.  i never rehydrated them... just gave them to others to eat.

 

IMG_3363.JPG

 

I made a pulled pork with egg and topped with cheese.  Really good.

 

IMG_4820.JPG

 

Hope this helps.

 

Mr. Mike


Edited by Mr. Mike (log)
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Great info Mike. Thanks.

I have found about 3 pounds of water to be the capacity of the freeze drier. I weigh everything that goes and limit it to three pounds for high moisture content foods

At some point I am going to try to make a moisture content chart so I can maximize the amount I put into the machine.

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Wow!  Mr. Mike, you are a wealth of info.  I'm enjoying your pictures a lot.  I'm actually starting to have a little freeze dryer envy.  I never thought I would want one.

 

I know what you mean, Shelby! It is very interesting. I'd love to see more pics. 

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Machine limits:

 

Meat-

8-10 lbs max depending on the cooked dryness or type..

 

Meat out of crock pot.. maaaybe 5-7 lbs max due to all the moisture.. like a pot roast...Canadian bacon-chicken.. I could go 10 lbs easy due to me grilling it to a very dry condition.  Meats.. you can't "over cook"..you can burn it .. but to over cook is making for a shorter run time or being able to have more quanitity in the tray.

 

Fruit. 

5 lbs max.... the first thin I did was 10 lbs of whole strawberries...after 2 days of drying STILL showed that it needed to be dried... I buckeled. .. opend the machine and saw the rack, trays encased in ice... couldn't even take the trays out of the rack. 

 

When I did get the trays out.. the strawberry centers were still cold.. indicating there was stil moisture and was not completly dried

 

5 lbs of fruit take about a good 36 hours.  So I dont do fruit anymore... my "time" is based on cycles and poundage/cycle and my processing time is valuable to me.

 

TIP. 3/8" is the max thickness "I" process food at...that's my rule... you can go up to 1/2" thick...but it takes longer to dry.

.

Some foods need to be portioned for easier removal and storage.. in mylar or  vac bag. 

Breaking up what I call "Slop Foods"  No pieces... just slop it on the tray like any noodle dishes, spaghetti, alfredo or a saucy, cheesey type food.  Make for easy removal with as little as possible sharp-broken pieces to puncture a bag. Everything is "smoothed out" as possible for rounded edges-pieces.

 

IMG_5052.JPG

 

You'll want to slop the product on the tray and then divide it with a spatula..  My testing was 6 portions per tray.. about 3" wide divisions worked best. for vac packaging as single servings --take away meals or being able to put many servings into a bag for easy insertion and compactly as possible.  This is a Mexican spaghetti receipe that is Killer good.

 

IMG_5053.JPG

 

IMG_5506.JPG

 

IMG_5507.JPG

 

As a former Process Engineer.. I look to optimize most everything.. Note:  I'm not your nerdy type with no personality.. most people would never guess me to be a former eng.

 

M


Edited by Mr. Mike (log)
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Wow!  Mr. Mike, you are a wealth of info.  I'm enjoying your pictures a lot.  I'm actually starting to have a little freeze dryer envy.  I never thought I would want one.

With your garden - it would be an ideal thing!  I have garden envy!

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Woefully under filled trays compared to Mikes!

 

IMG_1622.jpg

 

Some peach puree I found in the freezer along with meyer lemon slices.  

 

IMG_1623.jpg

 

Tofu - firm, medium and silken.  

 

IMG_1624.jpg

 

Tomatoes of course - they are just too nice this time of year not to take advantage.

 

IMG_1625.jpg

 

Anna's caramelized onions and Teonzo's albumin.  What would you like me to do with the albumin now Teo?

 

I haven't forgotten the stir fried eggplant yet - just looking for my roundtuit.

 

 

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Ok - trials of thai eggplants.

 

IMG_1626.jpg

 

Fresh.

 

IMG_1627.jpg

 

Conventionally frozen.  Fried from frozen.  

 

IMG_1628.jpg

 

Freeze dried and reconstituted.  These tasted a bit more 'raisiny' than the other.  

 

Liked the texture of the traditionally frozen most!

 

 

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My trays from the first unit are aluminum.. the rest are S. Steel.  I prefer the alum. it's lighter.

 

No I don't line with parchmant.  If I did ice creme- pudding again.. I would.

 

TIP.. I bought and extra set of trays to have product loaded and frozen (if needed) and that way I'm not rushed trying to package, defrost and load trays check and service oil etc..

 

I can defrost in about 20-30 min (process improvement) and get ready for the next cycle.

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I just unloaded some strawberries from the machine. The strawberries are from a bag of frozen strawberries from Sams. I remembered to measure the water extracted. For 48oz(3lbs) strawberries in, 42 ounces of water was extracted. So about 87% water content. Processing time was 27 hours.

 

It all fit into 2 one quart jars and one pint jar. I just loaded up some tomato paste. It is a bit thicker, so I loaded almost 7 pounds from a #10 can in. I probably will have to endure a defrost cycle, but maybe not.It definitely is not 87% water.

 

I guess at this point I am more interested in trying to create freeze dried starting ingredients rather than whole meals. Especially things I have a hard time keeping around because I would never use them fast enough.

 

Those freeze dried pasta meals that Mike has done sure look good though.


Edited by dbinokc (log)
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Ok - trials of thai eggplants.

 

 

Liked the texture of the traditionally frozen most!

Thank you so much for including traditionally frozen. I'll give that one a shot.


If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan

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 The corn was fresh frozen.

 

Just pull about 35 lbs of pork butt off the green egg... sliced and cooling for the machines tomorrow.

 

M


Edited by Mr. Mike (log)
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