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The Advantages Of Storing Dehydrated Foods

November 22, 2010 by  

The Advantages Of Storing Dehydrated Foods

The next step in our food storage plan is for you to make a list of the foods that your family eats on a regular basis and purchase enough food for a three-month supply. As we talked about in a previous article, Food Storage 101: Where do I begin?, one of the best ways to stockpile food is in the dried form. It is lightweight and can be reconstituted to its original form by adding water.

I tell people to start with everything to make soup and simple breads. My philosophy is that you can live on just soup and bread.

Soups are easy to make, and if you are in a time of stress you want something that is simple to prepare. Dehydrated vegetables are easy to use when making soup. Grains such as barley, quinoa and rice can also be added to soup to make it more filling. Dehydrated vegetables, bouillons and grains will store for a lot longer than wet pack soups.

Studies have been done on the shelf life of dehydrated foods and, surprisingly, the food has been lasting longer than originally expected, which was between five and 20 years. Wet pack foods only last two to three years after being canned.

A good rule of thumb is to rotate any dried dairy products within five to seven years. All dried fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes should be rotated within seven to 10 years and all grains within 20 to 30 years. Wheat will last the longest.

Dehydrated Foods

We use dehydrated foods every day, whether we know it or not. They are called “convenience foods,” and include things like Rice-A-Roni, Hamburger Helper, Bisquick®, macaroni and cheese, Pasta Roni®, Tuna Helper, potatoes au gratin, instant oatmeal, instant soups like Lipton Onion Soup and Cup of Noodles, powdered milk, gravy mixes and anything you “just add water” to.

Dehydrated foods are second only to fresh foods. They are processed under a high vacuum and low drying temperature that removes most of the water. The product is more brittle and hard rather than leathery like dried fruits such as raisins, figs, prunes, pineapple, apricots, etc.

Dehydrated foods, when harvested and preserved properly, will retain their vitamins, minerals and enzymes because the food has not been cooked or canned, processes that kill the enzymes that are so vital to the digestive process. So dehydrated food is “live food.”

Dehydrated food is lower in weight and is much easier to store than wet pack food. It fits in cans and buckets and when reconstituted will yield at least double or triple its weight.  And dehydrated food is less expensive than wet pack food because you aren’t paying for all the water.

Food packed in No. 10 cans fit six cans per box and stack nicely on top of each other. If you label the boxes as to what is in them, you can see at a glance what you have.

Dehydrated food can be rehydrated to restore it to its natural state. The taste is still great and the food value is excellent. Dehydrated food stores well for long periods of time if properly canned. Most items keep for seven to 30 years.

Any product that has powdered milk or dried eggs in it has a shorter shelf life. Rotate these items before the expiration date is up. The suggested shelf life of dairy products is five to seven years.

I have been asked many times what the difference is between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. Dehydrated foods are dried until the product is dry and leathery and most of the moisture is out of the food.

Freeze-dried foods are flash-frozen and then the water is extracted out of the product using a special evaporation process. It retains its original shape and is much lighter in weight.

Freeze-dried foods are ideal for backpacking. Freeze-dried foods are more expensive than dehydrated food, but the flavor is wonderful.

You may recognize the name Mountain House Foods®. These foods are already in a pouch and ready to eat. You just add water and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. They are nice to have in your 72-hour grab-and-go pack in case of emergency. However, the cost is prohibitive for use for extended periods of time, especially if you are on a budget and trying to get enough food storage to sustain your family for at least a 3-month period.

Reconstituting Guidelines
A good rule of thumb for reconstituting fruits, vegetables and meats is to add about three times the amount of boiling water to the product. Then let it set for at least 20 minutes. If cold water is used, the product must sit in the refrigerator for about four hours or overnight.

If you have added too much water, you can drain it and use it in cooking. If your food  looks like it needs more water, then add more. To speed up the reconstitution process, add the dried product directly to soup and cook as usual.

Dehydration causes the cell walls of the food to collapse. Some products, like tomatoes, cannot be reconstituted to the texture that they were before. However, they can be used in seasonings or in recipes such as tomato sauce or soups. It’s very easy to reconstitute food; you just “add water.”

A company that I recommend for fast, easy, nutritious gourmet meals that will store for up to 15 years is eFoods Global. How does chicken veggie alfredo pasta, chili with cornmeal dumplings or white cheddar pasta shells sound?  How about beef stroganoff, tortilla soup or, my favorite, cheesy chicken rice casserole.


Some of the features of eFoods Global are:

  • Dehydrated from premium-grade fresh raw foods.
  • No genetically modified foods (GMOs).
  • No added MSG.
  • No imports from countries using illegal fertilizers and insecticides.
  • No hydrogenated oil.

This is a new concept in storable foods that are delicious, nutritious, affordable and convenient for daily use. If you would like to try the same six meals that I received, simply go to, watch the three-minute video and then click on the WIN button. After you receive your six meals for $9.95, you can order a shipment of food to be delivered to you once per month. This is more cost-effective, and over a few month’s time you will have enough good-tasting nutritious meals stored for an emergency. 

On my website you can purchase many different varieties of dehydrated foods already packaged for long-term storage. They come in No. 10 gallon-sized cans. When the product is reconstituted it yields about three to four times the amount in the can.

These packs contain dehydrated fruits like apples, banana chips, pineapple, strawberries and peaches. They have dried vegetables like carrots, onions, corn, peas, bell pepper, tomato flakes and potato slices, dices, flakes and hash browns. They also contain powdered milk and dairy products like cheddar cheese powder, dried eggs, butter powder, buttermilk powder, plus shortening powder, meat substitutes, soup mixes, rice and other grains, popcorn, spaghetti and egg noodles, six- and nine-grain cereals, rolled oats and granola.

The beans include pinto, small red, white navy, split pea, lentils and refried. The packs also include drink mixes like peach and apple drink, as well as chocolate milk mix.  There is salt, baking soda, sugar cookie mix and white bread mix.

The packs also include five-gallon buckets of wheat, flour, cornmeal and sugar. And you get one of my cookbooks for free.

