It shouldn’t be news to you that humans need a decent amount of food to survive, and in a SHTF situation, your choice of food is limited, so it’s important to know what to stockpile. Fresh produce, frozen, canned, dehydrated, freeze dried – different types have different timeframes for freshness and durability, with many like
It shouldn’t be news to you that humans need a decent amount of food to survive, and in a SHTF situation, your choice of food is limited, so it’s important to know what to stockpile.
Fresh produce, frozen, canned, dehydrated, freeze dried – different types have different timeframes for freshness and durability, with many like fresh meat having very short windows where they’re edible.
One frequent recommendation for preppers is freeze-dried food, but should preppers buy freeze dried food for their SHTF supplies?
There’s a range of key benefits that freeze-dried food provides in disaster situations that others don’t. However, it does also have a few disadvantages that can cause great inconvenience in a world that has taken a turn for the worse.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this type of food so you can know whether preppers should buy freeze dried foods or not, and if they should form part of your own prepping plan.
Pro – Shelf Life
As mentioned above, the lifespan of freeze-dried food greatly exceeds its competitors, proving to be the ideal solution if your main concern is longevity.
If preserved properly, frozen food is suitable for up to two years. Some canned food lasts up to three. Dehydrated, freeze-dried food’s closest competitor, can endure up to four years.
But what about freeze-dried? An amazing lifespan of 25 years – a quarter of a century! Nothing else comes close to this method of preservation.
In the most extreme scenarios, the poorer health conditions brought on by SHTF events means it’s unlikely you’ll live 25 years in this new survivalist world – but freeze-dried food is the perfect scenario if you expect to stick it out for the long run.
Con – Price
Freeze-dried food is very expensive, with some products costing around three times as much as their non-frozen counterparts. This is largely due to the process, which can only be handled in small batches (for a business’s usual operation) and requires big-budget equipment.
Usually, a good solution to expensive dining options is to make the produce yourself – but high-quality home freeze-drying equipment is hard to come by without spending a few thousands pounds. It may be worth it if you were trying to freeze dry enough food for a whole community but for average family use it’s not really feasible.
You can dehydrate your food, which is cheaper, but it removes a lower percentage of moisture, meaning it won’t last as long and is more likely to decompose or go mouldy.
When buying this type of food online, you can pay a few pounds for a single packet of food, so if you times that by 3 for your daily meals, and then again by the number of people in your family, it can soon add up. Even at £3 per meal packet, for a family of four that would be over £1000 for the whole month!
The way to use these packets properly due to their high cost is either short term for a 72 hour bug out, or used sparingly over the course of the year when necessity calls for it – for example, you’ve been out hunting, fishing or trapping and come back empty handed.
When you’re prepping for disaster, you need your money to stretch as far as possible – so this is one reason why it might be good to look elsewhere if you can’t quite afford to buy ready-made freeze-dried food packets.
Pro – Transportability
On the surface, yes, freeze-dried foods are expensive, but this is partially justified by their long lifespan. Freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of their nutritional quality, shape and taste. They also don’t require any refrigeration, so you can transport them with ease.
They also prove lighter, as the removal of water leads to a smaller end product, so you can carry a lot more than expected in your bug out bag.
In a SHTF situation, you’ll want to prioritise convenience over flavour – but with the freeze-drying process, you’ll have a product that does taste good, and can be carried around in bulk.
Should preppers buy freeze dried food for this reason alone? It’s a win-win really. Unfortunately, you will need a number of storage boxes unless you’re choosing to have the goods loose in whatever you choose to transport them in. These will take up precious space if you have a few weeks worth of them.
Con – Difficulties Of Rehydration
Although you can eat most freeze-dried food straight from the packet, because it’s often pre-cooked, it doesn’t taste very nice. Therefore, you need a way to rehydrate it.
As you can imagine, water is hard to come by in a survival situation, unless you have a large reserve prepared, or a method of boiling dirty water to make it potable and safe for consumption. It also requires a lot of liquid, as submersion is the goal here.
Due to this, it proves to be a big disadvantage, as other food sources – canned food, foraged food – doesn’t require water. You, however, do – so we recommend saving the water for your own hydration instead.
Pro – Menu Choices
A huge number of foods can be freeze-dried, and these will include some of your favourites. Naturally, vegetables and fruits are the easiest, as they have a chemical composition made up of mostly water.
Proteins, such as shellfish, beef and chicken, are also easy to freeze due to their high water content, and additional ingredients like olives and corn are easily freeze-dried, too.
If the SHTF scenario you’re facing is a temporary food shortage, this is the perfect solution, as you won’t experience a bland meal if you take full advantage of the huge selection of freeze dried foods on offer online, including vegan and pudding options too.
What’s more, you can even give your survival day the start it deserves with a tin of coffee – the world’s most common freeze-dried drink.
Con – Processing Time
When the unimaginable hits, you may need to be out the door quickly – that’s why you keep the bag of essentials by the back door, right.
Unfortunately, the average freeze-drying process takes over a day unless you’re looking to do something small like a portion of strawberries, but even this will put you back around eight hours.
This means it’s not convenient enough unless you only need a small amount of food, or you’re getting ready a long time in advance.
For long term solutions with a lot of planning, buying freeze-dried food as a prepper not a bad bet – especially as you can squeeze a quarter of a century lifespan out of it!
We’d recommend at least buying one week’s worth of freeze-dried food to have stashed away for bug out or bug in situations as a backup, but rely on regular dried foods and tins for your main means of sustenance. Used sparingly, freeze-dried foods can help other food preps go a long way.
But for short term solutions over the course of a few months where you don’t have much storage room, we recommend something like canned food – it is heavier, but you can get more sustenance and calories out of a can of soup than you will from freeze-dried meat.
Another essential factor to consider is your access to clean water, and this can be entirely dependent on the type of disaster you’re up against.
Like every aspect of prepping, there’s a huge number of pros and cons to consider when choosing which route of survival you’re going to go down when it comes to food storage.
In regard to freeze-dried food, you need to know factors including how long you’ll be reliant on the food for, how much you can carry, and how far in advance you’ll begin prepping it for.