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They could have a difficult time getting parts. We are slow at work because of the microchip shortage, and we don't do anything with chips.......
They seem to be getting them out. I’ve been following a couple freeze drying groups, building my knowledge base before it gets here, and people seem to be getting them anywhere between 2 and 12 weeks. It appears to depend on the configuration you ordered. They build in batches, and you get yours when the next run of that configuration is done.

Unfortunately, I adhered to the “buy once; cry once” philosophy, and ordered the top-end consumer model, so the runs are probably less frequent.
 

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The machine has arrived. After running the post-assembly function checks, and a sacrificial batch of vinegar-soaked bread to get the new-car smell out of it, we have our first batch going. I think I have a pretty good handle on it after reading as much as I could, but we still wanted to experiment and get a first-hand feel for it, so we put in a mixed batch of as many different things as we could think of. It’s got about a pound each of apples, oranges, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, peas, zucchini and butternut squash in it. It should be done sometime tomorrow evening or Tuesday morning.

Next up, I have 40# of ground beef that I bought specifically to freeze dry, and a couple gallons of different broths that have been taking up room in the freezer. That should keep it going for about a week.

I had recently installed a power-metering kit on my breaker box that allows me to individually monitor up to 16 different circuits at a time. At the $0.11/kWh we pay, this machine will cost about $1.80 per 24 hrs, with most batches of 12-15# of food taking about 20-40hr to process.
 

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I finally bit the bullet and put my order in today. The wife and I looked at them a few times in the past, but then spent the month since I saw this thread researching them further. They’re running a “sale” (I’ve found that they’re pretty much always on sale), but also free shipping which is supposedly only done periodically. Being that it comes LTL on a pallet, from UT to NC is probably not a cheap shipping charge.

They say 10-12 weeks, but the sales rep told me they’re generally much quicker than that. I figure it will still be at least July or August before it gets here. It’s pretty telling about our times that a company that makes a $4k food preservation machine currently has a 2-3 month backlog.
They cost ?$4000.00
 

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I've been following this thread with interest....

$4000.00??

I'd be dead before it paid off - forgedaboutit.


:LOL: But true...
 

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They cost ?$4000.00
They can. The two biggest up charges are for capacity and the type of vacuum pump you get. The full-spectrum price range is $2,400 - 5,100, depending on which options you get. I researched it for a year or so before I purchased and ended up going with almost the top-end model, but not quite (for a mechanical reason I’d decided against).

No matter how you cut it, it’s a big investment when you consider that a pressure canner can be bought for $50, and a dehydrator can be made for $0- both of which are already in our arsenal for putting food by. It is a fairly unique capability, though. The food can last 10-20 times as long, retains significantly more of the nutrition and calories than either method, and, in most cases, doesn’t lose as much of the fresh texture as canning or dehydrating.

I suppose where the real cost justification comes in is if you’re already buying or planning to buy freeze dried food as part of your preparedness plan. You could easily come out net-positive on putting up just a 3-4 month food supply for two people, and have much better quality food than you’re going to buy pre-packaged. Price out an actual 3-month supply of freeze dried food for one person and you’ll see that the appliance is the cheap part.

ETA: and, if coming out truly $$-positive is a requirement, look into what it does to store-bought candy. It is not at all something I’d thought about or planned in, but there are folks who have paid off their appliances by selling processed Skittles, salt water taffy, and Milk Duds at the farmers or flea market in just a couple months. I’ve met a few people on the web who’ve put in a half-dozen machines, and keep a commercial kitchen license, and freeze-drying is now their job. It’s crazy.
 

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These are freeze dried Skittles, if you’re curious (I was)
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They come out completely dry, and the consistency and texture of a Cocoa Puff or Captain Crunch Berry. All the flavor is there, but they don’t stick to your teeth at all. Apparently Milk Duds blow up to the size of a marshmallow, but I haven’t tried those yet. The process is such that candy can be thrown in at the end of a proper batch, and come out like this 4-5 hours later.

People will put a $5 bag of Skittles in their machine, spend about $0.75 in electricity and another $5.00 in packaging, and sell them for $50.

I’m not planning to go that route, but someone with an existing produce stand could clean up doing candy.
 

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Seriously, people go crazy for the candy. This is, by my calculation, $11.34 worth of Skittles, $0.38 worth of electricity (half a batch), and an $0.18 ziplock bag, so $11.90 in COGS, for an $85.00 sack of candy (and that’s the “bulk” price; most people who sell them sell in 2-3 oz bags).

