Freeze-dried in a big can

Posted by: MoBOB

Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 03:47 AM

I am wondering about those freeze-dried survival foods that are in big cans. It says in the advertising that there are XX servings per can. Are those cans just filled with the product and you take it out like oatmeal; take what you need and put the lid back on? What happens to the product once it is exposed to air? A big loss of shelf life? It seems kinda silly to have loads of cans open.

In general, for in-place making do for an extended period of time (nebulous term), I would stick with canned good as much as possible.

Anyway, any help with this would help. Thank you.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 06:30 AM

Often it is as you assumed. You take what you need and put the lid back on. What happens after the can is opened depends on the product. Salt may draw water, fat may go rancid and coffee tends to loose flavour. That would shorten the shelf life. Often there is some fine print on the can that states a timeframe for consuming the product after openening the can. You may have to read the info on the can to find out.
There are products that have a small number of servings in separate packages. Most common around here are mashed potatoes (3 x 4 servings). They may not be freeze dried and come in cartons though.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 01:53 PM

I am always puzzled by the popularity of freeze-dried foods, whether in cans or in smaller packets, for "survival." The point of freeze drying is to reduce weight, a huge virtue for many outdoor uses like backpacking or climbing, in environments where water is reasonably common or abundant. When potable water is lacking, freeze dried products are at a disadvantage.

I do have FD foods stocked because I still backpack, etc. but for just plain old domestic disasters I lay in canned goods right from the supermarket. They are cheap, nutritious, easy to prepare (right out of the can, if necessary, durable and heavy, because they contain water, an advantage in many circumstances. The right canned products are essentially civilian MREs, but much cheaper

FD products are really great in the right environment, which is not the typical disaster situation where potable water will usually be scarce.

My strategy for disaster eating is to eat perishable goods first (ice cream!!) and then turn to more durable items as time goes on.
Posted by: Montanero

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 02:44 PM

Does freeze drying in general prolong the storage life/shelf life of foods?
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 03:19 PM

I understand that Mountain House, probably the most popular brands, gives a thirty year life for most, if not all, of their products. I believe this is a "best by" date, which means that taste, texture are not noticeably degraded.

Most items can be safety consumed well beyond their best by date. its just that the taste might be a bit off.

Personally, I have consumed a Tanka Bar that was nine years past its date. To me, it was just fine, but take that with a grain of salt, because some have said that my taste buds were shot off in the war.

With canned goods, I would be concerned about leakage or bulging - ditch those pronto...
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 04:32 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
With canned goods, I would be concerned about leakage or bulging - ditch those pronto...

As someone who worked six years in the food distribution industry, I can say this with confidence: I agree with Hikermor.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 04:34 PM

Drying will in general prolong the storage life of foods. The dehydration will slow the growth of bacteria and fungy. Some common examples are stockfish, salami, ham, jerky, banana chips and pumpernickel. The method may be older than canning.
Freeze drying takes the dehydration a step further.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 04:43 PM

With canned goods there is one exception. Surströmming is not ready before the can bulges. It may be wise though not to buy this food in the first place.
Posted by: Jeanette_Isabelle

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 04:51 PM

Toward the end of our four-year stay with Grandma, Grandma bought a food dehydrator. Grandma tried her new toy with apple slices. My sisters and I ate up the dehydrated apple slices as if they were candy.

There were good times in my life.

Jeanette Isabelle
Posted by: Montanero

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:04 PM

I asked just to aid the conversation. Desiccation has a long history in successful food preservation. As to the original question, once opened, the package has a dramatically reduced life span. Moisture and oxygen will work with the nutrients as a viable growth medium for many organisms. Storage conditions are important.

While I do like cans, even they do not last forever. All food stocks must be rotated, the time interval depending on the food, how it was preserved, and how it was sealed and stored.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:12 PM

This is very definitely a dry thread, but I have to as, just what is surfstromming (sp?). Sounds tricky, if the can has to bulkge before it is ready...

It might be perfect for those like me, if gas is generated before consumption, rather than after.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:25 PM

Surströmming appears to be "sour herring".
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:31 PM

Surströmming is fermented baltic herring. It is canned before the fermenting has finished and continues to ferment after canning. This is why the can bulges.
If you plan to try it, plan for an outdoors event like a pickinic. It is not recommended serving it indoors.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:44 PM

Thanks for the explanation. I chuckle at my southern California orientedmisspelling of the item (surf=surts)
Posted by: Montanero

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 05:46 PM

Sounds like I need to get some to open up at times I really don't want to be where I am, and being asked to leave would be welcome. You know, those "required" social functions that you hate.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 06:20 PM

Surströmming Challenge on youtube. wink
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 07:05 PM

That looks like that guy should have watched a tutorial first:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGRyr8yIo9w: How to eat Surströmming
Posted by: MoBOB

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 07:15 PM

Thank you, one and all, for your comments. I am leaning more towards the canned and rotating stock vs the FD cans for in-place situations. I am sure there is a place for the FD, I just have to figure it out. Having the two options for dealing hunger cannot be a bad thing. It will come down to how much do I need for how long?
Posted by: Tjin

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/10/18 08:39 PM

Originally Posted By: hikermor
I am always puzzled by the popularity of freeze-dried foods, whether in cans or in smaller packets, for "survival." The point of freeze drying is to reduce weight, a huge virtue for many outdoor uses like backpacking or climbing, in environments where water is reasonably common or abundant. When potable water is lacking, freeze dried products are at a disadvantage.

I do have FD foods stocked because I still backpack, etc. but for just plain old domestic disasters I lay in canned goods right from the supermarket. They are cheap, nutritious, easy to prepare (right out of the can, if necessary, durable and heavy, because they contain water, an advantage in many circumstances. The right canned products are essentially civilian MREs, but much cheaper

FD products are really great in the right environment, which is not the typical disaster situation where potable water will usually be scarce.

My strategy for disaster eating is to eat perishable goods first (ice cream!!) and then turn to more durable items as time goes on.


To me long storage is important, as keeping a stock of canned food and rotating it is a bit of an issue, as I rarely use canned food. (tomato puree and beans are pretty much the only things I get in cans).

Fresh food does not store long enough for emergency's; so freeze dried or other 20+ year food is a simple buy once and not think about it for 2 decades solution. Bit expensive, but lack of required logistics is also great. Although the new NG-5 are also rated 20 years.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/11/18 12:54 PM

I've posted this video before, as it changed the way I approached long term food storage of staples... it is long, but LDS are the pros... I now vacuum seal my staples in quart canning wide mouth canning jars, with a jar adapter....

my short term supplies are rotated through their shelf life, and donated to the local food bank as they near best by date... in 2004 I discovered that the "chunky" soups and stews could be heated in a water bath (two families used the same heat source) and eaten directly from the can so hot water other than the heated cooking bath was not needed for clean up

the vacuum canned jars are replaced in their original shipping cardboard boxes and stored under my bed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOLuIApyNPc
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Freeze-dried in a big can - 06/11/18 01:06 PM

And in an emergency situation, just ponder how many useful applications you can devise for the empty tin cans.

We should hold a contest...