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There are dozens of sources for Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Food. And that doesn't even count all the private labeling.

ASSUMING good packaging for long term storage, limited use of salt and no MSG and other flavor and texture enhancers, has anybody done a taste test comparing brands? I haven't done that much, but enough to know that there are some that taste way better than others for the same food.

Does freeze dried food generally taste better than dehydrated food?

Recommendations?

Best bang for the buck for SHTF, not daily consumption?
 

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I prefer dehydrated foods, I would invest in one, and do it yourself at home. Save ALOT more $$, hit up a Co op, or farmers market. Invest in a good dehydrator, I have an Excalibur. Worth every penny.
 

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My 2 cents: I think the best food is simple ingredients you combine yourself. The prepared dishes sold for long-term storage are almost all loaded with things I don't want to eat. If you feel you must have ready-to-eat entrees in a bag/can, then at least stick with established companies that offer a full line of storage foods rather than going with one of the many fly-by-nights offering nothing but 3-month, 6-month, etc. food buckets/packages purporting to have all you need. They don't, and many aren't even well packaged for long-term storage. They figure they will have banked the bucks and disappeared long before the folks who just want a food supply to stick somewhere and ignore will have occasion to realize that, though. You're just the kind of customer they're after--someone who won't be opening any of their food to check unless/until SHTF, when it will be too late.

Dehydrated food works well in soups and stews where it can simmer for a long time. Many things dehydrate well, but they do have a different taste and texture than fresh or frozen. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are much more like conventional frozen and can be rehydrated/cooked faster. Unless you can freeze-dry uncooked meats and fish yourself, the best choice for flavor there is canned. (Canned meats keep without having all the fat removed. Freeze-dried cooked meat is always as near to fat-free as they can make it, and therefore tends to eat like flavored cardboard. You can revive it with rendered fat and good broth, but then you're back to combining simple ingredients instead of just opening a package and adding water.)

I have no advice on use for SHTF only, other than that you will likely end up wasting a certain amount of food (and money) if you don't use and rotate, so there goes your bang for your buck.
 

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When it comes to meats you will find freeze dried tastes better. With vegetables it depends on the vegetable, with freeze dried winning more times yet not enough to declare it always superior. With cost and space usage the dehydrated always wins.

So when it comes to meats you generally have to choose between taste and texture versus cost and space.

When it comes to vegetables you are just going to have to try each vegetable out to find the winner.

As for brands, there are no clear cut winners but there are a number of clear cut losers. For the decent brands it really depends on the food item involved. Like restaurants or home cooking every decent LTS company does better at certain things. And then you have the bad companies that rarely have a good item.

The decent brands tend to be the older preserved food companies that were around long before the prepper craze. They supplied other food industries before preppers started buying tons for home use. They sold to institutional groups, governments, the restaurant industry, food charities, and outdoor sportsmen. If all the preppers fell into a black hole they would continue to have good business. Most of your bad companies were prepper craze startups. Most of them don't even make their own food. They buy a lot of food from the older companies and tweak/stretch them to maximize profit. They don't all taste bad, but the ones that taste good have to slap their own profit on top of the prices they pay to their suppliers. If you are getting good pricing that beats the old companies then they have loaded the food with stretchers or shrunk the portion size. If you are getting good taste and decent portions then you are paying multiple companies the full profit margin. And if the preppers all fell into a black hole these later companies would fall on their faces.

I'm sure you wanted fast and easy answers to make a sweeping decision on who to go with. Can't help you. You have to sample a lot of brands and a lot of different items between brands.

I can tell you that the pinned thread at the top of this board is a listing of companies that have proven themselves to the membership here to be reasonably consistent and tend to give decent value. Value being a term that doesn't always mean the best tasting or the best pricing, but a blend of those two and their customer service habits. Preppers disagreeing what's more important between taste, cost, and portion size, but all of us wanting good customer service.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=358988
 

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The best dried food is what you make yourself. I've been using an inexpensive dehydrator I bought from a K Mart store (to give you an idea of how old it is) 10 or 20 years ago and it still works fine.

I dry tomatoes, greens, cayenne, and various herbs. In most cases I dry them until they are crisp and then pulverise them in a food processor and run them through a screen. Seems like they last a long time, though mine have always been used within 3 or 4 years so I can't say anything about them keeping longer than that.