 

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We have a freeze dryer. We've not done candy yet but we are going to do some Ice cream sandwiches pretty soon. So far we've done eggs (lot's of eggs), chicken, ham, asparagus, blue berries (which didn't work very well), cherries (which also didn't work all that well), strawberries, onions, potatoes and zucchini. The cherries and blue berries didn't work out well I think because of the skin, but that's something we still working on. Everything else has done just fine. Next on the list is more complex food like stews and things like that, complete meals. I have to admit that it's pretty cool to put 18 eggs into a quart bag having it weight about 4 oz.
 
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We have a freeze dryer. We've not done candy yet but we are going to do some Ice cream sandwiches pretty soon. So far we've done eggs (lot's of eggs), chicken, ham, asparagus, blue berries (which didn't work very well), cherries (which also didn't work all that well), strawberries, onions, potatoes and zucchini. The cherries and blue berries didn't work out well I think because of the skin, but that's something we still working on. Everything else has done just fine. Next on the list is more complex food like stews and things like that, complete meals. I have to admit that it's pretty cool to put 18 eggs into a quart bag having it weight about 4 oz.
We’re going to try eggs soon. That’s one of the things we were most excited by when we made the decision to buy one. I’d had freeze dried scrambled eggs before and was never much impressed, but I gather that the commercial companies pre-cook them (for regulation?) and that makes them reconstitute rubbery. Supposedly freeze drying them raw, and powdering them (and labeling them as such!), makes them indistinguishable from fresh.

Have you tried broth yet? It seems silly to go to the trouble, but it was one of the first things that we needed to do, to free up space in the freezer. Two gallons FD and powder down to a pint. Our broth now sits in the cabinet with our spices, and 1 tbsp out of a Ball jar makes a cup of broth. We keep a Food Saver with a jar attachment on our counter, so we just reseal the jar after we use some out of it.
 

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We’re going to try eggs soon. That’s one of the things we were most excited by when we made the decision to buy one. I’d had freeze dried scrambled eggs before and was never much impressed, but I gather that the commercial companies pre-cook them (for regulation?) and that makes them reconstitute rubbery. Supposedly freeze drying them raw, and powdering them (and labeling them as such!), makes them indistinguishable from fresh.

Have you tried broth yet? It seems silly to go to the trouble, but it was one of the first things that we needed to do, to free up space in the freezer. Two gallons FD and powder down to a pint. Our broth now sits in the cabinet with our spices, and 1 tbsp out of a Ball jar makes a cup of broth. We keep a Food Saver with a jar attachment on our counter, so we just reseal the jar after we use some out of it.
We do raw scrambled eggs, and they work great with about a 1 to 1 or 1 to 1.5 ratio of eggs to water. The cooked chicken reconstitutes almost instantly. We've not done any soups or broths yet, but that's going to happen. I bet it will take a bit of time to freeze dry due to the moisture level. We have a Food Saver also but I would really like to get a chamber vacuum sealer that will do mylar and retort bags. They are however kind of expensive.
 

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We do raw scrambled eggs, and they work great with about a 1 to 1 or 1 to 1.5 ratio of eggs to water. The cooked chicken reconstitutes almost instantly. We've not done any soups or broths yet, but that's going to happen. I bet it will take a bit of time to freeze dry due to the moisture level. We have a Food Saver also but I would really like to get a chamber vacuum sealer that will do mylar and retort bags. They are however kind of expensive.
Chili was a success. I wanted to try some before I put too much on the shelf so I ate one tonight.
This is what came out of one of my packets:
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I weighed the chili before FDing it, weighed it after, and weighed it going into the bags. I did the math and it said 0.66# of water came out of the portion in each bag. That comes to almost exactly 1 1/4 cup of water.

I poured 1 1/4 cup of water in the bowl, let it sit for a minute, and gave it a stir. This is the result:
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A quick trip through the microwave, and I don’t think I could have picked it out from chili I made yesterday, took out of the fridge and reheated.

That may end up being the best part of going through the trouble and expense of setting up to FD: it’s MY chili. I generally like chili, but I also like my chili the best. I could buy FD chili, but there’s no guarantee how much I’d like it. This makes my prep-food my comfort-food.
 

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That may end up being the best part of going through the trouble and expense of setting up to FD: it’s MY chili. I generally like chili, but I also like my chili the best. I could buy FD chili, but there’s no guarantee how much I’d like it. This makes my prep-food my comfort-food.[/QUOTE]


If nothing else had me convinced that I need a freeze dryer, it would be this right here.
 
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