There are premium year-supply packs that include entrees that are ready to eat. This includes some Mountain House freeze dried meals. Some of the meals are beef stew, beef stroganoff, beef teriyaki with rice, chicken ala-king, chicken and rice, chicken and noodles, spaghetti and meat sauce, vegetable stew, chili mac, lasagna with meat sauce, wild rice and mushroom pilaf and mac and cheese, fried rice, chili, scrambled eggs with ham or bacon and granola with blueberries.

These foods come in three-month, six-month and one-year variety packs. I have personally worked with all these foods and have chosen the ones that I recommend. If you are interested in any of these packs, you can go to my website and order them.

I also recommend my new, updated cookbook, Cookin’ With Home Storage. It has more than 550 recipes for using storable foods like dehydrated, freeze-dried and pantry food items. It also has charts on what food to store, how much food to store and how to store it. There are also historical tips and information on how the pioneers really lived.

This book teaches how to incorporate food storage into your everyday diet. It also contains Grandma’s home remedies, emergency baby food and recipes for pet food free of all the additives that are found in commercial baby food and pet food.

This is my No. 1 selling book.

The next best selling book I have is Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook.

These books, along with many others, including Food storage 101, “Where Do I Begin?” can be purchased on my website,
You can also contact me via email or by phone: 435-835-0311.

In my next article I will cover how to store bulk foods.

Peggy Layton

a home economist and licensed nutritionist, holds a B.S. in Home Economics Education with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition from Brigham Young University. Peggy lives in Manti, Utah with her husband Scott. Together they have raised seven children. Peggy owns and operates two businesses: One called "The Therapy Center", where she is a licensed massage therapist and hypnotherapist, and the other an online cookbook and preparedness products business. She is nationally known for publishing a series of seven books on the subject of food storage and also lectures and teaches seminars about preparedness and using food storage products. Peggy practices what she preaches, has no debt, grows a huge garden, lives off the land, raises chickens, bottles and dehydrates food and has time left over to operate her businesses. To check out Peggy's cookbooks and self sufficiency products go to her website To get a free sample of three different storable meals that have a 15-year shelf life go here.

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  • http://explorer Jane

    Great, but a three year supply is better. this year comeing up, raise and can your own veggys, even meat can be canned safely. homemade jerk is great and easy made.
    And dont forget your 3 bags of junk silver per person, no need for gold, but if you already have it guns and ammo are important. May be more important than gold-silver.
    Water-food-and guns. Did anyone out there ever think we would come to this. GREAT LEADERS WE HAVE ? DONT WE ?

    Jane …silverbill

  • http://WebSite? Jeff

    Where is the cheapest place you suggest for 3 bags of junk silver? Thank you,

    • Dan-in-CO

      One place to start is to check on eBay. Study the prices. Search
      for ‘junk silver bag’. If you want to start smaller, search for
      ’90% silver dime roll’. These are going for ~$90 per roll of 50.
      A roll of fifty 90% silver dimes contains 3.617 oz of silver.
      A roll of forty 90% silver quarters contains 7.2339 oz of silver.
      A roll of twenty 90% silver half dollars contains 7.2339 oz silver.
      Look for the spot price on Kitco, multiply by the number of oz,
      and you’ll have some idea of what a going price might be. Remember,
      there is a mark up on sales to allow profit so a business can keep
      the doors open. You won’t be buying at the spot price.

      I’ve purchased from (Patriot Trading Group) in
      the past. Good guys to deal with but have been buying off eBay for
      quite a while now. Stay away from Swiss America. Way over priced.

      • Jean

        I read that it is illegal to melt US coins for silver, so would that mean your silver coins would only be worth the face amount?

        • DennisC

          Old Silver rare very good grade coins are worth money to collectors, the rest is just silver, the same goes with silver bars, But with that being said if you can get your hands on silver Get it, It will be worth more than paper money

          • Robin

            I agree Dennis on the silver…but be careful with the “year” purchase of the coins. Buy any silver that is pre 1933. Thye reason is there is a presidential edict in place prohibiting the confiscation of silver coins that are before 1933. So purchasing 1932 and before is a good decision and investment. I am already hearing the rumblings about the gold and silver that the public is purchasing and it is making the white house leary. They are looking for ways to curtail this buying power of the public. Morgan silver dollars are a good purchase as well.

  • Daniel

    I’m a contrarian on this point. I think that dehydrated food is one of the worst ways to store food. And it’s precisely because you need water for it. People tend to think of food before water; yet a healthy person can easily go for 2 or 3 weeks without food, but only about 4-7 DAYS without water. If you’re ever in a situation where you actually need things like dehydrated food, you’re very likely to need water more than you need food. Being forced to use up water in order to eat will only make a bad situation worse.

    • Christin

      You are right Daniel that water will be of utmost importance and everyone should think about that as they prepare. But people, esp those with children like me, also need to think about food storage as I think there will be a great period of time that we will be without food. Many of us with families can not just go into survival mode. People with out food AND water will be an enraged people… so collect both! Be prepared.

    • Dan-in-CO

      Don’t forget that you have 40 to 50 gallons of water sitting
      in your water heater if the water pressure goes away. I flush
      my heater once in a while to get rid of any rust that might
      be in the tank. Go to GoogleEarth and find your home. Zoom
      out until you can see some type of fresh water source. Use
      the measure tool to see how far you’re gonna have to lug the
      water. Think about how to transport raw water and how you’re
      going to make it potable. Look up solar water purification on
      the web. Gather some 2 liter plastic bottles that will help
      with the process. You may survive with only water, but your
      energy level will drop dramatically within a couple days.
      Try going on a fast for 1 day and see what happens to your
      energy level by nightfall.

    • Clay

      I purchased a water filter that is supposed to screen down to 1 micron. It cost about 250 and is supposed to be able to filter up to 300 gal. of water. There are smaller units available at less cost and if you are anywhere close to a water supply these units will work fine. The cleaner the source the more water you can filter. Look on Ebay for different models.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Daniel,

      Peggy and I have both written about the need to store water. So, if you’ve followed our advice, water for your dehydrated foods won’t be a problem.

