Jerky is a great food for having on hand – survival and otherwise – since it can be home made from just about any lean meat - domestic or wild. Once it has been processed using a dehydrator, smoker or home oven, it can be vacuum sealed, stored and even frozen. Typically you can count on keeping correctly processed jerky for 1-2 months in the freezer or 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. However, if you are looking for food with a much longer shelf life consider freeze-dried foods.
Like jerky, freeze dried foods are dehydrated, however there are some differences:
The heat (or smoke) used when making jerky removes most of the moisture (water) through a slow drying process, unlike the food items being freeze-dried where the moisture is sublimated over a period of time. 
To explain the process briefly, the item to be freeze-dried is first frozen, then the surrounding pressure is reduced allowing the frozen water in the item to sublimate from its solid form to gaseous form. This process can take up to a week or more. This leaves a dehydrated form of the food. Not all foods can be freeze-dried, i.e., breads, cake, etc. 
Depending on the nature of the food, some freeze-dried food items can be stored up to 25 years – no refrigeration necessary. When you’re ready to use them, the process to make them edible is as easy as adding hot water and waiting a few minutes for the food to re-hydrate. Some foods don’t require hydration and can be eaten directly from the package, i.e., fruits.
It is possible to freeze-dry your own food at home, however, if you want large quantities on hand for the future, it would probably be easier and safer to purchase ready packaged freeze-dried foods. Our favorite freeze-dried food is by Mountain Home.
Mountain Home offers a wide variety of meats, desserts, and side dishes. Our favorite is the lasagna – but they all taste really great. For those who want to try freeze-drying their own food, visit this link for a brief introduction to the process.
By David Moncrief