Over the past few years, you may have seen freeze-dried meat in your local grocery store. There are many benefits to purchasing meat that someone has freeze-dried. Not only does the meat taste good, but it can be quite healthy as well. The ultimate question that readers ask is if freeze-dried meat is ideal for survival purposes. We’re confident you’ll know the answer after reading the information below.
An Overview of Freezing Foods
Freezing foods is a preservation tool. That’s because natural foods are susceptible to microorganisms that can cause deterioration or spoilage. Freezing foods prevents these microorganisms from growing, which helps improve the longevity of the food. Although not every food can be frozen, you could benefit from freezing numerous items such as:
The process of flash-freezing removes practically all of the water from the food. Dehydrating the food is a three-part process that first begins with an initial freezing. For meats, this occurs at 0 degrees Fahrenheit right after slaughter. Then the food goes through a process known as sublimation where manufacturers dry the meat immediately. The food is then dried again.
The Benefits of Freeze-Dried Meat
Some people scoff at the thought of flash-frozen meat. Many believe that it tastes awful, or that it’s “fake.” However, these could not be further from the truth. Meats that have been freeze-dried are incredibly beneficial and should be a part of any survival kit. If you’re still not convinced, below, you’ll find the main reasons why meats that have been freeze-dried are an excellent option.
When meat is flash-frozen, it can have a shelf life of up to 25 years. For that reason alone, you could make the argument that freeze-dried meat is ideal for survival purposes. No matter if you’re camping for a few days or are preparing for a hurricane and expecting a power outage, flash-frozen meat is an excellent option.
The reason these meats have such a long shelf life is because manufacturers seal them in packaging with nitrogen. However, once you open your meats, you should prepare to eat them within a few weeks. Experts recommend waiting no longer than six months to consume your dried meats after you opened them. The longer you wait, the more susceptible you are to foodborne illnesses or diseases.
Taste and Nutrition
When you’re planning for an emergency, you must often limit yourself to non-perishables, such as canned goods. But eating beans and vegetables can grow old very quickly. Additionally, you may not be providing your body with proper minerals and nutrients. That’s where freeze-dried meats can be beneficial.
Meats that are freeze-dried could allow you to have a balanced meal, even in the direst of situations. You’d be able to get protein by eating meats such as beef or chicken. This is especially important during stressful situations. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol contributes to the accelerated breakdown of protein.
During an emergency situation, there’s a good chance that you will be more stressed than usual. As a result, your cortisol levels will likely be higher than average, increasing your risk of losing muscle. You never know when you will need your strength in a survival situation. Having flash-dried meats on hand is an excellent way to ensure you stay in great shop whenever catastrophe strikes.
Also, consider the fact that having flash-dried meats on hand will save you time during a survival situation as well. If you are in a survival scenario, you will not have access to a refrigerator or freezer. Additionally, you may find it difficult to hunt for fresh meat. By having freeze-dried meats on hand, you’ll reduce the amount of time spent searching for food, which could grow troublesome over time.
Fresh meats can be bulky, taking up a lot of room in your refrigerator or freezer. However, meats that have been freeze-dried take up far less space, meaning you can have more on hand in case of emergency. Additionally, these meats are relatively easy to transport. Meats that have been flash-frozen can lose up to 90 percent of their weight, making them the ideal choice to throw in a backpack.
The Disadvantages of Freeze-Dried Meat
Although there are numerous advantages to freeze-dried meat, there is one fundamental disadvantage that is worth noting. To rehydrate the meat, you’ll need access to clean water. How big of a problem this is depends a lot on the type of survival situation you find yourself. If you still have running water, this is a non-factor. But if you are limited to bottled water, this could quickly become a concern.
If your water supply is limited, you may find that it’s more beneficial to drink your water than to cook with it. If you are camping, there are ways to clean your water, such as boiling it. But this takes time, not only to find a water source but to then clean it. And, you’ll need to have the ability to start a fire, in addition to being able to carry a pot with which you can cook.
If you’re considering using flash-dried meats in your survival kit, it’s important to understand the process of how these foods are dehydrated and rehydrated. It’s entirely possible for you to complete the process yourself, which could save you money in the long run, depending on how much meat you plan on storing.
One of the best ways to flash-dry meats at home is by purchasing a food dryer. We do not recommend this option unless you plan to drying frequently, or unless you plan on drying a high number of meats. These machines can be a bit pricey, so you’ll want to ensure you get enough use out of them if you purchase one. Otherwise, you may be better off just buying a few pre-packaged meats.
If you were to purchase a food dryer, you would begin by placing your meats in the dryer to freeze them at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to freezing the food, the dryer creates a powerful vacuum effect around the food. When you take the meats out of the freezer, ice crystals will turn into vapor. At this point the water evaporates, thus removing moisture from your food.
You’ll then need to seal your frozen meats in an airtight bag, such as a Mylar bag. These bags are specially engineered to protect against oxygen and moisture and are 100 times more likely to preserve your food than a vacuum or poly bag. You can heat-seal these bags so that your food is safe. Mylar bags also come with oxygen absorber packs that you can place inside with your meal.
Rehydrating Frozen Meat
The process of rehydrating your meats is relatively simple. Like we’ve mentioned, you’ll need a decent amount of water to rehydrate your food. Begin by filling a bowl with warm or hot water. Then, place your meat inside the container. This process is the same whether you are using pre-cooked or uncooked frozen meats.
Allow the meat to absorb the water. The meat will not consume more water than what it needs to rehydrate. So, the meat should not be any larger than when it was in its original state. After the meats have absorbed the water, remove it from the bowl. Once rehydrated, you can use the meat just as you would any other food.
If you cooked the meat before rehydrating it, you could eat it as-is. Or, you could use it as part of an add-on for another dish. A perfect example would be using flash-frozen meatballs as part of a pasta dish. If the meats were not cooked prior to them being flash-frozen, you’ll need to cook them just as you would any other raw meat. Be sure the food is cooked thoroughly before consuming.
In a survival situation, it’s crucial for you to maintain your health and strength. For this, freeze-dried meats make a lot of sense. They provide protein and other nutrients that are difficult to obtain through canned food. However, the amount of water you need to rehydrate the food is significantly concerning and likely renders flash-dried meats useless in a long-term situation.
Perhaps consider throwing a few packages of meats that have been freeze-dried into your survival kit. There’s no harm in doing so, as they’ll end up lasting for years as long as they’re unopened. It’s good to know that if an emergency were ever to arise, you’d have a supply on hand. Since they take up little weight and space, adding them to your survival kit should be a no-brainer.
But in reality, the meats are only good for survival in short-term situations. If you are camping or lose power during a hurricane, meats that have been freeze-dried are an ideal survival solution. But if your survival situation lasts longer than a week, access to clean drinking water will likely become a concern. You won’t want to waste water cooking, so flash-dried meats may not be ideal for long-term scenarios.