While I am able to obtain produce periodically, I have to say the majority of the fruits and vegetables in my food storage are of the freeze-dried variety? Why? Cost and convenience.
Consider this. I can purchase a flat of fresh blueberries for $30-$35 at a farmers market. Undoubtedly there will be some waste, bruising,
and I may or may not be able to use them all before they spoil. I will also need to wash them and dry them off prior to using (depending on what I’m making with them). However, if I purchase a #10 can of freeze-dried blueberries, I still get 90-95% of the ORIGINAL fresh produce nutrition, without any bruising or waste. Plus there’s no need to wash and dry them, or to sort through them and clean off any stems. The freeze-dried produce is picked at their prime and I get them without any pesticides or any other “yucky” ingredients. In addition, the shelf life of the brand I prefer (I haven’t checked on ALL of the brands) is 20 years. Not only that, but the Blue Chip brand (a.k.a. Morning Moos) also guarantees that AFTER you’ve opened that big #10 can, it’s guaranteed for its taste, texture, and nutrition for a full 18 months! So there’s no need to be overwhelmed at the thought of opening the can.
My husband and I munch on the freeze-dried fruits as snacks quite frequently during the day. And when I watch for the sales, I’m paying LESS than I would have had to pay for fresh produce.
The benefits of freeze-dried foods deserve restating:
Last 20 years on the shelf
Last 18 months after opening
No yucky ingredients
Easy to use
AND COST LESS
Sometimes the “costs less” component of freeze-dried foods is hard to wrap our minds around. We think in terms of paying $1.29 for a small pint of berries, for example. But then when we see the price tag for a #10 can of freeze-dried produce at $25-$30, we choke. Keep in mind you’re getting a LOT of produce that can easily replace a flat of produce you would purchase elsewhere.
As opposed to dehydrated foods, freeze-dried foods reconstitute with much less water and time. In fact, in many instances, I don’t even bother reconstituting a lot of what I use by relying on the moisture in the dish I’m making or the heat from cooking to do the work for me. That way I get a much fresher, powerful burst of flavor. Even better, with freeze-dried products I don’t have to waste freezer space on the items which may or may not taste mushy or get freezer burn.
Even more important, these foods are really nutritious FOODS as opposed to somethings I bring home from the processed foods aisles. Can words ending in “oxins” “ose” “itrates” or ithin” really be considered “food?”
Freeze-dried foods also look prettier and more appetizing in my meals. I recently purchased a muffin mix with “real blueberries” in it. The “blueberries” were just shredded little bits. So the next time I had a hankering for blueberry muffins, I simply put some of my whole freeze-dried fruit in them. My volunteer munchers scarfed them down.
The other day I made jam in a jiffy just by using a little bit of sugar, the freeze-dried raspberries (or strawberries or blueberries) and some water. No cooking or refrigeration was required. And just as important it didn’t require an entire day of canning. I just made up exactly how much I needed/wanted to go with my homemade bread.
Ultra MaxiGel Jam/Syrup
1 cup Morning Moos (Blue Chip) freeze-dried raspberries, strawberries or blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 T. UltraMaxigel
Water (about 1 cup+)
Blend all ingredients well with a high speed mixer or blender. Add enough water to create the consistency you prefer. You may add more water for a syrup consistency as well.
That brings me to another point of using freeze-dried fare everyday. It’s so simple. The recipe I just gave you is easy enough that a 4-year-old could make it. For example, when I’m making meatloaf, I just throw in a handful of freeze-dried spinach flakes and some freeze-dried red and green peppers that are already diced up. Cooking with freeze-dried foods simply couldn’t be easier.
As you may be able to tell, this food isn’t “just” for food storage. In fact, I kind of think of the two words “food storage” as a bit of a nasty connotation in my home given that I use these kinds of ingredients every day. While these types of products may be great FOR food storage, these everyday items are vital ones of convenience in my home. So keep your eyes open for freeze-dried products in your area. And if you have any doubts as to the taste, write to the company and ask for some samples to be sent to you before you spend the money on them. I’m a true convert to this kind of product—especially when it comes to my produce.
