I'm curious how many people here purchase dehydrated food for their preps. Aside from weight, what would be the benefit vs. canned goods? The cost seems so high that I haven't found a reason to justify it, but I see that many preppers do. What am I missing?
If you do the math, you may be surprised to discover that dried is actually cheaper than canned. The dried usually keeps a lot longer too. The way to calculate it is to compare calories in the quantity of food. How many calories in a can of the wet pack food and how many cans does it take to equal a same size can of the dried?
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Cyngbaeld's Keep Heritage Farm, breeding a variety of historical birds and LaMancha goats. (It is pronounced King Bold.)
What Cyngbaeld said plus. I use my canned for short term storage up to 3-4 years. my dehydrated, is for my long term storage 4-25years. I do my own dehydrating as do a lot of folks on HT.I guess my answer would be longevity. If you want to be sure to have food for the future and have it take up a small space, go with dehydrated. Over in preserving the harvest section of HT there is a good bit of information if you would like to get started learning and storing.
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i purchase dehydrated and freeze-dried foods for long-term storage. i grow, can and dehydrate my own for shorter term storage. since my garden this year has gone to pot i am thinking i will step up the purchasing just a bit. just too expensive to buy fresh to put it up around here.
I rarely purchase dehydrated items, but dehydrate my own, but the benefits are:
much less storage space required (this is the biggest benefit to me)
longer storage time
less likely to break
great to take camping or on trips - can carry in suitcase without fear of breakage
easier to put up in small amounts (I want my canner full when I use it)
We do a combination like Just Cliff does. Regular canned food for short term and the freeze dried/dehydrated for long term.
Prices for freeze dried really vary depending on where you shop, so be sure to look around. Purchashing a 6 pack of #10 cans-all the same item- is typically less expensive than purchasing 6 cans of different items.
We own an electric "Harvest Maid" dehydrator in which we dehydrate many fruits and vegetables. I have yet to plan far enough ahead for the day when there is no electricity for the dehydrator, but I think I would just go with using wood frames with screen stretched over them, placed upon a tabletop in full sun. Insects have been a problem before when we have tried to sun-dry things.
We also can many things. Not so much now, since we are older, but we have been at this homesteading since 1974, and that's 37 years now. At one time we would, every year, put up over 100 quarts of tomatoes (I would always raise at least 80 tomato plants), 50 quarts of grean beans, a dozen jars of beets, three or four dozen jars of corn, four to six dozen quarts of pickles (cucumber and/or zucchini), and other vegetables.
One year we "jugged" 104 chickens in quart jars! Took an entire week to do that, mainly because we had other things to do also, but it was worth it. We do not now nor have we ever dehydrated chicken. We've tried canning eggs (don't recommend that, not even "pickled eggs", which we've done), pork, beef, venison and goat. Don't recommend canned goat meat, either.
The freezer is a good way to go for right now, and we have a couple of them. Doesn't mean we've given other things up by any means, just means that's what we're doing besides the other things.
Oh, for those of you who are into canning, we've learned over the years to purchase cases of lids (you can get the best deals online or at the end of the season in some grocery stores), both small mouth and large mouth, and extra rings. We have over 400 jars of all sizes, and at one time we had them all filled (and that includes our jelly jars). So I recommend someone who cans a lot to be certain that they have hundreds of new jar lids on hand at all times if they are concerned for the future.