Vegetables, fruit and lean meat can be dehydrated for long term storage.
Preppers on a very limited budget can begin a food storage program by purchasing a pound of rice and a pound of dried beans whenever a trip to the grocery store is needed.
The simplest way to preserve dehydrated food in small containers is by using a small non-electric hand pump, the Pump-N-Seal to create a near vacuum in a Mason jar. It has been reported that Ball lids work better than Kerr lids but Kerr lids can be used if the lid gasket is heated first.
To avoid food fatigue stock up on a variety of rice, dried beans and spices/seasoning. Spices and seasoning can be stored long term in vacuum packed Mason jars.
Frozen vegetables do not require pretreatment with lemon juice or by blanching prior to dehydration at home. Put the frozen vegetables on the dehydrator tray and set the temperature control to no more than 125 degrees F. If a higher temperature is used it is possible to dry the outside of a vegetable before the inside has been dried, resulting in spoiled food.
Fresh vegetables (not lettuce) and fruit can be dehydrated also but some preparation may be necessary. Check out the excellent youtube videos by Dehydrate2Store (Tammy) for more details.
It is not possible to over dry food.
Here are suggestions from the B2B newsletter by RoxanneLouise@verizon.net.
The ten best and cheapest survival rations available at any store:
Rice: Every time you go to the store you should buy one 10-lb bag of rice. You can find them for around $5 at most supermarkets. Rice will stay in good condition for 10 years or more if stored properly. It offers high carbohydrates which is especially important if you are exerting a lot of physical energy during a crisis.
Beans: Beans are known to be one of the best all-round survival foods. Theyre high in protein, and if sealed in food-grade buckets with a small amount of dried ice, theyll stay for up to ten years. Make sure to store them in a cool, dry, dark location. Buy a 4-5 lb bags of dried beans every time you go to the store. All dry beans are good to store; black beans, red beans, pinto beans, lentils, etc.
Cornmeal: All-purpose flours are good to store, but cornmeal may be the best overall. Cornmeal is packed with dense carbohydrates and contains oils that helps extend its shelf life. Additionally, if the power grid is down during a mega disaster, it is much easier to make good corn breads and tortillas with cornmeal in a simple skillet or solar oven, where refined flour will need yeast and oil to make decent bread or biscuits. Get a 5-lb bag of cornmeal ($10-$15) at each grocery visit. Seal and store the same way as beans (buckets, salt and dry ice), and it will safely keep 8 months to 2 years.
Lard: If youre a health-conscious reader, hydrogenated lard does not sound very appetizing, but in a survival situation you cant afford to be picky. Animal lard or vegetable shortening both offer much-needed calories during times of crisis, cooking oil for multiple uses, and it will keep longer than cooking oils because of the hydrogenation. Buy a 6-lb can ($12) and store in a cool, dry, and dark place and it will stay good for 2-3 years or longer.
Salt: Salt is one of the most useful survival food items. Its used for storing food, curing beef, and flavoring most meals. Salt will stay forever, so always buy extra when youre shopping.
Canned Fruit & Vegetables: These are another obvious survival food, but not as practical as many would think. Theyre heavy and somewhat costly for the calories they deliver. Additionally, acidic fruits and any cans with tomatoes will not keep as long as most people think. But most canned food is good for 5+ years. Buy green vegetables and fruits like peaches and pears for long-term storage, but more importantly, buy what you already eat in case you need to rotate them into your diet before they go bad.
Canned Meat: Canned meats like ham, tuna, and chicken are excellent to store. They typically will keep for 6-10 years and theyre an excellent source of protein. However, if the grid is down for a long time (apocalyptic), hunting and fishing will likely provide most meats. Therefore, it may be sufficient to buy extra canned meats every other time you go shopping.
Sugar: Brown and white sugar will add much-needed flavor and calories to a survival diet and theyll keep for ten years or more if stored properly. Honey is also excellent as it will store forever. Make sure to buy extra every other time you go grocery shopping. You wont need too much, but theyll be well worth having if a crisis strikes.
