In an increasingly unpredictable world, being prepared for emergencies is not just prudent, it’s essential. Among the top priorities is ensuring you have a reliable food source.
This guide offers an in-depth look at freeze-dried food as a prime choice for emergency preparedness, highlighting the best companies in the field and providing insight on how to choose and store these products.
What is Freeze-Dried Food?
Freeze-drying is a process that removes nearly all of the water from food, allowing it to be stored for long periods without refrigeration. This process involves freezing the food, reducing the surrounding pressure, and then adding heat to allow the frozen water in the material to sublimate.
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This process maintains the food’s original shape, color, flavor, and nutritional value. Additionally, freeze-dried food is lightweight, making it ideal for transport and storage.
Why it’s a Great Option for Preppers
In the realm of disaster preparedness, the procurement and storage of food supplies are paramount concerns. Preppers need food that is nutritious, long-lasting, and easy to store and transport. These factors are essential to ensure survival in scenarios that may disrupt traditional food supply chains. Enter freeze-dried food. Here are the key reasons why freeze-dried food has emerged as an excellent option for preppers.
Extended Shelf Life
One of the most compelling features of freeze-dried food is its long shelf life. In an optimal environment—sealed, unopened, and stored at room temperature or below—freeze-dried foods can last between 25 to 30 years. This longevity makes them an excellent choice for stockpiling in the face of unpredictable emergencies. It’s essential peace of mind for preppers knowing they have a reliable food source that won’t perish in a short period.
Nutritional Value Retention
Freeze-drying preserves the majority of a food’s nutritional content, retaining essential vitamins and minerals that can often be lost in other preservation methods. In a survival situation, maintaining a balanced diet and proper nutrient intake is crucial. The high nutrient retention of freeze-dried foods helps ensure that even in emergencies, preppers and their families can stay nourished and healthy.
In an emergency, resources like time, clean water, and cooking equipment can be scarce. Fortunately, most freeze-dried foods require nothing more than adding water, and in some cases, they can be consumed straight from the package.
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This ease of preparation can significantly reduce stress and conserve precious resources during challenging times.
Lightweight and Space-Efficient
Because the freeze-drying process removes about 98% of the food’s water content, freeze-dried foods are significantly lighter and more compact than their fresh counterparts. This quality makes them ideal for scenarios that require mobility, such as evacuation situations. Additionally, the compact nature of freeze-dried foods allows preppers to optimize storage space, fitting more provisions into a smaller area.
Freeze-dried foods maintain most of their original flavor, unlike other food preservation methods that can change the food’s taste profile. Having flavorful food can provide a significant morale boost during stressful survival situations.
From fruits and vegetables to meats and full-course meals, almost any food can be freeze-dried. This wide array of options allows preppers to diversify their emergency food stores, avoiding menu fatigue, and catering to various dietary needs and preferences.
In summary, the benefits of freeze-dried food—long shelf life, high nutritional value, ease of preparation, space efficiency, taste preservation, and variety—make it an outstanding choice for preppers. By investing in freeze-dried foods, preppers can be well-equipped to face emergency situations with confidence and peace of mind.
Best Freeze Dried Foods
My Patriot Supply
My Patriot Supply was founded in 2008 with the vision of equipping people with high-quality survival products, recognizing the need for self-sufficiency in various emergency scenarios. The company’s dedication to quality and service has helped it become one of the industry leaders. Offering a broad range of freeze-dried meals, My Patriot Supply has thoughtfully curated options to suit a variety of taste profiles and dietary restrictions, including gluten-free options. Their long-term food storage kits are popular, featuring items like homestyle potato soup, traveler’s stew, and creamy chicken flavored rice. However, this brand does come with a higher price point and limited international shipping options, making it a premium choice.
- Offers gluten-free options
- Provides up to 25-year shelf life
- Large variety of meals
- More expensive compared to other brands
- Limited international shipping options
The Wise Company is a renowned brand in the emergency food supply industry, having built its reputation on affordable, high-quality freeze-dried food. They offer long-lasting, easily-stored food options with a focus on providing balanced nutrition. Their variety packs, containing options like savory stroganoff and pasta alfredo, are highly sought after. They’ve made a name for themselves with their grab-and-go food kits, easy to store due to their efficient packaging. Although they offer an affordable range, some users have commented that the taste could be improved and there could be a wider variety of meals.
