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Old 12-31-2010, 04:49 PM
willow willow is online now
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Default Freeze dried or dehydrated - which is better?



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Should my LTS food preps include freeze dried and/or dehydrated foods? Which do you prefer and why? Is there a difference in taste?
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:54 PM
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Both are good.

We dehydrate some of our meats, fruits and veggies. As well as some of our herbs.

We have also freeze-dried some. They are different processes, but both methods yield shelf-stable storage.
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Old 12-31-2010, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ForestBeekeeper View Post
Both are good.

We dehydrate some of our meats, fruits and veggies. As well as some of our herbs.

We have also freeze-dried some. They are different processes, but both methods yield shelf-stable storage.
Will you please direct or list the process of making freeze dried food? Ive searched the web many times, but it always directs you to expensive equipment to do so. It isnt possible for me to spend 10,000+ to be able to do it.
Old 12-31-2010, 05:04 PM
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Is there a difference in taste? Freeze dried seems to be alot more expensive.
Old 12-31-2010, 06:41 PM
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A FD steak can still be grilled. FD foods can retain more of their form.

Dehydrated stuff is better suited to eating dry [lots of chewing] or else stew.

Anything boiled long enough can make a stew.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:00 PM
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Will you please direct or list the process of making freeze dried food? Ive searched the web many times, but it always directs you to expensive equipment to do so. It isnt possible for me to spend 10,000+ to be able to do it.
I made my own freeze-drier [Lyophilisor] from an old pressure-cooker, vacuum pump and chest freezer.

I go through gaskets a lot and the process takes a while.

In my own search, we had an equipment salesman come by here to do his sales pitch. They do market used machines starting at $15k.

You freeze your stuff. Put it into the pressure-cooker, put that into the chest freezer. Then after a day frozen, run a vacuum line [I drilled a hole in the side of our chest freezer] and apply 100psi of negative pressure [vacuum].

We have also played with using a seal-a-meal and quart jars. Put stuff into quart jars, then lay the lid on and put them into the freezer. then once a day take them out and use the seal-a-meal attachment to draw a vacuum on each jar. It takes a really long time. In one week you can suck out about one finger worth of water from each quart jar.

Also get to know a florist. In our church is a florist. Today most floral shops own a Lyophilisor machine. They use theirs very seldom.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:05 PM
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Freeze dried is the way to go.
Old 12-31-2010, 07:07 PM
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Each type of food has it's benefits and drawbacks. I'll share my experienced. When I first got serious into food storage, I bought a "years supply" of freeze dried, which, when you actually count the calories, worked out to about an 8 months supply. Later on I bought another...Live and learn.

Well, I won't trust my life to anything until I have actually had viable experience with it, so I ate my way through that year supply to see how I fared. I found out that FD entrees are high salt and I soon developed appetite fatigue with them. I thought I'd die before I finished eating that food kit. But the individual ingredients are superb.

I then realized that for maximum flexibility, that seperate ingredients were the better choice for me. For example, a can of spaghetti and meat sauce is always going to be spaghetti and meat sauce. Yet storing tomato, meat and pasta, you can created hundreds of different dishes.

I then tried dehydrated foods. For most of the ingredients there isn't much of a difference between FD and dehydrated. But a few, like sweet corn, the FD version is far superior. And the FD berries are to die for. Being a strong believer in "store what you eat and eat what you store" my daily food comes out of food storage. Dehydrated foods have worked out ideal for this. They save me money on my grocery bill, and being a traditional technology, there are many established recipes using the ingredients. I still buy some FD foods on the side. I keep a few cans of entrees around for making camping meals out of, and I buy a few of the ingredients as "luxury foods", but the majority of my food storage is dehydrated.

The downside to dehydrated is when it comes to meat. FD meat is really good, albeit very expensive. There really isn't any dehydrated meat option and TVP is terrible. But then again, that's what home canning is for. You can put away meat cheaper that way anyway. And dehydrated "entrees" aren't any better than the dry food mixes at the store...think Hamburger helper and the various boxed "meal kits". With dehydrated, it's best to learn to cook with it from scratch.

Dehydrated foods also take up less space because they shrink during dehydration, whereas FD foods are frozen solid during the dehydration phase and don't lose size. FD foods rehydrate quicker, while dehydrated foods take more soaking and/or simmering time.

Since I dry a lot of my own foods, dehydrated just seemed to fit my plans better in that way also. Since I like cooking, learning to use these foods has been an interesting challenge. But with them, I can make cuisines from all around the world using the same basic staple ingredients. While others are choking down their "spaghetti and meat sauce" for the umpteenth time, we may be having thai, middle eastern, italian, spicy indian, or whatever we're in the mood for that day.

A lot of dehydrated foods are mainstream. Powdered milk and eggs, powdered mashed potatoes, etc. If you've ever eaten the hash browns at Waffle House, you've had dehydrated and that's one of their signature items. They can be that good. Most of the food mixed in the stores such as hamburger helper, stuffing mix, mac and cheese, etc., are dehydrated. So they're actually more familiar than you might realize.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:41 PM
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I agree with Mike...get individual ingredients in the dehydrated or FD cans, not the entrees. They have little or no additives to them and give much more variety to meals, like he says. Also, most of the entrees include rice or noodles, which you can get much cheaper than in the #10 can and mix them in yourself.

FD really is more expensive and takes up more space than dehydrated (usually more meals in a can with dehydrated), but there is nothing better tasting than FD strawberries, peas, pineapple, etc. Some other foods it doesn't make much difference which you use, since it won't be a stand-alone food...like butter powder, sour cream, etc.

I think freeze dried can be even better than what you buy in the produce section on some foods because they are freeze dried very fresh from the field, whereas produce may come from quite far away and may even have been picked green. They say that sweet corn, for instance, loses most of its sweetness within the first hour, converting it to starch instead. Freeze drying it as soon as picked preserves some of that sweetness. You won't find that in a grocery store and not even that often in a farmer's market. Of course, the best sweet corn comes when you put the water on to boil, and THEN go get your own corn from the garden!
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:49 PM
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I forgot about the peas. FD peas are really good. I lucked into a bunch of them for $5 a can back in the late '90s. One dehydrated ingredient to avoid is the sweet corn. It never really rehydrates that well. It's ok in stews and stuff, but if you love corn, it's FD, canned, or best of all, garden grown.
Old 12-31-2010, 08:50 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I am sure that the prices are going to go up real soon, so I am going to place an order for some of both and see which ones we like best.

On a side note, I keep seeing people say that LT food storage is cheaper but it looks WAY more expensive to me. What am I missing here?
Old 12-31-2010, 09:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willow View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I am sure that the prices are going to go up real soon, so I am going to place an order for some of both and see which ones we like best.

On a side note, I keep seeing people say that LT food storage is cheaper but it looks WAY more expensive to me. What am I missing here?
Look at the number of servings on a #10 can of FD or dehydrated and figure out how many meals you can get from it as compared to a can from the grocery store. It's probably not that much different as far as serving cost is concerned, depending on what food it is. (Look at what they consider the serving size too, though.)

Remember too that, in a can on the grocery shelves, you are paying quite a bit for the water. This is important if you have little other water in SHTF, but until then you are often paying more for the water than the food. Draining that liquid from the can down the sink loses a great amount of vitamins as well, but you wouldn't do that in SHTF.

What REALLY makes LTS food cheaper is that the food is good for up to 30 years, maybe more. Buy it today and eat it later when the price of food is drastically greater than now. Grocery store prices go up every day and will continue.
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