Freeze-dried meats are a great way to add protein to your food storage pantry. Freeze-dried foods maintain all of their same nutritional value and taste.

Protein-rich foods like freeze dried chicken, freeze dried ground beef, freeze dried pork chops, and even freeze dried bacon, should be a staple in your emergency food supply. These meats are easy to store and offer an extended shelf life so you can stay prepared with a great foundation of emergency foods. Freeze-dried meats can be enjoyed as part of an entrée or at any time a protein-rich snack is needed.

The Benefits of Freeze-Dried Meat

Shelf Life

When meat is flash-frozen, it can have a shelf life of up to 25 years. For that reason alone, you could make the argument that freeze-dried meat is ideal for survival purposes. No matter if you’re camping for a few days or are preparing for a hurricane and expecting a power outage, flash-frozen meat is an excellent option.
The reason these meats have such a long shelf life is because manufacturers seal them in packaging with nitrogen. However, once you open your meats, you should prepare to eat them within a few weeks. Experts recommend waiting no longer than six months to consume your dried meats after you opened them. The longer you wait, the more susceptible you are to foodborne illnesses or diseases.

Taste and Nutrition

When you’re planning for an emergency, you must often limit yourself to non-perishables, such as canned goods. But eating beans and vegetables can grow old very quickly. Additionally, you may not be providing your body with proper minerals and nutrients. That’s where freeze-dried meats can be beneficial.

Meats that are freeze-dried could allow you to have a balanced meal, even in the direst of situations. You’d be able to get protein by eating meats such as beef or chicken. This is especially important during stressful situations. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol contributes to the accelerated breakdown of protein.

During an emergency situation, there’s a good chance that you will be more stressed than usual. As a result, your cortisol levels will likely be higher than average, increasing your risk of losing muscle. You never know when you will need your strength in a survival situation. Having flash-dried meats on hand is an excellent way to ensure you stay in great shop whenever catastrophe strikes.

Also, consider the fact that having flash-dried meats on hand will save you time during a survival situation as well. If you are in a survival scenario, you will not have access to a refrigerator or freezer. Additionally, you may find it difficult to hunt for fresh meat. By having freeze-dried meats on hand, you’ll reduce the amount of time spent searching for food, which could grow troublesome over time.

Easy Storage

Fresh meats can be bulky, taking up a lot of room in your refrigerator or freezer. However, meats that have been freeze-dried take up far less space, meaning you can have more on hand in case of emergency. Additionally, these meats are relatively easy to transport. Meats that have been flash-frozen can lose up to 90 percent of their weight, making them the ideal choice to throw in a backpack.

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The Disadvantages of Freeze-Dried Meat

Although there are numerous advantages to freeze-dried meat, there is one fundamental disadvantage that is worth noting. To rehydrate the meat, you’ll need access to clean water. How big of a problem this is depends a lot on the type of survival situation you find yourself. If you still have running water, this is a non-factor. But if you are limited to bottled water, this could quickly become a concern.

If your water supply is limited, you may find that it’s more beneficial to drink your water than to cook with it. If you are camping, there are ways to clean your water, such as boiling it. But this takes time, not only to find a water source but to then clean it. And, you’ll need to have the ability to start a fire, in addition to being able to carry a pot with which you can cook.

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How to Freeze Dry Meat?

Cutting the Meat

1.Press the on button so the freeze dryer can get cold. To safely freeze dry meat for long-term storage, you need to use a freeze drying machine. Since the machine will use a lot of power, plug it into an outlet that doesn’t already have a large appliance plugged into it. Turn on your machine so it starts to get cold.

2.Trim and cut the meat you want to freeze dry. Lay your frozen or cooked meat on a cutting board and cut away any visible fat or bones. Discard the trimmed bits and cut the meat into slices or chunks. While the meat can be as long as you like, it shouldn’t be thicker than 34 inch (1.9 cm).

