Freeze-dried food is my favorite kind of long-term food to store for emergency preparedness. Let’s go over the reasons why I love freeze-dried foods and why I believe they’re the best kind of long-term food storage.
- Retain 97% of their nutritional value.
- You can make easy, quick, and hot meals with just hot water.
- When stored properly most freeze-dried foods have a long shelf life of around 25 years.
- Freeze-dried food will reconstitute *mostly* back to its original state.
- They are lightweight and versatile.
Retain 97% Of Their Nutritional Value
During the freeze-drying process foods only lose 3% of their nutritional value. Compared to other food preservation methods dehydrated food or canned foods there is very little loss of nutrition. This is important because if you are in a situation where you are eating your freeze-dried food then you are likely in an emergency. A crisis isn’t a time when you want to skimp on nutrition.
Quick and Easy Meals
Freeze-dried foods make quick and easy snacks and hot meals because all you need is to add water. We keep the mylar bags pouches in our in 72 hours for a quick hot meal. If I am in a situation where we are using our 72-hour kits, I can pretty much guarantee that I will not want to cook. This makes freeze-dried meals a great way to feed my family a nutritious and hot meal in a matter of minutes.
When properly stored in a cool, dark place and in an airtight container most freeze-dry food can last 20-30 years. The exception to this is usually dairy products because of their high-fat content dairy products usually last about 10 years.
Most Foods Reconstitute Back To Original State
The best part of freeze-dried foods is their ability to rehydrate or reconstitute back to their original state. The exception is freeze-dried fruit or foods with high water content. A good rule of thumb is if you were to freeze something and thaw it, that is what it will reconstitute as. So, chicken when frozen and thawed goes back to normal—spinach or raspberries on the other hand when frozen and thawed look wilted and soggy compared to fresh produce.
Lightweight and Versatile
During the freeze drying process, all of the moisture is taken out of the food items. Which makes them very lightweight and versatile. Freeze-dried foods can be eaten reconstituted or eaten as is. I prefer to reconstitute everything except fruit. Fruit is best served as is.
Cons of Freeze-dried Food
Freeze-dried foods are more expensive than their fresh, frozen, or canned counterparts. Freeze drying is a special form of drying food and it is very time-consuming and costly. This means that buying freeze-dried food is more expensive than buying their fresh, frozen, or canned counterparts.
Another downside of freeze-dried meals is that you need water to reconstitute them. Can you eat them without water, yes. The freeze-dried fruits I’ve tried are best eaten as is. However, if you are eating a bunch of freeze-dried foods that aren’t reconstituted you are going to end up dehydrating and constipating yourself because those foods are going to soak up all the fluids in your stomach. So, if you are storing freeze-dried meals you also need to make sure you are storing plenty of water.
A Word Of Warning
If you aren’t careful about what you’re buying then you are likely just buying carbs and sauce. Too many freeze-dried meal kits that you buy in grocery stores are marketed well telling you that they have 7-days worth of food in one handy bucket for $60. At first glance, you might see them and think what a great deal! 7 days of food in a handy bag for $60. That’s a great thing to have in an emergency. But when you look at the ingredients of each meal you find that really all you’re buying is $60 worth of calories in the form of carbs and sauce. You will see brown sugar and maple oatmeal, crunchy granola, cheesy macaroni, creamy pasta & vegetables, potatoes & chicken flavored pot pie, teriyaki rice, savory stroganoff, and whey milk alternative. I don’t know about you, but just based on the names of each item it sounds an awful lot like carbs and sauce with very little nutritional value.
None of these items have a great form of protein, only a couple have some vegetables, and none of them have fruit. I don’t know about you, but if I only ate a meal kit like this for a week I would feel like complete garbage.
Would you survive and have a full stomach for a little bit? Absolutely!
Are you going to feel nutritionally depleted and exhausted? Yes.
Please when it comes to buying freeze-dried foods be careful about what you’re buying. Watch the labels and make sure what you’re buying is going to fuel your body, not just satiate hunger.
