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By Kerry Beal
I'm a bit of a food geek - I've got a lab background and often fall back on familiar lab equipment for various projects that I'm playing with. I have an extensive collection of graduated cylinders, beakers, flasks, thermometers, refractometers...
Back in 2006 I purchased a used lab vacuum microwave from e-bay - cost me somewhere in the range of a hundred bucks. Never did get it to work the way I had hoped though.
I've been watching freeze driers on e-bay for about 10 years - seriously considered a couple of them - but they were rather huge - would have taken up the better part of the garage. They were also 220 V. I have 220 in my chocolate room - but there is a limit to the number of things I can plug in there. Also some had been used to freeze dry dead animals - which I didn't think would provide me with a food safe unit!
Back in early August Ninagluck posted about a Sosa product called Airbag - it's pork skin granules that you use as breading. That got me started looking at freeze driers again.
I discovered that a company in Utah was making a home unit - 110V - about the size of a small freezer. Well - conveniently Chocolot lives in Utah and it just so happened she was heading to the area the day after I contacted her - so off she went to check this out for me. She was sent home with some samples of things they had dried that she then dipped in chocolate and returned to them.
Pictures arrived - contacts were made - and the rest is history. Chocolot has been back there several times - getting the fellows who manufacture the units to freeze dry different products that she wants to play with. Bet it won't be long before she has one too!
It arrived on Wednesday - hubby took it down to his workshop and unpacked it. I had to wait until Friday to grab a cart from Uline to put it on - 'cause after hubby saw it he decided the cart I had earmarked for it was not suitable! Today finally he adjusted the door which had gone off a little in transport, hooked up the vacuum pump, pulled out the drain hose from it's hiding spot. There are a couple more things he needs to do with it before he will release it into my care. So with any luck by tomorrow afternoon I can start on my first project.
Hubby working on the vacuum pump.
In the next post I'm going to explain a bit about the theory of freeze drying - but I'm hoping this thread will serve as a bit of a journal of my experiments - and I hope others might jump in if they get bitten as badly as me. I think it would be a good place to talk about commercial freeze dried products as well.
Hi. Found this forum via a search engine regarding home freeze drying. Thanks for adding me to the community.
We are about 6 weeks into exploring this addictive process and try to run it as often as possible with a variety of meats, vegetables and other good stuff (lets not forget ice cream sandwiches).
Located in the Little Rock, AR area. Looking forward to sharing experiences.
By Mr. Mike
CALLING ALL FREEZE DRYER OWNERS:
Project: Freeze Drying: A Quick reference guide for Tips, Hints and FAQ’s for Freeze Drying. i.e. Collector document.
As part of trying to organize all the different questions and topic discussed, I made a proposal to organize the different topics for new and seasoned owners for their results and experiences in using our freeze dryers.
We have support from the higher ups for organization, editing and posting this Freeze Drying Reference Guide.
Food drying is ONE of many topics that will be addressed in this reference guide.
Next: an outline for the Food drying results section.
Well, I've been trolling eBay for a while now, and finally found one of these beasts in good condition at a reasonable price. Now the fun starts...
I'm brainstorming ideas on what to do with it. Gourmet astronaut ice cream? Crispy cheesecake? Some weird variant on beef jerky?
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