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Convenient Canned Foods
- The majority of canned foods are flavor poor with a distinctive canned taste. Shelf life, however, is excellent and is usually between two to four years, depending on the food item.
- Many of the vitamins and minerals tend to wash out over time from the liquid, usually resulting in a chemical breakdown of the nutrient. Enzymes are non-existent.
- The cost of canned foods is generally twice the cost of dehydrated foods, since the consumer pays for the water weight as well as the food. Up to one-half the weight of a canned product may be water.
- Nutritionally the products are generally low in nutrient quality due to the intense heat processing they undergo. If you consume most of your fruits and vegetables from canned goods, it is recommended that you take a vitamin/mineral supplement.
- The flavor varies from excellent to poor depending on the product. If the foods are frozen at the time they are picked, the nutritional quality may be equal to, or even better than fresh, at the time of purchase.
- Shelf life and quality is very dependent on the maintenance of proper freezer chest temperature levels. Also, they should not be relied upon for long term storage or emergency use.
- The cost is higher than dehydrated or canned but nutritional quality drops the longer the freezer time.
- Flavor varies depending on the age. These foods should not be stored for a long period of time, since the moisture content is only 25 to 30 percent water.
Freeze Dried Foods
- Excellent flavor, but they yield considerably less servings per can, due to retention of their cellular structure and have less shrinkage than dehydrated foods.
- Shelf life is generally considered to be four to seven years, if properly packed. Once opened they will spoil within five to seven days.
- The cost is considerably more than dehydrated foods and has as moisture content of approximately 25 to 30 percent.
- The Incas invented freeze dried potatoes. They left potatoes out for several days, allowing them to continually freeze by night and thaw by day. They squeezed out the remaining moisture by hand and then dried the potatoes in the sun.
Many are vine-ripened with excellent flavor. In some instances it was found that dehydration actually enhanced the flavor of the foods.
Example of Dehydration Reduction
- 12 pounds of fresh beans equals 1 pound of dehydrated
- 14 pounds of carrots equals 1 pound of dehydrated
- 6 pounds of cheese equals 1 pound of dehydrated
Most dehydrated foods are nitrogen vacuum packaged and if unopened may last indefinitely. They would be capable of sustaining life even after many years of storage. However, the nutritive life span is probably only five to seven years.
For best results, foods should be rotated and used allowing a shelf life of two to three years maximum. Once the cans are opened they should be kept covered with a good sealing lid. The nitrogen in the can will leak out if the can is tipped over after opening and the product should then be used up soon after.
Storage locations should be located in a cool place.
Dehydrated foods are processed under a very high vacuum and very low drying temperature, making it possible to remove all but two to three percent of the moisture in the food. These foods also retain their nutritional value since they are not cooked to death in a canning process.
Purchasing and using dehydrated foods may reduce your grocery bill by as much as 40 percent, if incorporated into the diet properly and frequently.
Generally, as a rule of thumb, dehydrated foods will reconstitute two or three times their weight. This will call for conservative measures when using these foods.
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