Freeze Dried Meat Packets
Several companies provide excellent freeze dried meat packets to boost your healthy protein preserved food storage. Along with the delicious breakfast dishes, soups, freeze dried vegetables and fruits, these well packaged menus have long shelf lives.
Below we’ll present the 5 best I could find. Emergency food is a great investment in your peace of mind.
Whether you need to shelter in place, or travel out of a disaster area, you can rest assured you and your family won’t starve.
First, here are a few things to know about freeze dried foods.
Does freeze drying kill bacteria?
No. Freeze drying reduces but does not kill bacteria.
If you’re not clear on what freeze drying is:
“Freeze drying, also known as lyophilisation or cryodesiccation, is a low temperature dehydration process that involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation. This is in contrast to dehydration by most conventional methods that evaporate water using heat.
Freeze drying results in a high quality product because of the low temperature used in processing. The original shape of the product is maintained and quality of the rehydrated product is excellent. Primary applications of freeze drying include biological (e.g., bacteria and yeasts), biomedical (e.g., surgical transplants), food processing (e.g., coffee) and preservation.“- Wikipedia
Is freeze drying better than dehydrating?
Freeze drying and dehydrating foods are not the same process, nor do they give the same results.
Dehydrating removes 70% of the moisture, food is good for less than a year
Freeze drying removes 99% of the moisture and the shelf life of foods is 15 to 25 years!
Dehydrating leaves about 60% of the nutrition in the foods
Freeze drying leaves about 97% of the nutrition in the foods.
(Removing the moisture prevents growth of bacteria and molds.)
When preserving food, or choosing preserved foods to purchase, one major consideration is weight.
Whether your stored foods are for camping, hiking, bugging out, or using at home, minimum weight is convenient, or if you’re carrying it on your back, perhaps crucial.
Can you live off freeze dried food?
If you consider that you can freeze dry foods that you cannot dehydrate, this is indeed possible. For example you can freeze dry:
- An ice cream sandwich
- A full plate of dinner that won’t lose its form or taste
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Meats, vegetables and desserts
That is a wonderful variety of food to stock! This variety will provide you with a balanced diet.
“Once rehydrated, freeze-dried food is similar in nutritional value to fresh food according to Diane Barrett, a food science and technology prof at UC-Davis.” – Mother Jones
Can you rehydrate freeze dried food with cold water?
The recommended ways to rehydrate your freeze dried foods is with warm or hot water, or steam.
For instance, with a casserole, fill your dish about 1/3 with water, place the dried casserole food and then put in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.
With dried cake and cookies, place into a zip lock bag with a moist towel and allow them to reabsorb the moisture over a few hours.
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Patriot Pantry 3-Month Emergency Food Supply – 864 Servings of Delicious Recipes for One Person Stores up to 25 Years in Slim-line Totes
Pay over twelve months – $108.33 per month.
Packaged in four slim-line rugged totes. Each measures 26 inches x 18 inches x 12 inches.
This is the family sized package of the item below, with all the same contents.
Patriot Pantry 4-Week Emergency Food Supply – 252 Servings of Tasty Recipes for One Person
Except for broth, there are no meat meals in this package.
- 252 Servings of delicious meals, drinks and snacks
- Will last one person for four weeks
- Your family’s favorite menus, like Mac and Cheese, potato soup, chocolate pudding and more yummy meals and desserts
- Three meals provide 2,000+ calories per day
- Will keep (unopened) up to 25 years in your storage areas
- Packed in a sturdy plastic rectangular tote for compact storing
- Easy to re-hydrate, simply boil water and simmer for 10-15 minutes
Long Grain White Rice (30 servings)
Buttermilk Pancakes (30 servings)
Orange Energy Drink Mix (16 servings)
Maple Grove Oatmeal (32 servings)
Homestyle Potato Soup (20 servings)
Southwest Savory Rice (24 servings)
Creamy Chicken Flavored Rice (16 servings)
Chocolate Pudding (20 servings)
Mac & Cheese (12 servings)
Strawberry Flavored Cream of Wheat (8 servings)
Banana Chips (8 servings)
Mashed Potatoes (8 servings)
Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Soup (8 servings)
Traveler’s Stew (12 servings)
Black Beans & Rice Soup (4 servings)
Fettuccine Alfredo (4 servings)
All cheeses are real. Each food packet has a packaging date.
