Here’s a little brief “Judy version” of how the freeze dryer works. There’s a barrel looking stainless “cylinder” and the trays fit into that cylinder. Three trays for the small, four trays for the medium and I think they now have sizes that go up to 7 or 8 trays. The food is placed on those trays. The trays are placed in the slots inside the barrel. The freeze dryer freezes the food, then vacuums the moisture out of the food without heating the food so that’s why it retains so much of the nutrients, texture and flavor.
Whatever food I have in the freeze dryer, as it processes, the odor is not released but once the process is done, I remove the food, place it in jars and vacuum seal the jars.
Then, the freeze dryer can either defrost in a couple of hours by running the defrost cycle or I can hit the “no defrost” cycle and the ice will melt however long it takes based on the room temp. I rarely do the automatic defrost because it takes more energy and I’m not usually in a big hurry.
There’s a hose that drains the water (melted ice) from the freeze dryer into a bucket for me. Some people have their machine set up so it can drain into a house drain. I will usually get about 1/3 of a five gallon bucket of water, depending on what I’m freeze drying. There’s more water in chopped white onions than there is in bay leaves. I like to guess how much water I’ll get out of each load. I pour the water around plants. I figure it should have something in it that’s good for the plants but I don’t know that for sure. So far, it hasn’t killed anything so even though it may not be helping, it doesn’t seem to be hurting.
Back to the odor – the water that defrosts out of the freeze dryer definitely has a small and we can smell it in the house. I’ve never had anything that smelled bad. Things like eggs, or potatoes don’t produce a smell. You can imagine that things that don’t smell when you’re handling it fresh, it isn’t going to smell in the freeze dryer.
Know what my favorite smell is and the one I look forward to the most? Onions! When I’ve freeze dried onions, for a couple of hours after the water starts draining out of the freeze dryer, the house smells like a yummy hamburger restaurant that grills the onions for the burgers. It always makes me hungry for hamburgers. The freeze dryer now is loaded with two trays of onions, one tray of green onions and one tray of basil. I’m anxious to see if the basil and onions create a great smell or if it will only be the onions I smell. Either way . . it will make me happy. I’m kinda sad when I walk in from outside and realize the onion odor is gone.
Sounds like you really enjoy your freeze dryer. If I had the money and a place to put it, I’d have one too!! 🙂 My all-time favorite freeze dried food is blueberries. I have several blueberry bushes and if I can keep the birds away long enough, I can get quite a few blueberries from them. There used to be a cereal that had freeze dried blueberries in it and I bought it all the time. This was probably 40-50 years ago!! If I could find packages of freeze dried blueberries, I’d probably pay more for them than I should, but I love them!!! Enjoy all your freeze dried foods!!
In the home freeze dryers, you have to poke a tiny hole in EVERY blueberry because it will not pull the moisture through the skin. Needless to say, I do not freeze dry blueberries. One year I mashed a bunch of them and freeze dried them, then kinda crumbled them into big chunks and used them in baking but blueberries are easy enough to freeze. There are lots of blueberry farms around here so we buy enough to last us through the year and freeze them.
I have definitely enjoyed having the freeze dryer. There are at least a couple of competitors making them now so hopefully, some day, the price will come down and the newer companies will have good customer service.
I found a company that has cauliflower rice and broccoli rice in single serving packets that take 90 secs to microwave. (Thrive Market) Both products taste good, especially if I add some cheddar cheese. But, the shelf life is limited so I’ll buy when on sale and use it up.
But, could you take some fresh cauliflower and broccoli and rice them and then freeze dry the “rice”? I haven’t priced veggies recently, but with the variety of markets that you have, it should be relatively cheap.
With the way things are going with respect to the electric grid, I just don’t want to rely on the freezer.