Contributed By: Live. Life. Simple.
*If possible, PREFREEZE! Pre-freezing your food saves energy, saves wear and tear on your freeze dryer and makes your batch times faster. If you have a deep freeze, chest freezer or refrigerator that is running all the time anyway, and you have enough room to put a set of trays in there, why not utilize the freezing temps?
*Keep your freeze drying area well ventilated, climate controlled between 60-78 degrees. It may also be helpful to use a fan aimed at your pump and freeze dryer to help the freeze dryer run at optimal efficiency. Humidity and heat make the freeze dryer work extra hard to complete its job. You may also want to consider a dehumidifier in the room you are freeze drying in.
*If cooking oily meats or foods, rinse with water and pat oils and fats off with paper towels before freeze drying. A colander can be helpful for rinsing. This can be repeated as needed to extend storage time.
*When doing raw meats, raw eggs or other contagious foods, DO NOT mix with other foods in the cycle to avoid cross contamination. Also, don’t forget to label bags and anything that these foods come in contact with. You might remember the contents now, but you may not in the future.
*When doing onions, garlic or other potent and/or stinky foods, follow up with a batch of rice, soups, stir fries or complimentary type foods. This will remove most or all of the smells and add flavor to the follow up batch. If this does not help, or you do not want to do the follow up batch, see the next tip.
*To clean your freeze dryer and plexiglass door, DO NOT use bleach or harsh chemicals, they will deteriorate the glass, rubber seals and heat mats as well as potentially get into your food. Some suggested alternatives would be grain alcohol, Vodka, vinegar, rubbing alcohol but best of all, good ol’ fashioned soap and water with some elbow grease. These are just suggestions, please do your own research before cleaning with these. You can also watch this video! → https://youtu.be/THp4-Vsc4vY
*Weighing your food can be very beneficial in some cases. I prefer to add tray dividers from www.freezedryingsupplies.com to make this even more consistent and accurate. If you make all of your trays weigh close to the same, you can weigh all trays before and after the freeze drying process. This allows you pinpoint how much weight (in water) needs to be reintroduced.
* DON’T skip the defrost at the end of a cycle. For quick defrosting, PRESS and HOLD the leaf on the upper left of your home screen. This will allow you to manually turn on your tray heaters (as well as other tests). Place a clip on fan, similar to this one https://amzn.to/3LoUpzG aimed at your vacuum chamber. I like this one because it’s rechargeable and you don’t have to have another wire hanging in the way. The fan will move hot air around the chamber quicker than if you were to just do the defrost mode at the end of each cycle. This method usually only takes about 15-20 minutes to defrost instead of hours. DON’T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE HEATERS when you are done.
For lots of other ideas, helpful products, tips and tricks, watch the HARVESTRIGHT HACKS playlist
or visit our Harvestright Hacks Section in the Tips, Tricks & Tools
For streamlining your freeze drying process and food storage, see our products at: www.freezedryingsupplies.com