Dehydrating or Canning?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by VHestin, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    I don't have too much experience with canning(except for a jams/jellies class I took this summer), and I'm wondering if dehydrating foods might be a better choice, since for the most part as I understand it, you just start the food drying and only check it every so often, whereas canning requires more hands-on time. I just don't know the shelf life of canned goods vs dried, or what method works best with what foods. Any replies are appreciated.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Drying isn't the same as freeze dried. Canning is great for a 2-5 year supply if properly done and rotated. Freeze dried food lasts much longer. Dehydrated foods can be vacuum packed in mylar to extend the life, but I am no expert at it.
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn RIP 1/13/21

    I agree with Brokor's statement that home canning is good for food storage of 2 to 5 years if done properly. That and storage of various beans and rice and other dry goods and commercial canned foods is all I have for food storage. I do garden, and have a growing selection of heirloom seeds.
    At this time, I do not have a dehydrator, but plan on buying one soon and learning to use it. I am sure we have a bunch of experienced people here who have a ton of info and experience to share on this issue.
    I hope the Dehydrators see this and flood the forum with good info!
    More canning recipes and experiences would be nice also.
  4. ISplatU

    ISplatU Monkey+

    I dehydrated this fall for the first time, and would like to know more, and how long it will last.
    I dehydrated pears, and apples, from a friends tree. Also I read about buying frozen vegetable and dehydrate them so I tried peas when I found some on sale. I am storing all this in canning jars. Anyone know about how long it will last?
  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Both drying and wet canning are important means of food preservation. Some types of food do better with drying, reconstituting with water quite well, and others, wet canning is better.

    One thing about drying, you're not bound to the requirements of lids like you are in canning.

    We do both. Tomatoes, for example, dry well, and wet can well. If I want whole or diced tomatoes for a recipe like chili or stew, then wet canning is the way to go. If I want sauce, then drying is the way to go, then pulverize and reconstitute with water to make a paste or sauce.

    Interesting thing about drying tomatoes....a quart jar of tomato powder is probably something like a dozen or so BUSHELS of tomatoes ! I got some metal 55gal drums for storing cattle/hog feed in that came from a local Con-Agra plant...they were used to ship tomato powder in to the plant, then they sell the used drums....nice, clean ( the powder was in a plastic bag liner ) with a nice plastic lid...perfect for feed....but I got to thinking about how many tractor trailer loads of tomatoes it must take to make a 55gal drum of powder ! And they go thru dozens of drums each day.

    I like things like green beans better wet canned.....also most fruits....but some folks prefer dried. Buddy of mine has it down slick to dry apples, then reconstitute and make a can't tell it from wet canned apple slices.

    Also, things like chili, spaghetti sauce with meat, and beef stew, we wet a can, and you pretty well have a meal ready to go.
  6. Cephus

    Cephus Monkey+++ Founding Member

  7. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Why don't we have a good food preservation sticky? I have like 3 or 4 threads I am tracking with great information. (If we do have one, excuse my laziness/inattentiveness ;))
  8. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    With canning I have seen stuff last 10 years it just depends on what it is that has been canned. I have seen vids on youtube recently of people drying and then canning what they dried,( Frozen corn ). when Canning pressure canning always works best for the best results. I am going to research a few things and be back to speak on those.
  9. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Freeze drying is a prosess you can do at home. It will take up freezer space and a quite a bit of time to make it successful. The process is relatively simple, all you need is a freezer i would say an upright, some thin cookie sheets with uniform holes drilled and spaced evenly. lets say your prepping apple slices, the thinner the better. place apple slices on pans 1 layer per tray. freeze for one week. take one slice out if slice turns black they are not ready, leave them in for about two days longer then take them out and they are ready to package. If you were going to try something like this to store foods on a regular basis I would not buy freeze drying equipment as it is very costly even on the used side a takes up to much space and uses tons of electricity. the best thing to do would be to find upright freezers and rebuild them as it would be more cost effective to run the operation that way. you can always pick up cookie sheets at a garage sale or second hand store and peruse the papers for freezers or even craigs list, or U, You could even check the appliance shops for old non-working uprights and get a new compressor or whatever it needs and put it in yourself. it would be a great learning expieriance.
  10. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Uh, that's NOT really "freeze drying"......that's just freezing. Freeze drying involves equipment to pull a serious vacuum to pull the ice crystals out as it freezes. You can't do that in a home process.
  11. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    The video that cephus has posted is a multi part video of at least 9 parts so you will be in it for the long haul.might be one to download and take into windows movie maker and splice back together for easier watching.
  12. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    @ tnandy-----I picked that up at I'm just repeating what they said,after I put it in my own words but that is how they described the process freeze-drying. I looked into the equipment for it and there is no-way a normal person can afford to do something like that , So. But Like I said before the information came from did call it the Low-Tech way of doing it though so that may help in understanding what they were saying. Plus usually E-How is pretty solid with their information unlike other web-sites.
  13. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Yeah, I think E-How is entirely wrong on this one. Andy is completely correct. Freeze drying requires a vacuum separation of ice crystals from the product. Standard freezing will not achieve the same result, in fact once the food thaws it will still have water content, causing the food to spoil. At best, it will be tasteless and not very nutritious.