      Best wishes,

    • Granny Mae


      I have water stored also. And plenty of it. I store it in 50 gal. drums that are food grade storage drums. I have about 10 of these drums and they are filled and stored under my car port. I have a means to clorinate them when I get ready to use them and they are periodiclly emptied once a year and refilled just so I make sure I have water that is as fresh as possible if something should happen. I do not intend to go anywhere other than my home, but if I did I would make sure that where ever I was going I would have water stored there too and also a means to replace it when I needed. I have a well and a hand pump just like my grandparents had so we will be as prepared as can be ! From there on out what will be will be !

  • Christin

    Peggy Layton,
    You have a lot of great information out there for us as does Bob and I appreciate you two informing the masses on how to prepare for our uncertain times. I have been reading all your “Prepareness” articles that you have written and put on Bob Livingston’s Liberty News site and have forwarded them on to friends and family in the know and some who don’t… so thank you very much.

    I do have one question… We have bought prepared meals already from Mountain House and have also been gathering dried foods and storing them in tupperware… so I was wondering… will the dried food stay fresh in the tupperware for years or would it be fresher if I vaccuum sealed it in those plastic bags and then stored it???

    • independant thinker

      Christin, I am certainly no expert on dried foods but would guess that it would be best to vacume seal them. Tupperware type containers would probably work fairly well if the foods were in their original sealed factory packageing inside the tupperware but wouldn’t recomend taking things out of the factory package unless you plan to vacume seal them.

    • independant thinker

      I think I read somewhere that you can also can dehydrated foods for storage. Not sure where I read it although it may have been in a previous discussion on storing food.

    • Richard Pawley

      I have found that glass is better than plastic, especially if you have mice. I have quart size and half gallon size mason jars. I don’t have mice every year but a few seem to find their way in. Of course the heavy five gallon food grade plastic containers that pickle and olives and honey comes in are excellent and I got some of these at the local health food store. You can buy similar (but not identical ones from places like Lowe’s). I purchased fifteen boxes of organic cereals and took them out of their boxes, made a pin hole with a needle, and squeezed out the excess air, taped the hole and then folded the bags of various cereals and placed them into one of those five gallon food grade (#2 containers). I also use a few of them to store water for several months at a time. I buy Smucker’s or MaraNatha Peanut Butter which comes in glass jars with airtight rubberized lids. Since popcorn is one of the 12 most polluted foods sold I bought a 50 pound bag out of Nebraska from an organic farm (got it through the local health food store at a 10% discount and that was about the same as buying it direct and having it shipped). I repackaged it into glass jars and can now have popcorn once or twice a week for several years. Ragu glass jars are good too but the odor of the lid can transfer so clean it well and place a piece of a good plastic wrap over the jar before you seal it. Last winter I experimented and cut up five pounds of peeled carrots that I chopped up into quarter inch slices and put them in trays in my propane gas oven at the lowest setting, about 140 degrees. The extra heat added to the room heat and so cost nothing extra and five pounds of super dry carrots fit into just one of those small jars that once held peanut butter. Of course they have to simmer for half an hour to make stew when you cook them but they would anyway. Not quite the same as fresh carrots and it takes about 40 hours to dry them in cookie trays but it was interesting and a first attempt. Try to avoid GE and GMO foods as much as possible. Some 75% or more of our corn and 90% of our soybeans and much of our beet sugar and more, are all genetically engineered in a lab into things that never existed naturally. There is no such thing as a Canola plant or corn with a spider gene that keeps insects away was not created by nature. Never found out what happened about the proposed one years ago to have a birth control gene inserted into the DNA of corn to control the population. I wrote about the dangers of these things in “THE LAST DAYS OF THE LATE GREAT UNITED STATES and the Great Famine that Followed” and about other things that are going on in the world that many would prefer not to know about. I recall reading once that someone in South Africa imported chicken feed from us that was made of GMO or GE ingredients and the South African chickens wouldn’t eat it. Don’t know it that was true or not but I wouldn’t be surprised because of other things I do know. Europeans want to know what they are eating so they are told and have a choice, but Americans, not so much. I get canned cheese (cheddar with cream added) from Bega of Australia where the cows eat grass the way God and nature intended and have none of the artificial bovine hormones that are in most of our milk, cheese and ice cream. The FDA says they are OK and even requires that on such milk or cheese that advertises the are free of rGBH or rGST that they also state that there is no significant difference. If that were true why would they be outlawed in Germany, France, Holland, Italy, Spain, England, New Zealand, Australia and etc. Canada made them illegal because of what they do to cows much less what they do to us. I get 36 cans of that canned cheese from G & R Foods of Reedsburg, Wisconsin for under a hundred dollars. It makes an excellent cheese sandwich and what I obtained a year ago has yet to be refrigerated. Some say it will last a decade without refrigeration if kept in a cool dry place. Well, I will find out if I don’t eat it all by then. There are many things to learn (like Ragu spaghetti sauce is good for at least 3 years past expiration date as long as it has no meat or cheese in it and is in glass jars – I know this because I have eaten such more than once, oh, and never store tomatoes in cans – I don’t even use them – as the acid in them will leach out an ingredient in the thin plastic liner. I believe it was pancreatic cancer such causes but hey, it’s cheap and we now have free health care that is really going to bankrupt the country if something else doesnt’ do it first. We don’t have a lot of time to learn all these things so we need to begin preparing now! It’s not going to be the end of the world but we are going to have prices at least tripling and I expect an incident that will result in no food being available for several weeks until the authorities regain control. I mention in my book the 20,000 troops that are being trained for this eventuality which may be caused by the declining value of the dollar. Even now the Treasury is creating 75 thousand million dollars a month out of thin air and such irresponsibility never ends well. Germany tried this in 1921-23 and we know how that ended. We could contol and reduce spending but they would rather just print money and pretend it was real. I do not know how to reduce the size of bloated government or to keep congress from selling us out to Big Pharam and Agr-Business Giants but I am hoping the Tea Party People can get the Republicans to get back on track and oppose the socialists who want to reduce our nation to a brick in the wall of United Nation dominated world socialism. The Health Care bill was a big move in that direction. Believers can pray about all this. The sky isn’t falling but neither are the prices of food and clothes (only homes) so get ready and only buy things you really need or you will be paying a good bit more for them a year from now and a great deal more for them in the years after that. Skeptics can ask themselves why gasoline is going up when we are driving less in winter and the ships can’t even unload all the oil they have because the storage tanks are full. It’s the dollar that is going down and will just take more of them to buy anything. May God help us, and may He bless all who read this.

