If you plan to eat your stored food on a regular basis, and if during an emergency you plan to shelter in place, and if you have the time and interest in canning, home canning can be a great way to go.
I remember my mother sending me down to the basement to get a quart of home-canned peaches for dessert. . . and they were delicious! I also remember once I was a teenager getting to help with canning all sorts of things, and it was a lot of hot work. As a teenager, it seemed endless. The great thing was knowing that we’d be able to have those foods in the off-season, and that would make the work worth it.
On the other hand, not all of us want to be tied to our home for hours on end, canning. And not all of us are confident we can shelter in place in an emergency, and only freeze-dried or dehydrated foods are lightweight enough to take when you bug out. (How many quarts of peaches can I fit in my bug-out bag? And can I wrap them well enough so the glass jars don’t break? Hmmm.) So looking into freeze-dried and/or dehydrated foods is really a necessity if you want to be truly prepared for all situations.
Freeze-dried foods are a mainstay of many emergency foods. They can come in a can or mylar bag, and contain the nutrients of the original food. Sometimes, the nutrients are even higher than in the food from your supermarket, because it is processed right after picking when it is freeze-dried. As far as weight goes, it is significantly better than whole foods, because freeze-drying (and dehydrating) removed all the liquid from the food. A 50-pound bag of potatoes can end up weighing only about 4 lbs. How many meals can you feed your family with 50 pounds of dehydrated or freeze-dried potatoes? Whether for meals or snacks, dehydrated or freeze-dried foods make a lot of sense.
Some people are concerned about having enough waste to rehydrating dehydrated or freeze-dried foods. It is true that they require water. But you will already need to have access to water (How much water can you carry in your bug-out bag?), so finding water to purify and use is already at the top of everyone’s list.
Dehydrating is something you can do at home. Dehydrators can be found at anywhere from $23 to $350, so buy one that is in your family’s budget and start dehydrating whatever you find at a good price: onions, nuts, potatoes, tomatoes, etc. There are many videos and articles online for how to dehydrate specific things.
Once you’ve got some food that is freeze-dried, and dehydrate other items, you will feel more secure because you can easily transport many meals worth of food. It will be lightweight and delicious. And, if you still want to can peaches or other items, go right ahead. And let me know what time dessert is.