Question & Answers About Botanique Freeze Dryers
Q. What are the advantages in Freeze Drying botanicals?
A. Freeze Drying is the most perfect method of preservation. Most botanical items (flowers, foliage, fruits, and vegetables) can be preserved with little change in shape, color, or fragrance.
Q. How does the freeze dry process work?
A. The botanical items are frozen and then placed under a deep vacuum. Under these conditions moisture in them (in the form of ice crystals) will sublimate directly into water vapor, which then migrates into the condenser and is removed from the system. When sublimation is complete, the freeze dried botanicals can be removed.
Q. How do I know when the load is dry?
A. There are several indicators of a load being dry from a Freeze Dryer. However, when ice quits forming in the condenser the load is done.
Q. How fast is the freeze drying process?
A. Botanique freeze dryers, dry most types of flowers in 10 - 12 days. The answer depends upon many variables, such as type and quantity of product.
Q. Is it possible to freeze dry botanicals too fast?
A. Yes! Removing the water too fast may cause blistering, shrinkage, and shriveling.
Q. Can I freeze dry fruits and vegetables?
A. Yes! The drying time is extended, due to their density and water content.
Q. Are there some flowers that freeze dry better than others?
A. Yes! Part of our training course delves into this area.
Q. Can I put old flowers in and produce good quality freeze dried flowers?
A. No! The quality of the end product is primarily determined by what you start with, "garbage in, garbage out."
Q. Are Botanique Freeze Dryers difficult and expensive to maintain?
A. No. The machine requires only basic cleaning and an oil change after each load.
Q. How much electricity do the freeze dry machines use?
A. This depends on the size of the freeze dryer. Take the amperage requirements from the specification listing to your electric company for a quotation.
Q. Does the freeze dryer need to be monitored each day?
A. Yes and No. It is a good idea to have someone check the machines each day and record temperature and vacuum readings, check the vacuum pump oil level, and run a defrost on the condenser if necessary.
Q. How long does this daily maintenance take?
A. It takes approximately two minutes to record daily information and defrost cycles take 30-45 minutes to complete.
Q. What types of refrigerant do you use in the refrigeration compressors?
A. We use Non-CFC refrigerants. They are environmentally safe and readily available throughout North America.
Q. Are any chemicals necessary in freeze drying botanicals?
A. Yes. A full range of Pre- and Post-Treating chemical solutions are available from fleur-Chem, Inc. These chemicals help retain natural color vibrancy, add durability, and shatter resistance. Most of these chemicals are water based, biodegradable, and non-hazardous.
Q. Can I place a freeze dryer in my garage?
A. Yes! However, your garage may need to be remodeled to accommodate this type of business. Depending upon your climate, heating, cooling, and/or dehumidification may be necessary.
Q. Do you offer training on the freeze dry equipment and flower preservation?
A. Yes! We developed the first training course for this industry in 1988. Our program has been continually upgraded through extensive research in both freeze drying and chemical pre- and post-treating of all types of botanicals. For more information take a look at our training section.
Q. Can I get-rich-quick freeze drying botanicals?
A. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is however, an excellent business opportunity. Success will be based on many factors, and the right machinery, chemicals and training are essential.
Q. Does Botanique offer ongoing support?
A. Yes! Botanique is very involved in both freeze drying research and pre- and post-treatment chemical research. All ongoing research information is made available to Botanique customers.
Q. Do you offer financing for your freeze drying equipment?
A. Yes! We work with several national leasing companies.
Q. How are Botanique Freeze Dryers delivered?
A. They are delivered on BY STI (Specialized Transportation, Inc.), which provides an air ride delivery with a hydraulic unloading platform.
Q. What is the first thing I should do in starting a new freeze drying business?
A. Call Rich DeLong at Botanique. He has assisted hundreds of individuals who have started New Floral Freeze Drying Businesses or incorporated freeze drying into their Existing Businesses.