      • independant thinker

        Another potential source for 1 gal. jars is resturants. I have some in both glass and plastic that we use for storage. We buy extra sugar when the price is right and use the plastic gallon jars to store it in. Sometimes you can find glass jars in 1/2 gal. and 1 gal. sizes at flea markets also just watch the asking price as some are way overpriced.

        • http://?? Joe H.

          You can go to any of the wholesale stores and get gallon jars of pickles in glass! We do it and they also come in half gallon jars as well. A few years ago we canned in a few of them but we lost about seven jars due to no or bad seals so now we only use canning jars. you can order half gallon jars from mason. they were about 16.00 a dozen when I ordered them about seven years ago.

    • Granny Mae


      The thing that will cause dried foods to go bad is air! They will keep a lot longer if you vacuum seal them. That removes all the air and will keep your foods from going bad sooner. Just storing them in jars and Tupperware will not do for a long storage because you can’t get all the air out of the container. Be careful storing packaged cereals for a long time. They become stale after a time and also they are packed in boxes with inner liners that are treated with chemicals to preserve freshness. I would suggest you create a list of menues that you could use for meal planning and from there think of foods to use for breakfast and lunch and dinner. Think out of the box when it comes to breakfast. You don’t have to eat cereal just because it is a breakfast meal, or you don’t have to eat cereal in its everyday form. Cereal is grains. Think of things like a square of cornbread with milk and sugar on it. When I was a kid growing up poor we ate that for breakfast and sumetimes dinner. It is good and I still fix it today as a treat ! Bake bread and make a breakfast sandwich from some scrambled powdered eggs. Pancakes are good or creamed beef on toast etc. I am putting away enough of different kinds of food that I can plan for a lot of different meals. We may not be eating a lafge quantity of food but we will have a variety and enough to get by on. I throw nothing away. The other day my husband brought in a very young butternut squash and instead of letting it go to waste I pealed it and blanched it then I dried it in the dehydrator and vacuum sealed it in a pouch and put it away. It will be enough to add to a pot of soup one day along with some greens and potatoes or barley or rice or what ever I can find to put in it. Nothing goes to waste around here. Nothing ! Tiny amounts can always go in a stew or soup or a casserole of some kind ! Just please do learn to vacuum seal everything you can. Look up Dehydrate2store on the net. All kinds of great advice on there and it even shows you haw to do it if you need to see it done. The little Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealer is a good little machine and does a good job and it is inexpensive too ! I have one of those and also a Food Saver. They both work fine for me !

      • Granny Mae

        Please excuse the spelling I am having a hard time seeing tonight and it seems my fingers are hitting the wrong keys. Oh well, it is always something with me now days !

        • Granny Mae

          Another suggestion for those that are concerned about water. Please find some lage drums that are food grade plastic and if they are not new clean them out real well with soap and water, then put them at the corner of the roof and let the rain water from the roof run into it. If you don’t have evetroufs try to get some as they help dirrect the water into the barrel. Mine is all open at the top but we have put screen over the top and tied it down with bungie cord to keep out mosquitoes. It also keeps my cats from jumping up and falling in and drowning !!! You can put a barrel at every corner of the house. Also check out Emergency Essentials on the net for water containers. They have the barrels in different sizes and also gallon size plastic bags that are inside a box for inside storage or in a garage or shed or what ever.

  • taxpayerrevolt

    I put my dehydrated foods (those purchased and those I dehydrate) into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. This will keep many years and bug free! I also place entire meals in mylar bags. I will place pinto, mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes together in a bag before sealing. Hopefully people live close to a water source..lake, pond or swimming pool but make sure you treat the water properly. I have also found on youtube HOW TO MAKE A SOLAR OVEN!

    • Richard Pawley

      I have a friend in Oregon who does this but she always puts the mylar bags in heavy plastic five gallon containers. Some like myself just use the five gallon container. I wouldn’t think the bags could be absolutely airtight for years by themselves.

    • Robin

      Perfect storage strategy Revolt…Emergency Essentials has the food grade buckets as does, and Essentails also has the oxygen packets for the mylar bags. Another good source for bulk foods and VERY FRESH foods and grains is Bob’s Red Mill. I buy directly from them and the pricing is simply very afforable. They also sell bulk in 25# bags. Emergency Essentials also has dehyd #10 cans in everything you need cans, cases, whatever your need and likes. Start now storing or the day will come and the boat will have sailed without you. I think 3 months is not enough storage for foods or water. I think we should plan for the worst and hope for the best. Smart people will go for storing for a few years ahead.

      • Granny Mae

        Robin, Very good advice. Those that are just getting into it can set a goal for three months and when they get there they can keep on going. That is what I did when I first started. Now I just keep going and going and going ! LOL !

  • Louis-John

    Hi to anyone out there. What an informative article for someone like me on the Dark Continent.Is it possible to register as a recipient of any similar articles that are sent out on a regular basis? I am from South Africa and we are also staring similar problems in the face but without the backup wealth of information that you folk in the US have.
    I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks so much, Louis-John

    • Dan az

      try this site for the info that your looking for hope it helps!

    • Granny Mae


      I don’t know how you are set as far as electricity is concerned, and I don’t know if your electric there is the same as ours. Some places have DC and we have AC. However you can dehydrate food in either electric dehydrators or in the outdoors on tryas with netting or screen to cover from flying bugs. A good book will tell you how. Try to get a vacuum sealer with bags to vacuum and store foods in. I don’t know how you are set for airconditioning, but if you have it you can store your foods inside the house in closets or under beds or anywhere you can to get it out of the way. You can store canned foods or dried foods of most any kind. Also store water ! If you go to Emergency you can purchase a lot of things you may need by mail order. Just keep coming back to this blog and you will gain all kinds of information to make use of. These people on here are doing a good job of getting prepared for hard times and they sahre their ideas nad information with who ever needs it ! You can learn a lot from them. Just don’t put off starting and remember that in the heat of South Africa your food storage won’t last as long so it is wise to use it from time to time. Rotate, rotate, rotate ! Use and replace, use and replace ! Good luck !

