Freeze Dried Food In Cardboard ‘Cans’ Are Not A Good Idea


I made an unfortunate (but fortunate) discovery this morning – while opening a #2 “can” of freeze dried strawberries. They didn’t look good, they didn’t feel right, and I threw them out.

It was fortunate in that I learned a lesson, which I’m sharing with you for information:

The so called #2 cans are smaller than the more popular #10 can, and although I don’t have too many of them (most of mine are #10s) I didn’t realize (I do now) that the #2s that I have are made of hard-cardboard. You wouldn’t necessarily know this by looking at it, but if you pick it up you will quickly realize it because you can actually squish it a bit.

Even though the inside of the ‘can’ has some sort of shiny foil coating (presumably to help keep moisture out), the problem is that over time – moisture WILL get in. Ordinary humidity will have it’s way and eventually permeate the paper (another good reason why to be careful where and how you store your foods).

Early in 2008 I had made one particular purchase – a case of various freeze dried fruits, which came in these small #2 (cardboard) cans. Well we’ve moved to a new location this year and have been reorganizing what we have. I came across these particular cans and I decided to open one of them up to begin consuming them (it’s a very good idea to ROTATE). Problem is – I should’ve done it sooner…

Freeze dried foods are especially dry. Almost all of the moisture is removed, perhaps leaving only 2 percent. It should be dry, and even brittle. Definitely not soft and squishy.

(Note: Dehydrated foods are often leathery and pliable – unlike freeze dried foods)

Upon opening the ‘can’, the first thing I noticed was the very dull (almost brown) color. Then I noticed (upon handling them) that they were very soft and gushy (not good). They did not smell particularly bad, but since I’m not in a survival mode, I’m throwing them out.

Other than the obvious brown color, these freeze-dried strawberries were very soft

6 years of storage is too long for these cardboard cans. I allowed too much moisture to get inside. Perhaps if I had stored them better, they would be marginally okay today – but I’m not so sure about that – hard cardboard is just too susceptible to moisture over time.

My previous location of storage (for ~2 years) was less than ideal for awhile (for cardboard), given a slight humidity problem in the basement – which didn’t help matters.

The #10 cans however are perfectly fine given the fact that they are metal (which won’t ‘breathe’), and sealed from the environment.


Lessons I learned:

Be more aware of food rotation before foods go bad.

Don’t lose track of the foods in one’s inventory so as to effectively rotate them.
First in, First out.

Avoid purchasing foods (for long term storage) that come in cardboard packaging, including hard cardboard #2 cans.


    1. I would rather not identify them, however I will say they are no-one who has advertised here…

      I currently use (and have used) a variety of manufacturers for diversity of potential quality or longevity – not wanting to put all eggs in one basket in this area.

      1. Easier to call them out on the carpet. I bet they won’t make that mistake of using cardboard again.

  1. mm any chance they have developed some type of fungus? they look sort of brown and “fungus” to me.

    sounds like a good idea you pitched them. too bad there is no way to test them as to what bacteria/build up there is.

    1. I think you’re on to something regarding some type of fungus. They had that ‘look’. Better safe than sorry, and in the garbage they went.

  2. all in all, Ken, fungus or no, it is a good thing you told us about it (hope you did not have to pitch too much), as, these are the kind of things we all wonder about…

    how long can “x” be stored
    what is best type of storage
    what is best type of container…


    good info you have had the grief of discovering for us. sometimes it is the only way to find some of these things out.

    by the way, read your comment about why you left your dried beans in original pack (to identify) before sucking air out. I had been wondering why not in small “lots”, but this makes good sense.

  3. Although metal is a better option you still have to be careful of moisture. We had to throw out several cans that rusted through the bottom because of a very small leak above the cans. Water dripped very slowly onto the shelving causing the bottom of the cans to be constantly wet. I believe the ideal container to be glass although fragile, I still believe it to be the best over all container. I’m not too trusting of plastics. Over time I feel chemicals can leach into the foods.

    1. I agree. Glass beats them all for keeping things dry. I love my gallon jars. Pump the air out and they’re good to go.

  4. I vacuum seal anything that will fit in either a pint,quart or gallon size bag.Strke anywhere matches,documents and manuals,pastaIf it won’t fit whole, I remove from original package and just tear off the label or side of the box and put that along the side of the bag. I use the vac top for canning jars that I seal with once used lids,works great for pasta or rice or cereal that you open and need to reseal over and over. If all else fails, you can even make a custom bag with the bag rolls. Heck ,I even vac sealed my storage long guns,never have to worry about a damp safe, or surface rusting that old collectors item you rarely use.

    I buy vacstrip
    bags and pay less than 16 cents a piece for them in bulk.

  5. The only freeze-dried vegetable I bought was broccoli. I sealed it in mason jars with my Bear Creek Cheddar/Broccoli soup.

  6. For extra shelf life of #10 cans always store them in a large plastic (tupperware) bin with lid. If storing in a basement make sure it’s off the ground with a dehumidifier to keep moisture level below 45%. I was able to fit 35 #10 cans in the largest bin from walmart. If you really want to get fansy and don’t plan on accessing the bin all the time put multiple oxygen absorbers (3000cc) inside the bin with a bead of silicone going around rim

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