Wise Company Emergency Food Supply, Freeze Dried Meat Variety, 15-Year Shelf Life, 60 Servings
- Conveniently packaged in 4 portions per sealed pouch
- Seasoned beef and chicken
- Square bucket that is easily stacked in storage
- Fully cooked, ready to grab however much you need for camping and hiking (just add water)
- BONUS – 20 packs of long white rice
Wise Company Long Term Emergency Freeze-Dried Food Supply, Breakfast and Entree Variety
240 servings of entree (including meat) and breakfast meals
25 year shelf life
Individually wrapped meals
Easily stored at home, in your vehicle, or your emergency shelter
Add water and wait up to fifteen minutes – it’s ready!
Wise Company, Emergency Food Supply, Organic Breakfast and Entree Variety, 90 Servings
This is the organic foods version of the breakfast and entrees package.
Ready Supply Foods Variety Bucket,25.2 lbs of Freeze Dried Food Storage, Camping, Hiking, Survival, Emergency Food Supply, Up to 25 Year Shelf Life,140 Servings,43,280 Total Calories
- These meals are fully prepared- you don’t need to add ingredients, just add hot water and you are good to go.
- Biggest bucket you can find – no filler agents added, no MSG or added sugars
- Natural ingredients that make healthy meals
- Compare our buckets weight to our competitors it won’t stand up..
- Convenient tubs stacked and stored easily in your home or in your vehicle for emergency situations
- Individual packages can be carried along on hiking, backpacking, and camping to add yummy, home made style meals to your trip
- 25 years on the shelf? – 20% longer than most of the company’s competitors
- UV resistant bags extend the time your food will stay fresh!
- 43,280 CALORIES- That’s 140 servings in a 25.2 pound bucket.
- Don’t be fooled thinking this is all servings of vegetables and rice
- Get real healthy protein meals with the variety bucket from breakfast to dinner
- Based on a 2000 calorie per day diet
This vendor has 20 plus years of emergency, survival and camping kitchen experience.
These buckets are five times the weight of other brands. That’s because the servings are based off a 2000 calories diet instead of 1200 calories that most other companies assemble.
Ready Supply Foods freeze dried food kit can be used for emergency preparedness, camping, hunting, backpacking or hiking.
This bucket has 27 different meals from old fashioned pancakes to cheesy potato soup.
Don’t be fooled by the number of servings, check the calories.
When an emergency hits you can count on our food to stay fresh longer than our competitors.
With a 25 year shelf life this bucket is essential for any household.
These fully prepared meals simply need hot water and a little time to become delicious nutrient dense meals without fillers.
All of the ingredients are natural with no MSG or GMO’s.
Take Ready Supply Food on your next camping trip or pack away for an unexpected emergency.
Order multiple buckets for bigger discounts.
What’s in the Bucket? Click over to the Amazon page (above image) and see the whole long list of meal ingredients.
The following syndicated article is a few years old. It covers the basics of freeze drying food, and may be of interest if this is a new topic for you.
Freeze Dried Foods – What Are the Options? MRE’s, Freeze Dried Food and Why it is a Great Choice by Andrew Hagley
Freeze drying is a recently developed method of preserving food stuffs. It involves the freezing of the food, then removing most of the foods moisture within a vacuum, and lastly sealing the food in air-tight storage. Freeze dried foods can be transported at normal temperatures, stored for very long periods of time, and be eaten with minimum preparation. Once prepared to eat, freeze-dried foods look and taste the same as the original, natural products.
Freeze-dried food was developed during World War II as a method of preserving blood for battlefield injuries, without needing refrigeration or damaging the organic nature of the plasma. The technology was later applied to food products after the end of the war. Coffee was one of the first freeze-dried products to be produced on a large scale. Many fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, and foods are freeze-dried.
