The freeze-drying process offers the flexibility to remove moisture content and preserve almost any fruit or vegetable. Take a look at our products, and you can see the variety – everything from apples to zucchini.
But apart from sheer variety, the major advantage of freeze-drying lies in the ability to produce clean, whole and nutritious food ingredients with a highly prolonged shelf life, making food products versatile, accessible and convenient
What is a Food Freeze dryer?
Food Freeze dryer, also called food lyophilizer，food vacuum freeze drying machine， is a machine that stores and preserves high-quality food by dehydrating food content. A freeze dryer works by freezing the food, then reducing the pressure and adding heat to allow the frozen water in the material to change directly to a vapor (sublimate).
Because of the low temperature used in processing,the quality of the rehydrated product is excellent, and the original shape of the product is maintained.Primary applications of freeze drying include meat, vegetables, fruits, aquatic products, soy milk, beverage, soup, health products etc.
Types of Food Freeze Dryer Machine
Home use food freeze dryer
A home freeze dryer is an electric appliance that removes 98% of moisture from food. Removing water in such a way makes it possible to save the freeze dried food for 20 – 25 years; sometimes longer. Freeze drying food also does a better job of preserving the character of the food and its nutritional value. With so many people today concerned about long term preparedness for themselves and their families, a freeze dryer is a simple, common sense solution.
A freeze dryer enables you to extend the shelf life of various foods from a matter of days or weeks to years or even decades. Freeze dried food has long been a staple of mountaineering and hunting. But it is only in recent years that it has begun to receive more widespread attention.
Freeze dried food is often confused with dehydrated food. But the two are actually very different, both in how they are produced, and the quality and shelf life of the finished product. Freeze dried food typically lasts much longer and retains more of the food’s nutrient profile and taste.
Recent events have caused many people to ask legitimate questions about their level of preparedness for different crisis scenarios. This, in turn, has brought a high level of focus on things like freeze drying, and whether there are any commercially available freeze dryers for home use. Fortunately, there are. Below are the best freeze dryers on the market today.
Pilot Scale food freeze dryer
Pilot scale freeze dryer is a small in-situ freeze-drying equipment. It is applied not only in pharmaceuticalpilot workshop and small batch production but also in food or medicinal freeze-drying process.It can be use all kinds of field, incldue food, meat, vegetables, fruit, pet food, herbs, sea food, etc.
Situ freeze-drying technology is one of advanced international constructer design which avoid the contamination during materials transfer and realize the dry sublimation automatically. Pilot freeze dryer is with rack heating programmable function and memory freeze-drying curve which convenient users to get the freeze-drying production technology.
It is divided into standard type and gland type.
Production Freeze Dryer for Food Industry
Production freeze dryer is widely used in food, fruit, vegetable, fish, sea cucumer, shrimp, meat drying industry. the dried product dried by freeze dryer is with good taste, beautiful color and good shape.
The freeze dryer’s working principle is based on vacuum freeze drying principle, the liquid in the material is freezed into solid shape quickly and then dried into gas type and be put out of the machine, so the material get dried.
Advantages of freeze drying
Add freeze-dried ingredients to your next application and gain value from these specific benefits.
1. Whole food nutrition
Shifting consumer values have led more people to seek nutrition from real, high-quality food sources with understandable labels. Because they are minimally processed, freeze-dried foods can be clean ingredients, free from synthetic, artificial, and highly processed materials.
Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are also real fruits and vegetables, giving brands the ability to make claims based on nutritional value.
Consumers’ desire for nutrition from real and understandable sources drives the appeal of verified, whole food serving claims from freeze-dried fruits and vegetables. Reach on-the-go millennial consumers with whole food servings in convenient delivery forms like bars or bites.
2. Closest to the fresh form
Freeze-drying retains nutritional value better than other drying methods, further supporting consumers’ desire for nutrition from whole foods. The process also preserves the actual color and shape of the original raw material, reassuring consumers they are actually getting real fruits and vegetables in their diets. The intense flavor and aroma of freeze-dried ingredients also closely resembles the profile of the raw material.