- Offers vegetarian and gluten-free options
- Easy to store due to efficient packaging
- Taste could be improved
- Limited variety of meals
Mountain House has a long-standing reputation in the freeze-dried food industry, originating from making meals for US Special Forces. They’ve since expanded their offerings to the public, focusing on taste and variety. Whether it’s classic spaghetti with meat sauce or biscuits and gravy, Mountain House provides an extensive menu of meals catering to diverse palates. Their claim to fame is the longest proven shelf life in the industry, offering over 30 years for some products. Their food comes in larger pouches than most competitors, which can make it bulkier for storage.
- Exceptional taste
- Longest proven shelf life in the industry (30+ years)
- Wide variety of meals
- Higher priced
- Packaging is bulkier than other brands
Operating for over 40 years, Augason Farms has made its name by providing a wide range of high-quality freeze-dried foods. They cater not only to those looking for complete meals but also to those seeking individual ingredients. From powdered cheese and freeze-dried sliced strawberries to complete chicken fajita meals, Augason Farms offers an impressive assortment of items. Their bucket kits are a standout, providing bulk food storage solutions for emergency situations. While the taste is generally satisfactory, some users note that it’s not as flavorful as some other brands.
- Excellent for bulk purchases
- Variety of food options, including individual ingredients
- Taste is satisfactory but not exceptional
- Some products have shorter shelf-life
Mother Earth Products
As a brand, Mother Earth Products has a distinct focus on health-conscious freeze-dried foods. Specializing primarily in fruits and vegetables, their offerings are non-GMO and all-natural, catering to the rising demand for clean eating—even in emergency scenarios. Whether it’s freeze-dried raspberries for a sweet snack or dried beans for a hearty meal, Mother Earth has you covered. They also package their products in resealable pouches for convenience and extended freshness after opening. However, their product range beyond fruits and vegetables is limited, and their prices are higher compared to other brands.
- High-quality fruits and vegetables
- Non-GMO and natural products
- Resealable pouches for convenience
- Limited variety beyond fruits and vegetables
- Higher priced
Valley Food Storage
Valley Food Storage sets itself apart with its commitment to clean and simple ingredients. All their freeze-dried meals are free from artificial flavors, preservatives, and hydrogenated oils. Their diverse menu, which includes options like Irish pub cheddar potato soup and pasta primavera, caters to different dietary needs with dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free choices. The company also uses resealable packaging, ensuring longer-lasting freshness once the package is opened. However, the company’s selection isn’t as extensive as some other brands, and their products are at a higher price point.
- No artificial ingredients
- Offers dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free options
- 25-year shelf life
- Limited selection compared to other brands
- Higher priced
Legacy Food Storage
Legacy Food Storage is known for offering high-calorie, gourmet freeze-dried meals that don’t compromise on taste or nutritional content. Their meals—ranging from classic chili mix to enchilada beans and rice—are designed to provide substantial nourishment in emergency situations. The company prides itself on its long shelf-life of over 25 years for many of its products, though the variety offered isn’t as extensive as some other brands. Additionally, the cost of Legacy’s offerings is on the higher side, reflecting their emphasis on high-quality, high-calorie content.
- High-calorie meals
- Great taste
- Long shelf life (25+ years)
- More expensive
- Limited variety compared to other brands
How Much Freeze Dried Food Should You Buy for Survival?
Determining the amount of freeze-dried food to stockpile for survival situations requires a clear understanding of your needs and a strategic approach.
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Multiple factors will influence the quantity you should store, including the number of people in your household, their dietary requirements, the predicted duration of an emergency, and your available storage space.
Here are some general guidelines to help you gauge how much freeze-dried food you should buy for survival.
Assess Your Household Size and Dietary Needs
First and foremost, take into account the number of people you need to feed. An adult will typically need between 1800-2400 calories per day to maintain energy levels, depending on their activity level, age, sex, and overall health. Children may require less, depending on their age and size. It’s also crucial to consider dietary restrictions and allergies. Make sure to stock foods that everyone in your household can safely consume.
