The Ultimate Guide to Food Preservation: Freeze-Dried, Pressure Canned, and Dehydrated Foods

Do you want to preserve your food for long-term storage, or have it readily available for quick and convenient meals? If so, you have essentially three main options: freeze-dried, pressure canned, and dehydrated foods. Each method has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. In this ultimate guide, we will compare and contrast these food preservation techniques, so you can make an informed decision for your needs. Whether you're a prepper, a backpacker, or simply want to save time and money in the kitchen, this guide has got you covered.

So, let's jump in!


Closeup of freeze dried blueberries, strawberries and bananas as background, top view

Pros of Freeze-Dried Foods

Long shelf life:

Freeze-dried foods have an extended shelf life, usually between 25-30 years, making them ideal for long-term food storage and emergency preparedness. Some foods have shorter shelf-life depending on oil, fat, and sugar content.


Freeze-dried foods are lightweight, making them easy to transport and store, making them ideal for outdoor enthusiasts like hikers and campers.

Nutrient retention:

Freeze-drying preserves the nutrients and flavor of fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, making them a healthy and delicious option for meals.

Easy to prepare:

Freeze-dried foods are easy to prepare, just add water, and most are ready to eat without the need to cook.


Natural State Freeze Dried's foods come in resealable packaging, making them easy to pack and transport, and they also take up minimal space in your pantry or backpack.


Cons of Freeze-Dried Foods


Freeze-drying is a complex process that requires expensive equipment and relatively high levels of electricity consumption, making freeze-dried foods more expensive than other preservation methods.


Freeze-dried foods may have a slightly different texture than fresh or canned foods, and some people may prefer other methods.

Re-hydration time:

Some freeze-dried foods may require longer rehydration times, and may not be as quick and convenient as using canned foods in the home.

Dried fruit and vegetable chips, candied pumpkin slices, nuts and seeds on blue wooden background

Pros of Dehydrated Foods


Dehydrating is a simple process that can be done at home with a dehydrator, making it a more cost-effective option compared to freeze-drying.


Dehydrating can be used for a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and meats, allowing for a variety of tasty options.


Dehydrated foods are lightweight, take up minimal space, and are easy to transport, making them ideal for outdoor enthusiasts like hikers and campers.

Shelf life:

Dehydrated foods have a shelf life of several months, making them ideal for short-term food storage.


Dehydrating allows you to add your own flavors and seasonings to foods, making it easy to personalize your meals to your taste preferences. Dehydrating also causes food to lose volume and shrink which is helpful if maximizing space is your greatest priority.


Cons of Dehydrated Foods


Nutrient retention:

Dehydrating can result in the loss of some nutrients in foods, compared to freeze-drying.


Dehydrating can change the texture of foods, and some people may find them unappealing.

Preparation time:

Dehydrating takes time, as foods need to be dried for several hours to several days, making it less convenient than other preservation methods.


Dehydrating can result in a loss of flavor in foods, compared to freeze-drying or fresh foods.


Dehydrated foods are sensitive to moisture and must be stored in airtight containers, making it more difficult to store and transport.

Home Canning jalapenos in jars and a batch of chili with a pressure cooker

Pros of Pressure Canning


Pressure canning is a safe and effective method of preserving low-acid foods, such as meats, vegetables, and soups, by destroying harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Shelf life:

Pressure canned foods have a long shelf life, making it ideal for long-term food storage.


Pressure canning allows for easy storage and transport of foods, making it ideal for families who like to stock up on pantry essentials.


Pressure canning is a cost-effective preservation method, especially when done in bulk, as the cost per jar is reduced.


Pressure canning allows you to create your own sauces, blends, and recipes making it easy to personalize your meals to your taste preferences.


Cons of Pressure Canning:


Pressure canning can be time-consuming, as the canning process requires careful preparation, monitoring, sterilization, and processing times to ensure food safety.


Pressure canning requires specialized equipment, such as a pressure canner, which can be expensive. Depending on time of year and supply chains, canning lids and specific jars can be difficult to find.

Nutrient retention:

Pressure canning can result in the loss of some nutrients in foods due to high heat, compared to freeze-drying.


Pressure canning can change the texture of some foods, and some people may find the texture unappealing.


Pressure canning can be dangerous if not done correctly, as it involves high temperatures and pressure. Incorrectly canned foods can pose a serious health risk if consumed.

In summary, each food preservation technique offers unique advantages and disadvantages. When deciding which method is best for you, consider factors such as shelf life, cost, versatility, and the required preparation time. Whether you're a hiker, camper, prepper, or just looking to streamline your meal prep, this guide provides a comprehensive comparison of freeze-dried, pressure canned, and dehydrated foods to help you make an informed decision. Ultimately, the right method will depend on your specific needs, financial priorities, and preferences.

Natural State Freeze Dried is a small-batch, family owned and operated freeze-dried foods business in Northwest Arkansas. We would love to provide you with your freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, confections, and more.

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