Which Saves the Most Money – Dehydrating, Freezing or Canning?

Which food preservation method is the most frugal? Dehydrating, Canning, or Freezing? The answer might surprise you!

With the cost of food going way up, many are choosing to buy in bulk and store for future use.

But is it really worth it?

Many of you know that a week ago I started a series on How and Why to Dehydrate.  In the middle of that series, I had the opportunity to write a guest post at Kitchen Stewardship on Frugal Food Storage (that post is a must read if you are trying to eat well on less money).

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Well, all of this talk about food preservation really generated a lot of interest and a lot of questions.

One reader commented that she was interested in purchasing a dehydrator and/or a freezer, but her husband wasn’t sure about the cost savings, once one adds in the expense of the appliance and the ongoing cost of operating it.  Doing food preserving on your own certainly gives you control over the procedure and the quality of the food, and it is a great step towards a more “whole foods” oriented lifestyle, but we all want to know that we can save money while doing it as well, right?

Well, I did a little digging around and found a fabulous resource that outlined the costs in a very detailed manner.

And after seeing the following chart, any of you who have purchased a dehydrator will feel quite affirmed in your decision (and those who have not will have one more reason to do so).



(Of course, costs have changed since this post (and since the book was printed), but I still find this very interesting.)

Food Storage Bags for Freezer

{Photo Credit}


Estimated cost – 16.2 cents/pound

Equipment Needed: Freezer @ $270 amortized over 20 years* = $13.50/year

Repairs: 2% of purchase price = $5.40/year

Packaging: $25.00

Electricity: To operate freezer at 5 cents/kilowatt hour = $35.28
To blanch 250 pounds of food (4 min/pound) = $1.99

Total to process 500 pounds of food:                                                     $81.17

Canned Peaches and tomatoes

 {Photo Credit}


Estimated cost – 5.5 cents/pound

Equipment Needed: Pressure canner @ $65 amortized over 20 years* =  $3.25
Water bath canner @ $10 amortized over 20 years = $0.50

Repairs: 2% of purchase price = $1.30

Packaging: 24 dz quart jars @ $4.39/dz amortized over 10 years = $10.53
24 dz lids replaced each year @ $.49/dz = $11.76

Electricity: To pressure can 140 quarts at 5 cents/kilowatt hour = $1.44
To water bath can 140 quarts =  $2.22

Total to process 560 pounds of food in 280 quarts: = $31.00



Dried Bananas Dehydrator













Estimated cost – 4.8 cents/pound

Equipment Needed: Electric Dehydrator @ $190 amortized over 20 years* = $9.50/year

Repairs: 2% of purchase price = $3.80

Packaging: $500 one-pound plastic bags = $2.50

Electricity: For drying food = $6.50
For blanching 250 pounds of food (4 minutes/pound)= $1.99

Total to process 500 pounds of food:                                                     $24.29

(*If the equipment is used for less than the full amortization period, the cost per pound of food increases significantly.  Also, if smaller amounts of food are processed, the average cost per pound will increase.)

The above information comes from page 5 of Preserve It Naturally (2010), which is available for free with the purchase of an Excalibur Dehydrator through me.   As an authorized dealer, I am able to offer special savings on the dehydrator that I own and love.

The data I use above are from the book, but the costs of energy, equipment, etc. have clearly changed and will vary according to your personal situation, i.e. your energy costs and how good you are at finding bargains on packaging, etc.   Still, I think this is an eye-opening comparison.

Individual situations aside, it’s clear that dehydrating and canning are extremely cost-efficient ways to store food.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that freezing isn’t a great option either.  I mean, if it costs 16.2 cents per pound to freeze something and you can secure the type of deal that I did at a local store about 4 months ago when we got grass fed lamb for about 3.25 / pound, then paying an extra 16 cents per pound still makes the lamb a great deal.  Also, there are just some things that lend themselves better to one form of preservation than to another.  For example, I don’t wish to can or dehydrate meat or chicken broth, but those items both freeze quite well.

So — I think I have now put my inquisitive mind to rest.  And — I am feeling pretty good about our second fridge, chest freezer, dehydrator, and even about the second chest freezer that we plan to buy later this week.  Bring on the sales — I have room to store the surplus!  Now if I can just learn how to can :-)!More posts on dehydrating:

And some great posts on freezing:

If you don’t have a dehydrator yet, I whole heartedly recommend the Excalibur Dehydrator, but a blogger friend of mine told me that she has this dehydrator and loves it:

This Nesco Dehydrator is great for drying herbs, fruits, veggies, and more!

