How Long Does Freeze Dried Food Last After Opening?

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There’s one thing common in the reviews about emergency preparedness freeze-dried food like those offered by Wise Company and Augason Farms. Many couldn’t give feedback on the meals because they hadn’t opened them yet. Their hesitation is natural because you cut the shelf life considerably once the food is exposed. But there are others who were brave enough to open their supply buckets and try them out. That would get most people wondering: how long does freeze dried food last after opening?

General Rule: One To Three Weeks

Most manufacturers recommend that you finish opened packages within one to three weeks after opening. This is for freeze-dried food left in the pack that you didn’t prepare, reconstitute, or cook. As long as the freeze-dried food is still dry and doesn’t show signs of spoilage, they’re good to eat

What If I Already Cooked or Reconstitute It?

Treat prepared, cooked, and reconstituted freeze dried food like you would any leftovers. You should eat it within 2 hours if left at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, they’re good for 3-4 days.

What Causes Freeze-Dried Food To Spoil After Opening?

Notice that the life span changes? Because several factors can affect how long freeze dried food last after opening.

Quality Of The Freeze Dried Food When Opened

This can mean the state of freshness of the food. For example, when did the company manufacture the food? Or if you packed your supply, when did you process and seal the bag? This is because your freeze dried food experiences changes in temperature the longer it sits in storage.

opened bag of freeze dried food meal

If your freeze-dried food is just new, you can expect to have it last longer. But if it’s been sitting for years after opening, it’s best that you consume it as soon as possible.

How Exposed It Is To Oxygen And Moisture

We store our food in Mylar bags and throw in oxygen absorbers because of two things. First, mylar bags keep moisture out, while oxygen absorbers take out oxygen that’s left in the bag. The reason is that oxygen and moisture are the main culprits of food spoilage.

Freeze dried food comes in contact with oxygen the moment you open it. It also gets moisture through air humidity. So the longer the freeze dried food is exposed to both elements, the easier it is to spoil.

Environmental Temperature

Ever wonder why food in the car spoils quicker than food in the fridge? That’s because cars hold in heat, while a fridge keeps food nice and cool. Heat encourages the growth of microorganisms that spoil food, while cold temperatures slow down their development.

How To Make Freeze Dried Food Last Longer

Did you know that you can make freeze-dried food last for 6 months to a year after opening? Some even can extend the shelf life to several years. How? By keeping the above conditions from affecting the food. And here’s how you can do it.

Re-store Unused Portions In Airtight Containers

Before you do anything with the freeze-dried food, separate the portion you think you wouldn’t use. Get some airtight containers ready, like your trusty Mylar bag or Mason jar, to store them. Remember to throw in oxygen absorbers before sealing.

Invest In A Good Vacuum Sealer

It’s always worth having a vacuum sealer when you’re serious about storing freeze dried food. There are now textured Mylar bags that you can use for vacuum sealers to do their work. If you can’t find them, we got a blog explaining how to vacuum seal freeze dried foods using smooth Mylar bags.

Why vacuum sealers? Because oxygen absorbers can only go so far. By sucking out the air inside the bag, you’ll be able to extend the shelf life of your emergency supply.

mylar bag of freeze dried food on table

Keep The Containers In A Cool, Dry, and Dark Place

Once you’re done repacking and resealing your freeze dried food, keep them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Make sure that the room temperature is stable as well. Ideally, the room temp should not exceed 72°F (22 °C).

The fridge is not an option. Each time you open and close the fridge door causes drastic change in temperature. Each time that happens, there’s condensation that puts your supply at risk. Also, there’s no need to refrigerate unused freeze dried food because they last quite well at room temperature. Yes, even if they’re repacked and resealed.

How About The Rest Of The Contents In The Supply Bucket?

They’re still good if you ordered a bucket and you still have unopened freeze-dried food packs. They can last up to the shelf life stated on the label. This is, of course, you keep the bucket tightly sealed and stored in a setting we said just previously.

How Will I Know If The Freeze Dried Food Is Still Good To Eat?

Freeze dried food should have almost the same delicious smell as its fresh counterpart. Fruits should have that sweet or tangy scent, and meat should have that earthy aroma. It should also be dry, crumbly, and still have good color.

There are also signs that the food has gone bad. These are:

  • Funky, musky, or sour smell – if you open the bag and the scent is off, or you almost gagged and the smell, throw that batch away.
  • Slimy, mushy, slippery texture – in no way, shape or form should freeze dried food have this kind of texture. Chances are, moisture got in the bag and caused bacteria to grow.
  • Change in color – freeze-dried food has almost the same color as fresh ones. If you see any change in color or blotches in appearance, don’t eat it.

How long does freeze dried food last? That will depend on several factors and conditions. Generally, opened freeze-dried food can last for one to three weeks after opening. But if you vacuum seal it in airtight containers, it can last for 6 months to 1 year, or even longer, depending on several conditions.

Those conditions would include air, light, and temperature exposure combined with moisture. You can still extend their shelf life if you store the containers properly.

We hope you got ideas on freeze dried food storage and became confident to try out your food packs from time to time. If you got some ideas or questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.

Also, watch our YouTube Channel for videos on anything and everything about freeze drying.

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