When it comes to storing food in volume and longterm, there are several options to choose from. You can dehydrate, the ever popular canning (waterbath or pressure) or use a Freeze Dryer. We do can a lot of food, soups, etc. but more and more now, we freeze dry it.
Dehydrating foods takes a long time and removes the moisture from the food. What I've found is it changes the texture and over a short-time, it loses its flavor and even stored securely, won't last as long as canning and not even close to freeze dried foods.
One of the biggest reasons for us to move toward freeze-drying is simple. The items will last up to 25 years and most importantly, it won't lose nutritional value of the food. You can eat it as-is or rehydrate into a meal. There isn't a point of keeping food on hand for decades if it isn't going to give your body the nutrition from the food.
We purchased one large freeze dryer from Harvestright, the only company that sells these machines, and we love it. Having a 3.5 acre garden and 42-acres, it was going non-stop and we had lots and lots of food in a holding pattern until it finished freeze drying our produce. So, we bought 2 more (large) and now all 3 are going 24/7 and our inventory of fruits, vegetables, full meals, soups, meats and snacks increases daily.
Nothing spoils or goes to waste now, we just freeze dry it. Knowing that we have healthy, nutritious and delicious food that will last for decades provides us a peace of mind that in todays world, is greatly needed.
Harvestright offers 3 different sized machines and 3 options for pumps. We have tried all pumps and hands down, we would recommend their Premier Pump. The oil doesn't need changed after each batch like the standard pump, only after 20 batches do you change it. Yes, we spent the extra money and tried the oil-free pump, but at least for us, we have had nothing but issues with it. In fact, we are in the process of sending a replacement back to Harvestright, so now twice the oil-free hasn't worked. We would recommend the large size, as you can do so much more with each batch and even though it's more expensive, the return and benefit easily offsets that.
We have, through trial and plenty of errors, purchased other machines that make the bagging and storing much easier and less time consuming, which we will share that on a future post. You can of course store freeze dried food in jars too.
Take a look around their website and if you have any questions about the machines or how to use them, they have lots of videos to watch or of course I'd be happy to help you, just write a comment on this post.