Step 8: Fruits and Vegetables

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Purchase or preserve fruits and vegetables to supplement your core foods.

Key Points

  • When looking at food storage calculators, you may notice fruits and vegetables are often left off. This is because you can sustain life with the ingredients on those calculators (you can sprout a number of those ingredients to get fresh vegetable sources). HOWEVER, we HIGHLY recommend storing fruits and vegetables for the health benefits, variety, and to help you save money on your day to day grocery shopping.
  • There are three different options for obtaining your preserved produce:
    • Grow your own and dehydrate/can/freeze it yourself
    • Purchase it in bulk and dehydrate/can/freeze it yourself
    • Purchase commercially preserved fruits and vegetables

Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables

  • We HIGHLY recommend learning to grow your own foods. This can range from just planting a peach tree and growing some tomatoes in a container, to a full-fledged farm-type situation.
  • Our favorite method to use for growing vegetables is square foot gardening which allows you to grow a LOT of veggies in a small space.
  • If you have space and don’t mind the mess fruit trees and vines can be a great cost-savings. You can also try to ask neighbors with fruit trees if you can pick their excess fruit.

Dehydrated or Freeze-Dried

  • Dehydrated fruit makes a great snack with things like banana chips, craisins, dried apples, etc.
  • Dehydrated vegetables are wonderful additions to soups/stews. Items such as dehydrated onions can save you time and hassle in your everyday cooking.
  • You can purchase a food dehydrator like the Excaliber
  • If you don’t want to go through the hassle of dehydrating foods on your own, you can purchase a lot of the items at stores like Emergency Essentials or Thrive Life.

Canned/Bottled

  • You can bottle a wide variety of things such as salsa, pie fillings, applesauce, juice, spaghetti sauce, almost any fruit or vegetable, pickles, all sorts of jams and jellies, etc.
  • If you can get fresh fruits/vegetables for free or at a significant discount, then canning them yourself can save you a LOT of money over cans from the store.
  • Home-bottled foods have less preservatives, taste better, and you can adjust the amounts of sugar you use to fit your family’s preferences. So we feel like it is worth it to can them on your own even if you have to purchase the produce.
  • Bottling can be a fun bonding experience with friends/family and also it is a great way to build up your whole year supply of items all at one time.
  • If you choose to purchase cans of fruits and vegetables, you can either purchase a extra few cans each time you shop until you have built up your year supply or stock up when there are good sales.

Frozen

  • If you have an extra freezer then frozen fruits and vegetables are another great option. If there is a water shortage then you don’t want to have all your foods be dehydrated.
  • Freezing produce takes much less time and preparation than home bottling, and can often be done using less sugar or other preservatives.
  • If you don’t have home-grown foods, you can purchase fresh produce in bulk to freeze, or simply buy bags of frozen fruits and vegetables and try to use sales and coupons.

More Information

Where to Buy Freeze-Dried/Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables

Helpful Products

TATTLER CANNING LIDS: The tattler lids are reusable canning lids that include a plastic lid and a rubber gasket that provides a similar seal to traditional canning lids. It’s nice to not have to throw away the disposable ones after each use.
FOODSAVER VACUUM SEALERS:  If you are dehydrating your own foods, a vacuum sealer can help to extend the shelf life on them. You can also get a jar attachment and seal items in mason jars.

 

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  • emorra

    “Not critical for sustaining life”, you should tell that to all the sailors who died of scurvy back in the day.  Fruits and vegetables are VERY critical for sustaining any sort of quality of life.  Food storage isn’t just for some Armageddon event, it’s a way of life.  Far better that you provide proper nutrition for your family via food storage than to skimp in this area.

    I’ve been out of work, and very thankful for my stored food.  If you’ve never suffered anything similar and never had to truly rely on your storage rather than having the ability to run out to the store for whatever you don’t have to make a recipe, you have no idea what is “critical to sustaining life”.

    Definitely store foods from all food groups, and plan accordingly so that you can actually FEED your family (and properly) with what you have stored.  You never know what is coming in your direction, and a can of freeze-dried strawberries sounds nice, but gets old awfully fast if that’s all you have in the way of fruits and veggies.

    • Perhaps you misunderstand, or we need to clarify that sentence. Most ALL food storage calculators have life sustaining – meaning keep you alive recommendations. Our POINT of this page is that while you can maybe stay alive – we RECOMMEND storing fruits and vegetables and we take a whole BabyStep to talk about different ways to do so. Where is it that you are seeing we recommend JUST a can of strawberries? Julie eats mostly a whole and organic diet and contains a variety of fruits and vegetable options in her storage. Jodi cans her own peaches, tomatoes, and several other items and has actually gone months living off her food storage due to job loss. Everyone comes to our blog at different levels, and we try to offer suggestions, and people adapt it to their own circumstance and diet choices.