Another advantage of freeze-drying is the ability to customize to unique needs and project goals. Freeze-dried ingredients can be cut or ground into many different sizes and shapes – everything from whole fruits and vegetables down to fine powders. Finished product can be easily mixed into any blend or formulation for a flavor profile completely unique to your final product.
4. Application variety
Customization and blending capabilities give food processors the ability to incorporate real fruits and vegetables into a large variety of applications. Growing categories of freeze-dried applications include breakfast applications like hot and cold cereals, retail-ready or ready-to-eat snacks, and beverage applications like smoothies or whole fruit pieces added to beverages.
5. Prolonged shelf life
The shelf life of any given product directly links to the moisture content of that product. Removing water through the freeze-drying process removes potential for bacterial growth. Moisture content varies from product to product, but an average for freeze-dried products is around 3% moisture. Actual length of shelf life for any given freeze-dried product depends on packaging, storage temperature and the product itself.
The 3 Primary Stages of Freeze Dryers
A freeze dryer implements a water removal method typically used to preserve fresh materials, to prolong the shelf life, or make the item more convenient for transport. Freeze dryers’ function by freezing the material, then decreasing the pressure and adding heat to let the frozen water in the item to sublimate. There are three stages of the freeze dryers in which it works, and these are the following.
This is the most critical phase. Freeze dryers use various methods to freeze a product. Freezing can be done in a freezer, a chilled bath (shell freezer), or on a shelf in the freeze dryer. The freeze dryer cools the material below its triple point to ensure that sublimation, rather than melting, will occur. This preserves the material’s physical form.
A freeze dryer most easily freeze dries large ice crystals, which can be produced by slow freezing or annealing. However, with biological materials, when crystals are too large they may break the cell walls, and that leads to less-than-ideal freeze drying results. To prevent this, the freezing is done rapidly. For materials that tend to precipitate, annealing can be used. This process involves fast freezing, then raising the product temperature to allow the crystals to grow.
Primary Drying (Sublimation) Phase
A freeze dryer’s second phase is primary drying (sublimation), in which the pressure is lowered and heat is added to the material in order for the water to sublimate. The freeze dryer’s vacuum speeds sublimation. The freeze dryer’s cold condenser provides a surface for the water vapor to adhere and solidify. The condenser also protects the vacuum pump from the water vapor. About 95% of the water in the material is removed in this phase. Primary drying can be a slow process. Too much heat can alter the structure of the material.
Secondary Drying (Adsorption) Phase
A freeze dryer’s final phase is secondary drying (adsorption), during which the ionically-bound water molecules are removed. By raising the temperature higher than in the primary drying phase, the bonds are broken between the material and the water molecules. Freeze dried materials retain a porous structure. After the freeze dryer completes its process, the vacuum can be broken with an inert gas before the material is sealed. Most materials can be dried to 1-5% residual moisture.
What foods can you freeze dry?
Most foods are suitable for freeze drying, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, dairy products,meat (raw or cooked), whole meals, desserts, and grains like bread and pasta. You can also freeze dry liquids like soup or yogurt, and instant coffee is the most popular freeze-dried food of all time.
Foods that are mostly fat are NOT suitable for freeze drying, as the fat can melt and coat the inside of your machine. Sugary jams also don’t work, though fruit on its own is fine. Likewise, lettuce and watermelon are also poor choices for freeze-drying because their water content is so high that they lose their structure when it’s removed.
Freeze Dryer vs Dehydrator
Dehydrators remove moisture from food by creating a hot and dry environment which reduces water content dramatically while preserving the texture, nutritional value, and flavor of the dried food as much as possible.
Unlike regular ovens, food dehydrators can create the perfect temperatures to get the food bone-dry while not actually cooking it.
The end result is either hard and brittle or has a gummy-like texture (that’s because the water content is not completely removed – some dehydrated fruit and veggies may still have as much as 30% water content left).
Freeze dryers are relatively newcomers on the food preservation scene. Freeze drying is a state-of-the-art food preservation method first used for military purposes in the WW II.
