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

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.
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.


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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.



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