Freeze-dried food has many advantages. Because as much as 98% of the water content has been removed, the food is extremely lightweight, which reduces the cost of shipping. This also makes it popular with anyone that has to carry their food with them. Because it requires no refrigeration, shipping and storage costs are minimal. Freeze-dried food is also relatively clean, as the dehydration process makes it virtually impossible for yeast and harmful bacteria to survive the process. Finally, since the physical structure of the food is not altered during the freeze-dried process, the food retains much of its color and flavor when it is prepared by adding water. This makes it far more attractive to people, than food preserved by other methods.
One of the major disadvantages of freeze-dried food is its cost. The equipment required for this process is expensive, and the process itself is time consuming and labor intensive. These costs are usually passed on to the consumer, which makes freeze-dried food very expensive when compared to other methods of food preservation such as canning or freezing.
Some foods are extremely well-suited to the freeze-drying process. Liquids, thin portions of meat, and small fruits and vegetables can be freeze dried easily. Coffee is the most common freeze-dried liquid. Chunks or slices of shrimp, crab, lobster, beef, and chicken can be freeze-dried. They are often mixed with vegetables as part of soups or main course entrees. Almost all fruits and vegetables can be freeze-dried, including beans, corn, peas, tomatoes, berries, lemons, oranges, and pineapples. Even items like olives and water chestnuts can be processed this way.
Thick portions of meat and larger, whole vegetables and fruits cannot be freeze dried with any success. With many other foods, it is simply not economical to preserve them by freeze drying.
The Manufacturing Process
A freeze-drying processing facility is usually a large plant with modern equipment. Its food-handling areas must be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, and the company and its employees must adhere to government regulatory procedures. The plant may include a receiving and storage area for raw foods that arrive at the plant in bulk; a food cooking area for those foods that must be cooked before processing; a large area with several large freezing and drying chambers; and a packaging area. The facility may also include a research area where improved methods of freeze-drying foods are developed, and a test kitchen where new preparation techniques to improve the final taste, quality, and texture of the food are tried. Some plants are dedicated to freeze-drying only one product like freeze-dried coffee. Others process a wide range of meats, vegetables, and fruits. Nonfood products such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals are usually processed in separate plants from food products.
The freeze-drying process varies in the details of temperatures, times, pressures, and intermediate steps from one food to another. The following is a generalized description of the process with several specific exceptions noted.
Testing and preparation
The food is first checked for contamination and purity. Fruits, meats, and some other edibles are tested for bacterial counts and spoilage. Much of the work of the plant is dependent on the harvest season for each food. In January, for example, the plant would be processing celery, olives, lemons, oranges, and pineapples. In July, it would process green beans, peas, and strawberries, among others.
Some kinds of food, like seafood and meats, must be cooked before freeze drying. They are usually purchased already cut into small pieces. If they have not been pre-cooked and frozen, these foods are placed in large, industrial-sized kettles and properly cooked. Fruits and vegetables are usually purchased already cut, pitted, and peeled. These foods are simply washed with sprays of water. Some vegetables, like peas and corn, are quickly scalded, or blanched, before freezing. Coffee is purchased as a pre-brewed concentrated liquid. Because the aroma of coffee is important to consumers, a small amount of coffee bean oil may be added to the liquid. Unlike the water, the oil is not removed during the drying process.
The food pieces are spread out on flat, metal trays which are stacked 20 to 30 high in slots in a wheeled cart. With food that has been pre-cooked and frozen, the trays are pre-chilled to prevent partial thawing during handling. With liquids like coffee, the pre-brewed coffee is poured into shallow pans. The carts are wheeled into a large, walk-in coldroom where the temperature can be as low as -40F (-40C). In this extremely cold temperature, the food is quickly frozen. There are usually a dozen or more coldrooms in operation, and the carts are kept there until it is time to move them into the drying chamber.
The carts are wheeled out of the coldroom and into a vacuum drying chamber. In the case of liquids like coffee, the frozen coffee is first ground up into small particles in a low-temperature grinder. The drying chamber is a large, long, horizontal cylinder with semi-elliptical ends. One end is hinged to open and close. When the trays of frozen food pieces are inside, the chamber is closed and sealed. In a large plant, there may be 20 to 30 drying chambers in operation at any time.
