You can definitely survive on Freeze-dried food. It’s not much different than eating fresh food. Freeze-dried food maintains almost all of its nutrition and retains excellent color and texture when reconstituted. It’s nearly the perfect preservation technique for non-perishable survival food.
You can live off freeze-dried food if a healthy mix of fruits, meats, and vegetables are eaten. Freeze-drying retains 90% of food’s nutritional value, most of the color and texture. The freeze-drying process does reduce food volume, so there are more calories per equal measure versus fresh.
The main difference between fresh and freeze-dried food is 98% of the moisture has been removed from the freeze-dried stuff.
Preparing most freeze-dried food to eat is simple. Add hot water, wait ten minutes, and eat. Different preparation options depend on the kind of freeze-dried foods you are preparing. Let’s take a look.
How Do You Eat Freeze Dried Food?
Preparing Pre-cooked Freeze-dried meals
- With Pre-cooked meals like Mountain House, add boiling water, seal the package, and let the food sit for approximately 10 minutes to reconstitute.
- If you use cold water, double the soaking time to 20 minutes.
- Eat the food directly out of the bag or pour it into a bowl or onto a plate.
It isn’t enjoyable to get food on your hand when eating out of a Freeze-dried meal bag with a regular spoon. If you are using foods for camping, hiking, or bugging out consider getting a light-weight Long-handled backpacker spoon or spork made for eating out of freeze-dried food bags, MREs, and deep cook pots.
Preparing Freeze Dried Cooked Meat:
Pre-cooked freeze-dried meat is pretty flexible. You can cold soak it and eat it cold though I advise against that unless you are hiking the Appalachian Trail or in an emergency scenario.
Place the pre-cooked meat in a bowl and add enough hot water, vegetable, or meat stock and reconstitute to the desired consistency.
If you are making chili, soups or stews drop freeze-dried meat into the pot and it will reconstitute with whatever soup base you are using. Account for moisture loss or add more tomato sauce or broth for a soupier consistency.
Add water, vegetable, or meat stock and cook in a crockpot, oven, stovetop, or microwave.
Preparing Uncooked Freeze-dried Meat:
Place raw meat in a container like a kitchen bowl with hot water. Once the meat is rehydrated to the desired consistency, cook the meat as if fresh.
For instance, if you rehydrate raw hamburger, cook it on the stovetop in patties, or add it to soups or stews. For a better hamburger consider adding an egg so the meat will stick together for a better patty.
Preparing Freeze-dried Vegetables: You don’t have to reconstitute freeze-dried vegetables. You can eat them raw like a potato chip. If you want to reconstitute, place vegetables in a bowl, add hot or cold water, cook them like fresh garden produce or add them directly to soups, stews, or crockpot recipes.
Freeze-Dried Meat Rehydrated With Marinades, Sauces, and Broth
When reconstituting freeze-dried meat, experiment by rehydrating with flavored liquids and sauces. You may want to heat a pre-cooked steak on the grill or reconstitute an uncooked steak to cook it. By rehydrating with something other than water, you add a little pizzazz to your stored foods.
Try reconstituting with BBQ sauce, chili sauce, soy sauce, beer, or a mixture of different liquid sauces and spices. Some users prefer to use water and add sauce and spices to taste.
As a side note: for long-term storage stock up on condiments that have the longest shelf-life. Soy Sauce adds a lot of flavor to meat, rice, dressings, and marinades. It will store up to 30 years.
Do the same thing with vegetable or meat broth. Use them as a base and kick them up a notch with red or black pepper or hot sauces like Tabasco or any other spices you have in your emergency pantry.
Use meat marinades or fruit juice to reconstitute. When rehydrating Freeze-dried meat in a thick sauce, like BBQ sauce, add a little water to make sure meat rehydrates.
How Long Can You Eat Freeze Dried Food?
There isn’t much difference between eating fresh whole foods and freeze-dried food. If you eat freeze-dried for an extended period of time, you might run into pallet fatigue or constipation. Staying hydrated will be important.
You can eat and survive on freeze-dried foods indefinitely as long as you have a sufficient supply of potable water to reconstitute your meals. Freeze-dried foods have virtually the same nutritional value as fresh foods, and they are rich in antioxidants and fiber.
Before you start hoarding freeze-dried food for survival, check the sodium content. The pre-made backpacker-type meals are more likely to contain high amounts of sodium than the fruits and vegetables sold in #10 cans.
If you freeze-dry foods at home, as with a Harvest Right Freeze-dryer, you will know exactly what’s in your freeze-dried food.
Does Freeze-dried Food Need to be Refrigerated Once Opened?
Once you open a can or bag of freeze-dried food, treat it like you opened a bag of potato chips. You don’t want food to go stale so keep it sealed.
If you open a freeze-dried food container but don’t rehydrate, refrigeration is unnecessary. Seal the can or bag and store it in the pantry like any dry-good. If food is rehydrated, treat it like any other perishable food by storing it in the refrigerator.
Remember that once a hermetically sealed package of freeze-dried food is opened, you won’t get a 30-year shelf-life even if re-sealed.
Can You Eat Freeze-dried Food Without Cooking It?
Unless your eating freeze-dried fruits or vegetables, I would avoid eating uncooked freeze-dried food. Freeze-dried backpacker meals may never truly rehydrate with cold water, so you might end up eating crunchy pasta or pieces of veg.
You can eat pre-cooked freeze-dried meals, fruits, and vegetables without cooking them. For fruits, vegetables, and ice cream, you don’t have to reconstitute or cook. Meat not cooked before freeze-drying should be rehydrated and cooked before consumption.
Cold Soaking Freeze-Dried Food Pre-cooked backpacker meals like Mountain House are meant to be reconstituted with hot water. You can cold soak them, but yuck, you may get some crunchiness when eating.
If you are in an SHTF situation where you don’t want to light a fire to boil water or you are on the move, cold-soaking is an option if food is a fruit, vegetable, or pre-cooked.
How Long Can You Store Freeze-Dried Food
Freeze-dried food is a long-term storage champion because it lasts so long, is lightweight, and retains so much of its quality and nutrition. The storage life is right up there with white rice and dried beans.
Freeze-dried food in a hermetically sealed container stored in a cool, dry location has a shelf-life of 30+ years, once the package is opened food will last approximately 6 months to one year if kept sealed.
Don’t confuse Freeze-dried food with dehydrated food. They are different methods of preserving food. Dehydration uses heat to remove 80% of the moisture from food. It has less shelf-life and less nutrition than freeze-dried.
To learn more about freeze-dried vs. dehydrated food, check out the Ready Squirrel Article, “What is freeze-dried food?”
Thanks for stopping by!
Nutrition of freeze-dried vs. raw fruits and vegetables, Columbia.edu link
Harvest Right link