Here is a great book to get to learn more about dehydrating, and it has tons of recipes in it.  I don’t own it yet, but plan to get it soon.

The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook - Learn How to Dehydrate and use your dehydrator to store foods inexpensively!

Top Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/

Which food storage methods do you use?  Which are you hoping to try next?


    Speak Your Mind


  1. I am going to have to read your dehydration series. I bought a used dehydrator at a consignment sale, but dont’ know the first thing to do with it!

    As for canning, go for it! I put it off for a few years, thinking it wasn’t worth and was just too much work and time, but it’s actually SO easy! Last summer was the first time I really canned, and I ended up canning about 10 jars of jam, 5-6 jars of pickles, and a couple cans of peaches. That lasted me most of the winter – I just have 1 jar of jam left. This summer, I hope to can a lot more, especially of the pickles and peaches. I also want to branch out into some other goods like applesauce and/or tomato sauce.

  2. The benefit to canning is that it makes shelf stable items that frees up room in the freezer. Like tomatoes, chicken and beef stock can all be frozen, but that would take up all the room in both of my freezers. So I can them, pressure canning the meat items, and then they can sit on a shelf. That gives me room for those items like zuchinni, pumpkin and squash which don’t can well, but are fine in the freezer.

    canning also produces significantly less waste, esp plastic waste, which is very harmful to the environment.

    • I completely agree with you. I could certainly do several other posts on all of the preservation methods. But I’d have to leave most of the canning post until I have done it on my own :-). I reuse my bags that I keep dehydrated foods in so that I don’t go through them quickly at all. The only waste I guess you would have in canning is the lids, right?

  3. Kathleen K says:

    This seems to assume that there is no value to labor/time. However, as a stay at home mom, I view anything that allows me to save money as very worthwhile. I’ve done all three, and will continue to do so.

    Also worthy to note: a pressure canner, though a bit scary, is worth the extra money because (1) it saves LOTS of time because the processing times are much shorter and (2) you can process all canned foods in it, including meats, vegetables, broths. The water bath canner is recommended only for high acid foods such as tomatoes and fruits.

    Dehydrating is fun to involve children. We loved dehydrated apples and peaches last summer.

    • You are right, that the “cost of time” is not here. But then again, the “value” of fun isn’t either. Any of these can be “fun”. I hope to learn to can and then I will be doing all three along with you!

      Obviously, this chart was put together by a company that sells dehydrators. I didn’t post it with the intent of showing that dehydrating is the only thing to do. I think that, to the contrary, it shows that all three options are very cost-effective!

  4. Thank you for doing this! I will show my husband and hopefully he will see the value of a big freezer. :)

  5. What a great resource! Thanks for posting this. :-)

  6. Fantastic blog post! I have been looking for this information for awhile. We do a lot of canning and dehydrating at our house. Many people have told me that they think my canning is not worth it, but I have found that it has saved me money on organic food. You can check out my canning recipes at http://creatingnirvanatoday.blogspot.com/search/label/preserving

  7. I use all three methods. I do a LOT of canning. However, I don’t think the price of canning lids is accurate. If you know a place that sells lids for .49 a dozen, I’d love to know where it is! I usually pay $1.23 to $1.89 for a dozen lids.

    • I am not up on the price of canning materials, but I did mention that the prices listed in the book have obviously changed. I think it still serves as a great illustration though.

      • Stayhomemommy says:

        Oh, and I forgot to mention in my previous comment about the new Tattler lids. They are expensive, but they are reusable for canning. I haven’t had a chance to try them myself, but I do know two ladies who’ve had great success with them.

  8. I’m so glad that you were able to find these numbers! We can, freeze, and dehydrate. We have a huge garden; I generally freeze and can the veggies. I also pressure can tomatoes and chicken stock, basically to keep them out of the freezer and save precious freezer space. The freezer is for meat, butter, bread, and other items that wouldn’t store well with the other methods.

    I also use the freeze to stage fruits and veggies. When the tomatoes are in season, I collect gallon bags of tomatoes in the freezer and can them when I have enough. I do the same for our raspberries until I have enough to juice the raspberries. If I’m short on time, I’ll can the juice and make the jelly later. I also use the juice for making kombucha.