Fortunately, now you no longer need bulky high-tech devices to freeze dry your food at home, as freeze dryers are now a lot more compact and commercially available for home use as well.
Freeze dryers will preserve food by abruptly drop the temperature in a vacuum chamber to below zero and then by gradually raising it.
The water in food will rapidly freeze then slowly evaporate, which helps better preserve the texture, flavor, and nutrients in food than a food dehydrator can.
A commercial dehydrator will remove from 90% to 95% of the water content in food while a freeze dryer is designed to strip moisture from food by 98-99%.
It is worth noting that most fruit and veggies are made of 80% to 95% water, while most types of meat contain from 50% to 75% water.
When it comes to the nutritional value of preserved food, freeze dryers shine bright. It is estimated that a freeze dryer can preserve around 97% of the initial value of a food, which means that freeze-dried food can be just as nutritious as fresh food.
By contrast, food dehydrators manage to preserve only 50% to 60% of the original nutritional value, mainly because the drying process is not as abrupt as in a freeze dryer, which means that minerals and vitamins have plenty of time to degrade.
By dehydrating food, you’ll lose plenty of vitamin A, C, and the vitamins in the B group (niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, etc.) Freeze-dried food might lack vitamin C, so you should remember to stockpile some.
Average Shelf Life
Beside nutritional value, the shelf life of dried foods is just as important for a prepper. The shelf life largely depends on the amount of moisture removed from the food during the dehydration or freeze-drying processes.
It is estimated that a freeze dryer offers a longer shelf life to foods than a dehydrator. For instance, fruits and vegetables will have an average shelf life of 15 years with a dehydrator and an average shelf life of 25 years with a freeze dryer.
The shelf life of food dried in a DIY dehydrator, however, will have an average shelf life of just 1 year.
Texture and Taste
This is where freeze dryers have made it hands down to the top again. Freeze dried food tastes, looks, and even smells better than dehydrated food because freeze-drying doesn’t require very much heat.
In other words, the nutrients and flavor are preserved withing the food itself, rather than evaporate during the process. The original texture is preserved as well.
In fact, freeze dried foods are so tasty that you can eat them as snacks without re-hydrating them first, which makes them the ideal option for long hikes and bugging-out scenarios.
Also, freeze-dried foods are more lightweight than their dehydrated counterparts, which makes them the perfect choice for ultra-light backpacking and family camping trips.
So, if you’re searching for a freeze dryer for sale and want to know more about your options, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll review the top three freeze dryers for sale and give you insights on where to find them online.
We’ve also included a helpful buyer’s guide with tips on freeze drying and a checklist to determine if you’re ready to make the financial commitment for such device.
Do I need a food freeze dryer?
- If only makes sense if you are going to use it a lot
Unless you are very serious about putting back a lot of your own foods and doing all the prep work that is necessary and remember to take out batches regularly so you can keep processing, then you may want to wait as well. Again if you have a group and can share the cost and the use of the machine, this can change things a bit. These freeze dryers are wonderful machines but you need to make sure that you will use it enough to justify the cost. If you plan on putting back a lot of freeze dried foods then they are probably worth it even now.
- Long Term Emergencies or Political Turmoil
Also you have to ask yourself if you really need foods to stay good for 25 years anyway. Let’s be honest about some SHTF scenarios. If the nuclear power plants can’t stay up and cooling all that waste then a lot of us are going to be in major trouble anyway, long before we have a chance to eat a 20 year food supply. That is a doom and gloom way to look at it but I think it is worth mentioning that there are plenty of instances where you might never get a chance to use such a large food supply.
- Freeze dried foods can be a good trade item and offer the lightest load for bugging out
On the other hand having a large supply of food that has a long shelf life is worth a lot as a trade item to others. If you are planning on bugging out then freeze dried foods are going to offer you the most for the amount of weight you are carrying.
At the same time freeze dried foods retain their nutrients and keep them for several decades which is not the case with foods preserved other ways. If you have found that canning and freezing is too time consuming then freeze drying might be the way to go for you.
