Best Food Storage: Canned or Freeze Dried?


Reader Question:

I’d like to hear opinions on canned vs freeze dried food in an area where clean water would not be abundant in a disaster, Southern California.


The thought that immediately comes to mind is find a way to store more water! Not only would you need water to rehydrate your food, but you will also need water to drink. You will need water for sanitation too. The general rule of thumb is a gallon of water per person, per day, minimum.

“Unless you live on property with natural occurring water, you need to have excess water storage available for an emergency. Depending on your weight, physical activity, and environment, the human body needs nearly 1 gallon of water per day. Human beings are made up of about 60% water. We sweat out about 2 cups water per day. We lose 1 cup per day from exhaling and we eliminate about 6 cups of it. Your life depends on daily replenishment of water.”

Source: Modern Survival Blog

The next thing I thought is that I would store both types of food as I do right now. Canned foods will last for several years (or more – depending) and are essentially already cooked, so you can eat them right out of the can, without heating, if circumstances do not provide you with a means to heat your canned  food.


Canned foods will last for a few years, but they are also heavier to carry if you have to bug out. Canned foods will also take up a fair amount of physical space. Freeze dried food is much lighter weight and has a shelf life of about 25 years, but you do need to add water.

Why should you store both types? Well, if you really want to be prepared, then you should be ready for almost any kind of situation that can occur. Some may be short term while others could be very long term. Both types of food could be used as you hunker down and stay inside your home. The emergency situation or disaster that you are preparing for will lead to whether you will ‘bug out’ or ‘bug in’ and will help you determine which food to store or to carry with you.

Freeze dried food is light weight and some of it could be put in ziploc bags or containers for example, for a survival pack or bug-out-bag. Canned foods won’t be practical here. On the other hand, canned foods are ready-to-eat and are simple for at home.

In summary, I would suggest for your situation to concentrate first on canned foods and then build up a supply of water storage and freeze dried food. I would also determine where you would ‘bug out’ if you had to leave for greener pastures.

“Whether you live in a region prone to natural disasters or if you are emergency survival preparedness minded, it is imperative that you store water for you and your family, BEFORE you think about storing food.”

Source: Survival Water Storage


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