The Ultimate Guide to Freeze-Dried Food Shelf Life and Long-Term Storage

June 23, 2023 6 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Freeze-Dried Food Shelf Life and Long-Term Storage

Freeze-drying offers several benefits over other food preservation methods. It's a convenient, lightweight, and nutritious option for long-term food storage.  

But how long does freeze-dried food last? That's the question many people ask when they want to know how long their food will be edible.  

If you, too, are curious about freeze-dried food shelf life, then you've come to the right place! In this beginner's guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know about freeze-dried food shelf life and long-term food storage.

What is Freeze-Dried Food Storage?

What is Freeze-Dried Food Storage?

Freeze-drying is one of the best preservation techniques. It involves removing water from food while preserving its nutritional value and flavor.  

In the freeze-drying process, the food is first frozen and then placed in a freeze-dryer. In the dryer, the water is removed through sublimation, where ice turns into water vapors without going through the liquid state. This results in lightweight, rehydratable, shelf-stable food that can be stored for years without refrigeration. 

The Shelf Life of Freeze-Dried Food

Now, let's address the burning question: How long do freeze-dried foods last? The shelf life of freeze-dried food can vary depending on various factors. These include the type of food, packaging, and storage conditions. Want us to explain in detail?

You see, freeze-drying is a process where 98–99% of the water has been removed through sublimation. This means that the water content is too low for anything to grow, making it safe for long-term storage. If stored at a constant cool temperature and packaged properly, most freeze-dried foods can last anywhere from 25 to 30 years. 

However, if the food is exposed to heat, light, or moisture, it can cause the food to spoil and reduce its shelf life. This means that if the sealed container is opened, the food may absorb some moisture from the air over a week or two. However, it will be many weeks before mold grows, and bacteria growth is also unlikely. 

Thus, you must store freeze-dried food in a cool, dry place away from heat sources, light, and moisture to ensure its longevity.

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Benefits of Freeze-Drying

how long does freeze dried food last

When it comes to long-term food storage, having options that are convenient, long-lasting, and nutritious is essential. Freeze-dried food is a fantastic solution that meets all these criteria.  

Here are some of the benefits of freeze-drying:

Longer Shelf Life 

Freeze-drying preserves food by removing water from it. This process prevents bacteria and other microorganisms from growing. As a result, freeze-dried food is less likely to spoil and can last longer than other preservation methods.

Retention of Nutrients 

The freeze-drying process also preserves the natural vitamins and minerals present in the food. This is because freeze-drying doesn't involve high temperatures, which can destroy these nutrients. 

In contrast, other preservation methods, such as dehydrating and canning, use higher temperatures and cause more than half of the food's nutritional value to be lost. 

Improved Flavor and Texture 

Freeze-drying doesn't cause the food to shrink or become tough. It preserves the natural flavor and texture of the food. This is all thanks to its technique of not using higher temperatures, which can alter the taste and texture of food. 

Lightweight and Easy to Transport 

Freeze-dried products are lightweight and easy to transport because they’ve had most of their water removed. This makes them a popular choice for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities where weight and space are limited.

Easy Rehydration 

Another benefit of freeze-dried food is the convenience of pre-made, just-add-water meals! These meals are popular among campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts who need quick and easy meals while on the go. 

Freeze-dried meals come in a variety of flavors and can be easily prepared by just adding water and heating. This also makes freeze-dried food a reliable option during emergencies or times when cooking from scratch is not feasible. 

SEE RELATED: DIY Emergency Long-Term Food Supply

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Versatility of Freeze-Dried Food

One of the remarkable aspects of freeze-dried food is its versatility. It can be used on a wide variety of foods. These include fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, herbs, spices, and even complete meals. This means that almost any type of food can be freeze-dried! 

You can find freeze-dried versions of popular dishes like pasta, soups, stews, and casseroles. This extensive range allows you to create balanced and satisfying meals, even in emergency situations. 

Moreover, freeze-dried herbs and spices can be used to enhance the flavors of your home-cooked meals. All in all, freeze-dried food is a versatile and convenient choice for long-term food storage. 

SEE RELATED: How To Freeze Dry Food At Home?

Best Freeze-Dried Foods for Long-Term Storage

Having a variety of pantry staples on hand for long-term food storage ensures that you have multiple options when it comes to meal preparation. This includes necessary prepper supplies such as grains, beans, meats, and other dry goods that can be stored for long periods.