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Do you just leave it in the can it came in?
I live in Texas ....I wonder if it would how it would do with our humidity?
Would I have to do anything special after opening the can?
Where on line would you suggest we buy this brand?
Have you gotten the soar ovens yet?
You can buy it directly from Blue Chip Foods. Yes, I just leave it in the can. It's 18 month guarantee comes with everywhere it's sold to. Howeve4r, it does say to store in a cool, dry place on the back.
I am a big history and military nut. Most folks don't know that Napoleon Bonaparte was the big mover and shaker behind caning. After that the Crimea War showed a lot of folks the values of fresh baked bread and rice as staples. We of the west do have a lot to learn from the east as well. Fresh fish has vitamin C, at least ocean going types. Vitamin C is destroyed in cooking. But it didn't matter because the Orient ate fish raw.
I think I love going through history so much is they may not have known why it worked but it worked. Our ancestors were bloody brilliant.Of course most tests tended to be if you live great, if not you die. Not a lot of gray area.
I will be doing some "primitive skills" stuff, this next month. Nothing big just trying to make my own Pemmican, sun dried fruits and vegetables. Curing and smoking meats. I have all the scientific knowledge, Plus good products I know. Gosh what an adventure.
I don't know if you all in Utah know how lucky you have it. There are NO retail places here to buy any of this.
We love using the red and green peppers in our cooking. We have several recipes that we throw in a handfull of those to spice them up.
You don't have to worry about that with the Blue Chip brand. Once you open it up it's guaranteed for taste, texture and nutrition for 18 months! It's just my husband and I and we have no problem using them up in that period of time.
Do you know of any place that sells the freeze dried foods in smaller cans? There are only 3 people in my family and I would be less hesitant to open a can if it weren't quite so big.
Favorite brand- Blue chip. Where do I buy it? Macey's. (Every once in a while I"ll get it at Wal-Mart, but Macey's is more consistent in their prices.
I would like to get some of these products. Favorite brand? Place to shop? I haven't tried the cheese before. I agree - we always have some waste. But if you have some mold - we don't throw the brick away - just trim it off. I guess everyone knows that but I would
like to avoid any loss.
They carry all kinds of prep stuff and very good on shipping costs.
food2store.com has a lot of items and I have tried there freeze dried fruit, it's very good. I am not sure about their shipping cost because they are local for me.
Thanks for the info. I did not realize how cost effective Freeze dried vegies and fruits are.
As usual you have provided great info!
Where are your favorite places to shop for freeze-dried fruits and veggies?
I agree wholeheartedly on the use of freeze dried fruits and veggies. The only product I have tried and did not like rehydrated was oranges - but eaten out of the can they are terrific.
Like you I also take handfuls of a variety of products and put them into foods for added nutrition & color. Must haves are spinach, celery, onions and shredded cheddar. The cheese is because I've been having a real problem - no matter what I do the cheese gets mold and I have lost up to 1/2. Can't afford the waste.
I have gone on a Preparedness Item Treasure Hunt, and I have to yet to find the Ultra-Maxi Gel?
I use Shelf Reliance for my Freeze Dried because the Thrive Program is so easy and everything I have tried has been so yummy!
I will be courious which brand is the best ! Provident Pantry sure seems like a better buy. Hmmm.. To the Cookbook I go ;)
Here in Northern Nevada it is pretty pathetic for supplies too. I have had to buy all of my hard core long term storage stuff online, of coarse they will not be so forighn once I start using them regularly :)
Our Walmarts carry some canning supplies but that is pretty much the extent of it. :( I bet the Elko Walmart carries more.
Luckily most of the places so far have free shipping over $199.00 so I use that to my advantage. The exception is Blue Chip which