  • polly tinz

    U have not mentioned any organic dehydrated foods – is there a site that sells organic dehydrated food? thanks

    • FreeDame

      If you want organic foods, or anything unusual or designed to your taste or special needs (like allergies!), let me suggest dehydrating your own. I use a 4-shelf dehydrator that can be purchased from Wal-Mart for about $40. (Larger, more heavy-duty models are also available from speciality stores and on-line.) I dehydrate fruits, vegetables, condensed soups, sauces and meat. Most of my “wet” food starts out as either frozen or canned, so there is literally NO preparation time (no blanching or sulfering, no cooking and very little cutting up.) For safety’s sake, I buy commercially processed jerkey and I only dry canned meat. Canned beef or chicken dries beautifully. You can also easily dry canned soups (dried condensed mushroom soup is a great addition to a one-pot meal) and sauces (such as spaghetti sauce) which reconstitute in minutes.

      I package everything in vaccuum-sealed bags, and store in a cool, dry place. For our bug-out bags, I have combined everything necessary for a one-pot meal (meat, potatoes, powered milk, spices, etc) in a single bag, added an instruction card, and vaccuum-sealed it. I have even combined instant pudding with powdered milk, so all I have to do is add water and shake for a great snack.

      Making your own dehydrated food this way is extremely economical (even cheaper than Peggy’s purchase suggestions!) and easy enough for anyone to master. It takes a little time to dehydrate enough food to last 3-to-12 months, but the dehydrator does all the work!

      • Granny Mae


        Great Job !

      • Ginny

        Please tell me how you dehydrate condensed cream soups. Thank you in advance!!

        In His Service,

        • Granny Mae


          I have no idea if you will get this but I can say that I have dehydrated all kinds of things except canned soups. How ever I would take the creamed soup out of the can and place it on either a drying sheet , like the kind they do fruit roll-ups on or I would cut a sheet of plastic ( NOT FROM GARBAGE BAGS they are treated )and put it on the screen tray and then dump the soup on the plastic, spread it out and dehydrate till it is all dry. Then place in a bag made from vacuum sealing bag material and vacuum seal it. Write on the package what it is and the date and how much water you think it may take to rehydrate the soup. Then just store it away untill needed or until you decide to try it ! Good Luck !

    • Richard Pawley

      It’s generally more important that foods be non-GMO than than they be organic but J. P. Morgan has said that the dollar is now the weakest currency in the world so inflation is coming! Get something now and worry about the better quality later. When people are hungry they will eat anything. Remember the Donner Party.

  • Jim

    eFoods Global is a MLM (Multilevel Marketing organization) sometimes also called “Network Marketing”

    That takes nothing away from your excellent information except you will receive a commission from anyone who orders from your link.

    I happen to think eFoods Global is a great concept for MLM and it is backed by a company that has been in business for many years.


    Money will be worthless as will gold. The things that will used for barter are alchohol,powder,lead,food and water. Get yourself a still and learn how to make wine. Stock up on wood even if you don’t have a fireplace, charcoal and propane. Also you may have to defend your supplies, if things get ugly, have a network of friends to aid you and clan together. Things will get better. I hope this is as far as it goes.

  • Diana

    Have found that food gets ‘buggy’ if kept too long. Anything made with flour gets that way, cereal, oatmeal, crackers even to our amazement dog food. We just need to rotate more.

    • Pat R

      Try using bay leaves in anything prone to attract bugs. Also try placing flour products or any kinds of grain in the freezer for a few days before storing to kill the bugs!

    • Granny Mae

      Take your goods and put them in the freezer for about 4 or 5 days and then remove them and store, they will last longer but try to put them in plastic zip bags or buckets or glass jars etc. Freezing is a way of fumigating your foods.

  • Joyce Sanders

    I am going to buy a real good SlingShot. They kind you hunt with. Also, buying an 80 Pistol Crossbow. Anyone can work these. Also, one might want to consider stocking up on Salt and Sugar. Table Salt contains Iodine which is essential to human diet. Just a thought. I always grow my Tomatoes and Peppers in Earth Boxes. You can buy the Earth Boxes online. They run around $30 per box and have a great water reservoir in the bottom. They are well worth their money. They are made of hard plastic and last for years.

    There are a lot of great ideas here. Thanks.

  • Sam

    Ms. Peggy,

    I’ve read your “Food Storage 101″ and “Cookin’ with…” books. Thank you! I didn’t know what to buy and how much to store until I read your books! I also have storage for my pets, and am currently working on a two-year supply.

  • Pat Leeman

    Hi Peggy,
    I can not seem to find your site for foods, and there prices.
    (Dehydrated). I order the free meals for 9.95. Please send me
    the the Website address.
    Thank you.
    Pat Leeman

    • libertytrain

      The web address is listed several times and there are hyperlinks in the story

  • Richard D.

    My wife and I like they have a big variety of freezedried and dehydrated foods and even first aid kits.

  • Liz H.

    Hi Everyone,Love reading all the suggestions,& the way everyone has the common sense to be prepared ‘just incase’;I’ve been getting a list together,but I wonder what you think about a good supply of disposable Paper tableware/plastic picnic cutlery? Just assuming there might be a water shortage,with none to spare for washing crockery,etc,..cling film a dinner plate,Bowl & place your Paper plate/Bowl on top(ours are NOT very rigid,& (we don’t need a lap full of hot food)then dispose or burn after use,voila,no need to waste valuable water if it’s in short supply.
    You are so lucky being in the USA,with plenty of places to retreat to,& even more so,being able to own & use Firearms.
    Britain has no such Luxury,does anyone have some alternative ideas for self defence,as opposed to the good old fashioned Cricket Bat?!!
    I think you are all very,very wise…it’s a great pity the younger Generations,no matter how much they are warned,take no heed about the possibilities of such occurences;but they’ll be the ones who try to loot from those of us who have prepared,no doubt & will also be the ones with the Illegal firearms,I’d imagine.I can see our Children & their Families,if the worst ever does come about,& I sense it in the Air,being very grateful that we maybe had a little foresight !!
    They’ll survive because we did some forward planning,’Just Incase’ ..they’ve grown up with the Supermarket syndrome (which I read somewhere only actually carry a few days Stock);by the way,another suggestion,if your Tin openers are as hopeless as ours appear to be(cheap Chinese Steel probably)…buy half a dozen..I’ve tried to open a can without one once..& almost died of hunger in the process,lol.xx

