Sometimes, life just throws a curve ball, doesn’t it? We spend years expecting a certain outcome, and suddenly, CHANGE.

As we approached middle age, we purchased a home that fulfilled our dream. It wasn’t fancy or expensive. It couldn’t possibly keep up with the Joneses, as they weren’t even on the same journey as we were. They were still running to soccer games while we were planning ahead, preparing for our golden years.

shelves of canned food

As part of that long-term goal, we built gardens, planted fruit trees and berries, built chicken coops and a greenhouse. We filled the canning pantry with jars of food. Literally, a couple thousand jars. We lived from our pantry, filling in at the store when necessary. We shared jars with our kids and friends as often as needed. We always preserved for ourselves and others.

Well, life has happened. Our easy transition to retirement has become a logistics challenge as we gear up to move half-way across the country into a completely different retirement scenario.

We will purge most of our belongings, load a truck or two, and start over. We will say goodbye to the years of work we have invested in our self-reliance homestead, and begin the dream anew in another location, with friends who have similar dreams. Our home will be sold to someone who has a dream of their own.

The real topic of discussion was what to do with our food storage. Suddenly, the beautiful rows of jars in our basement began to feel like an anchor.

OH WAIT!!!! Yes!! We purchased a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer a while back, and that machine is our ticket to an easy move. There are options now!

As I wandered through the canning pantry, I saw jars of diced potatoes. I grabbed pints of ham, and made scalloped potatoes, which freeze dried beautifully. 

All of my chili, stew, vegetable soup, beans, and meats were loaded right on to the trays. I made skillet dinners using my ground beef, tomatoes, and some pasta from dry storage. Not all, but most of my jars either have been or will be preserved in their new form.

Whether I convert my canned “ingredients” into complete dinners, and then freeze dry, or I simply freeze dry them as they are, I am not only making them easy to manage but extending the life of the foods by many years.

The thought of packing cases of jars, then unpacking them on the other end is not appealing. Wondering how many might survive such a trip is a concern. However, freeze dried foods weight almost nothing. The mylar bags are unbreakable. Suddenly my worries about broken glass, liquids leaking, or being over the weight allowed for the truck are nil.

Whether you are living the expected life, or the one that hits you when least expected, the Harvest Right Freeze Dryer will be there for you. Harvest Right makes your best life even better.


I just bought one too, and I also have canned goods. I had been wondering if I could open and freeze dry some of them because we are contemplating a move across country.
I am nowhere close to your level of canning or homesteading lifestyle, but I have been storing for a couple of years now and I enjoy it.

One of the fun things with the Harvest Right is being able to make a casserole, and then freeze dry it. Try THAT with pressure canning. 🙂 I am converting some as just meat or veggies, but others are going in as full meals. Rice-a-roni, homemade with meat and veggies, or lasagna, or hash brown casserole… delicious. Easy to rehydrate. Perfect. 🙂

Yes, Alice!! I waited for several years, and now I wish I hadn’t at all. It is the best thing ever, the most loved possession I have, and my favorite way to preserve.

This is another way to preserve foods that I hadn’t ever thought of doing. To exchange one previous food storage method to another is really thinking outside the “can”. Thanks for sharing such a terrific idea!

You are going to love it. I believe that canning may still have a place in my future, but honestly, I haven’t canned since I bought this. 🙂

I purchased one of these awesome freeze dryers. We still can soups, stews and chili because we rotate our food preps. My canned stuff has passed the 5 year test but freeze drying will last 20 to 25 years and beyond. Although canning is great for storage, long storage is best freeze dried.

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