      • emorra

         🙂 I don’t misunderstand anything.  The first sentence on this page misleads people.  This page is referenced by today’s entry about Strawberry Jam and Syrup, to which I have also replied, thus my reference to the strawberries.

        You say that everyone comes to this blog at different levels, and I totally understand that, believe me I do.  🙂 

        But you need to recognize that with so many followers and readers the onus is on you to provide clear and correct information.  Not everyone reads all the paragraphs.  People skim, and generally only read the first sentence of every paragraph. 

        Your pages are type-heavy, and difficult to get through for some people.  My Mom put me on to your blog (and bought me your binder) and she has all sorts of misconceptions about what you are saying that I have had to clarify over the years.

        If you tell people that fruits and veggies aren’t necessary, they will go on with their unhealthy eating habits.  Most people who store food or who are “preppers” (as per their internet photos and journals) store canned stew, Fritos and other junk food, soda, and jell-o.  Not life-sustaining in the slightest.

        Yes, your Baby Steps are great, and I enjoy the reference that you have created here and in your binder, thank you for the work you do. 

        BUT, James 3:1 says “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

        You have achieved great popularity, and you really need to watch what you put out there because people are actually doing what you tell them to do.  Be good shepherds.  🙂

  • Judithaoliver

    I make a mix of dhydrated vegies ready for soup making in the winter it is handy and easy. Judith

  • Pat

    I heard somewhere that you can dehydrate frozen fruits and veggies. With that thought in mind I bought some big bags of frozen fruit and now want to ATTEMPT to dehydrate. However, I have not found anywhere directions on how to accomplish this. Like can you just put the frozen fruit/veggies in the dehydrator and go for it? Or, must the frozen stuff be defrosted first. I’ve run out of freezer space thus the need to dehydrate.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    • You can just put them straight on the dehydrator frozen. They may take a
      little longer to process since they will need to thaw first, but it
      shouldn’t be too big of a difference. Have fun!

  • what would be a good amount of fruits and veggies to store per person for a year? I can’t seem to find a number anywhere….

  • Aliasjunkie47

    Hello
    You had a lady on you web site is it simple green she makes a drink in her blender with different veg and fruit and i don’t know where her site is on yours can you show me.
    Carol she wrote books also and has video’s on your web site
    please write me back and give me the information.
    Carol

  • Amy

    If you decide to freeze your fruit or veggies, place them in a single layer on a ccokie sheet and freeze them completely before you put them in a freezer bag or they will stick toghether and become much. Berries are a great thing to freeze and later use in smoothies. Also, if you are limited on freezer space and want to make freezer jams, you can crush your fruit, add lemon juice (if called for), and then measure the necessary amounts into freezer bags. They will lay flat in the freezer and save room until you are ready to thaw the fruit and make your jam.

  • Amy

    If you decide to freeze your fruit or veggies, place them in a single layer on a ccokie sheet and freeze them completely before you put them in a freezer bag or they will stick toghether and become much. Berries are a great thing to freeze and later use in smoothies. Also, if you are limited on freezer space and want to make freezer jams, you can crush your fruit, add lemon juice (if called for), and then measure the necessary amounts into freezer bags. They will lay flat in the freezer and save room until you are ready to thaw the fruit and make your jam.

  • Bob

    I started experimenting with dehydrating, and have found that zucchini (we always have too many) make great chips with a little season salt on them before you dry them. I also dried some plain, that I simmer back into soups later in the year.

  • Bob

    I started experimenting with dehydrating, and have found that zucchini (we always have too many) make great chips with a little season salt on them before you dry them. I also dried some plain, that I simmer back into soups later in the year.

  • I want to know what type of tree is best to train it to be teeny tiny, I would like it to be 12 inches or less. Even smaller would be great.

  • I want to know what type of tree is best to train it to be teeny tiny, I would like it to be 12 inches or less. Even smaller would be great.

  • Angel

    I have not canned yet. I intended to last summer and bought the canner and other supplies but never did.
    The tomatoes were frozen for future canning opportunity but that has not occured as of yet. :o/

    There is something special about jars of home canned items!

  • Angel

    I have not canned yet. I intended to last summer and bought the canner and other supplies but never did.
    The tomatoes were frozen for future canning opportunity but that has not occured as of yet. :o/

    There is something special about jars of home canned items!

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