Consider Emergency Duration
The length of time you’re preparing for plays a critical role in determining the amount of food to store. For short-term emergencies, such as power outages or severe weather events that may last a few days, having a three-day supply of food per person is a good starting point. This means you would need nine meals per person, assuming three meals a day.
For long-term preparedness, a more extensive stockpile is recommended. Many preppers aim for a three to six-month supply of food, and some strive for a full year’s supply. Keep in mind that the longer you anticipate the emergency to last, the more variety you should include in your food supply to prevent menu fatigue and ensure a balanced diet.
Evaluate Your Storage Space
Storage space can be a limiting factor when it comes to stockpiling freeze-dried food. While freeze-dried foods are compact and lightweight compared to fresh foods, they can still take up substantial space when you’re storing months’ worth of supplies. Make sure you have a cool, dry, dark place to store your food to maintain its shelf life.
Rotate Your Stock
As you’re building your freeze-dried food supply, remember to rotate your stock. Even though freeze-dried food has a long shelf life, it’s a good practice to consume and replace your stock gradually. This rotation ensures that your supply stays fresh and allows you to sample your stored foods, so you know you enjoy them.
In summary, the amount of freeze-dried food you should buy for survival depends on your specific situation and needs. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Once you’ve made an initial assessment and started stockpiling, you can adjust your plan and inventory as needed. After all, preparedness is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
How Long Does Freeze Dried Food Last?
Typically, freeze-dried food can last between 25 to 30 years when unopened and stored correctly. However, this can vary depending on the food type and the packaging. Always check the expiry date and storage instructions on the package.
How to Decide Which Freeze Dried Food Will Work Best for You
Selecting the right freeze-dried food requires careful consideration. It’s not just about finding the best deal or the product with the longest shelf life. It’s about identifying products that meet your dietary preferences, nutritional needs, storage capacity, and budget. Here are several key factors to help guide your decision-making process:
Despite the circumstances that might lead you to consume your emergency food supply, it’s essential that you find the options palatable. Remember, during stressful times, familiar and enjoyable flavors can offer comfort. Therefore, it’s a good idea to sample different brands and meals before purchasing in bulk. Many companies offer sample packs for this purpose.
Pay attention to the nutritional content of the freeze-dried foods you’re considering. Look for foods that offer a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. High-calorie options may be beneficial in survival situations where high-energy output is required.
Consider any dietary restrictions or preferences you or your family members may have. Many companies offer gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. If allergies are a concern, check the ingredient list carefully.
Freeze-dried food typically has a very long shelf life—often up to 25 to 30 years if properly stored. Nevertheless, the exact lifespan can vary between different brands and products, so it’s important to check this detail.
Most freeze-dried foods are easy to prepare—usually, you just add hot water. However, the exact preparation process can vary. Some meals might require more water, longer rehydration times, or extra cooking steps. Ensure the preparation process is something you’re comfortable with and practical in a potential emergency scenario.
Look at how the food is packaged. Individual pouches are convenient and reduce waste but can take up more storage space than bulk cans or buckets. The packaging should also be durable to withstand potential damage in storage and transport.
Prices can vary significantly among freeze-dried food brands and products. Establish a budget before you start shopping. Remember, while cheaper options might be tempting, they might not provide the same quality or nutritional value as slightly pricier choices. Conversely, the most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best one.
Reviews and Reputation
Finally, consider the reputation of the company you’re buying from. Look at customer reviews and see what others say about the taste, quality, and customer service of the brand. A company with a solid reputation is likely to provide reliable, high-quality products.
Deciding which freeze-dried food will work best for you isn’t a decision to take lightly. By considering the factors above, you can ensure you’re choosing a product that will serve you well, whether in an emergency situation or a casual outdoor adventure.
In conclusion, freeze-dried food is an excellent resource for emergency preparedness due to its long shelf life, nutrient preservation, and ease of preparation. Each company offers different strengths, whether it’s a broad selection, focus on dietary needs, or an emphasis on taste. It’s essential to choose a company and products that suit your personal needs and preferences. By doing so, you’ll be one step closer to being well-prepared for any situation.