    We haven’t gotten into storing potatoes and carrots yet. I think our basement is too warm for that type of storage.

    • I was really encouraged by the numbers as well. It’s nice to know that all of the methods of food storage make sense, but if you have a choice you can choose the least expensive.

      I never heard of using fruit juice to make kombucha — always tea.

  9. After I make the kombucha, I do a 24 hour fermentation with a little bit of fruit juice to add flavor. I’m still learning about how to make it work. This time, I used peach cider that I picked up from a local farmer which is too sweet for me, but the kids liked it. Next time I’ll use half the amount.

  10. Drisana Merry Wiliams says:

    Dehydrating way beyond jerky is a great facebook group. What happens if you have no power then what goes on in your freezer? This is one reason we can and dehydrate and only use the side by side for specials until we can get to them. you can also reuse your jars where as the paper to freeze is ongoing as well as the trays for dehydrating and if you are lucky you can use the sun to dehydrate and save even more money..
    thank you for all the work you do

    • I agree with you completely on the issues surrounding freezing. We do keep frozen meats in there and frozen bananas and other fruits. Of course, a generator is a great option for those with freezers. We are thinking about purchasing one soon. I will check out the facebook group that you mentioned! Thanks for the recommendation!

  11. I also can, freeze and dry. Different things need different treatment and depend somewhat on what I want the particular product for.

    Did the book you used talk at all about the various nutritional implications of the methods? I would find that very interesting.


    • This topic was touched on briefly. It was mentioned that dehydrated food retains more nutrients than methods of food preservation that heat the food (of course, this depends upon not turning the temperature of your dehydrator up too high — They obviously don’t go up to a very high temperature in any case). According to the book, removing the water from foods causes some loss of Vitamins A & C, which can be minimized by proper processing.

      • Where was this touched on briefly? I didn’t see it either. I have always read that freezing was the best to preserve nutrients?

  12. Khadijah says:

    Don’t forget about culturing as an option! Not very time consuming, using your own recycled jars. Requires salt and cold storage, plus optionally whey or vegetable starter culture.

    • Great idea! I was focusing on the major forms of preservation on people’s “radar” — also, for some reason I am not tolerating fermented foods right now so I have not been pursuing this currently. Thanks for the reminder!

      • Khadijah says:

        I wonder what would cause an intolerance? Too much detoxing? It is good to use ferments in small quantities at first. I cultures almost entirely with salt only and, since the cultured bacteria is naturally occurring in the digestive track, most people shouldn’t have a problem. Too much die off from detox overload can definitely be a problem, however.

        • My current thinking is that it is an allergic reaction as I have candidiasis and metal toxicity that I am working on. The practitioner whom I am working with thinks I should hold off for now. I was soaking grains and having reactions. I am pretty sure that that is what it was. I am not willing to experiment again, but maybe after awhile and when life calms down a bit.

  13. Thanks for linking to our frugal tuesday tip. i love to see cost comparisons like this.

  14. Nice to see a side-by-side comparison of preservation methods. Thanks!

  15. Where did you get the canning jars at that price? Here in the Atlanta area they are double that amount.

    • I mentioned in the article that I didn’t purchase these items – they were prices quoted in the book and the book was published initially a number of years ago. Obviously, prices vary by location as well and you can always get your things for close to nothing at garage and rummage sales, etc. I do know that here, around canning season, that Menards has canning supplies very cheap with an in store rebate :-).

  16. Thank you for the interesting comparisons. I use a combination of methods depending on the food, but I prefer canning. Electricity is unpredictable here during hurricane season. We could be without power for a week when a storm blows through which is pretty much the end of your freezer stash. It’s also very humid here most of the year. Dehydrating food is an uphill battle when the humidity is high. So, I stick to canning for the most part. Thanks again for the great information.

  17. shannon says:

    First time reading you through your link Simple Lives Thursday. I like this comparison. Don’t forget about root cellar storage though. Oh my goodness, it is the best for a lazy/busy person like myself. :) I toss butternut squash, other winter squashes and apples in my cellar for months. How easy is that? And, no cost either.

    • I would LOVE to root cellar things! I live in an area that has a really high water table, is flat, and my home, built in 1945 was not built well, hence the foundation is cracking and peeling cement….yuk! Also, there is about 18 inches between the floor and the dirt underneath, AND in rainy season {which, so far, has eluded us} it is full of water!…. So… no root cellar for me….. ;-(
      Someday, WHEN I can afford it, and all the other important things have been done here on my 5 acres, I will bite-the-bullet, and do a new foundation for $40,000.00 or so, THEN I’ll have my root cellar!
      I envy you a bit on yours! 😉

  18. Great post and information; I’ve been canning food for more than 40 years and it’s always new and exciting. I love it when others decide they want to be in charge of their pantry; well done!

