Many of us who have a long term interest in preparedness, have an interest particularly in the #10 industrial sized cans of freeze dried foods. One of the questions I am asked quite often is the difference between freeze dried food and dehydrated food for long term storage. Dehydrated foods are heated and water is removed. However 20-50% of the water remains. As a result, the food can only be stored for between 1-8 years depending upon the product. In addition, as a result of the water which remains in the product, either salt, sugar or a preservative mist be added to permit the 1-8 year shelf life. Dehydrated foods are generally cheaper than freeze dried.
Whenever I can I try to stock the industrial sized cans of freeze dried food. Freeze dried food is produced by a different process entirely. The product is frozen and then placed in a vacuum, and then about 98% of the water is removed. This is a more expensive process and requires specialized equipment, but as a result the food itself can be freeze dried without added sugar, salt, or chemical preservatives. This makes it much more desirable for diabetics, or those on special diets. The most significant reason I prefer freeze dried is that generally depending upon product, the can will remain edible for 25-30 years. Also, a number of references indicate that freeze dried food will retain all the vitamins whereas dehydrated foods may not because they have been superheated. Of course, many of you have noticed that freeze dried cans are much more expensive than the dehydrated variety.
There are also some important things to note. My own preferences toward #10 industrial sized cans of freeze dried food are motivated by the fact that I have a very large family and a lot of hungry young adult sons. I also have a daughter who is a Type I diabetic (since early childhood) and so the "no sugar added" feature is very important to us.. In an emergency I would likely need to feed a number of my kids despite the fact that some of them might no longer live here.. Lots of vegetables and fruits would be necessary as well as rice, pasta, potatoes and other carbohydrates, . Since I don't know when such an emergency would occur the long shelf life would be desirable to me. Of course, if you are one person or perhaps three, you might wish to invest in smaller or "everyday" cans of freeze dried food. Once opened, the #10 cans of freeze dried food need to be consumed within a year. This could be hard for two or three people.as some of the #10 industrial cans contain as many as 42 servings. There are plenty of families who stock both dehydrated foods and freeze dried food and then just pay attention to food reserve supply rotation.
How do we afford #10 cans of freeze dried food when they have increased in price so sharply in the past year ? I never buy anything when I need it. A number of great supplier sells #10 industrial cans of freeze dried emergency food. I only buy during sales and then I stock up on the items with a good price. We do open and consume some products so that we can learn to use them properly, however the bulk of them remain for emergency storage in a cool dry heated enclosure. When one of our kids bought a home, our house warming gift was an emergency food supply of #10 freeze dried food cans They established emergency supplies before the furniture entered !.
Many people have no idea how many different types of food are available between the different brands. There are also companies who offer an entirely gluten free line. Probably the smartest prepping strategy is to buy some dehydrated canned foods and some freeze dried canned foods and to know which is which. Today I wanted to introduce some of you to some of the more unusual products you might not know are available.
Gourmet Reserves Blueberry Honey Granola With Milk
This is a nice change if you and your family had been eating cooked rolled oats with brown sugar for a time.
It's about eighteen dollars and well worth having in the supplies.
Rocky Mountain Instant Pudding in Banana
Most of us know that we can buy this in chocolate and vanilla, but banana could be a boost and a welcome change for many of our family members. It's a bit more than thirty dollars but for a year, you and your family could have banana pudding when you want it.
Gourmet Reserves Split Pea Soup
This is a hearty and unusual soup which is only about $21.00
For those of you who are allergic to cottonseed oil, it does contain this.
Many other great tasting freeze dried and dehydrated foods for families can be found at:
Over the years the largest supply of #10 canned foods our family has purchased has been through Augason Farms.
These are seventy-one eggs, dried for future use and great in cooking.
Non-Fat Dry Milk
This is not your mother's putrid non-fat dry milk. First of all, it doesn't sour or spoil the way hers did in a year to twenty-four months. When reconstituted in warm water, whipped with an ordinary mixer, and then chilled, many of the freeze dried milks taste as good as conventional milks. They also sell freeze dried chocolate milks which are quite good and can boost the caloric intake of children.
Cheese Blend Powder
There is no end as to how this can be used. Make your own fondue, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, or make a bubbling rice and spinach dish with cheese. Reconstitute what you need and save the rest for another time.
The Perishables Starter Kit
Great to have at home if there is any possibility of being snowed in.
Note: Although Augason Farms themselves have the far broader selection, Sam's Club does sell the more common items via their online store. Take a look as sometimes the postage is cheaper. Also, in some localities, particularly in the West and Midwestern US, Wal-Mart sells some of the #10 cans of Augason Farms staples, in their Super Wal-Mart grocery stores. Check what is available in your own community.
The items below come from Emergency Essentials
These quick oats will last 25-30 years in their can. When you do open them, you can add anything from honey or brown sugar to fruit, or even the freeze dried or dehydrated types. These are inexpensive. We keep some of these in our RV also. They are also a great gift for someone going to college. Oatmeal is an underrated, nutritious and filling breakfast.
Most suppliers sell freeze dried pilot crackers. These are very helpful when serving soups or used crumbled as a chief ingredient as a crust for either meat or fruit pie, or a pie with an instant pudding inside. Conventional crackers won't keep for more than six to nine months. These are fine after 20 years or more.
Freeze Dried Orange Pieces
This is a wonderful way of supplementing Vitamin C and roughage while your family thinks they are enjoying a treat in an emergency. Buy extra, because your children could fight over these !
Freeze Dried Banana Slices
Many companies sell freeze dried bananas, but many of them are additionally sweetened or "honey dipped". This brand is simply bananas which makes it especially helpful for those with Type I or Type II diabetes or for those with gastrointestinal issues. They are an excellent source of potassium and should be stocked for anyone on diuretics or other blood pressure medications which could cause potassium levels to drop. You may reconstitute them and add them to oatmeal or cereals, or chew them as freeze dried.
Sour Cream Powder
An excellent addition to baking, casseroles, or soups. This is available in a smaller can, or a large one if you use a fair amount of sour cream or have a large family.
There are many companies who sell freeze dried food, either as individual items as I have chosen to show here, or in entree form. These are the three companies that I buy from predominantly. Please take a look at all the freeze dried foods which are available and make a decision as to whether the small cans or the #10 cans suit your family best. Then, it isn't necessary to drop thousands of dollars at one time. Simply discipline yourself to buy a few less expensive items and find a cool, dry heated place in which to store them. A regular contribution to your freeze dried stockpile will yield an important emergency collection in no time. Certainly, pay attention to, and make use of the frequent regular sales offered by these, and other companies. This is an absolutely excellent time of year to make use of all of these stores special reductions. There are many other freeze dried surprises !
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I receive absolutely no benefits whatsoever in recommending these brands. These are simply brands and items I have used and stored and companies from which I have purchased Many other companies do exist. Readers are encouraged to do their own research and to pay careful attention to postage costs.