Your Total Guide to The Shelf Life of Freeze-Dried Food
If you, like many since the pandemic, have prioritized food storage, you may wonder what the shelf life of freeze-dried food really is.
Preparing for an emergency includes having enough food for your family, but it’s essential to have the right food that will last and provide nutrients. There are multiple options to choose from when it comes to preserving and storing food for the future, and one deciding factor is the shelf life or the length of time something remains usable and fit for consumption.
Different foods and ways of preserving food have varying shelf lives. Canned fruits and vegetables, for example, have a shelf life of between 18 months and two years, while dehydrated fruits and vegetables are only good for six months to one year.
Comparatively, most freeze-dried foods have a shelf life of 25 years. Here is what you need to know about storing freeze-dried food. Even once freeze-dried food has been opened, it will not spoil as quickly. However, keep in mind that you should still use opened freeze-dried food within a month or so after the seal is broken.
How To Store Freeze-Dried Food
Before we get into more specifics about the shelf life of different freeze-dried foods, it’s important to note that a lot depends on how the foods are packaged and stored after the freeze-drying process. If freeze-dried foods are not kept in airtight containers, they will absorb moisture and spoil more quickly.
Many people and food storage companies use mylar bags for packaging the food after it is freeze-dried. This is the easiest and most affordable option, but you can also use cans or vacuum sealers if you want to invest a little bit more in the process. Some choose to add an oxygen absorber to keep the food from getting stale over an extended period, but that is not necessarily required.
If you plan on using the food soon, you can simply use a container with a tight lid that can be replaced securely between each opening.
Once the food is packaged, it should be stored in an area that is out of the sun, dry, and moderate in temperature. Freeze-dried food can withstand extreme temperatures without spoiling, unlike canned or frozen goods, but will last longer in moderate temperatures.
Fruits and Vegetables
One of the best things about freeze-drying is that the nutritional value of the foods is not diminished during the process. This means that the same vitamins and minerals in the fresh food are still present up to 25 years later if stored properly.
When it comes to freeze-dried fruit, we doubt you can store them that long because they are just too delicious to resist. Not only can you enjoy freeze-dried fruit as a snack on its own, but you can also use it in baked goods, smoothies, and more.
Similarly, freeze-dried vegetables can be added to many recipes. In fact, in almost any situation where you can use frozen vegetables, you can also use freeze-dried vegetables. Freeze-dried vegetables are easier to store, have a much longer shelf life, and retain more of the nutritional value than frozen vegetables.
Most food storage recommendations include having a supply of staples on hand that you can use to prepare food, such as flour, sugar, oats, and other commonly used cooking and baking ingredients that can be stored for longer periods.
But did you know that you can also freeze-dry eggs and dairy products? It requires a bit of a different freeze-drying process, but the result is items that do not need to be refrigerated, take less space to store, and retain the nutrients and taste when reconstituted with added water.
Theoretically, these freeze-dried products should last as long as the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables; however, the fat content of the milk or dairy product can impact how well it is freeze-dried and how long it can be stored without going bad. Freeze-dried low-fat milk that is properly sealed in an airtight container can last at least 15 years.
When you think of preserving meat, you may not think of freeze-drying it since there are so many other options, such as smoking, salting, curing, or simply freezing. Even though it may not be as popular as these methods, freeze-dried meat has as many benefits as any other freeze-dried food.
Adding freeze-dried meat to your food storage can add protein and balance to the foods available during an emergency without needing a freezer or lots of space to store it. Frozen meat can be stored in a deep freezer for about a year without going bad or becoming too freezer burned.
On the other hand, freeze-dried meat has a shelf life of 15 years, and some sources say as long as 25 years like other freeze-dried products. Meat can be freeze-dried before or after cooking. If you choose to cook it beforehand, then you have to use some warm water to rehydrate it and then enjoy. If the meat was not cooked before, simply rehydrate it and cook it just as you would in its original state.
Even in an emergency, food should taste good. That’s why many also choose to store freeze-dried herbs. Most freeze-dried herbs can be used in any recipe for dried herbs. Still, they retain a lot more flavor because the freeze-drying process removes excess moisture without taking away flavor or nutritional value. Many people choose to use freeze-dried herbs in their kitchen consistently.
Now, the thing about freeze-dried herbs is that they won’t necessarily go bad, but after a couple of years, they may lose their flavor and intensity if not stored properly.
There’s no reason to abandon your sweeth tooth when planning your food storage. Freeze-dried candy and goodies can also be included — and they last just as long! 25 years from now, you can still savor the skittles you love in freeze-dried form. But since they are so yummy, why not have some now and save some more for later?
At Candy Jan, we understand the practicality of freeze-dried food storage and the benefits of the extended shelf life of freeze-dried food. We also believe that candy can be part of that and enjoyed now and in times of emergency. Don’t believe us? Try some delicious freeze-dried candies today, or drop us a line.