Just Add Water: Freeze-dried vs. Dehydrated Food

· Reading Time: 4 minutes
Just Add Water
Just add water and you’ve got yourself a meal!

After a long day of hiking, camping – or just surviving after a natural disaster – preparing and cooking dinner is most likely one of the last things you have energy for. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to counter that. There are plenty of good meals available that are already pre-prepared and packaged so all you have to do is just add water and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious, home-style meal no matter where you are.

You can just add water to more than just pre-prepared meals. Fruits, vegetables, meat, and other food items can likewise be restored to their original state. But before you go about rehydrating all sorts of food, keep in mind there is a difference in the way you rehydrate freeze-dried food and dehydrated food. While the differences may sound subtle, it is important to reconstitute your food properly so as to maintain proper health and not ruin your food.


Reconstituting Dehydrated Food

If you’re an avid eater of dehydrated food (beef jerky, anyone?), then you might be pleased to know that it doesn’t all have to be eaten that way. However, the process of rehydrating dehydrated food differs depending on the food in question.

Some foods, such as sauces or dips, just need cold water to be added until your food reaches its desired consistency. Other food, however, takes longer and needs more than just cold water. Meat is an example of such foods. When reconstituting meat, you will need to add your meat to boiling water and let cook for an extended period of time. Depending on the thickness and type of meat, for example, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.


Reconstituting Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze-dried food is much easier to reconstitute, and once rehydrated, it will revert back to its original shape, texture, and taste – just like it was the day it was freeze-dried. To revert your freeze-dried food back to its original design, all you need to do is place it in hot water and wait up to 10 minutes. It doesn’t need to be boiled, and again, it reverts back to how it was before it was freeze-dried.


There is no method that has been proven better than the other, so it’s up to you. Personally, I love eating freeze-dried fruit without adding any water at all. The taste is so rich and powerful and absolutely delicious! I’m also a huge fan of the pre-prepared freeze-dried meals. Once reconstituted, they taste as if they were made from scratch and just came out of the oven or off the stovetop.

As some examples, I’d like to show you what some of our just add water freeze-dried meals look like after they’ve been rehydrated. Hold on to your hats, because you’re in for a treat!


Just Add Water Beef Stroganoff
Beef Stroganoff
Just Add Water Chicken Teriyaki
Chicken Teriyaki with Rice








Just Add Water Raspberry Crumble
Raspberry Crumble
Just Add Water Lasagna
Lasagna with Meat Sauce








Don’t those dishes look absolutely amazing? Truth be told, they are. And all we had to do to prepare them was just add water. If you didn’t believe in miracles before, you might as well start because this will change your life. Check out our just add water products at /food-storage/just-add-water.html


Which is your preference, dehydrated of freeze-dried? Let us know why in the comments below!

6 Responses

  • For meals, I prefer the freeze dried and I eat them frequently. For snacking, I prefer the dehydrated. I eat some dehydrated meats, vegetables and fruits right as they come from the can. But the diced poultry needs to be rehydrated for me. For the diced roast beef and Italian sausage crumbles I scoop some out of the can then eat them as is with a spoon. Good stuff.

  • Sorry, but have a question instead of a comment. I cannot find anywhere that gets into the specifics of a true emergency, where at some point hot water may be difficult to come by. I understand about boiling the dehydrated meats/meals, but can I get away with simply adding luke-warm water to the freeze-dried stuff? I’m certain fruits and veggies would be no problem, but what about the main dishes and meats?

    • With freeze-dried food (including meals), just adding water will do the trick. We always recommend having some sort of alternative method to cooking, like a camp stove, so if you do need to boil water in an emergency, you will have that ability. But, yes, freeze-dried food just needs water; no need to boil.

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