  19. Thank you for your cost analysis of freezing, canning and dehydrating for food preservation. I can and freeze a lot, but now I must reconsider dehydration!!

    • You are welcome! Do you have a dehydrator already? I can get you a great deal if you need one. But you’ll have to teach me how to can though :-).

  20. I’m hoping to find someone to share a dehydrator with this summer. I really want to turn some of my tomatoes into “sun-dried” tomatoes but don’t want to have to store and keep a dehydrator all year.
    I just started canning. Out of all three methods, I think the amount of time invested in canning should be considered in the cost. It is far more time consuming than freezing or dehydrating.
    I couldn’t live without my freezer for the meat as you mentioned. Buying quality proteins on sale is my biggest money saver.

    • I completely agree with you on the canning thing re: time. One thing to consider…you can store your dehydrator wherever. I have mine tucked into a corner of our pantry and another blogger I know has hers in the basement next to her grain grinder! Believe it or not, I used to have mine in the living area off of our dining room. Now that’s a weird whole foodie for you :-).

  21. I didn’t read all the comments (so this might be a duplicate) but I’d like to add the space factor. A freezer takes up space, full or empty. Canning takes up space, whether jars are full or empty. Dehydrating (and packing in seal-a-meal bags takes up VERY little space. You can also store dehydrated foods in jars you aren’t canning with, too, for ease of getting to veggies to throw in the crock pot.

    And if the electricity goes out for a couple days… your freezer stock is at risk.

    I’m not saying one is better than the other. I dehydrate, plan to start canning, and am looking for a very cheap extra freezer. Just adding to info posted so that if space is an issue for you, know that dehydrating will take up very little room.

    • Yes – I agree to everything you said, Kelly!

      I will add that when you get a freezer, don’t get an auto defrost. That’s how you get freezer burn. I haven’t used the seal a meal bags. Fill me in on how you like them sometime!

  22. Great Article , THANKS!!!

    I don’t freeze food, because I have never had a good experience, to me the food always tastes funky!!!

    My preference is dehydrating! I do some canning,although, I don’t like all of the cooking, sugar and vinegar, at the end you have preserved the food, but it is dead!

    I like Lacto fermentation for shorter term preservation(months instead of years), because the food is ALIVE!

  23. This is so instructive! I hope you come and share it at FAT TUESDAY!


  24. This is such a informative article. Seeing the cost analysis reminded me why we prefer doing dehydrating at our house.

    I would love to link to this article next week!

  25. Thanks for taking the time to compare–this is very helpful. I would like to learn to can so that I can store on shelves, and I already have a freezer, so I don’t have to buy anything extra for that, so it’s currently my cheapest option simply because I have it. Also, I was talking with a friend about how sometimes, when we don’t have time to do a big project, we can just toss tomatoes, for example, into the freezer without all the processing. They can then be used in chili and stew in winter. This is fast as well as frugal.

    You’ve sure got me thinking! I’m delighted you linked to Food on Fridays this week!

  26. This is great information to have! I’m big on freezing food but haven’t given much thought to canning or dehydration. Freezing works for me since I live alone and can just cook one big meal and then freeze single portions. So easy and cost effective for me! I’m going to look more into the other options available. Thanks again for sharing.

  27. This is very informative! I had always wondered about cost – and it’s nice to have it all laid out!

    I do all three. Actually, I probably freeze stuff most because I’m lazy sometime and it just feels easier. I really love canning, but sometimes I’m not willing to heat up the house. And dehydrating, while easy, just makes my kids want to eat everything the second it comes off the dehydrator. Maybe I should be drying more brussel spouts or something!

  28. Adrienne, this is some helpful research!!! I’m glad you did it and not me! lol. Thank you for linking this awesome stuff to Foodie Friday. I love that you visit, don’t ever feel bad for adding more than one… we have no rules. :) Thanks again!

    • You’re welcome! I’m kind of an info junkie :-). It’s great info, isn’t it? I found it in the dehydrator book that comes with the Excalibur dehydrator that I love… and I thought – “This needs to be a post!” See you next week, hopefully!

