Thursday, June 30, 2011

Prepare: Freeze Fried or Dehydrated? Do it youself or not?

I wrote this review for another website whose audience was primarily comprised on "non-preppers".

Freeze Dried versus Dehydrated - Which is better?

Rather than look at which is better, compare instead the products sold by major long term food supply companies. Also consider the packaging and size of packaging. Finally, and most important, think about what your family will eat and enjoy.

Here are the basics about dehydrated versus freeze dried.

- Freeze dried foods generally take less time and water to prepare

- Dehydrated foods may take longer to rehydrate

- Freeze dried foods are generally pre-seasoned and may contain more sodium and other seasons than eaters may prefer.

- Also generally speaking, most dehydrated food companies sell their foods as stand alone products - dehydrated fruits in one #10 can, wheat in another, TVP in another and so on. Buyers than mix and cook from scratch meals using these products.

- In bulk, as in a six month or one year supply, both dehydrated and freeze dried foods take up a lot of space. Make sure you have the room.

- Many multi month or one year food supply packages include extras like sugar, baking powder, yeast and other products which can also be purchased at the grocery store. While some companies claim these are "fillers" to make the supply seem longer, these extras do come packed in  long term food storage containers and this might be convinient for some customers.

Do I have to buy foods from these companies if I want to build a long term food supply?

Absolutely not. You can purchase grains, rice, cooking oil, honey, dried milk and other foods and repack them yourself. You can also purchase a good food dehydrator and dry your own seasonsal fruits and vegetables. In fact, many enjoy doing this themselves and may save money if done correctly and with proper planning.

However, for those with the means and with little free time, purchasing a supply of ready packed foods from one of these companies may work best for them.

As for me, I have a combination of my own packed foods, grocery store foods (like canned and packaged products) and a retort supply from some of the companies below.

Mountain House Foods are all freeze dried foods. Rather than sell baking and cooking ingredients, Mountain sells large (#10 cans) and small (individual meal pouches) complete meals such as cheesy macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meat balls and beef stew. Mountain House Foods are also light weight and the preferred choice of backpackers, campers and even those who are building a one year food supply.

eFoodsdirect offers both freeze dried and dehydrated foods. eFoodsdirect has both ingredients for those who wish to cook complete meals from scratch using a combination of freeze dried and dehydrated ingredients, they also carry a complete line of "Quick Meals" which can quickly be reconstituted and served for one or an entire family. They also carry a full line of emergency "on the go meal packages" for travelers or emergencies.

Shelf THRIVE foods also has a full selection of freeze dried and dehydrated foods and complete meals. What is neat about THRIVE is their organized and easy to use system of preparing meals using their colored packaging. Also, THRIVE is more designed for those who enjoy cooking meals from scratch at home and wish to have the convinience of long term store foods.

Which is best for you? Each of these companies has sample sized products containing 1-3 meals. I would try a sample and serve to your family and find which foods they prefer.

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