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dehydrated food

  • Just Add Water: Freeze-dried vs. Dehydrated Food

    Just Add Water Just add water and you've got yourself a meal!

    After a long day of hiking, camping – or just surviving after a natural disaster – preparing and cooking dinner is most likely one of the last things you have energy for. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to counter that. There are plenty of good meals available that are already pre-prepared and packaged so all you have to do is just add water and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious, home-style meal no matter where you are.

    You can just add water to more than just pre-prepared meals. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and other food items can likewise be restored to their original state. But before you go about rehydrating all sorts of food, keep in mind there is a difference in the way you rehydrate freeze-dried food and dehydrated food. While the differences may sound subtle, it is important to reconstitute your food properly so as to maintain proper health and not ruin your food.


    Reconstituting Dehydrated Food

    If you’re an avid eater of dehydrated food (beef jerky, anyone?), then you might be pleased to know that it doesn’t all have to be eaten that way. However, the process of rehydrating dehydrated food differs depending on the food in question.

    Some foods, such as sauces or dips, just need cold water to be added until your food reaches its desired consistency. Other food, however, takes longer and needs more than just cold water. Meat is an example of such foods. When reconstituting meat, you will need to add your meat to boiling water and let cook for an extended period of time. Depending on the thickness and type of meat, for example, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.


    Reconstituting Freeze-Dried Food

    Freeze-dried food is much easier to reconstitute, and once rehydrated, it will revert back to its original shape, texture, and taste – just like it was the day it was freeze-dried. To revert your freeze-dried food back to its original design, all you need to do is place it in hot water and wait up to 10 minutes. It doesn’t need to be boiled, and again, it reverts back to how it was before it was freeze-dried.


    There is no method that has been proven better than the other, so it’s up to you. Personally, I love eating freeze-dried fruit without adding any water at all. The taste is so rich and powerful and absolutely delicious! I’m also a huge fan of the pre-prepared freeze-dried meals. Once reconstituted, they taste as if they were made from scratch and just came out of the oven or off the stovetop.

    As some examples, I’d like to show you what some of our just add water freeze-dried meals look like after they’ve been rehydrated. Hold on to your hats, because you’re in for a treat!


    Just Add Water Beef Stroganoff Beef Stroganoff
    Just Add Water Chicken Teriyaki Chicken Teriyaki with Rice








    Just Add Water Raspberry Crumble Raspberry Crumble
    Just Add Water Lasagna Lasagna with Meat Sauce








    Don't those dishes look absolutely amazing? Truth be told, they are. And all we had to do to prepare them was just add water. If you didn't believe in miracles before, you might as well start because this will change your life. Check out our just add water products at http://beprepared.com/food-storage/just-add-water.html


    Which is your preference, dehydrated of freeze-dried? Let us know why in the comments below!

  • Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator

    Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator

    Whether you’re using it for food storage, snacks, or camping, using a dehydrator to dry your own food can be a great money saver—plus you know your food was fresh before it was dehydrated! There are a lot of different variables to consider when dehydrating fruits, veggies, and meats, so this is a basic how-to that will work as a jumping off point.

    What you need:

    • A dehydrator (like the Excalibur, L’Equip, or American Harvest)
    • Fruit/Veggies/Meat
    • Cutting board
    • Knife
    • Air-tight containers/freezer bags
    • Optional:
      • Provident Pantry Iodized Salt, Provident Pantry White Sugar, spices
      • Ascorbic acid or citrus juice
      • Pot with boiling water for blanching (a method of partially cooking fruits or vegetables in boiling water before dehydrating them. Blanching makes it easier to peel produce and helps to keep their colors vibrant and bright instead of turning gray in the dehydrator.)


    How to Prep Your Foods and Use Your Dehydrator:

    1. Collect your ingredients. If you’re using fruits or vegetables make sure they’re of good quality and not bruised or overripe as this will impact the quality of your dehydrated goods.

    2. Prepare ingredients. This will vary depending on what you are using, but this means cleaning, hulling, and slicing produce or cutting up meat. The important thing is to maintain consistency in the thickness of your slices/pieces to ensure drying at an even rate.

    •  Fruit: If desired, treat fruits prone to oxidation with citrus juice or ascorbic acid to help retain color throughout the process. You may also need to crack the skins of tough fruits (grapes, berries) to allow the moisture to evaporate.
    • Vegetables: For most vegetables, a short blanching in boiling water will help speed the drying process and help maintain color. Three to five minutes should be enough.

    3. Season. This step is optional, but if desired you can add salt, sugar, or spices.

    4. Load. Take all of your pieces and load onto the dehydrator trays without overlapping pieces.

    5. Go! Turn on your dehydrator immediately after loading. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended drying times and other specific instructions. Expect it to take anywhere from 6-12 hours.

    6. Check. As you get close to the end of drying time, you can check to see if your pieces are done! To check, remove a piece from the dehydrator and allow it to cool. Feel it with your fingers. If it feels dry to the touch, then it is probably done. An additional test can be done by cutting open pieces to see if there are any moisture beads. Another option is putting warm pieces into a plastic bag to see if condensation forms. If any moisture is present after trying one of these three tests, you need to dry them out more.

    7. Cool. Allow your pieces to cool for 30-60 minutes before packing (they should be completely cool to the touch).

    • Conditioning Dried Fruits: Because fruits retain a small amount of moisture, it is necessary to condition them before storage. Conditioning is a method of protecting the fruit from spoilage, especially from mold. Place loosely in a jar until about 2/3 full. Lightly cover. Shake once a day for 7-10 days. If condensation appears on the jar, the fruit needs to be returned to the dehydrator for further drying. Repeat conditioning process if more drying is necessary.

    8. Store. Place in air-tight containers or plastic freezer bags (remove all air) and store in a cool, dry place. When properly stored, dehydrated foods usually last about a year.


    To learn more tips about how to prepare your foods for a dehydrator, check out our blog post “ Preparedness Skills: Dehydrating Basics.”

    That’s it, a basic how-to for using a dehydrator. Isn’t it easy? Time to go make some tasty snacks!


    For all those with years of experience using a dehydrator, what other tips would you give beginners for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and meats?

  • Follow-up Review from Kevin in Oklahoma

     Pinto Beans with Scoop

    Here's a quick update from Kevin in Oklahoma. Thanks for spreading the word and helping people prepare, Kevin!



    "I wanted to let you know that I brought my extra catalog to the machine shop where I work as there are at least a dozen people either using the other brand or looking for a good storage food company. As I type this there are four customers of the other brand making up orders (some for several hundred dollars’ worth) to make purchase from you! As one person put it, "I can buy a super pail of pinto beans for less than two number 10 cans of the other brand would cost me." I will probably have at least three orders put in this week not counting my own!

    I had the president of the company asking about it also—may see about doing a taste test for the whole plant! Most will take my word for it that it tastes great, and when the others get their orders and start raving about it you should get several more customers. I have been pushing the idea of re-purposing part of their monthly food budget into daily usable food storage. By the way, the person who commented on being able to buy the super pail of beans cheaper is a brand new [competitor] consultant! He has dropped his consultancy as of today and is now buying from Emergency Essentials! How's that for an endorsement!"

    --Kevin, Oklahoma

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