    • independant thinker

      “if your Tin openers are as hopeless as ours appear to be(cheap Chinese Steel probably)…buy half a dozen..I’ve tried to open a can without one once..& almost died of hunger in the process,lol.xx”

      Try to find military surplus can openers. You used to be able to get a dozen or so from Sportsmans Guide for little or nothing. I have also seen them from Cheaper Than Dirt and American Science and Surplus (if you are not familier with them check them out they have a little bit of everything).

      • http://?? Joe H.

        those P38s are the best thing the military ever came up with!! I still have about ten of them from RVNHJ and I wouldn’t part with them for love nor money! They open cans are a screwdriver, pry, stay dam sharp as well! Ever had a pop can ring come off trying to open it? P38 to the rescue! All sorts of uses for them! At one time I was faster with one of them than my wife was with a regular opener. Now with arthritis not so much anymore!!

        • Granny Mae

          Liz H,

          I have stored several packages of paper plates and flatware but there is just so much of that , that I have room for and it certainly won’t last me a year. I plan on storing plenty of water and also have a hand pump for the well, just in case. Also storing toilet paper takes a lot of room. There again we will need water, not for flushing but for washing the bum when you are done ! My suggestion for those that will be staying in their homes is to turn off the water to the toilet and flush it so all the water is gone, then line the toilet with one of those white kitchen garbage bags and when it is full enough you tie the top and take it out. You can either store it in a large can with a lid or burry it ! I have several drums of water stored and also have drums at the ends of the roof to catch rain water when it falls. I keep a piece of screen on the top secured with a bungie cord to keep the flys and mosquitos out and this water can be filtered through a cloth such as a T shirt and then either boiled or clorinated with non scented plain laundry bleach ! I might also suggest that if we do get down to having to use our water supply that everyone learn to use the least amount as possible. It may be wise for women to cut their hair short as it takes less water to rinse after washing it, and use a small dish pan for doing dishes and keep the water and put it on your garden vegetables instead of just dumping it down the drain or throwing it out! Anyone that has never gone camping I suggest you do so and that way you will be familiar with what it might take to get by when the time comes ! Besides it is fun ! You can learn to cook over an open fire, make foil packets and combine potatoes and hamburg pattie a slaic of onion and salt and garlic powder , wrap it up and put it on the coals to cook! Mighty good food ! Some who have never done this really should camp out a few times and get the hang of it. But do it when the weather gets warm !!! I know a few harty souls that have camped in the winter time in the north country. My dad for one! Not me unless I had to ! I know how but would save that for a dire necessity. He and his friends did it every year when they went deer hunting up in northern Michigan !

    • DaveM

      Alternate means of defence could be a cross bow or a long bow. For hundreds of years the Brits would sail across the channel and routinely whip the French with the long bow.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        If you get a crossbow, get one that is 150 pound draw! The lesser ones make you wait too long to fire because of lack of power! Consider one with a scope as well!

    • Paul

      Liz, there is a company based in England that makes real good pellet guns. Air Arms. go buy one that is within your price range and then buys lots of pellets. It is good for hunting small animals for fresh meat. Second, they are very accurate and have velocity close to a .22 rim fire rifle. Well placed shot from this is a good deterent if not leathal. Guns sold in the UK may not have the velocity as the ones that are exported to states but it is better than nothing. They are also quite so as not to disturb the neighbors while gathering your protein for the day.

  • MN North

    Liz H
    Alternate means of defense. Try to find cans of “Wasp Spray” (bees that sting). They shoot about 20 feet so you don’t have to be close to someone to use and I’m told that it works better than pepper spray.

    • independant thinker

      i read that somewhere as well. I know that stuff will knock any flying insect down instantly and I certainly would not want to be sprayed in the face by it.

    • Liz H.

      Hi Everyone,Thanks so much for the suggestions,Excellent !! I’d considered a Crossbow,I have to admit,but I think Britain must be totally Paranoid about weapons of any & every description,will have to search about to see if there are any Suppliers of anything anywhere left.. (DaveM..Love the Longbow whipping the French,lol,& the Wasp spray,(ouch) that hurts!!)Plus tip about Tin openers;I really enjoy reading everyones ideas & how you are all willing to share them,it’s like belonging to a Survivors Club xx
      I liked the Idea of Dehydrating food,too…what a great pity we don’t have a Walmart !!! I priced the Machines today on Ebay…WOW,anywhere …between £150 to £200+,English Pounds plus Postage (Robbers!!) …so have put a couple of Bids on,instead…will let you know …..(fingers crossed)Love to All,keep it up xx

      • Granny Mae

        Liz H.

        Make sure that you electric is the same as ours if you order from the states. We have alternating current and a lot of places across the pond have dirrect current. I know I ran into that problem when I wanted to send my husband a tape recorder when he was in the Army and stationed in Germany !

        • Liz H.

          Thanks Granny Mae,Yes,I have been reliably informed by a higher Authority,(who knows about these things,lol) that we are indeed A/C
          but it is something to remember in future.Thanks again xx

      • http://?? Joe H.

        robbers?? More like the English robber barrons that low priced one
        at 150 pounds is about 225.00 American!! That means the high one is 450.00!!! I can get a fairly good one for about 100.00 American!!

