Pantry Size

Freeze-Dried Food Pantry Size Cans For Emergencies

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Today it’s all about freeze-dried food in pantry-size cans. When I teach classes or I’m asked to speak to large groups, I always bring some #10 cans (7 inches tall and 6-1/4 inches in diameter), but I also bring some smaller pantry-size cans.

Before I go any further I want to explain the difference between dehydrated and freeze-dried food you can purchase. Please compare apples to oranges so to speak. Not all #10 cans weigh the same. They are not filled to the top, just so you know. Therefore, please compare, ounces to ounces and shipping costs. Compare before you buy.


Okay, most of us buy dehydrated food every day. We purchase cereal, spices, pasta, beans, baking mixes, etc. Dehydration is the way the water has been removed from the products. The water is slowly cooked out of the food without actually cooking it.

It’s one of the most affordable, lightweight, and compact ways to purchase food for storage or everyday cooking. We need to be aware of the dehydrated term, it generally takes longer to cook. You cannot “snack” on it right out of the can. It’s too hard. This is fine for soups, stews, etc. We need to remember that typically dehydrated food does not last as long as freeze-dried. It usually has a shelf life of 5-8 years. They usually have an OPEN shelf life of 6 months to 1 year.

Pros: Dehydrated food is a lot cheaper. It’s ready to stir into a pot of soup or chili. No need to chop, slice, or cut into pieces.

Cons: Shorter shelf-life and you cannot eat the food right out of the can. It must be cooked and therefore uses more fuel to prepare a meal.

Freeze-Dried Food

Let me explain what freeze-dried food is in a nutshell. The first step to freeze-dried food begins with freezing. The second step is the frozen food is placed in a vacuum chamber under low heat. Then the third step starts when the frozen water crystals evaporate directly from ice to vapor which is a process called sublimation.

What’s really nice about freeze-dried food is the fact that it lasts longer, depending on the manufacturer. Please always look at the cans and see the shelf-life. You can eat the food directly out of the can and therefore uses a whole lot less fuel if any when it comes to meal preparation.

Freeze-dried foods usually have an open shelf-life of 1-2 years. Here again, please look at the #10 can or on the website of the said company.

Read More of My Articles  Parsley: How Can I Use It?

Pros: Lasts 20-25 years, depending on the company where you purchase the food. You can also eat the food directly out of the can. You do not need to slice, chop, or cut the food into bite-size pieces.

Cons: It is more expensive, but remember you use less fuel.

Pantry Size Cans

The pantry-size cans I have are a bit more expensive per ounce, but in reality, Mark and I don’t need to open a large #10 can for just the two of us. I’m so glad a few readers reminded me to mention the smaller cans.

I thought to myself, oh my gosh, I have got to write a post about the smaller pantry-size cans. Now, I did write a post a few years ago with pictures of them in my bag of food if we had to leave our home with our 72-hour kits.

It’s so hot where we live, I store my 72-hour kits outside in the garage and the food in a sweater bag inside my home. 72-Hour Food Bags. I want to share this picture with the pantry-size cans and the pouches I purchased a few years ago.

Remember, 95% of them have a shelf life of 20-25 years. I don’t like digging through stuff to rotate, so I used a Sweater Bag to store my grab-and-go food. They work great. Please remember that we still need to grab water to go with the food. Just giving you the heads-up here.

The pantry-size cans are 5-1/2 inches tall and 4 inches in diameter. The reason I like them is that they are smaller in size and I don’t feel like I have to open one of my #10 cans when it’s time to plan a meal.

Pantry Size Bag Holder

This is what the “sweater bag” looks like when filled with my pantry-size cans and pouches.

Pantry Size

I buy a lot of #10 cans, don’t get me wrong, I need them for my long-term storage. But sometimes I need a little cheddar cheese, instant milk, or freeze-dried grapes. Yes, the freeze-dried grapes are awesome in quinoa salads or to eat right out of the can. Yummy!

If you ever buy freeze-dried pineapple it will disappear very fast. It’s my family’s favorite snack. I buy that in #10 cans. I also dehydrate excess pineapple as well. But the commercial products last longer and it saves me money in the long run.

I bought mine from Thrive Life and I highly recommend that company. You can see some pouches above as well, but today I am just talking about the pantry cans.

You may see a can of soup above and some yogurt bites. The shelf-life of those two items is much shorter than the 20-25 years. I feel like I need a soup base where I can just add water and throw in some freeze-dried veggies to make soup. I thought the yogurt bites would be a nice treat to snack on.

Read More of My Articles  Food Storage: What I Stock and Why

My Favorite Pantry Size Freeze-Dried Food:

Soup base:

Update: I can’t find a soup base on the Thrive Life website anymore. I bought some soup bases by Augason Farms at Walmart in #10 cans. I have to have a few cans for emergencies. They do not have a long shelf-life, so please check the cans before you purchase any food storage items.

Freeze-Dried Vegetables:

The website won’t let me grab the pantry links, so here is the Thrive Life Vegetable Link. I have all of these and have tried each and every one of them. Please remember that freeze-dried food is a bit more expensive, but you can eat the food right out of the can.

It uses less fuel and lasts 20-25 years (in a cool room). You don’t have to wash the veggies, slice, or chop them. You can use these in soups, stews or eat them as a side dish after you hydrate them.

Please keep in mind if you see they do not have the one product you want today, it may be out of stock because it is out of season.