  • If you’re freeze drying both raw and cooked meats, handle them separately to prevent cross-contamination.

3.Arrange the meat on your freeze dry machine tray. Spread the prepared meat on the trays that came with your freeze dry machine so you leave at least 14 inch (0.64 cm) of space between the pieces. The meat shouldn’t come up higher than the sides of the tray or you may need to cut them in half.

Loading the Machine

1.Place the trays in the freeze dryer and seal the machine shut. Once your freezer is cold, open the door and slide the trays with meat in. If your machine has a door pad, place this between the trays and the door. Close the door of the machine so it’s sealed shut.

2.Press the start button on the freeze drying machine. Once you push the start button, the machine will’s temperature will drop so the meat freezes. The machine will freeze the meat between −40 °F (−40 °C) and −50 °F (−46 °C). Once the meat is frozen, the machine will create a vacuum to remove all moisture from the meat.

  • The machine will run for about 24 hours before the meat is freeze-dried.

3.Remove the meat and check to see that it’s dry. Once the machine shuts off or alerts you that it’s finished, open the door and remove the trays. Touch the meat to feel for any moisture or break a piece in half to see if it’s dry. You can store it if the meat is completely dry.

  • If the meat still feels moist, you may need to freeze dry the meat for 2 to 3 more hours.
  • Remember that freeze drying won’t remove the bacteria from raw meats. Handle these as you would raw, fresh meat.

Storing the Freeze Dried Meat

1.Remove the meat and check to see that it’s dry. Once the machine shuts off or alerts you that it’s finished, open the door and remove the trays. Touch the meat to feel for any moisture or break a piece in half to see if it’s dry. You can store it if the meat is completely dry.

  • If the meat still feels moist, you may need to freeze dry the meat for 2 to 3 more hours.
  • Remember that freeze drying won’t remove the bacteria from raw meats. Handle these as you would raw, fresh meat.

2.Put the meat in canning jars for shorter storage. Place the freeze dried meat in clean canning jars and drop an oxygen absorber packet in the jar. Screw the lid on to seal air.

3.Label the freeze dried meat. You need to label the meat regardless of what storage system you use. Note what kind of meat it is, if it’s raw or cooked, and the date you freeze dried it. It’s also useful to note how much meat is in the container.

4.Store the packaged freeze dried meat at room temperature. Keep the mylar bags or jars of freeze dried meat in the pantry or a storage room that’s cool and dry. For long term storage over 1 year, keep the jars out of direct sunlight.

  • While you can leave the jars in direct sunlight, the this could change the color of the meat and cause it to fade.
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Rehydrating Freeze Dried Meat

The process of rehydrating your meats is relatively simple. Like we’ve mentioned, you’ll need a decent amount of water to rehydrate your food. Begin by filling a bowl with warm or hot water. Then, place your meat inside the container. This process is the same whether you are using pre-cooked or uncooked frozen meats.

The meat will absorb the water within a few minutes. It will become tender once it’s rehydrated.The meat will only absorb as much water as it needs, so don’t worry about the meat becoming soggy.

The meat will not consume more water than what it needs to rehydrate. So, the meat should not be any larger than when it was in its original state. After the meats have absorbed the water, remove it from the bowl. Once rehydrated, you can use the meat just as you would any other food.

If it was cooked before freeze drying, you can eat it right away or use it in recipes. If it was freeze dried raw, just prepare it the way you would fresh meat. To add a little flavor, you can rehydrate raw or cooked meat in heated broth. Or, for example, if you’re rehydrating cooked ground beef, it can go right into your pot of tomato sauce, allowing it to absorb the tomato sauce at it warms. When rehydrating things like sloppy joe mix or BBQ chicken, simply add about 1/3 hot water to the freeze dried meat. You can also warm the meat in the microwave, a slow cooker, on the stovetop or in the oven. There are so many ways to rehydrate in whatever way works best for you.

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