  • David Carney

    I have really enjoyed reading these articles and had a few thoughts. Most of the emergency food manufacturers nitrogen flush the food and then add oxygen absorbers to the food to remove any oxygen that is in the package or in the food. Most things that eat food need oxygen. Remove the oxygen and your food will last a long time. If you store your food without flushing it, is good for about 1-2 years if stored at a low tempereate. Nitrogen flushed food will last much longer. For example, if you store nitrogen flushed food at 80 degrees F the food will be good for agbout 5 years, store the same food at 59 degrees, it’s good for about 20 years. The accepted packaging for nitrogen flushed food is mylar bags or cans. Alot of the plastic materials are not air tight and oxygen can seep though the material.
    Nitrogen is very safe, about 79 percent of the air you are breathing is nitrogen.
    You can purchase all these materials and do it yourself, but you will probably spend more money than what you can purchase the food already prepackaged for. Food companies buy the food and materials in bulk. If you are looking for a great deal check out, we would love to answer any questions you have.

  • Nancy Carlisle

    Thank’s a million to you all!! Great ideas! and God Speed for we will certainly need His help for what’s coming down the road.That’s my only added suggestion,to keep up the prayer’s. And a good set of Walkie Talki’s to be able to communicate if cell tower’s fall.God Bless, Nancy

  • Kathie

    Twice now I have used dry pinto beans and navy beans that I had in my pantry for, I guess too long, because after soaking overnight and then cooking, they would never get soft. So wondering what the shelf life really is for dried legumes?

    • Mary

      Thank you Kathie for asking. I have had no success with using dried beans. I have soaked overnight, and cooked for days and never succeeded in getting soft. My family may starve if they are relying on my skill with dried legumes. I have often wondered if due to my failure, I buy more and then wait too long before trying again. Even simple baked beans were a flop. Please someone, teach me what happens to dried beans? Can they be too dried? too old?

      • http://windowsexplorer Beverly Robbins

        A reader from the magazine Backwoods Home said she pressure canned all her dried beans. I tried that, and by golly it worked! The time in the pressure canner softens up the beans, so you can open up a quart or two, add your canned ham pieces, dried carrots, etc, and have a a great bean soup ready without cooking it all day. I buy great northern or navy beans when they are on sale, and can seven qts at a time. Hope this helps.

        • Mary

          Thank you! I am going to try this method! It sounds like it has great possibilities.

  • Raggs

    I have a question….

    How long can canned foods be stored such as beans, corn etc.?

    • libertytrain

      Raggs – I have a question kind of like yours – I wonder if the expiration date is just an estimate or does it last much longer than it says?

      • Granny Mae


        I have been told that commercial canned foods will last a year but home canned foods will be good for four or five years. I don’t know why the difference but that is what I have been told. I have just used some home canned fruits that were canned in 05 and they were fine. With home canned foods you need to keep tem in the dark and at room temperature ! If they recieve too much light they loose their vitamin content and will start to darken ! I can all the time and just rotate the newly canned for the older jars. Canning and dehydrating are so easy and once you get the hang of everything it goes quickly. I feel that the cost of my pressure canner and the dehydrator and vacuum sealer, have paid for themselves many times over. I have had my canner since 1972 and my dehydrator since 1985 and they are still serving me well. I did have to get a new vacuum sealer but for the cost of about $40.00 I don’t think I have lost anything. I know that for my canner I have replaced the gasket twice and I have canned at least a thousand jars of food over the years. For someone just getting a pressure canner I would suggest the canner that doesn’t require a gasket and that way you never need to replace it. They run about $300.00 but are well worth it and will probably out live it’s owner !!! I’m going to get myself one soon and give my other one to my grand daughter.

        • libertytrain

          Thanks Granny Mae – I really would like to learn how to do these things and will look into soon. Thanks for all your great info – helping all of us.


    If you go to thrift shops like I do, you’re bound to find anything if you wait long enough. Mind you, the hyperinflation is starting to take hold (as exemplified by meat and other food prices, even dog food, soaring) so I would not wait much longer. But I like the good, heavy can openers that one uses by hand and you can often find t hem in thrift shops really cheap (25 cents to $1) and they’re better quality than if you buy the new ones. It is amazing what one can find at these 2nd hand shops. I foster animals as a volunteer and don’t want new furniture right now and I have found great buys (an oak entertainment center, just the right size which with a little soap & water and when dried, gave it 2 coats of furniture wax (Minwax) and it looks beautiful and brand new). I paid only $50 and it was well-worth it. Even the thrift stores are going up in price but still nowhere like the big box stores and sometimes you can even get new stuff at the second-hand shops!

  • Joanna

    Hello to everyone!
    I am sitting here after reading the post and all comments…
    Call me ignorant and stupid but what are you guys talking about??…
    I mean I understand about storage and saving and what have you…but the whole tone of the comments is suggesting some kind of revolt…situation where we won’t be able to buy food…
    …do you know something I don’t?…
    Please know I,ve started just recently dig into Internet info (before the election actually) as I am scared to death seeing what is going on in DC and so on…
    …read the post on storing food and find a whole new “world” I wasn’t aware of…
    I am not questioning any of you…but please tell me you are doing all this “just in case” and money savings rather than real possibility of hardships…

    • libertytrain

      Joanna – I don’t think it’s “just in case” – it doesn’t hurt to be somewhat prepared for natural or unnatural disaster -

