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When I was growing up, we canned peaches, pears, apricots, cherries, pickles, strawberries and more. When the fruits or vegetables were in season, we canned all we could, then we got to enjoy them all winter long — and we often had enough to enjoy for at least a few years. We knew if we wanted those bottled items, they were right downstairs with our food storage.

Food storage items that are home-canned are delicious. But home-canned probably shouldn’t be your only source of these items. There are actually some good reasons to not rely exclusively on them.

First, if you can shelter in place, home-bottled fruits can be terrific. They taste refreshing, add fluid to your diet (which helps your stored water last longer) and are generally quite sweet. They can be a great mood-lifter for the family to eat. If you are preparing for an emergency where you can stay in your home and use the food you have on hand, home bottled fruits and vegetables can be fabulous.

On the other hand, what if you live in an area prone to earthquakes? If there is an earthquake of any significant size, chances are your bottled fruits will end up on the ground and there will be broken glass all over the shelves and floor. They will be ruined. Can you build shelving that will protect them? Sure, probably. But it takes a lot of extra effort. It can be worth it, but just know that your hard work will be vulnerable to damage in an earthquake.

What about if you can’t stay in your home? If you need to bug out, your bottled fruits and vegetables, jam, pickles, etc. are probably not going with you. First of all, it would be difficult to carry a decent quantity of them and second of all, they will be very heavy. They are not a reasonable option for bugging out.

What’s a better option for fruits and vegetables to take with you when you bug out?

Definitely something much lighter weight — fruit that is dehydrated or freeze-dried.

What’s the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried? Dehydrating fruits and vegetables can be done at home, but not freeze-drying, because it requires more high-tech machinery. Food that is freeze-dried has a lower moisture content, longer shelf life, and the structure of the food is preserved instead of it becoming hard as it dehydrates.

There are many freeze-dried products available through eFoods Direct. Some of my favorites are the freeze-dried berries, which I love to put in homemade muffins.

If you think you’ll be able to shelter in place, or to eat and rotate while you’re in your home, have some yummy home-bottled fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, freeze-dried or dehydrated is the way to go!

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