At Valley Food Storage, we offer a wide variety of freeze-dried foods for long-term storage. Our products are made with high-quality ingredients and are designed to provide a balanced meal. Some of the benefits of Valley Food Storage products include their 25-year shelf life, ease of preparation, and convenience.

Here are some of the best freeze-dried foods you can find on Valley Food Storage for long-term storage: 

Freeze-Dried Vegetables

Our freeze-dried vegetables are the perfect solution for those seeking the freshest and most nutritious food for their families. We freeze and dehydrate our veggies at peak freshness to ensure the best quality. Plus, our veggies are clean, non-GMO, and have minimal preservatives for shelf-stability. You can easily rehydrate and use them in various recipes. All our freeze-dried veggies have 25 years of shelf life. 

Freeze-Dried Fruits 

Freeze-Dried Fruits


Our freeze-dried fruits are harvested and dried at their peak ripeness, preserving the original flavors and nutrients. Our fruits are also clean, non-GMO, and have minimal preservatives for shelf stability. You can easily rehydrate them for use in recipes or enjoy them right out of the bag as a healthy snack. All our freeze-dried fruits have 25 years of shelf life.  

Freeze-Dried Meats 

Freeze-dried meats are a fantastic way to add some quality protein to your long-term food storage. Our USDA-inspected freeze-dried meat has all the same nutrition you'd expect from fresh meat. Just add water, and you can easily use them in soups, stews, or any other recipe. They also have 25 years of shelf life. 

Nutrient-Dense Meals  

All our freeze-dried meals are designed to be nutrient-dense and provide a balanced meal. They're a great option for long-term storage, food on the go, and emergency situations. These meals often contain a variety of grains, vegetables, and proteins. To prepare them, all you need is a little bit of water. And of course, they also offer a 25-year shelf life.

SEE RELATED: The Prepper Supplies & Items to Stockpile for 2023

Preparing and Cooking with Freeze-Dried Food

Preparing freeze-dried food is incredibly simple and convenient. To rehydrate freeze-dried ingredients, all you need to do is add hot water and let them sit for a few minutes. The water will be absorbed, bringing the food back to its original state—complete with its original flavors and textures. 

You can adjust the amount of water to achieve the desired consistency, whether you prefer a thicker or more soupy consistency. For complete freeze-dried meals, simply follow the instructions on the package for rehydration. 

Furthermore, freeze-dried food can also be incorporated into your favorite recipes. For instance, you can add freeze-dried vegetables to soups, stews, and casseroles for an extra boost of nutrition. Freeze-dried fruits can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods. Plus, you can also create your own trail mix with a variety of freeze-dried fruits and nuts. The possibilities are just endless!

What’s more, practicing cooking with freeze-dried food is also important to ease the transition from regular cooking to relying on stored food. This way, you'll be able to guess how much food you'll need in any emergency situation and how to store it properly. 

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FAQs About Freeze Dried Food Shelf Life 

What Food Cannot Be Freeze-Dried?

While most foods can be freeze-dried, certain foods with high-fat content, such as butter and oils, don’t freeze-dry well. Plus, foods with high water content, like lettuce, cucumber, and watermelon, don’t freeze-dry well. 

Do Freeze-Dried Foods Need Refrigeration?

No, freeze-dried foods don’t need refrigeration. They can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. 

Do Freeze-Dried Foods Go Bad?

Freeze-dried foods can go bad if they aren’t stored properly. Exposure to moisture, light, and heat can cause the food to spoil. Thus, always store freeze-dried food in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

How Do You Know When Freeze-Dried Food is Bad?

You can tell if freeze-dried food is bad by its appearance, smell, and taste. If the food looks discolored, has any sign of mold, or has a strange odor or taste, it may be spoiled and shouldn’t be consumed.

The Bottom Line for Freeze-Dried Food Shelf Life

To wrap up, freeze-dried food is an excellent option for long-term food storage. It offers several benefits, including longer shelf life, retention of nutrients, improved flavor and texture, lightweight and easy to transport, and easy rehydration. 

With the versatility of freeze-drying, almost any type of food can be freeze-dried, making it a reliable option during emergencies or times when cooking from scratch isn’t feasible. 

You can buy high-quality freeze-dried food from us at Valley Food Storage. With proper storage and handling, our freeze-dried food can last up to 25 years and provide a nutritious and delicious meal when you need it most.