Having food is important to short term survival, but knowing how to produce and preserve your own food is important to long term survival.
 

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I agree with deprogramming services above: The best food is that which you make yourself. I bought a Harvestright Freeze Dryer a few years ago - BEST FD food ever is my wife's chili, stew and red pepper soup! I only use it about once a month but have plenty for camping and many veggies put up when cheap.
 

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I've bought freeze dried and dehydrated from several co' s. For long term to work, packaging needs to be cans, or extremely durable food grade plastic. IMHO some of the items from emergency essentials are good if you watch & wait for a sale. Better prices all the time from Wal-Mart. For every day use I like North Bay Trading (fruit & veg is all they have, no meat or cheese) primarily because they offer organics. Some of Mtn House is just plain yucky to my taste buds (I bought a dozen beef stroganoff and have really had to doctor it up to be able to somewhat enjoy it)
 

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ALthough I dehydrate and can some of my own food, it's not near enough for a deep pantry. My favorite sources are the LDS provident living home storage (both on line and at the storehouse) and Emergency Essentials single item large cans. I get basics like carrots, onions, refried beans, oatmeal and pasta from LDS ($3 shipping per order by mail). I watch EE for specials and buy meat, cheese (NOT the powdered blend, but shreddd cheddar and mozzarella), some vegies, tomato powder (good for pasta and pizza sauce, soups, your own ketchup, etc) and granola. If you live near a brick and mortar Honeyville, they have good prices on whole grains, but you'll need to bucket the stuff yourself. Their on-line grain prices are about the same as other places. I keep about 10% of my storage in Mountain House 'just add water' meals and MRE's for contingencies. Beware of places with super cheap food and sky high shipping.

One nice thing about Emergency Essentials is that you can buy a 'small can' of a lot of their stuff, open it and practice using it. I try to do this with most staples. I love their tomato powder - I no longer buy canned tomato sauce, paste or purée as you can make all three from the powder. The LDS refried beans are also a staple for us now. You need to add some garlic and pepper to give them more flavor, but they take a little hot water and about 10 minutes to chow down. I avoid regular canned hard beans (except lentils) because they consume a lot of heat and water to be edible. More than a western desert-dweller should allow!
 

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You can't fix stupid
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DesertDawn....looks like we have a similar food storage strategy. I buy almost exclusively from the LDS store near me as well as Emergency Essentials. Walmart now sells the EE brand but most of it I get from beprepared.com when their's a sale. I just bought 3 cans of whole powdered eggs and some sausage during their cyber week sale and stopped at the LDS store to get a few basics to give as Christmas gifts. My family knows that I prep now I'm trying to get them to prep for themselves so I don't go from feeding 3 adults to feeding 8 adults.

OP-You can get bulk dry goods like beans, rice, flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt at a restaurant supply store for pretty cheap and get some mylar bags and O2 absorbers from a seller on ebay. Easy to seal up several hundred pounds of stuff in an afternoon.
 

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If storage space is an issue, the same volume of dehydrated food is several times the weight of freeze dried foods. Much more food can be stored in the same space.
 

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If storage space is an issue, the same volume of dehydrated food is several times the weight of freeze dried foods. Much more food can be stored in the same space.
That's because there are several times as much dehydrated food in that same volume.
 

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Hubris begets Nemesis
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Want to make your own food dehydrator?

Layer your food between NEW correlated, clean furnace filters and set this stack on top of a clean box fan, set to medium or high.
 

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I think freeze dried is generally better. I love freeze-dried strawberries and I have trouble keeping my hands out of the food storage. It's so handy to have strawberries year round, never going bad or moldy, that I can make a nice strawberry shortcake anytime I want. Or just eat them out of the can. Freeze dried is very convenient and very tasty. I'm not sure who makes the best ones. My strawberries came from Emergency Essentials. I've also enjoyed Augason Farms freeze dried blueberries. Strawberries and bananas seem to be the cheapest. I hated the freeze dried peaches from Emergency Essentials. They were very pale, like unripe, and had a very odd taste. I don't know if it was just a bad batch.
 
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