Bulk Freeze Dried or Dehydrated Food Storage | Eat It! Test It!

Freeze Dried Cheese will last about 5 - 10 years in sealed #10 cans stored in ideal conditions

This weekend Mrs.J and I went through some of our bulk emergency food storage for preparedness. You should do this on a semi-regular basis. Here’s why:

  1. Eat some, and be sure that you like it.
  2. Food Rotation so it doesn’t go bad

Eat Your Freeze Dried Food

What if you don’t like it? Does it taste off or bad? Is it getting way beyond it’s recommended use-by date?

Most freeze dried or dehydrated foods (purposed for preparedness) come from commercial processors who seal them in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers. Sometimes in sealed Mylar foil packets.

Did you know that freeze dried foods don’t last forever? In fact some types of freeze dried foods might only ‘be good’ for about 3 – 5 years (check your powdered butters). The #10 cans with cheeses and mixes with cheese ingredients may not last as long as you might expect either.

When In Doubt, Throw It Out

Last year I actually tossed out a number of #10 cans of that stuff. Why? Because I had opened some of them to sample, and discovered what I felt to be ‘off-color’, and I didn’t particular like the smell. I sampled some of it. Wasn’t that great. Plus, I had let those particular cans go way beyond their expected freshness dates.

Don’t Waste, Use Good Food Rotation

So this year, last weekend, we’re going through more of our #10 cans. There’s some investment $ there, but we can’t just let them sit there ‘forever’. Gotta put them into our food rotation and consume them (oldest first).

Some of our emergency food storage also includes a number of commercially packed ‘buckets’ of freeze-dried meals (individually Mylar wrapped meals within).

Sample It

We took out a packet of Lasagna. Then we opened a #10 can of freeze dried Mozzarella cheese that was a bit more than 5 years after purchase. We also grabbed a pint jar of homemade home canned tomato sauce from last year.

Let me tell you, it was all delicious! Very happy with it.

Know When You Bought It

For those of you who have purchased #10 cans (or kits thereof) for long term emergency food (for ‘just in case’), be aware of how long you’ve had it!

Even though it likely cost you some $, you don’t want it to sit there forever. Rotate it by beginning to consume the oldest first. Like I said, if you have mixes with powdery cheeses or butters, I wouldn’t count on them lasting the 15 – 20 years that many assume is typical for #10 cans of this type of food.

How long does freeze dried cheese last?

Freeze Dried Cheese will generally store for 5 to 10 years in a sealed #10 can (oxygen absorber included) under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place).

How long does powdered butter last?

Powdered Butter stores for 3 to 5 years in a sealed #10 can (oxygen absorber included) under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place).

Also, not every brand of emergency preparedness food is equal with another. Some companies have come and gone. Others have survived the test of time.

Continue reading: Favorite Freeze Dried Foods and Brands

Freeze Dried Food vs. Dehydrated Food

If you’re looking to buy bulk Freeze Dried

I’m going to plug our sponsor, Ready Made Resources. They are a dealer for a number of manufacturers. Check them out if you’re interested. Email or call them. They’re a great family business.


  1. Morning MSB. I began inserting moisture packs, desiccants, in my FD food about 2 years ago. Felt like this would help in the long term. They are food grade and fairly inexpensive. It works for vitamins why not FD food.

    1. Mrs. USMCBG,
      It’s best to leave those #10 cans of freeze dried food unopened (until ready to eat). They already have O2 absorbers in there from the manufacturer. Generally speaking they all pretty much recommend that once you open it, you’ve got about a year (depending on environmental conditions). Once you crack the seal and open the can, you let oxygen in. That’s when the oxidation process really starts to degrade what’s inside.

      Related: 4 Things That Affect Food Storage

      1. True. I was speaking of the FD I do with the Harvest Right, pack and put in 7mil Mylar sealed three times. Surprisingly I opened a small can of chicken and beef a few years back. I purchased as samples from Emergency Essentials. They sat in the pantry opened with some plastic wrap around them for a couple of years and still tasted ok. Like you say temp, moisture and air.

  2. This is a very important article for those who have purchased FD and DH foods, or who plan to. Shelf life varies by type of product!

    We are personally guilty of buying a large quantity of FD foods before the manufacturers informed customers about the various dates of ‘shelf life’. So we have some #10 cans of powdered eggs and a dozen assorted smaller cans of powdered cheeses and sour cream — they’re all beyond the 10-year mark and probably little more than science experiments in-a-can, I’m sure. I think it’s time to open one to see what it looks like and give it a sniff test. lol

    We figure that if we don’t face the apocalypse in the next 10 years, we’d better start eating down some of our FD/DH stash or the family will find out just how prepared (read: eccentric) we were.

    1. Yes, we’re guilty of that too from years ago. Given how “time flies by”, we’ve got to consume more of it before it’s wasted money. Like I said in the article, I’ve already thrown out some of it from last year. Now focusing on the dairy related #10 cans, which have a shorter shelf life expectation. Freeze dried cheeses, powdered butter, powdered eggs, powdered milk, and other ‘mixes’ which incorporate some of that stuff. I’m sure I’m not the only one with some old food storage #10 cans on the shelves…

    2. MT, Ken and others,… Those foods that you taste, and do not like the smell or taste… crumble well… make animal feed from them… powdered butter, powered milk/cheese, old grains all will mix with the fines, from chicken pellets and a little flour or cornmeal…to make a bread to put out for the chickens, they will eat every morsel.. also any old milk, or whey, , protein powders..stale cereals..

  3. How good is the Mountain House pouch food? I have a fair amount.

    1. Mountain House food is awesome. Yeah, it’s pricey but guaranteed for 30 years. I think it’s the best out there. We take it on hikes and camping. Also for storage.

    2. Four corners Wolverine,
      That’s exactly the purpose of the article – to encourage people to eat some of their own, to try it out. See how you like it. Regarding your Mountain House inventory, if you have a fair amount, you should open one up and see…

    3. We store a LOT of Mountain House pouches and they’re excellent. They cost a little more than some others, but the quality is well worth it. We keep some in the motor home, each vehicle, each pack and several months worth at home and at the mountain retreat. They’re also in our regular menu rotation, so we enjoy some at least a couple times each week. I generally order 2 or 3 boxes (of 6 pouches) every pay day. Great stuff!

  4. Hmmm, good reminder to check some of our stuff. Some of it may be pushing 10 years old. Time does fly by mighty fast.

  5. Has anyone found a way to store coffee beans so they don’t eventually go rancid from the oils in them? Maybe vacuum packing in mason jars? I’m sure you can preserve them in the freezer for a while, but I prefer solutions that will work if the electricity is no longer reliable.

    1. Well, if nothing else you can stall the process by putting them in the freezer so when the freezer fails you still have fresh.

    2. Chipmunk if you have a Mylar bag and a sealer you can store green whole coffee beans with an O2 absorber in a cool dry place for years, some say decades.

      Once roasted a whole different story the clock is ticking.

      My local coffee roaster gets his whole green coffee beans in 100 pound muslin bags not air tight, not shipped or stored anything special and they are just fine for 2 years that way. His storage area is cool and dry that’s it.

      Look up roasting them and get a grinder. It’s kind of fun trying 1st crack vs. 2nd crack and such. Now if you want flavored coffee you are on your own.

      1. Thanks, me2. Sounds like kind of a fun project to try. I do have grinders already, both electric and the old-fashioned manual.

  6. i live in a apartment so i learned quick.
    SPACE IS EVERYTHING. i do have the room for canned stuff so i learned how to dry stuff fast.
    canned takes up a LOT of room.
    dried not so much.
    i dry everything possible that i can

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