  29. Fascinating stuff! I’d never seen a pressure canner for under $200 before. Cool.

  30. Great analysis! I do all three, depending on the type of food and how we prefer to consume it. When you get down to it all are three options are more frugal than buying fruit and veggies out of season! Thanks for sharing your post with the Gallery of Favorites.

  31. Hi and welcome to Fitness Friday. Thanks for sharing the great info!

    Please help me promote Fitness Friday. The bigger the better! Include the blog hop button on your FF post or on your sidebar. Thanks!

    You can find the button code here Fitness Friday

    • Hi Jill.
      Sorry – I missed that you want bloggers to copy your button. I have it there now, but do you know how to align it w/ other buttons? It is just floating there in the middle of my post and looks a little odd.

  32. No problem and thanks! It’s aligned now. It no longer looks odd :)

    You have great info to share. I hope you’ll link up again!

  33. I have to confess, the method I use most for food preservation is freezing, but I found this post so interesting. Thank you so much for sharing it with the Gallery of Favorites.

  34. Great info! Can’t wait to try this out :) New follower from Simple lives blog hop!

  35. My husband too has questioned why we need a chest freezer. I’m not sure this will convince him, especially considering I don’t know if I would freeze 500 lbs of food.

    Also I can’t find canning jars for less than $12 a dozen unless I’m at a thrift store or garage sale. The calculation uses $4.39/dz. Then there is the bit where I freeze my dehydrated items because I don’t trust that they won’t go bad because part are stored 10 months or more. Just thinking out loud really.

    This was excellent information and food for thought.

    • It’s all outdated. With prices going up like crazy, I could redo this every 6 months and it still would be. I bought mine for about $11/dozen b/c it was easier than scouting them and washing them. There is no need to wash the new ones from what I read online.

      I have 2 freezers now and I dehydrate. I am not totally sure it’s worth it, but we sure have done well on sales of things we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise….like pastured lamb for 3.00 about per pound, and when we were eating a lot of them, super cheap bananas. And just the other day, some free meat from my husband’s work. Take care.

  36. Adrienne, I have used all three methods for almost three decades. I also have an Excalibur dehydrator that I love. Just a few thoughts: 1. You can create an easy root cellar by burying an old freezer in your yard. It keeps those items like carrots, squash, and potatoes through the winder beautifully. 2. I use Tattler re-useable canning lids, and while there is a learning curve, I am very happy with them. 3. I have bought old pressure canners at thrift stores for as little as $30.00. You do have to take them to a small appliance repair shop to be pressure tested and usually, you have to purchase a new rubber gasket for about $5.00. 4. I have both a stainless steel and an aluminum pressure canner. I don’t cook in aluminum, but feel that it is safe to can in an aluminum pot. Aluminum pots are much less expensive. Thank you for your informative post! :-)

  37. I purchased my pressure canner for free using Swagbucks gift cards on Amazon. I recently purchased the book “Preserve It” by edited by Linda Brown that teaches you how to preserve using various methods including drying in your oven. I have not tried that yet, but I plan to soon. I started canning in the water bath when I purchased tomatoes 3 years ago for $5 a bushel (I started growing my own last year). I have loved canning my own spaghetti and pizza sauces as well as canning peaches, applesauce, jams, and pie fillings. Canning chicken is a great money saver too. We purchase beef in bulk from a local butcher (local beef) in the fall, so keeping enough room for that always figures into my preseving plans, but some fruits and veggies make it in the big freeze!

  38. Hi there! Found your link through Frugal Fridays and this is great information, and I, too, will have to check out your post on dehydrating. I just started food preserving last year (canning, freezing, and i bought a dehydrator but confess I barely used it as I didnt feel very confident) but I want to bone up on all this good information before the growing seasons starts (I live in Ontario, Canada). Ill be following your blog now, thanks for the tips! Blessings!

  39. Great post. I currently can and use the freezer, and have always wanted to try a dehydrator. One of my issues with the freezer method is that in addition to the personal expense is the carbon footprint of building and shipping the freezer. Trucks used to transport the parts, and trucks used to ship the completed freezer, the equipment used to build the freezer,… well you get the idea. So canning is better for that! …of course, I still love my freezer (rock and hard place, lol).

  40. I’m still relying a lot on the freezer right now, but it makes me nervous since we had a few power outages last summer and don’t have a back-up generator. I have a dehydrator, but I’ve only used it for Roma tomatoes. I think I’ll be using it more often this year for a few reasons. Never realized how much more affordable dehydrating is. Thanks!

