What Does Freeze-Dried Meat Look Like?

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Have you ever wondered, “what does freeze dried meat look like” in those #10 cans or pantry cans at the food storage companies or online? I am not talking about TVP, textured vegetable protein today. I don’t care for the smell or flavor of TVP, just giving you the heads up here. But I know a lot of people like it and use it regularly.

Today I want to show you what freeze dried cooked chicken, cooked ham and cooked ground beef look like straight out of the can. Plus, I will give you some ideas on how to use it.

Freeze Dried Meat:

Now, remember, freeze dried meat is already cooked so all you have to do when you open the can is reconstitute the amounts you want to use with water. Then drain the water off and the meat is ready for whatever recipe you want to use. Keep in mind the meat is cooked so you cannot make something like meatloaf with the cooked hamburger. The manufacturer you purchase your freeze dried meat from will have instructions on the cans on how to reconstitute it. Today I am going to show you the brand Thrive (formerly Shelf Reliance).

You can see the picture above has cooked a seasoned beef hamburger on the left, cooked white meat-chopped chicken in the middle and chopped diced ham on the right.

I need to slip this picture in below because the larger #10 can of hamburger I have had in my food storage for a few years (I opened it for this post-today) is on the right side of the picture. I buy most food storage items in #10 cans because they are more economical. The pantry can on the left is a different hamburger (same brand) than what I purchased a few years ago. The new pantry can have a better texture but has more ingredients than just hamburger.

They both have a shelf life of 25 years (under optimal storage conditions) unopened and one year if opened. The larger #10 can have the following ingredients listed on the can: cooked ground beef, beef pepper cream, rosemary extract, and salt. I will list the new hamburger ingredients below. When I use the old style cooked hamburger it is a bit hard to eat on say tacos because the hamburger is formed in round circles and it rolls out of the taco shell. They no longer sell that style of cooked hamburger.

I taught a class once with mini taco shells, grated cheese, salsa, lettuce and the hamburger meat rolled out of the shells. We all had a great laugh, but the flavor was great! The new style looks a lot more like fried hamburger. The original round circles of hamburger would be great in soups, spaghetti, casseroles, etc.

What Does Freeze Dried Meat Look Like | by FoodStorageMoms.com

I purchased the smaller pantry size cans above so I could take pictures and show you what freeze dried meat looks like when you open a can. I would not buy this meat to eat on a regular basis because the price would be very expensive. I do recommend having a variety of proteins that your family might enjoy if we should lose power for extended amounts of time. If the power goes out the freezer might be okay for a few days if we do not open it. After three or four days I would suggest a barbecue for the neighborhood or get your pressure canner out to start bottling the meat you have frozen that is now in the thawing process.

Hopefully, this will not happen, but we need to be prepared if we do not have a generator to keep the refrigerator or freezer going. I keep very little meat in my freezer for this very reason. The cost of a large gas powered generator is not in my budget. Therefore I stick with a few cases of freeze dried meat to use when needed.

Here is a picture of the freeze dried chicken and ham made into sandwiches with freeze dried celery, onions and a little mayo with salt and pepper:

What Does Freeze Dried Meat Look Like | by FoodStorageMoms.com

1. Thrive Freeze Dried Hamburger:

Thrive Life Freeze Dried Ground Beef.

I quote from the Thrive website:

SHELF LIFE

Closed: 25 years

Open: 1 year

Shelf life based on optimal storage conditions.

SERVINGS

#10 (gallon-size): 23

Pantry Can: 7

Pouch: N/A
NUTRITION
Ingredients: FREEZE-DRIED BEEF, SALT, SPICES, FLAVORINGS, HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN, GRILL FLAVOR (MALTODEXTRIN, FLAVOR [FROM CORN OIL], MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS).
All products are processed in a facility that handles milk, egg, soy, wheat and tree nut products.
Country of origin: United States, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Canada

How to use freeze dried hamburger:

I like to use the hamburger in the following ways:

1. soups

2. spaghetti

3. lasagna

4. chili

5. sloppy joes

5. tacos

6. tostadas

7. casseroles

2. Thrive Freeze Dried Chicken:

Thrive Life Freeze Dried Chopped Chicken.

I quote from the Thrive website: SHELF LIFE

Closed: 25 years

Open: 1 year
Shelf life based on optimal storage conditions.

SERVINGS

#10 (gallon-size): 22

Pantry Can: 7
Pouch: N/A
NUTRITION

Ingredients: COOKED CHICKEN

All products are processed in a facility that handles milk, egg, soy, wheat and tree nut products.
Country of origin: United States

How to use freeze dried chicken per Linda:

1. chicken salad

2. chicken soup

3. chicken tacos

4. chicken tostadas

5. white chicken chili

6. chicken casseroles

7. barbecue chicken pizza

8. Chicken/shredded cabbage salad

9. chicken fried rice

3. Thrive Freeze Dried Ham:

Thrive Life Freeze Dried Diced Ham.

