What’s the Best Organic Freeze-Dried Food?

If you love backpacking as much as you love eating organic food, what options do you have for hitting the trails with some lightweight, space-saving vittles that weren’t grown using toxic pesticides and herbicides?

As it turns out,not that many. Though several companies freeze dry meals, only a couple focus on organic ingredients.

But first, what is freeze dried food and why is it a backpacker’s staple?

Freeze-dried food is food that has been frozen, placed in a vacuum chamber under low heat until all the water crystals in the food evaporate, anddried further to make sure all the water molecules are gone. The food is then sealed so it won’t be contaminated bywater, oxygen or any other outside elements.

Most freeze-dried food is pretty inedible right out of the package. Fortunately, to turn the dried stuff into good food,you simply add back in what’s been taken out: water.

There are two main advantages of freeze-dried food for camping and especially backpacking. First, it is much lighter than food that still contains liquid. And second, because it is usually sealed in flat bags, it is easy to pack without taking up as much space as fresh food.

Though freeze-dried food fills many a hiker’s pack, it’s also sometimes stockpiled by people who are worried that a natural or man-made disaster could occur and make it difficult or impossible to get to a grocery store. Because freeze-dried food has such a long shelf life, it might make more sense to create a cache of freeze-dried meals than, say, cans of soup or tuna fish.

You can get organic freeze-dried versions of almost any category of food you enjoy eating, including fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as “meals” that range from lasagna to stew, though the number of manufacturers is actually pretty small.

Note that some foods come in large cans that might not be handy for backpacking or camping.Before you buy, make sure that the food is packaged in the serving size that best fits your needs. If you’re only going to be out for a week, you might not want to carry a one pound can of freeze-dried peas or corn.

Here are 3companies that sell organic freeze-dried food:

Backpacker’s Pantry – This company sells it all: breakfast, dessert, entrees, sides and snacks. You can eat vegan or carnivorously, go gluten-free or low on salt. In addition to buying single servings, you can choose a three-day meal kit that will feed two adults for three days that includes huevos rancheros, peanut raisin oatmeal, chili mac with beef and even cheesecake.

North Bay Trading Co. - North Bay offers a wide variety of certified organic, GMO free, freeze-dried fruits, including a fruit blend as well as organic pineapple, whole raspberries, wild blueberries, cherries and Granny Smith apples. Rather than sell freeze-dried vegetable pieces, they sell air-dried sweet potatoes, tomatoes and pumpkin as powders. One pound of their air-dried organic sweet potato powder will create three pounds of fresh prepared product. Just add 1 part sweet potato powder to 5 parts water and boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

Natural News Store - This group sells freeze-dried 100 percent organic corn, blueberries, mango pieces, raspberries, strawberries, apples, bananas and peas. However, its website notes that supplies are limited.

NuHarvest - This company’s offerings include diced organic chicken,whole strawberries, broccoli and mango. However, it looks like rather than smaller servings, its foods are sold in 20 oz or 40 oz sizes.

Mary Janes Farm, at REI – REI sells organic freeze-dried food produced by Mary Janes Farm that includes shepherd’s meat pie, burritos, mac ‘n cheese, curry, lentils and rice, and black beans and rice. This looks promising but a note on the website says that the product is currently out of stock, and it is not on the Mary Janes Farm website. It is possible you can still find Mary Janes in an REI store.

One downside of freeze-dried food is the plastic packaging it usually comes in. Remember to pack out any waste you create. Rinse out bags and air dry them, just like the food, so you can compress them for easy storage while you’re hiking.

87 comments

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen9 months ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen9 months ago

Thank you

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Peggy B
Peggy B9 months ago

Good info.

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Great information and advice Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Ingrid H
Past Member 9 months ago

Thank you

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John B
John Babout a year ago

Thanks for sharing the info.

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Brad H.
Brad H1 years ago

thanks

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william Miller
william Miller1 years ago

thanks

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