Can You Eat Freeze Dried Food Without Water?

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Freeze-dried food has made life so convenient in more ways than one. As a backpacker, hiker, camper, or traveler, it’s made your load so much lighter. For emergency preparedness it’s helped keep hundreds ready for years against food scarcity. But there are times when you’re met with conditions when you’re saving water or facing a water crisis. When faced with such situations, can you eat freeze dried food without water?

Yes, You Can!

Ever experienced eating instant ramen noodles straight out of the bag? You just smash the bag until the noodles break into tiny little pieces. Then you open the pack and just sprinkle the seasoning on the poor, innocent noodles and eat them like popcorn. That, my friend, is eating freeze-dried food without water.

They don’t have the slurpy, smooth, satisfying chewiness of rehydrated, cooked noodles, that’s for sure. But that crunch has its own level of contentment, and it does the job of filling you up.

But what about other types of freeze-dried food?

Can You Eat Freeze Dried Food Without Water: Fruits and Candy Snacks

If you’re a fan of anything that’s double the flavor, you’ll definitely love freeze-dried fruits and candy snacks. Since they’re food that you eat raw, this means you don’t have to cook them or rehydrate them.

Some don’t even rehydrate well. Others hate how rehydrated freeze-dried bananas taste like. And you most definitely wouldn’t want to rehydrate ice cream or ice cream bars. Others tried it but regretted ever doing it. The same goes for freeze-dried candies. They don’t go back to how they used to, so don’t try it yourself. You’ll only end up with a big disappointment.

freeze dried meal in mylar bag

How About Freeze-Dried Veggies?

Here it’s a hit-and-miss on this one. Others love munching on freeze-dried veggies dry, such as carrots and broccoli. Some even say freeze-dried broccoli tastes better dry than rehydrated.

The taste can boil down to your preference, of course. If you’re fond of eating veggies raw, you’re not going to have a problem eating freeze-dried veggies without water.

Prepared Meals by Commercial Brands

Now, this is where things get complicated. Companies like Mountain House, Patriot, and Emergency Essentials have freeze-dried meals that need hot water. Some even need 15-30 minutes of cook time to become edible.

But some campers attest to eating freeze-dried meals without rehydrating them. One thing they did say, though: they’re extremely dry, especially with the seasonings. You either have to pick out the food or eat everything and have dry food galore.


Freeze-Dried Prepared Meals Made by You

If you freeze-dried your own meals, and you know they’re already cooked thoroughly? Then you can definitely go ahead and eat them without rehydrating them. Cooked steaks, rotisserie chickens, spaghetti, and meatballs, you name it. As long as they’re edible, you can eat them.

Can You Eat Freeze Dried Food Without Water: Signs You Over-Did It

One thing you should note about this is: do NOT overdo it. You can occasionally eat it in a couple of bags or two when you’re rationing water. Remember: freeze drying takes out 90%-95% of water, so you have to take your hydration very seriously.

This is because your body is going to use its water content to digest the food. You’ll feel it in your mouth when you produce more saliva than usual. And once it reaches your gut? Your chewed-up freeze-dried food will suck in all water in there like there’s no tomorrow. This will undoubtedly lead to dehydration, and you’ll be feeling some of the following:

  • Feeling “backed up” in bowels
  • Thirst
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry urine
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Peeing frequently yet in small amounts
  • Dark yellowish to orange pee

So how much water should you take? The general rule is to take in the same amount of water removed from the food + extra. This can mean that if you ate 100 grams of dehydrated food, you will need 100mL -150mL of water to rehydrate yourself afterward.

If water is scarce for some reason, and you’re living off freeze-dried food without water? Once you get enough water supply, get yourself rehydrated fast. Your body can only take dry food for so long before it cries out in protest. So once you see a few of the signs and symptoms above, drink lots of water ASAP.

How About Freeze-Dried Raw Meat, Fish, and Poultry?

Eating freeze-dried raw meat without water is definitely a no-no. You must cook it first to ensure that any food-borne bacteria have been cooked off. Nothing worse than getting a stomachache because of dry food and food contamination.


Can you eat freeze dried food without water? You most certainly can, but with caution. The good thing about freeze-dried food is that it was made, so you have food to eat anytime, anywhere. Regardless of your situation, you have a meal waiting for you to stave off your hunger.

Remember that it’s not advisable to do this with raw meat, fish, and poultry. You have to rehydrate it first and cook it before eating.

Also, don’t overeat freeze-dried food without water. This can lead to dehydration and create more problems that you shouldn’t be facing in times of crisis. So, once you get the opportunity to rehydrate, grab it immediately. Don’t wait for the next stop, ration schedule, or town. You’ll never know where and when they might be.

Do you have any stories to share about eating freeze-dried food? Let us know in the comment section!

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