A well-rounded diet includes both fruits and vegetables consumed on a daily basis. Fortunately, we have commercial access to both these major food categories in many forms that are easy to store. In addition, both can be home-grown and home-packaged for long-term storage.
Commercially Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Wet-pack commercially canned fruits—such as apple pie filling, applesauce, apricots, blueberries, cherries, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple, andplums—are great for storage. Store your family’s favorite canned fruits, making sure that you rotate them within two years.
Commercially canned vegetables are also ideal for storage. Typical family favorites include asparagus, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, mixed vegetables, onions, peas, potatoes, sweet corn, and tomatoes.
Commercially Dehydrated Foods
Most of us use dehydrated foods every day, whether we know it or not. These so-called “convenience foods” include items such as Bisquick, gravy mixes, Hamburger Helper, instant oatmeal, instant soups such as Lipton Onion or Cup of Noodles, macaroni, and cheese, Pasta Roni, powdered milk, Rice-a-Roni, Tuna Helper, and anything to which you “just add water.”
Dehydrated foods are second only to fresh foods in nutrition value. They are processed using a high vacuum and low drying temperature, which removes most of the water. The product is typically brittle and hard rather than leathery like dried fruits.
Dehydrated foods, when harvested and preserved properly, will retain their vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. That’s because the food has not been cooked or canned, which kills the enzymes that are so vital to the digestive process. Despite its dried-up appearance, dehydrated food is actually “live” food.
Dehydrated fruits are great for snacks and can be eaten dried or reconstituted and use just like the wet-pack fruits. Common favorites include apple bits, applesauce, apricots, banana slices, dates, figs, fruit mix, peach slices, peach- and strawberry-apple flakes, prunes, and raisins.
Dehydrated vegetables include bell peppers, broccoli florets, cabbage, carrot dices, celery, green beans, mushrooms, onions, potato dices, potato flakes, potato granules, potato pearls, sweet peas, sweet corn, tomato powder, and vegetable stew blend. Choose your favorites from all of these to make nutritious and tasty vegetable dishes