- Freeze Dryers Provide A More Space Efficient Way To Preserve and Store Foods
Think about how much water and fluids you are storing when you deep freeze or can foods! 100 quart jars take up a lot of space whereas freeze dried foods can be stored under more trying conditions and take up a lot less space. If you live in an apartment or other small space and want to be prepared food wise then a freeze dryer makes a lot of sense and can save you a lot of time and money while not taking up all your living and storage space.
- Having Your Own Freeze Dryer Can Inspire You To Be Creative With Foods Or Follow A Diet During A Crisis
There are some great freeze dried foods out there but they don’t necessarily follow some of the dietary guidelines that you might have to go by for your best health. Diabetes and other conditions are much more manageable if you have the right foods for example. A freeze dryer allows you to plan out a nutritious diet that you are in control of.
You can also have a lot of fun designing your own freeze dried creations. For example you might want to mix some dried mushrooms in with your freeze dried beef slices and add some freeze dried sour cream for a quick stroganoff style entree. How about a freeze dried fruit pouch that has blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and apples? The options are pretty limitless.
- Great For Small Businesses and Farmers or Homesteaders That Produce A Surplus
I have tried to weight the positives and negatives of home freeze dryers as things are now. I do think that the Harvest Right is a wonderful innovation and even with the higher price tag that it currently bears, it has a lot of potential for small businesses like farms.
Say you raise blueberries but find yourself freezing them or worse, some going to waste because you can’t sell them fast enough. With a freeze dryer you, can create a very high dollar product that will make up for what you spent and then start making you a profit. You can also take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables and preserve them without heating up your house with canning or cooking down fruits and sauces. All those things taste really good and I love to can but as a small farmer myself, I welcome the idea of freeze drying.
- Freeze Drying Produces Better Quality
If you are a fan of freeze dried food for prepping, camping, or backpacking then you are probably well aware of the high cost of purchasing any food that is freeze dried, especially if it came from organic sources. Harvest Right dried foods look a lot more appetizing and you can use the best quality food if you want to.
- Power Issues During A Long Term Emergency
The large freeze dryer takes a 220 volt service so you have to have an outlet that can handle that. In a grid down situation most people will not be able to find a way to use a freeze dryer. This is a tool that is to be used before an emergency but is probably not that practical for a longer one if there is a lack of power.
The small and standard size home freeze dryer would be better for using during a crisis because they use a standard 110 volt plug in like that found in any home or business. Technically, you could use a solar panel and battery system with inverter to run the small and standard ones but you will probably want to use your power for something else unless you have a larger set up.
Freeze dryers are not lightweight. The smallest is still 85 lbs so you will want to keep it either in a place where you never really have to move it much or keep it on a movable cart for easy versatility. The standard size freeze dryer is 105 lbs and the large is 147 lbs.
If you opt for the stainless steel version, you can add 20% to the weights listed above. I don’t think weight is something to worry about but you need to realize the size of what you are buying. If you are using it a lot then setting it up in a permanent place might be best.
Points to Consider When Purchasing a Freeze Dryer?
If you are thinking of purchasing a freeze dryer there are a number of things you will want to consider. A freeze dryer is a long term investment after all, just like a washing machine or any other large appliance. Here are a few things to think about before spending your hard-earned money.
How much food you will be freeze drying – If you plan on freeze drying small amounts of food for your future personal use, then a small freeze dryer should serve you well. If, however, you are planning to create a viable long term emergency food bank for your entire family you will likely need a larger freeze dryer. Each freeze dryer will indicate how much food it can process at any one time.
Whether your electrical wiring is up to the job – The larger freeze dryers consume quite a bit of electricity and require a 220 volt plug. If you have an older house or live in an old apartment building it may not have one. Also, freeze dryers can draw as much as 16 or 17 amps at their peak consumption. So, if you do not have a 20 amp plug in your home that you can use for the dryer you will need to install one. Otherwise your circuit breakers will be tripping all the time . If you cannot change the system you will need a small freeze dryer. They will work with a 110 volt, 15 amp system.
