Dehydrated vs Freeze-Dried Survival Food: Which Lasts Longer?

Both dehydrated and freeze-dried emergency foods do significantly better in terms of shelf life and portability than food not processed these ways. But there are some significant differences.

Freeze-Dried Survival Food Lasts Longer

emergency freeze dried food

Taste the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried survival food with this sampler pack from Wise. Click to get it from the Living Ready Store.

Dehydrating food will not extend the shelf life nearly as long as freeze-drying.

You can expect dehydrated food to store well for months rather than multiple years depending on how much moisture was removed. The more a food item is dried, the more brittle the texture becomes and the longer it can be stored.

Freeze-dried survival foods will have a longer shelf life, but keep in mind that storage conditions vary widely.

Why Does the Difference Matter?

This is important because over the last several years, some survival food companies have been using the two terms interchangeably. If they can’t explain how they make it, don’t buy it.

Rotate Emergency Food Supplies

Regular rotation is the key to proper survival food storage. Keep a record system detailing the age of all of your supplies.

Remember, temperature and moisture are two of the most common causes of spoilage in emergency food storage. Contamination, light and insects round out the list.

5 thoughts on “Dehydrated vs Freeze-Dried Survival Food: Which Lasts Longer?

  1. DJnRF

    In my more than seven decades of life I have studied as much as possible in many fields. The most important thing I learned in all those years was learned from my father while I was at a very early age. “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”

    One area of my interest, also very early in my life, was the one of survival. Survival in every situation is something that takes considerable time and effort to even imagine, and the solutions to all imagined situations are as complex as is Quantum Physics.

    Also, during all my years I also had a very intense interest in communications ….. all types. Not just the printed word, but all the way through to every electronic means. Of course, this also meant the spoken word. As the progress was always moving ahead, the day of computers, and the Internet made my studies move ahead at the same pace. Schools, Federal testing, and many years of experimenting in this field was also just as complex as is the field of survival studies.

    During all this time of continued studies I also found something shocking. The Internet is the worst method of true learning in the entire world.

    The problem is not that one cannot learn things that are published anywhere. The problem is with the minds of people. A human being is nothing more than a bio-mechanical, chemical, and electrical apparatus. The third part of this combination is where things can go horribly wrong in the learning process.

    Electricity always takes the path of the least resistance. In the human species of life, the brain always lands upon that path. This means that without any real knowledge of any particular issue, the person will accept anything read online as true fact with no regard to anything else. To the person, if it fits in with the logic of that person, it is, and must be a true fact. The thought becomes very firmly entrenched within the mind of that person. Usually, no effort is made to verify the information. No tests, trials, experimentation, or anything is performed to make any real, and knowledgeable attempt to insure the correctness of the information. If any move is made to do so, the attempt is made online on the Internet instead of any real investigation and experimentation.

    All I can say here is to repeat myself of what I have learned:
    “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”
    That also means that if you are not a studied expert in a field, do not even attempt to challenge another that might be an expert in the field, or even one who is just pointing out an example. The person who does so is a fool who is only fooling himself, and his own integrity. Just read everything so that you can file it for the
    information for later comparison with other information on the same subject. Many things known one day might be updated with change the next day. Just read and file it inside the mind for any later possible use or trials.

  2. PREPCharley

    The author (me) has been storing, dehydrating and using these products for easily as long and has been consistently active in the field of survival and preparedness for several decades. I agree that there are far too many e-experts in our field who continue to irresponsibly parrot and embellish everything they hear on the internet with little to no knowledge of fact or safety. What you fail to consider in your response is that there is a difference in the levels of dehydration of foods. Freeze drying removes all of the moisture from food, whereas dehydrating removes a lot, but won’t remove ALL of the moisture. So, because of the difference in process, dehydrated food, scientifically, will not last “just as long” as freeze dried. Depending on packaging and storage conditions, it will last longer than “regular” food, but there is no guarantee on shelf life as compared to commercial freeze dried food.

    In addition, you bring up commercial long term food, and it’s also important to talk about the home long term food storage methods. Remember that freeze drying is not a process to be done at home although there are some websites that proclaim you can by just looking at the color of freezer burned chicken. We will disregard such unsafe and irresponsible sites out of common sense. Since freeze drying is a process responsibly done in controlled conditions you and I should safely agree that such foods are processed, packaged and sold to a high standard. Dehydrating on the other hand is a process that is easily done by anyone. While commercially dehydrated foods are dried to extremely low levels of moisture they are not as well preserved as freeze drying over the long haul. The texture, density and resulting palatability are not the same as freeze drying. Everyone has a different sensation of taste, some people are far more sensitive to such things and this feeds into appetite fatigue and subsequently morale of the survivor. Home dehydrating is usually done to the preparer’s taste and consistency. The home dehydrator usually does not have the knowledge nor tools to accurately determine percentage of moisture level of his or her foods. The novice preparer also has variable relative humidity and packaging conditions compared to the commercial operation. When it comes to dehydrating meats such as for jerky there are very specific standards for safety. Such standards have been the bane of many hobbyist dehydrators attempts to go commercial because as you reduce moisture under the usual 8% requirement, the foods change taste and become brittle or tough. It is for these many inconsistencies and variables that it’s important to seek out accurate information when it comes to long term food storage.


    1. 610Alpha

      You didn’t mention anything about home dehydrating…you just had generalities about FD vs DH. You didn’t site any test cases or anything. You didn’t even explain the process of FD to give your readers a real understanding of what it is you are claiming is the only way to go with food storage. Like the fact that the food is flash frozen and then put into a vacuum chamber and the water crystals are removed from the food via the vacuum. IMO you didn’t help your readers to understand the difference. I personally have dehydrated green beans in my basement and I have video of them making a snapping sound, it did help that we had a dehumidifier running in the basement the same time I was dehydrating them there. Should everyone expect the same results that I had with my dehydrator, NO.

      Just telling people that x is better than y without explaining the differences came off to me as another johnny come lately. You said “If they can’t explain how they make it, don’t buy it.”, well if you can’t explain why x is better than y then readers shouldn’t listen to you.

      “You can expect dehydrated food to store well for months rather than multiple years depending on how much moisture was removed.” Clarify “store well”. Granted FD might retain a better flavor over 20 years but that doesn’t mean DH won’t store for 20 years if it was done properly with an O2 absorber in the can or nitrogen flushed or both.

      Do I know RH? Have I shaken his hand, no. Have I been communicating with him via his forum, email for the past few years yes. I have also spoken to him a couple of times on the phone. Do I trust his views on food more than you, yes because took the time to explain the differences and has showed results, he never pushed a brand or tried to sell me on the food he sells on his website. I have been supporting his site for a couple of years now and been buying products from JRHEnterprises.

      You article clearly shows Wise foods, why?

      Maybe I expect more of experts. I want them to be able to give me the technical and then be able to explain it in layman’s terms.

      I made an implied accusation about your experience (your article lacked credibility due to the reasons I stated) and I never said anything about your reasoning in my op. But you have to realize you gave 0 background info about your usage of FD or DH. You gave no test case info. I hear all the time about sheeple not following something that someone says so I question everyone! If you don’t want to be questioned or accused of lack of experience put out a better more complete article. You can do better than what you wrote and you know it.

  3. 610Alpha

    How long has the author been using both dehydrated and freeze dried foods? Factory Dehydrated food will last just as long as Freeze Dried food. Why not go talk to a real survivalist that has been living the lifestyle for 20+ real years not these johnny come lately experts.

    Factory dehydrated food is processed in a moisture controlled environment.

    Look up Robert Henry’s interview on Off The Grid News or go check him out on youtube “Survival Report”.