Available Only From Harvest Right
Not Yet Rated Reviewed by SusanRating:
With the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, it is now possible for home users to make freeze dried foods that meet their own specific needs. This is a freeze dry machine that functions similar to industrial equipment but is designed for average home users in terms of size, capacity, ease of use, and affordability.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and this review provides the details to help you decide. The manufacturer has also created a comprehensive website that can answer all your questions, so for even more in depth information be sure to check out the Harvest Right site.
You may also want to read our “Freeze Dryer for Home Use” article for general information about this model and an overview of the freeze drying process.
(Or stay right here to read our complete Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review!)
Table of Contents (Click a topic to read ahead!)
- Large 4-Tray Capacity (stainless steel trays)
- Digital Display Panel
- Commercial Grade Vacuum Pump
- Made in U.S.A.
- Available in 6 colors
- Standard 110 Volt
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
Most important for newcomers to this process is to be aware that freeze drying is not the same as dehydrating. Dehydration shrinks foods and changes the texture, which of course is exactly what you want when making something like jerky. If that’s your purpose, then you need look into getting an Excalibur.
On the other hand, freeze dried foods retain their original size, shape and color. All the moisture has been removed, so they are very light weight.
With very few exceptions (see Capacity & Performance), the freeze drying process produces excellent results on just about any foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, most dairy (cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, etc. but not butter), fruits, vegetables, casseroles, complete meals, leftovers, and desserts.
This machine was designed to be very user friendly for do-it-yourselfers. As you’ll see in the short video below, there are no complicated settings. The only learning curve you may experience is in how you prep certain foods for faster processing or better results.
Otherwise it’s all automatic. You press “start”, and you’re done. There is no guessing because the unit will sense when the food is ready, stop the cycle, and alert you with a beep. The usual running time is about 24 hours, but some foods can take much longer.
On average the Harvest Right pulls approximately 990 to 1210 watts of power per hour, but at peak that can range up to as much as 1870 watts. It uses standard 110 Volt power, and the manufacturer recommends a dedicated 20 amp circuit. (These are most often found in kitchens for refrigerators and other large appliances, but these type circuits are also required for other uses such as a treadmill or for power tools in a garage or storage room.)(Back to Top)
Size & Weight
Exterior Dimensions: 30″ tall x 20″ wide x 25″ deep
Weight: Slightly over 100 pounds
Notice that the vacuum pump sits alongside the main unit, requiring a little extra room you must allow for.
This home freeze dryer makes a large footprint and is quite heavy for frequent moving, so do consider your available space. If you don’t want to give it a permanent space in your kitchen, a wheeled cart might be ideal. Another factor to consider is that when the pump kicks on it does make some noise. If you love your peace and quiet then a walk-in pantry or nearby storeroom might be a better location for your unit.
Setup & Operation
While there may be nothing familiar about setting up your new equipment, it isn’t difficult. You can see for yourself in this short 3 1/2 minute video:
If you do run into any glitches, call customer support. I’ve found numerous reports that they are friendly and extremely helpful.(Back to Top)
Capacity & Performance
The four trays in this freeze dryer will hold 6 to 10 pounds of food. Of course your total capacity depends on what you’re processing as the amount of air and liquid in foods varies greatly. For example, a pound of ground beef equals about 2 cups, where as a pound of fresh okra will give you around 4 1/2 cups.
One nice thing about freeze drying is that you don’t have to worry about mixing flavors. Here’s a quick video showing an entire ham dinner placed in the unit at once:
Time required for freeze drying will vary depending on the type of food, and also on several factors, including:
- thickness of food slices or chunks – recommended standard is no more that 1/2 inch
- temperature of food when placed in freeze dryer (obviously, if you pre-freeze food as you prep it, you’ll reduce total processing time)
- liquid content of food (for example, fruits may take much longer to freeze dry than meats)
The only performance issues I’ve come across related to user inexperience. One example is disappointing results with grapes, blueberries, and cherry tomatoes. The problem is that these are high moisture foods with thick skins, which makes it difficult to completely pull out all the moisture. The solution is to halve such foods before freeze drying. That will produce better results and also speed up your processing time.
About the only foods that do not work well are those with extremely high fat content. Cheese, yogurt and most dairy products work fine, but not butter. One user described his attempt at freeze drying butter as a spectacular failure, but the good news is it taught him that the interior of this machine is very easy to clean.
Two other foods that don’t work are hot dogs and bologna, but who cares? Read the ingredient labels and you’ll never want to eat them again anyway. (Go ahead, look up “meat trimmings” and “mechanically separated chicken”.)(Back to Top)
- Commercial Grade Vacuum Pump
- 4 Stainless Steel Trays
- Instruction Manual
Note that the exterior vacuum pump will be shipped to you in a separate box.
