Freeze-dried food is a type of emergency preparedness food that has been preserved by the removal of water from its content.
It is usually packaged in lightweight, vacuum-sealed bags with oxygen absorbers and then heated to remove all moisture.
This drying process ensures that the food will not spoil for up to 25 years or longer.
In this blog post, we will discuss how long freeze-dried food lasts, how to store it properly and how to make sure you are using your supply of freeze-dried foods correctly.
What Exactly is Freeze-Dried Food?
When food is freeze-dried, it’s flash-frozen and then put into a vacuum chamber, removing the ice crystals.
When removed from this environment, the water can be reabsorbed by the air surrounding our dried foods, and they will come back to life in their original form as if they had never been frozen.
Freeze drying essentially locks in all of that fresh flavor for many years to come.
The process of freeze-drying removes the water content from food.
The process is such that heat, vacuum, and pressure are used to pull moisture out of foods that do not require cooking or preparation before consumption.
Another benefit of this process is that it slows down any spoilage caused by bacteria in these products – even after they’re opened.
When food sits on a shelf for too long, all sorts of nasty things can happen: molding, bacteria growth, and other natural processes will cause your fruit snacks to go bad quickly.
Freeze drying prevents all of those issues with an easy dehydration technique for preserving our favorite flavors.
It’s not just fruits and veggies that can be freeze-dried; we’ve created a collection of protein powders, cheese snacks, ready-to-eat meals, and even desserts.
Freeze-Dried Food vs Dehydrated Food
The debate between freeze-dried food vs dehydrated food is an argument that can be solved with a simple understanding of how each type of preservation works.
In general, the final product and texture will depend on the exact ingredients used in the preparation and the cooking method for both types of meals.
Both methods of preservation work by removing the moisture from food.
Dehydration works primarily on the surface of food, while freeze-drying removes about 98% of water content in each piece.
The result of dehydrated food is a product that has an increased amount of flavor and color.
Freeze-dried foods will have a crunchy texture and generally have less flavor.
If you consider the two types of preservation for your long-term food storage, freeze-drying is often recommended because it can be stored as individual pieces or in large bags without sealing.
This type of method also does not require any special equipment to preserve as dehydrated foods do with an oven or stovetop.
Dehydrated foods take up more space than their counterparts, so if you’re looking to save room, these are probably not the best option for you when filling out your pantry shelves.
Neither choice has been shown to outperform the other during emergencies, but each will deliver a different experience depending on what’s most important at that moment: taste or nutrition?
How to Store Freeze-Dried Food?
There are a few factors to consider when storing freeze-dried food.
The first is what type of container you will use, the second is how much space you have in your cabinet or storage area, and the thirdly which containers make accessing your food easier for you.
The most common types of containers used among preppers are sealed plastic containers, vacuum-sealed bags, and Mylar bags.
The first two are the most popular because they balance cost, durability, and accessibility.
Sealed plastic containers can be bought in bulk at many big box stores or purchased for cheap online without the hassle of going to the store.
The downside is that while they may come out on top regarding price per unit volume, you have fewer options for storing them because they are a bit bigger.
Mylar bags can be bought at many stores.
Still, you will need enough space to store and organize all of the additional supplies needed for vacuum-sealing food, which may not be possible depending on your current living situation.
Mylar bags offer the most variety in terms of what type of container to use.
They are durable and thin, allowing you to store many bags side by side in a smaller space than sealed plastic containers require.
They will block light from entering the container and offer a good amount of protection against moisture.
- Store in a cool, dry place to avoid moisture buildup and contamination.
- Consider storing with desiccants or oxygen absorbers if you’re concerned about humidity levels.
- Do not store near any heat sources (radiators, stoves) or in direct sunlight.
- Add oxygen absorbers to help maintain a vacuum seal.
How Long Does Freeze-Dried Food Last?
Freeze-dried foods are great for anywhere where refrigeration is not available or as an emergency food source.
They can be stored without any preservation needed.
Though they don’t have quite the shelf life of canned goods (roughly 12-18 months), freeze-dried foods will last for a very long time without refrigeration.
Generally, freeze-dried food has a shelf life of 25 to 30 years, while dehydrated food can last from 15 to 20.
Once you open and expose freeze-dried food to oxygen, use it within a month.
Treat any opened freeze-dried food like canned goods and store it in a cool, dark place.
If you have a package of freeze-dried food that is not yet opened, be sure to protect the contents from moisture and oxygen with an airtight seal or storage bag before storing them for long periods.
How to Tell if Freeze-Dried Food is Bad?
Freeze-dried foods are a perfect way to get fresh fruits and vegetables without the weight or hassle of carrying them.
The process can preserve these items for up to 25 years, but how do you know if they have gone bad?
Freeze-dried food should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, around 20 degrees Celsius.
If the package is not sealed, or if the content feels wet to the touch, it has gone bad and should be thrown away.
If the content feels dry to the touch, it may still be edible if you can’t find any other signs of spoilage.
If there are visible dark spots or mold on the food, discard immediately because this is a sign that bacteria has grown and spoiled the product.
If freeze-dried fruits have been cross-contaminated with raw vegetables in storage, this is a sign that the airtight packaging has failed and should be thrown away.
Freeze-dried food is a type of dehydrated food where the water has been removed from frozen foods under a vacuum.
When considering how long freeze-dried food will last before spoiling, we recommend storing them at room temperature (between 65°F and 75°F) with consistent humidity levels, so they don’t dry out too quickly.
The length of time depends on what kind of meal it is but typically lasts up to 25 years if properly stored away.