Freeze Dried Friday:

Welcome to Freeze Dried Friday on SurvivalBlog! We’ve been making so many things in the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer that we want to share some of them with you. If you have something wonderful you’ve prepared in your freeze dryer that you would like to share with SurvivalBlog readers, take a photo of it and send it in along with a description. We might just feature you here!


Man! We are in the tomatoes now. Two standard size freeze dryers are working 24/7 overtime this week and they are clearly not capable of keeping up with Mrs. Latimer’s Heirloom Roma tomatoes. We produced 32 quarts of freeze dried tomato sauce and another 40 quarts of canned tomato sauce. We are still anticipating about another week of harvest at this rate before it slows down.

I included a picture of both the freeze dried product and the canned product for comparison. All four of these jars came from the same batch of tomatoes. By the way, this is strictly tomato sauce with no other ingredients. The tomatoes come from the garden, get washed, cut in half and then run through the KitchenAid strainer. The sauce is then boiled in large pots on the stove to reduce the water content by roughly 50%. The goal is to have tomato sauce that doesn’t separate out into a weak watery tea with clumps of tomato pulp. Rather, it should stay well blended, even when canned. This makes it easy to create delicious tomato based sauces that don’t drown your plate in water.

TomatosWith the freeze dried product, it’s a bit easier. The freeze drier will remove all the water no mater how much you have in it. When canning, you have to keep cooking it to reduce it to tomato paste, but with the freeze dried product, you just add less water when reconstituting it.

V8 Tomato Juice

I did have one reader ask about freeze drying V8 juice. Yes, you can do it. The finished product looks exactly like tomato juice. We don’t like it though due to it’s high salt content.


  1. This week and next are sirloin tip roast weeks. Sirloin was $2/pd off the regular price so I pulled out my special “sale” money and bought several roasts. They were fresh, so I had to stick them in the freezer overnight in order to slice them to the ½ to 5/8 inch thickness for the FDer. Finished one load of 4 trays and starting another today. I just sear them and let them cool before popping into the FD. They turned out perfect. Have a great weekend!

    1. Had zucchini start coming in from the garden in bountiful supply – so, made four trays of them sliced somewhat like chips. Absolutely terrific taste ( ten in the mason jar, one for me … repeat ! ).

      Also did some sliced tomatoes and yellow cherry tomatoes. Cut in half, the cherry tomatoes are a delicious snack food.

  2. I got extra sets of trays so I could prepare extra and start the cycle early in a freezer (the HR freezes, then dries), so you might be able to stage the tomato surge in your freezer and cut back the freeze cycle a bit.

    1. @tz,

      That was the plan. I had an upright freezer go out last year and had to replace it. Afterwards, I had the old one repaired with the idea of doing exactly that. However, I have determined that freezer space is a lot like a woman’s purse. It really doesn’t matter what size it is, it will be filled to the brim. At the start of the garden production I went out to plug the freezer in only to discover that Mrs Latimer had already done that. It was supposed to be temporary after a shopping trip – just until she could get everything arranged. Somehow that became permanent. Oh well.

  3. I have been looking at the HR units for a year or so but with the latest sale I had to pull the trigger. I got one of their large units for $3095 and included was one of their mylar starter kits with an impulse sealer, mylar bags and oxygen absorbers that normally is another $199. Shipping was another $249. I had thought about asking them if they would sell a unit without a vacuum pump to save some money since I have several scientific pumps that are rated at least as high as the one this unit comes with but for the price now I figured I was already getting a good enough deal and would start out with the included pump and use the ones I have as backups or try them out sometime to see if they work any better.

    I had not seen this site until after I ordered but have spent the last two days reading all your reviews and tips. Lots of good info. Because I have been dehydrating and vacuum storing in food saver bags and mason jars I especially liked posts that deal with using that. I had had problems using the foodsaver mason jar sealer on the smaller regular mouth jars but a tip (I think from your wife) said to put another lid upside down in the sealer cap first on those. That did the trick and have had no problem since. I also tried using a brake bleeder hand vacuum pump to see if it worked which it did. I always try to find manual backups for everything in case of grid down.

    Also HR now is offering oil filters for $24.99 and one is included with all new FD’s. This will help keep the cost of oil down. I’m not sure if this filters out any water too but I had seen that some drain the oil and freeze it to freeze any water at the bottom before pouring into the filter.

    I think I may order a spare filter, a spare set of trays and a set of silicone mats that go in the bottom of the trays instead of using parchment paper. Has anyone had experience with the silicone mats? They may be relatively new since I don’t remember seeing them on their website before.

    Anyways thanks again for all the info. I’ll post back on one of your freeze dried fridays once the unit is delivered and I get a chance to set it up and try it out.

  4. While I would love to have a freeze drier someday, it probably won’t happen anytime soon, due to expense. We have other priorities. At any rate, I have a question about some freeze dried butter I bought. I could only get it in a gallon size, which is a lot of butter. I hadn’t opened it yet because I didn’t know how to preserve the part I don’t use. Will it vacuum seal with a food saver vacuum in jars? Will that be adequate?

    1. Hi Rose, separating any bulk package dry food is a good idea after opening and a necessary task if it is not already packaged in an airtight container like bulk beans, rice, flour, etc. You can use foodsaver or mylar bags or mason jars. I prefer the jars because you can easily vacuum reseal them. If you use mylar bags you will need to put an oxygen absorber in.

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