    The expensive equipment needed to make freeze dried food is part of the reason why it is so costly to purchase.
  14. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Well the web has been wrong before on things.......I.E. Wikipedia..........My college wont even let them be used as a referance, says it right in the sylibus..................
    I was just passing along what I read !!!!!!!!!!!! No Harm No Foul...........
    pearlselby likes this.
  15. sunshine

    sunshine Monkey+

    Why can't you just dry the food & not freeze dry it. I just checked my cupboard as this reminded me to check my veg/fruit that I did months ago. The mushrooms are still great but the oranges, peaches, apples & strawberries did not do so well. I am experimenting. After drying ( I picked up a veg/fruit dryer for 10$ garage sale) it needs to be baged in an air tight bag & maybe divided into their own bags. I'll try that next time.
  16. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Here's the deal, for the very fact of the matter in the debate. If you dehydrate your food and package it properly it can last up to if not exceed 35 years. In the video on cephus post a little further up( in a subsequant video part, I think part 7) she states that people have opened a vacuum sealed bag of Properly prepared food, that is 95% moisture free,then bagged with an oxygen absorber in the bag then sealed can last an indefinate amount of time. just thought i would add a little fuel for the fire.
  17. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Instant coffee is basically freeze-dried isn't it? I once looked up how-to instructions for it, and after reading it, decided to give up on ever making homemade instant coffee. Besides I think coffee beans have a good shelf life don't they?
  18. Disciple

    Disciple Monkey+

    Theorhetically they should if vaccuum packed with the oxygen absorber in it they should last a very long time. If I were you and I drank allot of coffee I would say bag three pot fulls to a vaccuum bag drop an oxygen absorber in and seal it up. then get a hand crank coffee mill or a battery operated one and grind as neede so they stay fresher. You could always use a rechargeable battery and a portable solar battery charger.
  19. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    [FONT=&quot]I'm starting to come up to speed on putting food by.... I've got a long way to go and there’s definitely a learning curve but I’m thinking dehydration over canning based on my personal experiences and growing knowledge base. I've taken one class each on canning and dehydration basics then I started researching on my own and experimenting and I'm pretty sure that e-How article's author was either smoking whacky tobaccy or just typing to type... it seems waaaay out in left field from what I've been taught. What worries me is folk reading that article unwittingly trying to preserve food by "freeze drying" it the eHow way actually counting on consuming that food at a much later date who could get really sick… or worse. When water in food freezes, some of the cellular activity is stopped because it's rendered unavailable to microorganisms but.... moisture condensation is gonna occur on the surface of the food providing quite the hospitable environment to molds, yeasts, and bacteria that will flourish once removed from the freezer and even if food prepped that e-How way was stored in a 0° F freezer where bacteria would be totally inactive.... internal enzymes would still be active. Microbes can continue nefarious action in our foods.... even when they're stored in the cold dark bowels of our freezers. This is why I think it’s so darn important blanching almost all vegetables before dehydrating or freezing them and this is exactly why it’s nice to have a place to go to sort out information so we can make informed decisions for ourselves… it’s the old 10 heads are better than one. I’ve lost faith in Wikipedia and those e-How type sites. Confirmation bias is rampant but that's just the tip of the iceberg with iniquitous authors and those self-proclaimed experts taking one foot out of their mouth just so they can insert the other typing their brains out to "share" with the world.[/FONT]
  20. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Oxygen absorber? Yes I have very little food preservation experience besides drying my herbs and sticking them in a glass jar in a cupboard.
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