Do you sometimes wonder why you need to store the right food storage for your family? It’s a little overwhelming, right? Should I buy freeze-dried, dehydrated or what? Do you remember when you were growing up and our parents had a few 50-pound or 100-pound cans filled with powdered milk, beans, and sugar? Ours were shiny green. You can probably picture the wooden shelves filled with jars of canned fruits and vegetables, you know all the food storage we could see at a glance what we had stored just in case. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the food that we produced from the garden stored for the family for the year.
Here’s the deal, life is busy and I realize canning is not as popular as it was years ago. You can call those vintage skills or pioneer skills, either way, the USDA is no longer having testing kitchens for canning food. I learned this last fall when I took classes to get certified in the Master Canner Preserver Class from The USU Extension Service right here in Southern Utah. I was shocked to hear this, but according to the USDA, people would rather buy fresh food in season, or fruits and vegetables in cans or down the frozen aisle of their local grocery stores.
I still bottle a few jars here and there, not like I did when I had four daughters helping to do the work. I don’t have access to fresh fruit like I did up north either. Some of us are getting older and no longer want to bottle or can 50 jars of peaches, I get it. Let’s talk about the right food storage for you today. I’ll share some that I like to store.
Right Food Storage For You:
This is truly a personal topic because we all have different situations in our lives and our budgets. Here are some of my suggestions. Please note I use all of my food storage monthly and rotate it as needed. I only buy fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese and all the basics to cook from scratch.
The great thing about freeze-dried food is you can eat the food right out of the can. Some of the fruits, like pineapples, strawberries, and apple slices are my favorite healthy snacks. You can eat green beans and corn right out of the can, easy peasy to use if you have a can opener. Please remember to store a few good can openers. I can never have too many. No water needed unless you are going to cook with them, please do not use hot water with the freeze-dried cheese, yep it will cook it. I ONLY use tepid water with ALL freeze-dried food. Soak as noted on the cans, drain the water and use in your recipes as you would fresh food.
Freeze-dried food in #10 cans will store longer than dehydrated foods. Typically 25 years if unopened and in a room with a temperature of 70 degrees or so. Check with the manufacturer where you purchase your food storage in #10 cans. I only buy from Honeyville and Thrive Life for my freeze-dried. I always check the price per ounce and include the shipping costs to decide which company I will purchase from.
I almost hate to write a con because it’s the best way to buy the right food storage for long-term. The con would be they are more expensive. But for me, I can sleep at night knowing those cans will last my lifetime. So unless you are using them all the time, and not just for reserve, they really are very cost effective since you don’t have to replace them as often.
Commercially dehydrated foods:
This is a little more tricky because most commercially dehydrated food in #10 cans has a shorter life because it is processed differently than freeze-dried. The only thing I use dehydrated foods for are for cooking soups because they need so much water to re-hydrate them. Here again, I only buy from Honeyville and Thrive Life.
They are cheaper than freeze-dried fruit and vegetables. These are cheaper to store and cook with even compared to fresh foods, in many cases. No chopping, peeling, etc. No waste, it’s fabulous.
Shorter shelf-life compared to freeze-dried fruit, vegetables. etc. You can’t eat them right out of the can, you may chip a tooth. Shelf-life is typically 7-8 years. Check your manufacturer cans for suggested time frames.
Home dehydrated foods:
Now, I love using my Excalibur dehydrator with a timer. It’s fabulous, but I do not dehydrate for long-term storage. I dehydrate any excess fruits to make healthy snacks. I dehydrate vegetables for soups and stews. I love buying frozen vegetables because they are ready to dehydrate and use less space in a quart jar over the space they take in the freezer. I use them for soups and casseroles. Storage life, one-year maximum using my FoodSaver without oxygen absorbers.
They are almost free because we are not wasting them, we are dehydrating them for another meal.
Short shelf-life, one-year maximum.
Store Purchased Cans:
Here’s the deal, I hope you buy some cans that every family member would eat after a short-term disaster. Buy case lots when they are on sale and only buy the ones you like.
You can use a can opener and a meal is ready in minutes with or without heating it up on a cooking device.
The shelf life is not as long, typically one to two years and then the food starts tasting like the can. I often wonder what is being absorbed in the food from the can, but what can we say, it’s in a metal can.
Thank you for buying the right food storage four your family today, not tomorrow. Let’s teach the world to be prepared for the unexpected.
*****Please note, if you do bottle/can your own food, you need to remove the rings on the bottles before storing them so you know if the “canning lids have stayed sealed.”