Pasta: Pasta is a good light-weight storable food that is also a great source of carbohydrates. Pasta will not keep as long as rice, but it can stay for around 5 years in good conditions. Pasta is also very inexpensive and extra should be bought at each trip to the store. It will take up more space in your food bank that rice, beans and cornmeal, so plan your space the best you can.
Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is a terrific source of protein, fat, and calories. Plus, its just a great treat to have on hand. Peanut butter can last up to five years in root cellar conditions. Stock up whenever there are good deals at your grocery store. Youll be happy you did if the SHTF.
If you consistently buy these items 3-4 times per month, you’ll quickly acquire a years supply of survival rations for your whole family.
Dehydrated and Freeze Dried Food Suppliers
- East Coast Food Storage (Troy, VA).
- Emergency Essentials (bePrepared.com). Very nice people to do business with!
- Honeyville Food Products
- Walton Feed
Food Preservation Using Dehydration
- Helpful Hints from Tammy, Dehydrate2Store.
- Food Drying Basics by Marcella Shaffer (Backwoods Home Magazine)
- Review of Solar Food Drying
Articles by Peggy Layton
- The Advantages Of Storing Dehydrated Foods
- How to Store Bulk Foods
- What to Store and How Much to Store
Dehydration with Tammy (dehydrate2store)
The following videos from Dehydrate2store are excellent information sources, very much worth the time to watch if you are considering a food storage program.
Part 1: Excalibur; ginger; meat slicer; green peppers; broccoli; potatoes; sweet potatoes; blanch; cauliflower; lemon; orange; tomatoes; zucchini; summer squash; carrots; lemon juice; ascorbic acid; jalapeno pepper; spinach.
Part 2: Eggplant; summer squash; zucchini; test dehydration level; banana; salt; apple peeler; farmers market; lemon juice; apples; broccoli; spinach; Clorox kitchen spray; hygiene; corn; garlic; onions.
Part 3: Hot peppers; cucumbers; oranges; corn; mason jar; oxygen absorbers; hyperinflation; mylar bags; packaging.
Part 4: zip lock bag; food saver bag; oranges; mylar bag; plastic bucket; oxygen absorbers; bread crumbs.
Part 5: making soup; crock pot; chicken vegetable soup.
Part 6: fruit rollups; beef stew, cream of broccoli soup; cream of tomato soup with red roasted peppers; minestrone soup with elbow macaroni; quick bread; apple pancakes; rehydrate orange juice, mushrooms, sweet potatoes; raspberries, mangos, blueberries, and grapes; dehydrated eggs, milk and cheese; packaging flour and sugar; questions answered.
Storage Life of Dehydrated Food
Solar Food Dehydrator page, build it yourself
Electric, non commercial food dehydrators range from the inexpensive FD-60 4 tray 3.4 sq ft American Harvest ($60) to the and the top of the line 9 tray 15 sq ft Excalibur ($250). The economy version of the 9 tray Excalibur (Model 2900 does not have a timer) is available for $180 from sources found on the web. The timer is not needed since food cannot be over dried. If a timer is desired for other reasons, it is much cheaper to purchase an electric timer from a big box store.
Food Storage – Package Food In A Vacuum
Moisture, oxygen, temperature and sunlight work to shorten food storage life.
Bulk food purchased from vendors may be packaged in a #10 can or a Super Pail. If food is removed from either of these sealed packages whatever food is not used soon can be repackaged for long term storage in smaller containers using a Mason jar, P.E.T.E. jar or mylar bag. Vacuum packing to remove oxygen can be done with oxygen absorbers or vacuum pump such as the Pump-N-Seal or one of the many Foodsaver models available at WalMart.
Non-electric vacuum sealer
No electricity is need to vacuum pack food when using a modified bicycle pump and Mason jar or P.E.T.E jar. Link to PDF file. A Foodsaver jar sealer is another useful tool that can be used to make a seal to a jar.