[pct-l] Freeze dried or dehydrated food?

Gail Van Velzer vanvelzer at charter.net
Wed Aug 27 17:19:07 CDT 2014

I am a Master Food Preserver and I can help here.

Dehydrated food can be done at home and removes the water.  It can take 
awhile for it to rehydrate.  You maintain most of the nutrients like you 
would any other method of preserving....cooking, canning, freezing, etc.  It 
is also a little heavier than freeze-dried food.  Freeze-dried food cannot 
be done at home due to the specialized equipment needed.  Water is extracted 
from the food in a vacuum then it's frozen and removed so you are left with 
food minus all the water.  It again, has about the same nutrition as 
dehydrated food.    Both will be mold free if done correctly.  When you 
finish drying a product, put it in a glass jar and seal it.  If moisture 
develops within 24 hours, it's not dry enough.  Fruit will be rubbery as 
well as jerky.  Veggies should be brittle and herbs crisp.

Freeze dried will taste more like fresh when rehydrated.  Dehydrated food 
will darken with age, especially if you don't pretreat it with ascorbic 

Freeze dried prepared food is expensive, not to mention all the added salt 
and "junk" that doesn't need to be there.  I dehydrate my own food and those 
that work better freeze dried, I found a source, Honeyville.com.  You buy it 
by the #10 can and it's fairly inexpensive and tastes very good.  I despise 
freeze dried eggs, but I found one of their products, Ova Easy, really 
tastes very close to fresh eggs (at least the store bought ones)!  I am a 
food snob and I was very surprised.  Their freeze dried chicken is good 
enough to use as chicken salad as well as other hot dishes.  I dehydrate my 
own hamburger, but I used their veggies.

Hope this helps and if anyone has any questions, I'll be happy to answer 

Gail aka Golly

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brick Robbins" <brick at brickrobbins.com>
To: "PCT" <pct-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: [pct-l] Freeze dried or dehydrated food?

> On Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 8:27 AM, Cat Gunderson <cathi at cathigunderson.com> 
> wrote:
>> Which is better for nutrition and the "mold free"
>> factor ­ dehydrated or freeze-dried? How about taste? Do they all tend to
>> taste the same after awhile or do they retain their original flavors?
> I dehydrated my own stuff. It generally tasted fine. Buying prepared
> "freeze dried" foods is very expensive and not particularly
> nutritional, and I really don't like how they taste. I never had any
> "mold" problems with my stuff, but I didn't try to store it that long.
> There have been long threads on the best way to dehydrate your own.
> Just make sure you try out your meals before you pack them. Make some
> extra and eat it on training hikes.
> The only really bad meal I made was veggie chili. Not only was it of
> marginal taste, it gave me the worst gas I've ever had. I couldn't
> stand to be around myself inside my shelter. When Craig Giffen of PCT
> planner fame came through San Diego on his Section hike way back then,
> I gave him some I had left over. He even commented on the effects.....
> :-(
> Pre-soaking  the dehydrated stuff several hours in a plastic tub with
> a tight lid (inside a zip lock), while hiking worked well, and keeping
> it in the top of the pack actually provided a hot meal, at least in
> the the desert sections.
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