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Beginner’s Guide to Freeze Dried Survival Food

There are a whole host of reasons why you might be in the market for survival food—from life preparation to wilderness survival and so much more. Whatever your need, freeze dried survival food likely has a selection that can meet it! This long lasting, easily stored, often delicious survival food option is rapidly gaining popularity worldwide.

The Beginner's Guide to Freeze Dried Food

Read this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food to learn more about freeze dried survival food, how to prepare it, where to buy it, and what the appeal is!

Why Freeze Dried Survival Food?

There are lots of options for survival food out there, from canned goods like tuna fish, an assortment of beans, and vegetable and fruit varieties, to items with notable shelf life such as preserved meats and powdered foods, to high protein options like peanut butter, and of course, dry rations like rice, uncooked beans, and more. But what is quickly becoming more and more popular is the freeze dried food option! And once you’ve read this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food, you’ll be able to freeze dry your own survival food if you want to.

Freeze Dried – Checking off the Boxes

As you begin planning and stocking up your survival food cache, you want to make sure you choose food that’s going to last a very long time, come at an affordable cost so you can purchase it in bulk or be preparable at home, sustain you nutritionally, and also taste at least decent, if not being exceptional.

When it comes to checking off those important boxes, freeze dried survival food covers most on the list. This is a very popular option as it’s relatively affordable and extremely long lasting…possibly the most long lasting of your survival food options.

Cost and Quality Considerations

While there are some survival food options that go for cheaper than freeze dried rations, that doesn’t necessarily mean they check off enough of the necessities for a staple survival food to make them superior to the freeze drying option.

In addition, there’s an appeal that comes with freeze dried food in that it’s something many folks can prepare at home, making it a top choice for people who maintain a garden, orchard, or other home grown operation. So, not only can you look into buying already freeze dried meal packets, you can also learn to freeze dry your own fruits, vegetables, and even prepared meats to supplement what you buy in bulk.

All of these points have made freeze dried food a superior staple among survival food buyers in recent years.

Can You Freeze Dry Your Own Survival Food?

The short answer is—yes!

This process does require some additional effort and expense. You will need to put some money behind decent freeze drying equipment, or carve out a large chunk of time to store food in the freezer until it cures, as well as ensuring you have appropriate storage material and methods so your hard work does not go to waste.

It is worth noting that survival food freeze dried at home may not be as “complex” as what you can purchase in bulk on the market…that is to say, you’re not likely going to freeze and preserve an entire beef stew meal or pasta and chicken course at home, unless you’re using a more complex and costly freeze drying machine.

Freeze dried fruit at home

However, as mentioned before, freeze drying your own survival food is a great way to supplement the freeze dried food you buy in bulk; and if you have concerns about the contents of your freeze dried foods, such as additives or allergens, then having simple foods sourced from places you trust and freeze dried at home may be your preferred option. Read the rest of this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food to find out how.

Best Survival Foods for Freeze Drying

When it comes to choosing which survival foods to freeze dry, you want to consider two things in particular: nutrient density and moisture content. The former dictates how well the food will serve and support you physically in the long run, while the latter dictates how well, if at all, the food will actually freeze dry.

With these factors taken into account, freeze dried staples—particularly among those who freeze dry their own survival food at home—are typically meats and fruits. These are easy to prepare, physically sustaining, nutrient rich, and generally take well to freeze drying and rehydrating as necessary.

Tools for Freeze Drying at Home

Before you take what you learned in this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival foods and get started with freeze drying survival food at home, there are a few items you will absolutely need and a couple you may want to consider for the ease of the process.

In terms of necessity, these items are:

  • Mylar bags
  • A vacuum sealer

In addition, you may want to purchase the following, if your budget allows:

  • A food dehydrator
  • A commercial freeze dryer

Please note that the latter two aren’t necessary if you are freeze drying food on a tight budget; these simply make the process easier.

Freeze drying food with a vacuum sealer

How to Freeze Dry Survival Food At Home

Freeze Drying in the Freezer – The Most Affordable Option

The most cost effective way to freeze dry food is by simply using your freezer! This method will not work with runny foods, such as those containing sauces; your best bet here is to stick with easy to dehydrate foods, such as meat and fruit.

To freeze dry food in your freezer, cook food and cut it into pieces about 1 to 1 ½ inches, which will help it dehydrate and freeze faster. Place the prepared food on a rack to further aid in the dehydration process, then place the rack in your freezer. This will begin the deep freeze process, which you can help speed along if at all possible by emptying all other contents from the freezer so the water can evaporate more quickly.

