Many nights after I've gotten ready for bed and while I wait for my husband, I'll change the channel from our local news to my favorite tv show - Unwrapped. If you've never seen it, then you're missing out! As a kid I lived for the "how-do-they-make-it" segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Unwrapped is basically 30 minutes of those Mister Rogers' segments. I love it.
Well about a week ago, they did a feature on freeze-dried strawberries. This link, though not from the show Unwrapped, is basically the same presentation:
Interesting, huh? I've always wanted to know how freeze-drying works.
Freeze dried foods are a great alternative food source for your three-month supply. And they don't just freeze-dry fruits, but also vegetables, meats, dairy, soups, and complete meals. These foods never require refrigeration, store well, can be eaten right out of the package (though they don't always taste good that way), and can be easily used in recipes or reconstituted. They are available in Mylar pouches, small cans, and large #10 cans. The only downside? They do tend to be more expensive.
Freeze-dried foods have a more light, porous and crisp texture than similar dehydrated/dried foods. I have personally used freeze-dried fruits, soups and meals with success. I have to be careful about opening packages of freeze-dried fruits, because my family loves them and they disappear quickly. I also have to be careful about keeping a lid on them (or sealing the package) because freeze-dried products absorb any liquid present in the air and quickly become mushy.
I haven't noticed much difference in brands -- just cost. Here are some places that sell freeze-dried foods (comparison price is for a #10 can of sliced strawberries):
Honeyville Grain - $16.99* (smaller cans also available)
Emergency Essentials - $22.95* (Mountain Home pouches also available)
Shelf Reliance - $22.69* (can't tell if these are sliced or whole)
These are all companies with whom I've had personal experience and can recommend. I'm sure there are many others. I've also seen freeze-dried foods/meals in my local grocery and camping stores.
(*I have not included shipping costs.)