Bell Peppers


Butternut Squash




Green Beans

Green Chili Peppers

Green Onions

Green Peas

Potato Dices



Sweet Potatoes

Zucchini: I noticed it is not available at this time. I didn’t like the zucchini anyway, too chewy for me.

Freeze-Dried Fruits:

I have tried all of the fruits I have listed below, except the cranberries. They are all fabulous, no washing, slicing, or cutting up anything. Freeze-dried food lasts longer, just check the shelf-like of the kind you decide to buy whether it’s this brand or another company. Thrive Life is the only one I am aware of that sells pantry-size cans. Thrive Life Fruits Link















Instant Milk:

I highly recommend this milk. I don’t drink milk, but I have made this milk for Mark and used it when I make my white bread.  Thrive Life Instant Milk Link

Final Word

Please remember I don’t sell these, but I do recommend them and I have several cases of the ones I have listed. I will never recommend any food I have not tried. When I taught classes in my home before I started my blog, I had my neighbors taste-test all of these items.

My plan today was to let you know that you can buy pantry-size cans of all these items. They are great for one person or a couple. I think even large families may want a pantry-size can of Parmesan cheese because a #10 can might be too much for them to use before it goes bad once opened.

Thanks to all of you who read and apply the things we discuss on the blog. You’ll be so glad you implement a food storage plan for your family. May God bless this world. Linda

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  1. Linda, do you know where to find lids for pantry size cans? I’ve been looking for a while now with no luck.

  2. Hi Linda, I bought some #2.5 cans of the brand Future Essentials that did NOT come with lids, so looking to find some extras. Any ideas? Thanks, as always! Love your blog!

      1. Bugger they don’t deliver to Australia. Most of the companies that sell freeze dried foods don’t

          1. Hi Linda,

            It is as I am not good at rotating stock so long term supplies would be great. Also buying a freeze dryer is many years off for me

          2. Hi Kylie, buying a freeze dryer at my age does not make sense. If someone gifted one to me, sure, I would use it and love it. But for now, canned goods and the freeze-dried food I have stored are enough for me now. Linda

    1. After you open a can of freeze dried food, would it be any benefit in vacuum sealing what you haven’t used?

      1. Hi Shirley, #2.5 cans are a quarter of the size of #10 cans in volume, so I can usually manage to use them up without having to vacuum seal the remaining food. Great idea though!

  3. I looked on the walmart site for augason number 10 cans and the several I looked at all had dates claiming 25 to 30 years storage. I found 2 soups with 10 years and the others I looked at had up to 25. Since I see that you have thrive as your main picture are you just primarily representing them?

    1. Hi Mike, no I do not represent Thrive Life products. Thanks for letting me know about the dates on the Augason Farm soups expiration dates. My readers always ask what products I have used. Linda

  4. Linda, do you use the Thrive on a daily basis, then purchase more and rotate them. I am interested in getting some, but just don’t want to have them stored and not be used.

    1. Hi Carla, I did when I was teaching classes and showing people in my neighborhood what to buy and how to use it. I have at least two years worth of freeze-dried food for the two of us in my stash stored right now. I buy limited dehydrated as in only potatoes and onions. I used to sell Thrive because I really like their products. It’s too expensive for me to use it daily. If I run out of milk I will go grab a #10 can and store it in the frig to use up within 2 years. When my grandkids come they love to eat the freeze-dried fruits. If I run out of cheese I will grab #10 can of freeze-dried cheese but only in a pinch. They are too expensive to use daily for my budget. I truly believe we need to have a variety of food storage stocked. I will say this if I use up say six #10 cans of a certain food, I will reorder a case because they are cheaper if you buy six #10 cans at once. I love the security knowing I have all the food I need in case a grid down happens. I bought my food storage over about three years so it wasn’t such a shock to the budget. I can sleep at night knowing I can survive any unforeseen emergency. I hope this helps. Linda

  5. Thank you Linda, this is what I was wanting to know. I have a few 10# cans of baking supplies and have been trying to decide what else I want to store. I watch your videos quite a bit and get your emails. I have been storing like you said, start out small. I have my husband on board finally, so this is making it easier. He even gave a course on this for our town as he was the emergency management team until he retired. So we are slowly doing it. Also, I have always cooked from scratch, so this makes it easy.
    thanks for replying.

  6. Hi, I’ve got a bee in my bonnet to create home food storage using the pantry size precisely for the reasons you liked it: size. We have several Thrive products ourselves, so we totally get it. However, this pantry size does not seem common for tin/steel can manufacturers, at least from my own searching. I’m worried it’s a proprietary size that only Thrive makes that they won’t sell in empty bulk. Can you confirm that, or where I can buy empty pantry size cans?

    1. Hi Pete, I’ve heard every size can is hard to buy. I wouldn’t know where to buy the pantry size can. Companies may not call the smaller size “pantry” cans but there are so many sizes of filled cans. I have never purchased empty cans, I wish I could help you. Linda

  7. Linda, I am the only one in my household so the possibility of food going bad once opened is a concern . I have thought about going ahead and dividing up the contents of larger cans & packages into smaller mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. What do you think?

    1. Hi Gwen, that seems like a lot of work to me. Is it all freeze-dried food? If it’s freeze-dried, do you have FoodSaver? You can place the items in jars and remove the air ONLY if you open a can. I would not open cans just to repackage. I’m 72 years old and that makes me tired. I hope you have a FoodSaver. Linda

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