After a few weeks up to a month, it’s time to test the freeze drying of your food. You can take out a piece from the freezer and let it thaw; if it turns black, that’s a pretty obvious sign that it’s not yet deep frozen; however, if the food maintains its color, then it is officially freeze dried and can be stored, then rehydrated and eaten as needed! (See below for tips on sealing and preserving your freeze dried food.)

Freeze Drying with Dry Ice – The Quickest Option

Another, slightly more costly option we’ll go over in this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food is to buy dry ice to freeze dry your food. This is considered one of the most effective ways to prep freeze dried food. When using dry ice, you’ll want to prepare your food similarly to the slow freeze option, then place the 1 to 1 ½ inch food pieces into plastic bags.

The beginner's guide to freeze dried survival food: using dry ice to freeze dry food

Then seal the bags place them in a container that has a volume twice the size of what you’re wanting to freeze dry, and fill the remainder of the container with dry ice. Then place the container in the freezer. When there is no more dry ice left in the container, which should take less than 24 hours, the freeze drying process is complete!

At this step in both the slow and quick freeze drying processes—when the food is fully freeze dried—you’ll want to immediately seal the food and place it in your mylar bags, which block out light and keep your food protected. This is best done using a vacuum sealer and press.

Freeze Drying with a Freeze Drying Machine – The Most Efficient Option

For those with an even larger budget, there are freeze driers on the market that make this a quick and easy process and can often freeze dry moist foods and even whole meals. If you can fit this into your preparation budget, a freeze drying machine will certainly make the process quicker, more streamlined, and will broaden your options for foods you can freeze dry as well!

To freeze dry food with a freeze drying machine, simply follow the instructions specific to your machine. This is the easiest way to freeze dry food, which is why it’s included on this beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food even though it’s so much more expensive.

Where to Buy Freeze Dried Survival Food

If you would rather purchase already prepared freeze dried survival food, there are plenty of options to choose from!

A few well reviewed brands to consider are:

Wise Company – An American based freeze dried survival food option which offers freeze dried food and has several different options for buying in bulk based on your budget and the number of people you need to ration for.

Harmony House – An ethically sourced and eco friendly option, with several freeze dried products as well as organic foods to choose from. A great pick for folks who are mindful of where their food is coming from!

Eating freeze dried survival food

Legacy Food – One of the top picks on the market, with full meals freeze dried and plenty of great, tasty options. Legacy Food is also free of many troubling preservatives and additives, and they offer free shipping as well.

Mountain House – For those looking for freeze dried survival food in smaller portions, Mountain House is a great choice. They offer individual packages at an affordable charge, so this is a great place to get started stocking up and trying out various freeze dried foods even on a tight budget.

In addition to these bigger market options, you can also search for freeze dried survival food, as well as bulk retailers such as Costco or Sam’s Club.

It’s always recommended to do your research on any company you’re buying from, as you may not crack open a food storage container until you’re in real need, and that would be the worst time to learn an irreputable company supplied you the wrong thing! Always do your research before buying.

Things to Consider When Selecting Freeze Dried Survival Foods

There are a lot of important factors that go into selecting your freeze dried survival foods.

Choosing the Food that Works For Your Body

Always be mindful of the nutritional value of the foods you’re freeze drying yourself, or the ones you’re purchasing. Survival food is often kept for extreme or endurance situations, where you will want to maximize your body’s wellbeing to keep yourself going. Consider devoting a lot of your dedicated freeze dried survival food space to nutrient dense food.

Freeze dried survival food ready to eat

In addition, be mindful of how certain options interface with your unique physiology. If you have any food sensitivities or allergies, make sure to choose brands that don’t have cross contamination in their preparing and packaging, and select freeze dried food options that are free of your specific food concerns.

Choosing the Food With Appropriate Shelf Life

You also want to make sure you choose food that has a good shelf life; 25 years is considered standard, and is likely the minimum you want to go, but be mindful of both shorter and longer shelf life to ensure you choose the most suitable option for your needs! In addition, keep in mind your transportation and storage options so you don’t invest in foods you’re unable to properly store or carry with you.

Choosing the Food That Tastes Good

Lastly, do take taste into account! You should invest in a mixture of both nutrient dense foods—whether you may find them tasty or not—as well as foods you will enjoy as they sustain you. It doesn’t have to be a matter of stocking up on all of one or the other!

Wrapping Up the Beginner’s Guide to Freeze Dried Survival Food

We hope you found this guide on freeze dried survival food helpful in selecting the survival food option that’s the best fit for your unique situation! Now that you’ve read the entire beginner’s guide to freeze dried survival food, you’re ready to go out there and make your own or choose the best premade survival food you can find.

But what if you or a member of your group is vegan? Don’t worry! Read this Complete Guide to Vegan Survival Food.