I quote from the Thrive website:

SHELF LIFE

Closed: 25 years

Open: 2 weeks
Shelf life based on optimal storage conditions.

SERVINGS

#10 (gallon-size): 18

Pantry Can: 6
Pouch: N/A
NUTRITION

Ingredients: Cooked, diced Ham (Cured with Salt, Dextrose, Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Smoke Flavor, Sodium Nitrate)

All products are processed in a facility that handles milk, egg, soy, wheat and tree nut products.

Country of origin: United States

How to use freeze dried ham per Linda:

1. omelets

2. ham salad

3. potatoes and ham casserole

4. ham and bean soup

5. pizza topping

6. ham casseroles

7. ham fried rice

I hope this post gets you excited to try some freeze dried meat today, or very soon when your budget allows it. Life is good when we have food in the pantry.

Food storage by Linda

10 thoughts on “What Does Freeze-Dried Meat Look Like?

  • August 21, 2015 at 11:16 am
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    I have never used freeze dried meats and was surprised to see that the meat salad sandwiches looked close to fresh. Interesting thank you for sharing… Per Karen 🙂 I liked that…

    Reply
    • August 21, 2015 at 12:07 pm
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      Hi Karen, I was hoping this post would make people aware of their protein options for long term storage at least. Thanks for stopping by, Linda

      Reply
  • August 21, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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    Why does the ham last only 2 weeks, when opened, and the beef, and chicken, last a year, when opened?

    Reply
    • August 21, 2015 at 12:13 pm
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      Hi Jonnie, I’m glad you noticed that I highlighted that 2 weeks in RED! That’s what Thrive says on their website AND on the cans. It’s interesting because I thought to myself…hmmm what about the sausage on Thrive…it says one year when opened. I knew the ham had a two week period so I only bought ONE can. Two weeks does not work for me. I did put the excess freeze dried ham in the freezer because I can’t eat all that ham in two weeks. But in a power outage I could make omelets for the neighborhood if we lost power. Ham is on the bottom of my list for food storage. Linda
      P.S. This is off Honeyville’s website: Shelf-Life and I quote: Freeze Dried Diced Ham will store for 10 to 15 years in an unopened sealed can (oxygen absorber included) under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place). Once opened, freeze dried meat should be used within 1 month if refrigerated, 1 week if not.

      Reply
  • August 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm
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    I opened a #10 can of of Thrive FD ground beef as I needed some for a recipe about 18 months ago, put it in the cupboard & forgot about it till recently. I did not know whether to throw it out or not. It smells fine, looks OK, but would I get sick if I ate it? Does it go bad?

    Reply
    • August 28, 2015 at 9:54 am
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      Hi Lynda, I would throw it out myself. I always say when in doubt throw it out. Mine say one year if opened. I know even the food we can ourselves is only good for one year unopened. I would contact Thrive myself so you feel good about your decision, here is the phone number I have: #877-743-5373 Linda

      Reply
  • October 2, 2016 at 5:58 pm
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    I just found this post by doing a quick search for something unrelated, but I just wanted to let you know that you CAN, indeed, make meatloaf and meatballs from the Thrive Life Hamburger. I know this for a fact because I have done it 🙂
    In fact, I have posted the recipe on the Thrive Life Recipe stie: https://www.thrivelife.com/recipes/recipe/view/id/1481

    Thanks for sharing the info about the protiens!

    Reply
  • January 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm
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    the meat salad sandwiches look awesome and fresh. I have a can of celery and a can of onion. I have tried to reconstitute both…they are just soggy and wilty. I am wondering if reconstituting these two is there a way that they would be at least a little crispy? I am using the can directions. Thanks. Also I am wondering if there is a Thrive consultant in NW Mississippi area

    Reply
    • January 15, 2018 at 7:34 am
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      Hi Martha, is your celery and onion dehydrated or freeze-dried? There is a big difference. First of all, neither will ever taste like freshly cut celery and onions. But freeze-dried is less soggy. Dehydrated is designed for cooking soups, casseroles, etc. One tip for sure depending on the brand never uses warm water to dehydrate, it starts to cook the freeze-dried vegetables, cheese, etc. I do not work for Thrive, but they may have a consultant in your area. https://www.thrivelife.com/parties/index/findconsultant (you do not have to have a party to purchase products). This link will direct you to a Thrive consultant in your area. Linda

      Reply

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