    • Granny Mae

      There is a real possibility of terror attacks or the economy tanking or even really bad weather, so it is always smart to be prepared. The biggest worry about a terrorist attack is the possibility of a EMP explosion. That is a kind of atomic explosion taking place high in the atmosphere and taking out everything electrical. If it took place in several places at the same time it could cripple the entire country. If the economy tanks there will be a lot of problems getting food to the grocery stores and then the problem would be having the money to buy it. When it comes to the weather we have all seen what that can do and in the case of very severe weather it can take at least three days for help to come but from what I’ve seen it is more like a week or so. In any case you need to be prepared to handle any situation so you and your family can make it through till things get better. The weather situation will probably be of the shortest duration but that can still last long enough to get real uncomfortable. Think back about hurricane Katrina ! There are ice storms and snow storms in many parts of the country and those can get uncomfortable too especially if you have no heat or electricity for a while. I’ve been there and done that and don’t want to do it again. So what most of these people here are doing is considering the worst possibility and trying to prepare for getting through it in the best shape possible. When it comes to an EMP attack or the collapse of our economy that could take us at least a year to get back on our feet, so the goal here is to figure out what you would need to get through for a year and start planning for it. There is no time to waste but certainly no time to panic either. Peggy Layton puts out a very good book that I can recomend and it will give you the information you need to get started. It is called Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook. It is not expensive and you can get it from her web site ! Some of us like myself do most of our own canning and dehydrating and it saves a lot but there are some things that I feel you need to get from a place that sells freeze dried foods. They are things like powdered shortening and butter etc. You have consumed these things many times if you have ever used mixes like Bisquick and so on. This woman has many books and I have most all of them and they are real good and packed full of information. I suggest that you get prepared even if you are single but more so if you are married and have children. You never know when you may be faced with a long lay-off or illness and so on. A food storage program is a smart thing to have. I’m an old woman and I have been through a lot of these senerios over the years and it only took one to convince me that as a wife and a mother I was not doing my job if I didn’t find a way to at least make sure my kids could eat. It happened once and I promised my family it would never happen again. Even if all we had were several packages of Ramen noodles to eat it would be better than seeing my kids go hungry. Never Again ! You can do this too and you will never be sorry you did. It will never go to waste. Once you are stocked up you just rotate by using and replacing ! I put on a wedding for my grand daughter this last summer and I didn’t have to buy any of the food because it was all on hand already between the pantry, canned goods and the freezer ! Christmas dinner will be the same way and we are having a big crowd for dinner. So get started youngun and be prepared ! Blessings !

    • Granny Mae


      Another thing is a lot of these people, me included believe that if there was a economic collapse there may be problems for people living in the inner cities and in appartments etc. so they have planned for moving out of the city and into a more remote area should things get real bad. Some have bought guns for protection and for hunting for food if necessary . You may want to consider this also. Some people have cabins in the woods or in the mountains or where ever they feel the safest. As for me I live in the country and will stay here. That kind of decission is totaly up to you and your family. Also there is the knowledge of where to meet or what to do if an emergency comes up and you are all separated. Make a plan as to where to meet and if you are to leave and go somewhere else be sure that your important papers are all in one place to grab and go. Most of us have a grab and go bag. Usually it is a back pack filled with three days emergency food and first aid and anything else you feel you need. I must remind you that you should remember to pack toilet paper and sanitary pads. These pads are useful for many first aid situations, like heavy bleeding etc. Make a list and just like Santa check it twice ! Camping equipment is also handy ! You can keep this in a closet near the door or in your car or anywhere it is handy for you !

      • Granny Mae

        Also don’t forget any medicine that you or a loved one is taking. A good first aid kit is always handy. I had to use one one time when we were camping. The water hose sprung a leak and we had to tape it up with the tape in the first aid kit ! Funny thing was we forgot about it by the time we got home and it was several months before my husband thought about it again and replaced the hose ! Also store water and fuel if possible ! A couple gas cans of fuel has come in handy in this family more than once just this last month ! There is a preservitive that you can buy to put in the gas to help store it for a longer period of time !

  • MN North

    In a previous article about food storage by Peg Layton (in the comments at the end), Granny Mae said something about what to do with dried legumes that are old. If I remember correctly, she said one answer was to grind them into flour and use to thicken soups, stews etc. I recently encountered the same problem when trying to make split pea soup from old split peas. Nothing I did made them soften up so I had to throw the batch out. Phooey! I wonder if vacuum packing them when you first buy them would make any difference in their shelf life???

    • Granny Mae

      MN North,

      Yes I did say you could grind them and add them to soups and stews and even breads. No vacuum sealing them won’t help them last longer. I sure wish it did ! But you can take your fresh beans and can them and they will last for years and are a real convience to use.Hope this helps and hope you get this. I have not been back here for some time !!!

  • CRST

    Everybody is so wrapped-up in their exsistance, surviving and dehydrate food-storage…Just add water you say? Where the are you going to get the water???? Please!!! Not everyone out here and there are totaly stupid and/or naive of what the “Elite” and those from Europe (that start with the letter “I”)with their Euro and wealth control are doing. The already divided USA country.. Centralized control of electricity (power-failures of numerous states all at once), water, food and the regulating/eliminating of humans (with all this viruses and diseases released by our own)..Worry about The Creator of the heavens and the earth and His Son..For He is the “Final Decision and Answer”!! What can man take from me that my Creator and God has given me!!!!! Not even the anti-christ(and his father) when his own maker Jehova Amighty God and Christ Jesus will put him in “The Pit”!!!! Have no fear for Almighty
    God loves those who love Him!!!!

    • Granny Mae


      I am a believer too and God will take care of me this I know because he has been telling me to do just this sort of thing for years now ! God speaks to us and we will hear him if we listen. I have no fear for what may come because I have listened to him and done what he has told me to do ! I don’t know what is coming only He knows but I do know something is coming because I can see the signs. I pray all the time and I listen for His wee small voice. Didn’t He say be fruitful, multiply , fill the earth and subdue it? He didn’t say stay right here and I will do everything for you ! He also said to watch for the signs of the times and gave us signs to look for, so he gave us the means to take care of ourselves as much as we can and then leave the rest to Him ! So get busy CRST !

  • Vlad

    About water:
    1) see responses to;
    2) look for ‘katadyn survivor 35′ or ‘katadyn survivor 06′ or ‘katadyn survivor 40′ in google. Don’t use tap water as entry for katadyn: clorine, etc kills it. Filter dirt from water first;
    3) look for ‘nerox’ in google. It is filter with very little holes to let water molecules to go through them but about nothing more. Water becomes sterile. One can take rain water from somewhere on the ground, first filter it from dirt then through nerox and drink. Two European presidents have met together to prove that nerox output water is sterile, and have drunk it publicly. Input water was very dirty. Nerox is about $50;
    4) in SU on TV was information of how to get water. If in summer day to cover tree branch with transparent for light plastic packet and tie the packet with the purpose not to let air in and out, then sunlight will make tree leaves to evaporate water. Then it will condense on plastic inside and collect down the packet. It is enough just some of packets for a day man water need. The water is salt free.

  • Vlad

    5) one can use solar distiller for yacht.


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