How to rehydrate freeze dried meat

Freeze-Dried Foods: How to Rehydrate Freeze-Dried Meat

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Whether you’re building up your emergency food supply or simply camping out for a few days, freeze-dried meat is an excellent option to have around. It not only retains the appearance, taste, and texture of real meat but also up to 95% of its macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. 

Unlike dehydrated meat, which takes hours to rehydrate, freeze-dried meat reverts to its original state in under 15 minutes—less if warm or hot water is used. This article shows you how to rehydrate freeze-dried meat effectively.

What is Freeze Dried Meat?

freeze-dried meatFreeze-dried foods undergo lyophilization, a process that transforms ice into vapor. 

In the case of freeze-dried meats, lyophilization locks in the meat’s flavor and nutrition without changing the meat’s original texture or appearance. When rehydrated, the meat goes back to its original soft, moist texture, making it a suitable ingredient for meat-based recipes. 

Despite popular belief, dehydrating meat and freeze-drying meat are two separate methods of meat preservation. 

Meats that undergo the dehydration process are virtually impossible to rehydrate to their original state. They turn dry, brittle, and tough, much like beef jerky. 

Rehydrated meat is freeze-dried meat that has been introduced to water. The freeze-dried meat reverts to its pre-freeze-dried taste, texture, and nutrients even after being kept in storage for a long time. 

How Long Does Freeze-Dried Meat Last? 

dehydrated meatFreeze-dried meat lasts longer than any other type of food preservation. It has a shelf life of upwards of 25 years and can easily surpass the 30-year mark if proper storage is observed. For that alone, freeze-dried meat is arguably one of the best food items for long-term food storage.  

Freeze-dried meat lasts this long because freeze-drying removes 98% to 99% of the meat’s moisture, one of the primary ingredients that cause food spoilage. Manufacturers also store the meat in vacuum-sealed bags or nitrogen-filled bags to extend the shelf life even longer. For added protection, consider storing the freeze-dried food with oxygen absorbers.

Once the packaging is opened, you should consume the meat within a few weeks and no longer than six months. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of food contamination. 

Step by Step: How to Rehydrate Freeze Dried Meat 

Rehydrating freeze-dried meat takes no more than 15 minutes and only requires a bowl and a liquid of your choice. 

Step 1: Place the Meat In a Bowl 

Place the freeze-dried meat in a deep bowl. The bowl should be deep enough for the liquid to cover the meat. 

Step 2: Add the Right Amount of Liquid 

Pour in a cup of liquid for every cup of meat you want to rehydrate. You can use regular water as well as vegetable or meat broth of varying temperatures. Naturally, cold water takes longer to rehydrate the meat than hot water. 

To accelerate the process, you can either pour boiling hot water into the meat or place the bowl of meat in the microwave for a few minutes. 

The amount of water you use to rehydrate freeze-dried meat doesn’t matter as much as freeze-dried fruit, which can turn mushy due to over-absorption. 

When in doubt, add just enough water to cover the meat. Meat doesn’t over-absorb water, so it’s impossible to add too much. 

Step 3: Let the Meat Reabsorb the Liquid 

Unlike freeze-dried fruits and veggies, which only take several minutes, meat can take up to 15 minutes to go back to its original state. The denser the product, the longer it’ll take to rehydrate. 

Once the meat has fully absorbed the liquid, strain the rest of the liquid and prepare it just as you would with fresh meat. You can add it to a stew or mix it in with some vegetables.  

If you use the meat as an add-on for another dish, like freeze-dried meatballs or chicken cubes in a spaghetti recipe, you can skip the rehydration process. Simply cook the recipe as you normally would and add the freeze-dried meat to the heated pan. 

People Also Ask

Can you Freeze Dry Raw Meat?

Raw chicken and other meats can be freeze-dried, but the freeze-drying process does not kill harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. So, make sure to label the freeze-dried raw meats to avoid any confusion. And once you intend to use the freeze-dried raw meat, make sure to cook it to kill any harmful bacteria.

How Much Water Is Needed to Rehydrate Meat?

The general rule of thumb for rehydrating meat is for every cup of meat, use one cup of liquid. Meat doesn’t over-absorb liquid, so you don’t have to worry about putting in too much water.

Do You Have to Cook Rehydrated Meat?

Pre-made freeze-dried meat is safe to eat without cooking, but you might want to rehydrate it in heated broth to add a little flavor. 

If the meat wasn’t cooked prior to being freeze-dried, it’s important that you cook it first to eliminate harmful bacteria. 

Research shows that some bacteria survive the freeze-drying process and storage, so you should refrain from eating raw, freeze-dried meat. 


Does Freeze Dry Meat Preserve Its Nutrients?

Yes, freeze-dried meat preserves up to 95% of its nutrients, as well as its taste, color, and appearance. Freeze-drying doesn’t affect the protein, calorie count, and overall mineral content of the meat, making it a good emergency food. 

Freeze drying retains the highest amount of nutrients compared to other drying techniques, like air-drying and heat-drying. 


How to Store Freeze Dried Meat?

When storing freeze-dried meats and other foods, they need to be protected from heat, light, oxygen, and moisture to prevent them from spoiling. The ideal containers should be mylar bagsfood-grade buckets, or mason jars.

Where can I get a Freeze Dryer?

Freeze Dryer MachineThe leader in freeze dryers is Harvest Right, who have pioneered the technology. However, if you prefer to stock up on freeze-dried foods instead of buying your own freeze-dryer, you can find all sorts of options on Legacy Food Storage or Amazon.


We hope this article on how to rehydrate freeze-dried meat answers all of your questions! 

Rehydrating freeze-dried meat is as easy as can be; simply add a 1:1 ratio of water and let the meat soak for around 15 minutes. 

If the freeze-dried meat is raw, make sure to cook it just like you would raw meat. Never eat raw, freeze-dried meat, as the freeze-drying process doesn’t kill 100% of the bacteria found in the meat. 

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