Should You Buy a Freeze Dryer?
It's among the top questions I receive when people are new to prepping.
We had a sponsored post come over on my other sites that asked the question, “Should you buy a freeze dryer?” As sponsored posts go, it was very accurate and not nearly as “salesy” as I’ve seen from other sponsored posts. I’ll share it below, but first I want to answer the question directly.
The best choice I ever made when it comes to long-term storage food is getting a freeze dryer. I didn’t always think that. It was far more work than I imagined and the maintenance on the machine is annoying when it needs it. With that said, I’m married to a woman who puts me to shame with her mechanical maintenance abilities, so after a couple of struggles with changing the oil she now has it down to an art.
Once we got into the groove of freeze-drying food, we have been extremely pleased with the purchase. But know this going in if you’re thinking this is an “easy button.” It’s not. In fact, in many ways it has changed our lifestyle. For example, we now often cook for a family of 8 even though it’s just us and the two kids. Why? Because many of the meals we cook are intended to be eaten now AND freeze-dried to store away for the long haul. We don’t do it for chicken finger night but by golly we do it whenever she makes her freeze-dryer-appropriate meals like beef stroganoff.
A funny lesson I learned is that we no longer freeze-dry many fruits or vegetables. I know this goes against what most preppers say but I’ve come to a different conclusion. We did tons of fruits and vegetables at first but considering the time it takes we found that we are better served by spending that precious freeze drying usage on more expensive items like meats, eggs, and complete meals. We will still run batches of strawberries or zucchini when there’s nothing else to go in but for the most part we stick to the higher-end foods.
And therein lies the best piece of advice I can offer on this topic: Keep your freeze dryer running. Downtime is wasted time. Some items take a while. Others are quick. But keeping the freeze dryer going almost non-stop is the key to getting the bang for the buck.
It definitely helps to have a freezer nearby. You’ll cut time tremendously by freezing the food first rather than having the freeze dryer do it. It’s also cheaper.
Another best practice is to set up a station. This will take space. Having a freeze dryer, freezer, prep table, and processing area all together has been a good decision. It can all be done in a large kitchen, but the machines are noisy and a freeze-drying project can take up a lot of space.
So, should YOU get a freeze dryer? As with most questions, the answer depends on your situation. If you have the means, space, and time, then I believe it’s a good investment. If you’re lacking on any of those things, then it’s best to get buckets or other forms of long-term storage food. Just be sure to fill your pantries first.
Here’s the sponsored post from my other sites, for those interested:
Should You Buy a Freeze Dryer?
The current and emerging food crisis in the United States has millions of Americans very concerned about the future. From supply chain shenanigans to food processing plants "inexplicably" being compromised to bird flu decimating the poultry industry, it's no wonder there has been a sharp rise in the "prepper" food industry.
Unfortunately, freeze-dried food can often be very expensive. We've seen this first hand as the only company that sells both frozen beef boxes to store in the freezer for up to a year as well as freeze-dried beef cubes to store in the closet for over a decade. Our "Big Ribeye Box" is on sale for $249 (plus 15% off with promo code "no crickets") and comes with nearly 10 pounds of All-American beef. Meanwhile, our four-pack of freeze-dried beef cubes is on sale for $360 (same promo code) even though it's far less meat.
Are we trying to rip people off? On the contrary, our beef cubes are actually an exceptional value considering the four-pack offers 48 adult servings with 24 grams of protein each. Other companies sell "beef crumbles" or other versions of scrap beef that have nearly as much fat as protein, and they often sell for more than we do.
It's not us. It's the freeze-drying process being so challenging that's driving up the costs.
This is why so many people are buying their own freeze dryers to use at home. The market is essentially cornered by Harvest Right, which isn't a bad thing since their quality and customer service are both superb. We've bought six so far with two more on the way. But families and individuals considering getting their own can and should as long as they go in with their eyes open.
The pros and cons are easy to understand. In fact, there really is only one pro and it's a huge one. Those who are willing to spend the time and money to freeze dry their own food should do so as long as they're going to be committed. For the price of a large home freeze dryer one can buy 20 buckets of high-quality freeze-dried entrees with 1440 meals by using promo code "jdr".
And therein lies the cons to buying a freeze dryer. It takes time to make them cost effective. Depending on humidity in your area, a single run can take up to two days to complete. Granted, most of that time is the freeze dryer doing all the work, but the process is not without effort. Once the food is ready it must be put into appropriate containers with oxygen absorbers and sealed properly so they can last.
So the bottom line is this: If you can afford the money and time to spend on freeze-drying your own food and you believe the need for the food is many months or years away, then eventually the Harvest Right freeze dryer will pay for itself. If you don't have the time or money, or if you believe the food crisis will hit hard very soon, then it makes more sense to buy freeze-dried food instead.
Of course, one could always eat well today and eat well tomorrow buy getting the Big Ribeye Box COMBO with Freeze-Dried Beef Cubes all together.
YES! This is a super important post. I also work with Harvest Right because it's THE most transformative choice Ive made over the past 3 years to start stockpiling and preparing financially and for food security. I often suggest to people who gasp at the price to purchase with a group - family or community - and have a community freeze dryer; I recommend the power of three because it's a powerful mathematical formula (the triangle is used in trust agreements and a lot in the bible for contract agreements), and because I cover how to start forming trust and trusts, you've now started building food security with people you would trust inside an actual trust agreement as executor, beneficiary and trustee. HARVEST RIGHT is one of the best investment you can possibly make. Loving your blog! Thanks for this. Kerry.
Hey there! I emailed you about this, but you might not have your @substack enabled. Would you like to swap cross-posts? We'd like to cross-post this one to www.brunettegardens.com, and maybe you'd like to cross-post our meat-rendering piece to The Late Prepper? https://www.brunettegardens.com/p/chewing-the-fat-about-fat
Email us at brunettegardens [at] gmail [dot] com.