How much space you have for the dryer and food storage – As we discussed briefly above, you may have to get creative when it comes to where you put your freeze dryer. They are not small. So you cannot expect to just put it on the kitchen counter and forget about it. A lot of people put them on mobile carts and move them around as needed. But whatever the case, make sure your home can accommodate the freeze dryer you have in mind.
The weight of the freeze dryer – If you have ever lifted a microwave oven you know they are heavier than they look. The same is true for the freeze dryer, except they are much bigger than a microwave. The large home freeze dryers can weigh more than 160 pounds. That is a lot of weight to move around. Which is another reason many people keep them on carts, even if they have lots of room in their homes.
Maintenance – Freeze dryers are not high-maintenance appliances. But they are not maintenance-free either. You will need to make sure you keep the dryer clean at all times and that you inspect critical aspects of it, such as the door seal, from time to time. In most cases, the freeze dryer vacuum pump needs to have its oil changed occasionally too . It is not a complicated process, but it does need to be done.
The development course of food freeze-drying machine
The freeze-drying technology of food originated in the 1930s.In 1930, Flosdorf began experimenting with freeze-drying foods.In 1940, British Fikidd proposed the freeze-drying method for food processing technology.In 1961, the British Ministry of Food started the study of food freeze-drying in the Aberdeen Experimental Plant. They published the experimental results on the basis of comprehensive research results of various countries at that time and their own, proving that the freeze-drying method is a way to obtain high-quality food.
Almost at the same time, the United States, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other countries have established food freeze-drying processing plants.According to incomplete statistics, in 1963, there were 11 food freeze-drying plants in the United States and 25 in European countries.In 1965, there were more than 50 freeze-dried food factories all over the world.By 1972, there were 41 production plants of freeze-dried food in the United States, 49 in European countries and 13 in Japan. The production of freeze-dried food also increased rapidly. Statistics from the United States alone showed that the production of freeze-dried food was about 5,000 tons in 1963, 157,000 tons in 1970 and 175,000 tons in 1972.
In the 1980s, a large production line of freeze-dried cheese was set up in the city of Sluetsk, Belarus, with an annual output of 150 tons.In 1985, there were 25 food freeze-drying companies in Japan.On 17 October 1989, the Institute of Cryobiology and Freeze-Drying Technology (ICL) was established in Sofia, Bulgaria, focusing on space food, children’s food, convenience food, health food and nutritional food.The institute is currently ranked third in the world, behind the United States and Russia
Freeze-dried foods are the fastest growing in the United States, accounting for 40 to 50 percent of all convenient foods in the United States, and 10 of the 20 factories that produce coffee and tea use freeze-dried methods.There are currently 35 lyophilized food manufacturers in Japan, with an annual output value of 1.3 billion yen.American and Japanese freeze-dried vegetables have accounted for nearly 10% of the market.The popularity of freeze-dried food has reached a high level in some developed countries.
The research on the theory and technology of lyophilization is developing deeply and widely.In 1967, Sandall et al. proposed the steady-state model (URIF model) for the uniform backward movement of freeze-dry ice interface, which was proved by experiments to be able to calculate the time required for the sublimation stage well.In 1968, Dyer et al. proposed a quasi-steady state freeze-drying model in which heat passed through the freezer layer by the shelf, air in the freeze-dried chamber passed through the dried layer and under radiation conditions.In 1979, Litchield et al. proposed the adsorption-sublimation model of freeze-drying and gave the numerical solution.
In recent years, there have been many studies on the heat and mass transfer characteristics of various materials in the process of freeze-drying and the technology of freeze-drying.The physicochemical properties of a homogenized mixture of lyophilized apple, lemon and sugar were studied in Italy after dehydration with milk.Natural starch, modified starch and starch pectin have been studied in many foreign countries.The thermal properties of freeze-dried beef were studied.The freeze-drying of colloidal fish meal was studied.Study of lyophilized lactic acid dry.The freeze-dried banana powder was studied.Study the freeze-drying technology of thin layer material and so on.
Food freeze-drying equipment appeared in Denmark in 1943.Up to today, almost all industrialized countries in the world have produced food lyophilizers.
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