The drying procedure involves a process known as sublimation. In sublimation, a solid material is forced to change state into a gaseous material without ever becoming a liquid. In the case of freezedried food, the solid ice crystals trapped in the frozen food pieces are forced to change into water vapor without ever becoming liquid water. In the drying chamber, this is accomplished by evacuating the air with a vacuum pump to reduce the pressure to about 0.036 psi (0.0025 bar). The temperature of the food is raised to about 100 degrees by direct conduction through the bottom of the trays, radiation from heat lamps, or microwave heating. When the chamber is evacuated of air, the pressure is below the threshold at which water can simultaneously exist in a solid, liquid, and gaseous (vapor) state. This threshold is known as the triple point of water. Once the pressure falls below this point, the heat causes the ice crystals trapped in the frozen pieces of food to change directly to water vapor. The vapor is drawn off and condensed within the chamber leaving the food behind. The dried food is filled with tiny voids, like a sponge, where the ice crystals were once present. Not only does this make it easier for the food to reabsorb water when it is prepared for consumption, but the dried food retains its original size and shape. The time for this drying process varies. Freeze-dried liquids make take only about four hours to prepare, while semi-solids and solids like soup and sliced meats may take 12 hours or more.
Sizing and blending
The dried food pieces are removed from the drying chamber and tested for moisture content and purity.
Some food pieces may be ground to a smaller size or may be reduced to a powder. Others may be screened to separate them by size. Two or more different products may also be blended together to meet a customers specific specifications.
Freeze-dried foods must be sealed in airtight containers to prevent them from absorbing moisture from the air. Several types of containers may be used: plastic laminated foil pouches, metal and plastic cans, or metal and fiber drums for bulk packaging. Some freeze-dried food is vacuum packed, in which the air is evacuated from the container before sealing. Other food has an inert gas like nitrogen injected into the container before sealing to displace the oxygen in the air and prevent oxidation or spoiling of the food. The packaging is done in the freeze-dry plant almost as soon as the foods come out of the drying chamber. The plant can form, fill, and seal the packages to the desired weight for the end user. Packages that are to be sold directly to the consumer are packed in cartons, stacked on pallets, and transported to the grocery warehouse. Other freeze-dried food is packaged in bulk and sold to a secondary processor for incorporation into other food products. Freeze-dried blueberries, for example, may be sent to a company that makes pancake and muffin mixes.
Each food has different processing, storage, and rehydration requirements. Some of the variables include the sizing of the raw food products before freezing, the cooking or blanching time and temperature, the rate of freezing and final freezing temperature, the rate of application of vacuum and the final vacuum pressure during drying, the rate and method of application of heat and the final dried product temperature, the allowable residual moisture content after drying, the storage temperature and atmosphere (vacuum, nitrogen, etc) after drying, and the rehydration procedures. At large freeze-drying facilities, electronic microprocessors regulate the times, temperatures, and pressures throughout each step of the process. A central computer collects this data, analyzes it using statistical quality control methods, and stores it for later reference. This assures that the food sent out to the public for consumption has been through a strictly controlled process that meets government guidelines and varies only slightly from batch to batch. The computer also collects data on the bacterial and moisture levels of the raw, bulk food products coming into the plant as well as the final freeze dried products. Special equipment may include computerized gas chromatographs and oxygen analyzers. Even the packaging materials are tested for their ability to prevent water vapor and oxygen transmission.
Food is not the only material that is freeze-dried. Pharmaceutical products such as antibiotics and vaccines are often preserved this way. Specialty chemicals, pigments, and ceramics powders are also produced using freeze-drying. Currently, there is development work on freeze-drying various aerosol sprays. One of the most interesting applications is freeze-drying flowers to produce bouquets that can be stored for many months before being reactivated to make fresh flowers. This would be especially beneficial for those who want flowers that bloom only during a short season.
The author enjoys camping and has recently become aware of the need for an emergency survival kit for the household.