  41. LOVE it, I am going to share with our Facebook followers

    ann kelly

  42. We use all methods, versatility keeps the kids happy. I also have begun purchasing freeze dried long term foods with some of my food budget; 25 year stuff. We eat 1/2 n store half. If you want free samples I can share their link. We freeze meats, veggie stock, bananas & stuff until I can get it canned in my jars. Dehydrated foods we do seems to be eaten fastest…Thanks for all of your info!

  43. breadbakerkathy says:

    OMG! I have the Excalibur and it is more than wonderful!!!! I had the round stackable dehydrator that took days to dehydrate and had to move shelves around. yuck! When I use the Excalibur, it takes hours not days. I love the temperature settings. I can dry several different foods at the same time or lots of jerky. It’s easy to use, easy to clean and I bought the largest one!!! lol I do can and freeze too depending on how I like my food. I have lots of space for storage

  44. breadbakerkathy says:

    When I dehydrate, I put the dried food in a plastic bag, zip it almost closed, put a straw in the opening and suck out the air—-or I use the vacuum bag sealers. Then I place them in a large ziplock bag. OR I heat a jar (be sure it’s dry), fill it and place the cap on it (this creates a vacuum).

    • CouponCook says:

      My grandmother taught me the straw trick. I use it every time. I don’t’ have a vacuum sealer. It really doesn’t take long to do.

  45. which is healthier for you and keeps more vitamins and minerals along with taste, canning, freezing or dehydrating?

    • I personally lean towards freezing and drying. Canning destroys enzymes and nutrients get boiled away. Freezing affect Vitamin E, from my understanding.

  46. Belenda says:

    I love all methods, depending on the future food use. Some things just don’t freeze well, dehydrate well or can well – so have to admit I use all of them. I just hate using plastic anymore though. So, canning is still my first choice. Even dehydrating, I’m putting my soaked/dehydrated nuts in mason jars. I’m just so happy to see people realizing the importance of preserving your own chemical free foods! I’ve been canning foods since my kids were babies. I’ll never forget one of my friends coming in my kitchen while I was canning peaches and applesauce. She was very serious and asked me “if I was poor” RLMAO!! Oh my….that still makes me laugh….

  47. Wow. I’m impressed…and so glad that I don’t use any of these methods! I’d much rather be in the play room…sewing and painting…than the kitchen. But I’m very happy & thankful for those that like to prepare food.

  48. So glad to find your site. New follower here!

  49. This is a great post. So far I only freeze things, and not really with any planning, but I think I will start to try canning in the near future.

  50. HappyMrsBass says:

    I just love this post! I have a dehydrator, but it tends to collect dust more than food! But this year I finally have a garden and I plan to put it to good use. I also like freezing things, but to be honest…canning intimidate me a little (okay a lot)! I hope to try it (canning) out this year, but I’ll be needin’ a lesson or two. :) I love the cost layout and will be showing my hubby this when he gets home.
    Would you consider linking this my Living Green Tuesday link-up? Thanks!

  51. I just bought a 9 tray Excalibur and I will be addin drying to my current freezing and canning preservation. I will definitely be reading through all your info on dehydrating!

  52. What a great comparison! Thanks for sharing. I’ve always wondered what was more cost-effective. I’m really new to canning, so I’m always paranoid that I’m going to do somthing wrong and make my family sick,so I tend to freeze the most.

  53. This is a great study! I’ve wondered about this. Time to get my dehydrator out of storage and give it another whirl.

  54. We preserve our foods based upon what we think works best, and how we like it best. For example, I always can green beans, but I freeze corn because that’s what we feel works best. Thanks for the comparison.

  55. What a great comparison. I have been debating whether or not to get a deep freezer. Right now, we just use the freezer that is attached to our fridge. I’ve always wondered if it would be worth it or not since the price of electricity seems to be going up too!

  56. I personally do not care if these methods cost more than just purchasing at the grocery store. I am much more concerned about knowing exactly what is in my food or more importantly, what is not added to my food. I use all the methods discussed. I grow all my own organic herbs and dry them which is far less expensive than purchasing. Each year I make enough jam and applesauce for myself and my daughter’s family. I also can my own salsa from home grown tomatoes and peppers and onions. I firmly believe this is the most cost effective way to manage my family’s health care costs.

