Monday, January 2, 2017

Researching the Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryer


Stainless steel finish machine shown is more expensive than the brighter colored models.

            Of late, there have been a number of commercials for a remarkable home freeze dryer.
Harvest Right is marketing in fairly large number of colors and varieties, a kitchen appliance which looks a lot like a small dryer which actually freeze dries food. Once freeze dried and packaged as per their directions, many foods will last 25 years.  (Jams and many sugary concoctions will not, although ice cream certainly will.) Even lasagna freeze dries well.  Freeze drying does preserve nutrition, appearance and shelf life of food that either you have grown yourself, or made yourself, or of food you were able to buy on sale. Since this saves you buying freeze dried food in cans, then we should examine this possibility.  Freeze drying is also superior to simple dehydration, because dehydrated food has much less shelf life, (and also because simple dehydration often requires additives including more salt.) Freeze drying also helps to cut down on the waste of food. You need only take out and use what you actually need or will eat.  Sometimes, you will wish to add water to rehydrate freeze dried food as in lasagna. Other times, you might actually want to eat the food in the freeze dried state, such as banana slices, raspberries, apple slices, strawberry slices, etc.  I like freeze dried strawberries in cereal, particularly in oat meal and I don't usually work to rehydrate the fruit first.

          The pros of having such an appliance is that it will cut down on your need to buy precanned freeze dried food which could represent a substantial cost savings. Having one of these appliances could allow you to preserve almost 100% of the food you grow that you might not consume at harvest. It cuts down on the amount of canning you may need to do.  It might allow you to provide freeze dried emergency food to other family members.  It may allow you to mix together your own entrees for later use. It may allow you to formulate specialty entrees, such as gluten free, low salt or low sugar meals.  Someone at a preparedness show allowed me to taste the low calorie cashew chicken with peas and rice they had freeze dried and reconstituted, and it was excellent.  It does fruits and vegetables, like green peppers, and the fruits I mentioned exceptionally well. It does an exceptional job with hamburgers. You could actually mix fresh spinach and onion in your patties and freeze dry them for later use.

         The negatives of having the machine are as follows: The initial expense is between two and three thousand dollars. Although there are some smaller versions of this device, many families would need to look hard to find kitchen or home space for an appliance of the larger size. The device can freeze dry only about a quart of food at once, and this takes time. A cycle can take 24-36 hours.  Sometimes, the machine freezes and requires being defrosted with a hair dryer. Because you are running a freezer, a heater and a vacuum pump then the net result is heat so the device will need to be located somewhere where heat dissipation is possible, and this might not be fun in summer.   You might notice a slight increase in your electricity bill. Some users think that the device costs about a dollar per pound of food freeze dried.  Lastly, there is a rather expensive oil which must be changed in the device periodically. Some of the oil should actually be drained each time the unit is used, and some of it must be replaced. It also requires pump power flushing periodically. The machine is also noisy. A few customers have reported problems with their machine but generally the customer service to the company is said to be good.  My general impression is that a well informed, curious, diligent, and mechanical family is the most trouble free user of this device.

      The best information on the web about this machine is:

         I do not yet own one of these machines but I am very interested in those who do, and I have been talking to a lot of people who do own the machine.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Almost Over Folks

                         The Obama Presidency is almost over.  Perhaps he can avoid asking the Chinese diplomats to leave the US, or starting a war with the Russians. I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Great Value of Steri-Strips

Steri strips come in a variety of sizes for different uses. Although there are a few generics, this is one time when I prefer the name brand when possible.

                    Steri strips are sterile, packaged light paper tape impregnated with stringy fibers. They are used by physicians and nurses when sutures are removed to give an abdominal wound, for example, a little more strength at the skin level until it heals completely.

                   Steri strips have a very important use for preppers, and yet they are very rarely mentioned.   Many, many, times, someone develops a wound, and because it is not a clean wound, or it cannot be completely cleaned, as in an animal bite, it should absolutely not be sutured closed.  When this type of wound occurs, rather than suturing or leaving completely open, a compromise would be to contain the bleeding, then soak the wound in betadine and water (or betadine and 0.9% saline you have mixed yourself) and then afterward, pat dried the wound, and let it completely dry, and then secured it as best you can with steri-strips.  Steri strips can be placed across the wound leaving untaped portions in between each steri strips which allow for serous or other wound drainage. When they eventually come off, they can either be redone or the wound can be allowed to continue healing.  In such wounds, a wound dressing over the steri-strips would probably be best.

This is an example of how they should be applied.

    I really like steri-strips because they help to avoid unnecessary suturing, and because they minimize scarring.  It is also possible to place neosporin or other topical medications when needed over top and to the sides of such a wound.

     I own several sizes of steri-strips.    It is possible to purchase some from Amazon or from many other sources.

There is one additional thing that nurses are taught.    To improve steri-strip adherance, one can take a sterile swab and place tincture of benzoin, not near the wound itself, but on the skin where the steri-strip should anchor. Often, this is not done, but I can remember a number of times in the hospital that this was necessary. It is also recommended by 3M, the manufacturer.   Do not get tincture of benzoin in the wound itself.

Please add this to your emergency kits.

Best wishes for a safe and prosperous New Year.

As always, I have no financial gain from the products I recommend here on Rational Preparedness, unless disclosed otherwise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Buy Countdown to Preparedness

                   I vaguely remember Jim Cobb asking me if he could use some of the listings regarding first aid kits that I put in some articles I'd written.  In the interest of helping people, I said certainly yes, so long as I am credited with the original work.  He never did get back to me, so it came to be a surprise this week when I found that I am indeed credited and that my listings for a basic first aid kit are found starting on Page 83.

                   Jim has written quite a few books on the subject of disaster preparedness. This is an excellent step by step guide designed for someone new to the process.  You can buy one at:

This is Jim's author page:

Enjoy !

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2017 Brings New Antibiotic Laws

Tylan will no longer be OTC on January 1, 2017

 If you are a farmer or small producer, of almost any species of animal, then you are accustomed to judicious use of occasional antibiotics. Most of us have learned their appropriate use from our farm veterinarians, and we use them wisely.  This will change however, as 2017 rolls in.

              The FDA has changed the laws on which animal antibiotics will remain OTC (over-the-counter) and which will become VFD (they require what amounts to a prescription from your veterinarian.)

             Some of these drugs include varieties of penicillin, lincomycin, oxytetracyclines, tylosin, hygromycin B, and others.

             This change is felt to make life harder for small agricultural producers who might not be able to call a vet for a chicken, a rabbit or a duck, for example.  It is also suspected to be the thin end of the wedge. How long before you will no longer be able to get an antibiotic for your fishtank ?  Today it's antibiotics, tomorrow it could be that your calcium, magnesium and zinc supplements are also prescription drugs.

              It might be a good time to let your congressman know how you feel about this, if you are, in fact, a farmer or you raise species of animals.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Portsoy Woods" is Also Available at the Economic Collapse Bookstore

 I would like to announce that in addition to getting my new book Portsoy Woods on Amazon, Barnes and Noble dot com, Books-a-million, and Booklocker dot com, that you may now also buy it at The Economic Collapse Bookstore.

    Also at:

     Portsoy Wood's Page at the Economic Collapse Bookstore