The machine itself has no accessories, but you will need to consider how you plan to store your dried foods. Options include:
Vacuum Sealed Plastic Bags – These work only for short term storage.
Canning Jars – These will work long term if you use oxygen absorbers and keep in a cool, very dark location.
#10 Cans – This can be an excellent choice for long-term storage, but be aware of the drawbacks: you’ll need a can sealer which is terribly expensive, and at times #10 cans can be hard to find.
Mylar Bags – This is most often considered the best option for numerous reasons, including a shelf life of up to 25 years. You do need an impulse sealer, but nothing horribly expensive. (Note that many of the most popular vacuum sealers do not work with mylar bags, so be sure to check for that feature before you buy.)
Bags and oxygen absorbers are available from the manufacturer, but it’s a good idea to also check the selection and prices on Amazon. Sometimes you can get a better deal on mylar bags and oxygen absorbers that are packaged in bundles.
To clear up any confusion, this freeze dryer is not sold on Amazon and is available only by direct purchase from the manufacturer. Yes, you will see some customer reviews on Amazon, but those pertain to the older, original Harvest Right model that is no longer available.
There is no way to provide the usual star rating for this product because you won’t find hundreds and hundreds of reviews about it on retail sites.
What you will find are posts from owners who have experience with the product. There are some on YouTube, but most are on blogs written by survivalists and others who are heavily invested in off-the-grid living or emergency prepping. That makes it more difficult to research because these reviews are scattered all over the web, and most of them are quite lengthy.
The good news is that these folks provide lots of quality information. The only complaints I found were written when the model was first released and applied to the original version. For instance, one user felt that the drain hose was to0 short for convenience. That is no longer a problem because after hearing this feedback, Harvest Right agreed it was a valid concern and started making a longer hose. Other changes were made and incorporated into the model that is now available.
Also worth mentioning is a 2014 buyer who received the wrong pump with his initial purchase (a cheaper versoin of the commercial grade model that is supposed to be included). This fellow emailed the company and got no response, but it turns out this was due to an internet outage. When management realized what had happened, by seeing this unhappy customer’s post in a forum, the owner of Harvest Right called the customer and immediately rectified the problem. The company sent this customer a new commercial grade pump and also told him he could keep the other pump in case he ever needed a backup.
As for recent reviews, all of those I’ve found that were written about this new model are positive. On a personal note, my only question would be the 1 year warranty. For an appliance in this price range that seems rather short, but then, maybe that’s just me. Anyway there is always the option of purchasing a separate appliance protection plan elsewhere.(Back to Top)
Pros & Cons
- Easy to operate and requires minimal maintenance.
- Produces high quality results with an extremely wide range of foods.
- Preserves original taste and texture of foods and retains most of the nutritional value.
- Offers longest possible shelf life, up to 25 years if stored properly.
- Package your food your way – enables you to meet your individual dietary needs, health requirements, and personal preferences.
- High end appliance may be cost prohibitive for some.
- Size may make it unsuitable for some kitchens.
- Not easily moved due to weight.
Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer Review: Summary
There is no question that freeze drying is one of the best methods of food preservation. It enables you to retain the original flavor and texture of foods and also maintain the highest nutrient level. For comparison, dehydration can destroy up to 50% of nutrients in some foods, whereas with freeze drying any loss of nutritional value is extremely small (zero in some cases).
This machine is certainly perfect for anyone seriously involved in preparing for long term, off-grid living. Even if that isn’t your intended purpose, it offers plenty of benefits. Stock your pantry with food that’s convenient, always fresh, free of unhealthy additives, and diet friendly for you. That includes delicious casseroles and even full meals that can be reconstituted and ready to eat in a snap.
Available Only From Harvest Right
For those who have the budget and the available space, the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer offers the ultimate in food preservation. This well built machine comes with stainless steel trays and a commercial grade pump, and its user friendly design makes it very simple to operate. At this early stage there is limited customer feedback, but the company is already establishing a reputation for excellent customer service after the sale.
If your interest is piqued but you still have questions, be sure to visit the Harvest Right website for answers and even more details. It will certainly be the most interesting appliance you own, and possibly the most fun too!(Back to Top)
“Aqua-calc Food Volume to Weight Calculator”, http://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/food-volume-to-weight
“American Institute for Cancer Research”, http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=9917&news_iv_ctrl=0&abbr=pr_
“Preparedness Pro”, http://www.preparednesspro.com/preparedness-pro-says-team-freeze-dried
“Prepared Christian”, http://preparedchristian.net/
“Survival Blog”, https://survivalblog.com/harvest-right-freeze-dryer-part-1-by-hjl/
“The Survivalist Podcast Forum”, https://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=49103.0