  57. I just found your blog and I am glad that I did! My parents just moved and gave us their dehydrater because they don’t ever use it. I have been anxious to try a few things in it. As funny as it is – my husband and I just canned for the first time TODAY! We have been wanting to create a stockpile incase of any emergency, and also just want to prepare some of our own food so we know exactly what is going into it. It is SO rewarding! After reading this post I am even more proud of our work.

  58. We are so glad you came to another week of our fun “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. Please join us again! -The Sisters

  59. I love that you compared the 3 ways to preserve. I am saving up for a pressure canner now so we can move some of the items we usually freeze to the canning cupboard. I would love it if you would share this info on my linky party Tout It Tuesday! http://www.claimingourspace.com/2012/05/tout-it-tuesday-7.html

  60. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of the costs of all 3 processes!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  61. This post is very interesting. I will be thinking about this one for sure.

  62. Great post! I am thrilled that you shared this on Fit and Fabulous Fridays! :)

  63. I found this post so interesting – it’s a really great guide to frugal food storage techniques! I tend to use my freezer for most storage, but I can definitely see the benefits of canning and dehydrating as well.

  64. Congratulations!
    Your post is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  65. I absolutely loved this post! I would love it if you shared this post at my Creative @ Home Link-Up Party, I think my readers would really enjoy and benefit from it!



  66. The one cost factor that was not shared or calculated was the cost of the jars in canning. The initial cost is huge to get enough jars to make a meaningful horde. I’m thinking dehydration is ideal.

    Great job comparing though!

  67. Thank you for participating in Creative @ Home Wednesday for 05/23/12! I’d love to have you join us again this week!


    Susan Godfrey

  68. One unanticipated cost of freezing is the need to own a generator for when the electricity goes out for a long period of time.

    I live in the middle of the current outage in Appalachia and watched my neighbors scramble to buy generators and find gasoline to run them. These blackouts that involve more than one state, well, it would be wise to plan for them as a certainty. The real problem was finding gasoline. People were driving for hours to buy some — a strange scenario.

    After a week, half of my county still is without electricity.

  69. People don’t usually think about my favorite benefit of dehydrating over canning – you can plug in the dehydrator outside or in the garage, and it won’t heat up the house. Since most of the extra produce we get is in the summer, this is a very big benefit to me! (I guess it’s a benefit over freezing, too, if it’s something you would need to blanch. I’ll take any excuse not to turn on the stove in the summer.) I remember canning with my mom when I was a kid – it was already roasting hot outside and in our house, and then we’d have the stove on all day. Bad combination.

  70. Hi! I’m new to the blog – enjoying it. As far as learning to can, I am doing that this summer and so far have canned several pints of tomato sauce and tomato juice. In this day of the internet it can feel overwhelming to know how to learn something, as there are too many options! I am using the Ball Blue Book guide to Preserving (skinny and full of info) and it is pretty easy to follow – received it as a gift. But, freezing is likely better as far as preserving nutrients in foods. Canning often involves pre-cooking and then the heating process during the canning itself, which destroys a lot of nutrients. I like your idea of freezing tomatoes after chopping them in food processor as this uses the skin too, which is full of good stuff.

  71. Dunnea Rae says:

    The prices on the jars are very low. Just google and you will see they are three times the cost.

  72. Sara Isaacs says:

    Thank you so much for doing this research and pricing everything out! It is so great to know that there are many ways to save especially when the times are getting tough.

  73. Adrienne
    In the last few years there has been a lot of progress in the canning world. There are two companies that make reusable lids.
    Tattler and 4everrecap. I have used the Tattler and have had no problems with them at all, but the 4everrecap are new to me so I have no idea how well they work.
    I just wanted to update you on this issue. Thanks for all the great work you do to inform the public on how to help themselves to save and stay healthy at the same time.

  74. Interesting. It would be interesting to figure out the cost when items are purchased used, and when packaging is reused. Also, reusable canning jar lids could change this equation. Honestly, though, I’m surprised how economical ALL of them are.

