Field Notes

Prepping with Freeze Dried vs. Dehydrated Food

Posted by Matt on Feb 25, 2021 11:23:59 AM

It is impossible to properly prepare for the unknown without including a plan around food and sustenance. Ensuring you and your loved ones are set-up with the necessary caloric and nutritional requirements remains a critical component of any survival plan. Whether preparing for natural disasters, economic collapse, or your next hunting and backpacking trip, nutrient-dense food must be at the top of your shopping list. Don’t be fooled into thinking your body can thrive on calories alone. Nutrient Survival has taken the guesswork out of it and created delicious foods with all 40 essential nutrients to keep you moving.

 

When it comes to preserving food for long periods of time, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are most common. The concept of drying food to create shelf-stable products that can be stashed has been around for quite some time. Removing as much moisture content as possible prevents the food from spoiling at room temperature. Although often confused with one another, both are derived from different processes and have varying degrees of nutritional content.

 

Defining Freeze Dried vs. Dehydrated Food

Dehydrating food dates back to ancient cultures that used sunlight to remove moisture from food for preservation. This process can be completed the natural way by placing fruits, vegetables, meat, and herbs in direct sunlight for long periods of time. For best results, 80-90% or more of the moisture must be removed in the drying process. Alternatively, dehydration appliances are now common in home kitchens and are relatively low cost for most buyers (under $100). These machines use hot air to evaporate water from food, however the process takes several hours for most items.  And more importantly as you’ll learn later in this article, dehydrating drains food of its nutrients.

 

Freeze-dried food utilizes the same concept of removing moisture, but accomplishes this in a more complicated way. In this process, the food is placed in a low pressure or vacuum container and frozen. Water (or ice at this point) within the food through a phase called sublimation, where it transitions directly from a solid to gas without passing through the liquid state. Freeze-dried food often retains a nearly identical shape and structure as the pre-frozen food, including its nutritional profile. While different foods will vary in shelf life, most freeze-dried food can remain stable for 25 years or longer.

Freeze-Dry-vs-Dehydrated-Food

What Equipment is Required?  

A significant difference between these two methods of dehydration comes from the manner in which they are processed. To the everyday cook, dehydration is the simplest and most accessible form.

Dehydrating can be done very easily with the rising popularity of smaller in-home dehydrators. These appliances can start as low as $30 for low-end models and go up to $400-600 for more sophisticated machines.

Freeze-drying machines are not typically manufactured or sold for home use. There are brands that have attempted to break into this market, but investing in one of these will cost several thousand dollars. The vast majority of freeze-drying happens in commercial machines that produce large quantities of food to sell to consumers like you. Nutrient Survival manufactures every one of its products at their Reno headquarters.

Freeze-dried-chocolate-grain-crunch_24

The Taste and Nutritional Advantages of Freeze-Dried

Although ease of production may drive you towards dehydrated foods, nutrient loss during the process should give you pause. Our bodies need energy and nutrients to perform optimally, especially in survival scenarios where resources are scarce. It might surprise you to learn that dehydrating can often lead to reduced or completely eliminated levels of Vitamin A and C. The introduction of heat and air can lead to destruction of these vitamins, as well as result in some loss of B-complex vitamins. Vitamins A and C are instrumental nutrients that help our bodies natural immune system and defend against infection. In addition to nutrient loss, dehydrated foods often pack significantly more calories on a weight-for-weight basis compared to their fresh counterparts. Similar to nuts, it can be easy to consume what feels like a snack but has the same caloric impact of a small meal. Dehydrated foods are typically brittle, hard, and can be difficult to eat. Taste often suffers as well. The convenience of dehydrated foods may not be enough to outweigh the potential consequences for your health. Don’t sacrifice when viable alternatives like Nutrient Survival are readily available.

Freeze-dried food does not share these same nutritional deficiencies. Because of the flash freezing and sublimation process, the majority of the original characteristics of the food are maintained once completed. All of the nutritional value of the freeze-dried food is retained, as well as color, taste, and size. The lack of moisture virtually eliminates any possibility of microorganisms that lead to spoiling or food poisoning concerns. You don’t have to choose between taste or nutrition with freeze-dried foods. The process also results in a porous, lightweight texture that is easy to pack and cook in large quantities. Once placed in water, the crunchy texture of the food is restored to its original pre-freeze form.

Take Triple Cheese Mac for example, a great-tasting recipe designed by our in-house chefs using real ingredients. The Mac is cooked from scratch, fortified with a blend of 40 essential vitamins and minerals, then freeze-dried. It’s as simple as that. We then pack 10 servings into a sealed #10 can, creating the world’s most nutrient-dense survival food with a 25-year shelf life.

 

Why Essential Nutrients Matter

Nutrient density measures the nutritional content of a particular food based on the specific nutrient weight per calorie. To put it simply, foods with significant nutrient content for the amount of calories they contain are considered nutrient-dense. For most of our competitors and other foods marketed as “survival,” calorie count is given far too much attention. We should be focusing on the calorie quality and what they are doing to help our bodies thrive in situations where energy and health are paramount. Just surviving on calories alone doesn’t cut it.


Nutrients are broken into two categories: essential and non-essential. Essential nutrients are those vitamins and minerals that our bodies cannot naturally create, so they must be obtained from food. Consuming food high in these nutrients results in better moods, more restful sleep, and an overall greater mental well-being. It’s impossible to rely on calories alone to perform at your best in stressful situations.

Have you ever actually reviewed the nutritional content for other freeze-dried food brands? Most entrees and survival meals disclose no more than 4 or 5 nutrients per serving on their nutrition facts panel while packing on several hundred empty calories. You’ll be forced to consume high amounts of calories just to meet your daily nutritional needs, leaving you mentally and physically inadequate.

Nutrient Survival was developed to upend the survival food industry with freeze-dried foods that pack 40 essential vitamins and minerals into every delicious serving. In survival situations, our bodies need calories that maximize nutritional impact and keep us performing optimally. On top of the health benefits, Nutrient Survival meals deliver a great taste with convenient, easy-to-prepare recipes. Most of the time, all you need to do is add water. Don’t let the allure of chicken teriyaki with rice or cookie dough snacks fool you into consuming empty calories that provide little value. Make the right choices for you and your family so you are prepared for every situation.

Topics: prepping, Survival

Leave Comment