What I Store
For my family, I have found the best ways to buy freeze-dried food is to buy ingredients rather than meals. I would rather buy a can of freeze-dried chicken or beef and some freeze-dried vegetables and fruits. That way I can combine what I have in my short-term food storage like a pasta sauce with my long-term food storage and create actual healthy, hearty, and whole meals.
I can also use these ingredients to boost the nutritional value of the meal kits of mostly carbs and sauce.
In our 72-hour kits, I buy single-serving pouches of freeze-dried meals that are a complete meal. I prefer backpacking meals because they are usually hearty and have plenty of nutrition in them. This way I know if I’m ever in a disaster I can feed my family a healthy meal, quickly and easily for 3 days, and not have to worry about coming up with meals. I have eaten several single-serving freeze-dried meals on backpacking trips. My favorites are Mountain House Adventure meals. I have several of them listed here in my Amazon storefront.
**The following links for Nutristore are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission when you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting Prepared Like a Mother!
My favorite place to get freeze-dried foods both ingredients and meals are from Nutristore. There are many reasons why I love Nutristore for many reasons.
First: Their foods are good quality foods. They don’t add unneeded fillers or preservatives to their foods. As a health-conscious mom, this is important to me. I compared the ingredient list of the Chicken Alfredo to a popular brand from Walmart and was shocked at the unnecessary ingredients in the brand from Walmart.
Second: Nutristore’s meals aren’t just carbs and sauce like you see in so many other companies’ meals. Instead of their protein source being whey powder they have actual meat in their meals. Plus, they are delicious!
Third: Nutristore is a solid company that truly cares. I reached out to Nutristore when I first reached 20,000 followers and I asked them if they wanted to join my giveaway. They responded and gave away 3 cans of food to my giveaway. Fast forward almost a year, I hadn’t worked or talked with them again. I ended up on bedrest for preterm labor with my baby I posted something about it on my Instagram page, next thing I knew I had a box of 4 freeze-dried meals sent to my house to help us out. No strings attached, just a company looking out for those in need. I will always support companies that support and care for other people.
Another example of Nutristore caring is in this story here about Jayme Linker. Jayme is an extreme athlete who rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. Jayme is an athlete who has struggled with anorexia and other physical problems due to the anorexia. She has to be very careful about what she puts into her body. She created meals with Nutristore freeze-dried foods and during the whole course of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean she only lost 8 pounds. To watch a short documentary about Jayme Linker watch Resolve here.
My Favorite Foods From Nutristore
Nutristore February Monthly Special
4-person 72-hour meal pack! Get 3 days of meals for 4 people!
-1 Cheesy Chicken & Rice
-1 Southwestern Pork and Rice
-1 Creamy Pasta & Beef
-3 Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
As of right now the only home freeze dryer on the market is the Harvest Right freeze dryer. Here’s my opinion on home freeze dryers. They are an amazing way to preserve food for a long time. It’s an easy way to make room in your freezer by making already frozen foods into shelf-stable, room temperature foods. Plus, freeze-dried candy is delicious.
The downside to home freeze-dryers is the cost. They are an investment and unless you are going to be freeze-drying food for regular use like a quick dinner or a meal at the ballpark, camping, hunting, fishing, emergency preparedness, etc. then you probably won’t make up the cost.
If you plan to only use the freeze dryer for emergency preparedness use then you need to ask yourself if you’re going to make up the cost in food stored or if you could just invest a couple hundred dollars or a thousand dollars into foods from a place like Nutristore and get a good stock of long term food storage and not lose money on your investment
Out of all the long-term food storage options out there freeze-dried foods are my favorite. I love their ease of use, shelf life, and nutrient density of freeze-dried foods. I prefer buying ingredients rather than meals so I can make what I want and supplement meals as needed. However, there is a time and place for meals like in 72-hour kits or just a quick dinner. When purchasing freeze-dried meals I am careful of what I’m buying and not getting distracted by marketing techniques. My favorite place to get freeze-dried meals is Nutristore because I love their quality and what their company stands for.