  75. Interesting!! I do some of all three, I know some people don’t think canning is good, cause it’s cooked and all…but there is a use for it all to my way of thinking. It’s also better than what you buy in the store, cause you know what you put in it…and since I haven’t stopped using some things, that comes in cans like tomato sauce I’d rather make it myself if possible than buy it. Besides, I actually enjoy canning, least to a point. :-))

  76. I enjoyed this post. I do a little of each of these food preservation methods. I have found an inexpensive way to store some of my frozen meat. I buy from a local meat processor that buys the meat from the local farmers, so commercial farms. When I get my meat I asked them about getting a meat locker. They said the cost was 15.00 per quarter. I have bought my meat there for about 5 years, and have yet to have the 15.00 charge. I do have a freezer and keep my chicken and fish in it that I purchase in the stores. I also keep fruits and vegetables and like one of the other comments said, use it to stage my fruits and vegetables. I liked to see the cost comparisons. I would also like to link this on my blog for people that are reading my comments about food preservation. I currently don’t have a food dehydrator, but have been looking for one at the second hand stores. We lost ours when we had a house fire. I liked using it. I’ve been using my oven to dehydrate while I have been without, I’m sure not as cost effective, but it works.

  77. In regard to canning; I have been doing this for a couple of years. There is a lot more to canning than just throwing some food in a jar and processing. If you read the USDA website or any of the University extension offices in your county, you will learn that canning food is a science that takes great care and preparation to accomplish safely and successfully. Just securing jars takes time. If you buy them at garage sales you cannot know the history of their use; if they contained food that spoiled there is a ‘detoxification’ process that must be followe. If uncertain, you have to do this.. Then, there is the washing of all equipment, boiling jars, and keeping lids and rings warm. Most vegetables have to be blanched in fresh water, and jars are packed and filled with distilled boiled water. Then its time to fill the canner-with water. All this water has to be heated, then discarded. If you live in the city–whooo, expensive. In the country you have to make sure your water has been tested and is ok for preserving foods. Then, there’s the issue of processing for your local altitude. For years I didn’t know I live in an area over 1.000 ft. Add an extra minute to processing time for each 1,000 ft. above sea level. If you have never canned before and want to follow approved methods, (remember, only approved and tested recipes are now recommended) it will take you some time (time=money) I have not yet decided if home canned foods are economical given the above, but I do know they contain only the wholesome foods I put into the jars. What is that worth in $$$? Decide for yourself, but when you begin home canning, please take the time to read the publications available on the web for guidelines. The most informative I’ve found, but certainly not an exhaustive resource can be found at: http://nchfp.uga.edu/

    • Thanks much – I need to get on with canning soon :).

    • I’m 45 years old and have been canning my own home-grown produce/helping my mom can food as a child nearly my whole life. I have canned meat, fruit, low acid foods, soups, you name it, and I’ve never encountered any of the problems mentioned in your post. I have a re-furbished canner I bought at a swap-meet for $3.oo that works like a charm. Most of my jars are hand-me-downs from family members or purchased at garage sales. As long as they are properly sanitized, they are perfectly safe. I have never calculated the money I’ve saved by putting up my own produce, but I’m sure it would be in the thousands of dollars. If you’re worried about wasted water, house plants and garden plants love left-over canning water because it’s full of nutrients! Yes, it heats up the house, but we’re very conservative with electricity otherwise so the extra few dollars on our power bill is certainly money well spent. If you have a desire to can your own food, it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

  78. We’re selling our house and buying an rv. Guaranteed we’re buying a dehydrator!

  79. Jenn Wilson says:

    I wouldn’t mind teaching you how to can! :)

  80. jonille shepherd says:

    In general I agree in that order. I to would like to know where you buy your canning equip. My canner was $200, Quart jars are $10+ a doz Walmart and lids $1.75 to $2+. That may change things a bit.

  81. What about freeze drying?

  82. This seems to assume that there is no value to labor/time. However, as a stay at home mom, I view anything that allows me to save money as very worthwhile. I’ve done all three, and will continue to do so.

    Also worthy to note: a pressure canner, though a bit scary, is worth the extra money because (1) it saves LOTS of time because the processing times are much shorter and (2) you can process all canned foods in it, including meats, vegetables, broths. The water bath canner is recommended only for high acid foods such as tomatoes and fruits.

    Dehydrating is fun to involve children. We loved dehydrated apples and peaches last summer.

    • You are correct about the time issue – I was only thinking about money in this post but it is very important to consider. I have both canners but haven’t used either. I’m nervous and could use a teacher :).

  83. Stewart Higgins says:

    I would LOVE to know what model you recommend. I have been thinking about this – thanks!

  84. I would love to see your input on freeze drying. Do you have any experience with this? Do you plan to try it if you have not tried already?

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