Review: Tomorrow’s Harvest freeze-dried food

There are several markets that are booming in the current economic climate, and one of those is emergency preparedness and food storage. People are quickly realizing that fiat dollars and credit cards won’t feed the family, and are working quickly to stock up on needed supplies. Many people are flying blind in their pursuit of food storage, and are unsure as to what to store.

Filling this niche and marketing themselves to these customers (and others), several companies offering freeze-dried products have begun to more aggressively promote their products and fill a need in the marketplace. I looked into several companies based in Utah, and ultimately ended up making a small purchase through Tomorrow’s Harvest.

There are a few reasons why I chose to acquire some freeze-dried food to begin with, and a couple reasons why I chose Tomorrow’s Harvest over their competitors.

I don’t believe that freeze-dried food should be one’s only food storage acquisition. I know one individual who purchased an entire year’s worth of freeze-dried food and subsequently checked his “year supply” task off his list. I think that this is unwise for a few reasons: 1) Diversification in any storage situation is important, 2) Supplementing the nutritional value of freeze-dried food is never a bad option, and 3) It encourages sloth when one thinks that he is “done” simply by making a single purchase and putting it on the shelf.

I do, however, think that freeze-dried food is a great way to supplement one’s overall food storage strategy. In the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario, people will have rattled nerves and depleted energy. Having to cook meals out of basic staples is not my idea of fun, and I’d rather spend my time in more productive pursuits. For that reason, it’s important that I have some quick, easy-to-make meal options on hand to accommodate those days when I don’t want to spend a couple hours preparing my meals. Additionally, your other food storage items (rice, beans, wheat, etc.) can be integrated into the freeze-dried meals to add nutritional value and flavor.

Properly stored, freeze-dried food can last over 20 years. This rivals your basic food items such as rice and beans, and provides a great way to stock up on some easy meals for the long term. I chose Tomorrow’s Harvest over some of the other companies because the meal selection they provided sounded more appetizing than what others had listed, and in addition, they provide fruits and vegetables as part of their kit. An added bonus is their “Grab ‘n Go Bags”, included with your purchase, which consists of four mylar bags with 11 servings in each. These are handy for your bugout situations where you need to leave in a hurry—simply grab a bag or two (or four) and you’ll have an easy meal solution by simply heating up some water.

There’s no reason why we need to slave away cooking beans and wheat and subject ourselves to bland meals on a repeated basis. Having basic staples of food is an excellent idea, and one I recommend heartily—but I think it’s wise to store freeze-dried meals in addition to the rest, simply to provide for easier meal solutions on days when we’re exhausted, short on time, or simply looking for something with a bit more flavor.

I recently had some of the Baked Potato Cheese Soup, and it exceeded my expectations. The serving size for one of these meals is ten ounces, so it would be a good idea to supplement the meal with other items from your food storage, or their included fruits and veggies. Meal preparation was a piece of cake, of course, since we only had to boil some water, add it to the meal, and stir. Freeze-dried food is never going to taste like mom’s home cooking, but I was impressed by the flavor and taste and could definitely see myself living off of these meals for a while, especially given how easy it is to store and prepare.

If you’re looking to round out your food storage and add in some delicious, easy-to-make meals, then freeze-dried food is an option you should consider. And Tomorrow’s Harvest, from my experience, has a great product and a knowledgeable team willing to help.

26 Replies to “Review: Tomorrow’s Harvest freeze-dried food”

  1. If you’re recommending freeze-dried foods for their ease of preparation, you’re correct … plus FD meats are available. But the PRICE of them is astronomical compared to dehydrated. Plus, they take up more space because FD foods don’t shrivel in the FD’ing process, like dehydrated foods do.

    Dehydrated foods will also store every bit as long as FD.

    There’s a wide variety of both at http://www.internet-grocer.net They ship nationwide (since 1994).

  2. If you’re recommending freeze-dried foods for their ease of preparation, you’re correct … plus FD meats are available. But the PRICE of them is astronomical compared to dehydrated. Plus, they take up more space because FD foods don’t shrivel in the FD’ing process, like dehydrated foods do.

    Dehydrated foods will also store every bit as long as FD.

    There’s a wide variety of both at http://www.internet-grocer.net They ship nationwide (since 1994).

  3. Don- I assume he was talking about freeze-dried and dehydrated as I don’t recall any of these companies selling FD only supplies, but I could be wrong…

    Is it just freeze-dried? How much space is this portion of your storage taking up? You mentioned mylar–are those inside of a bucket?

  4. Don- I assume he was talking about freeze-dried and dehydrated as I don’t recall any of these companies selling FD only supplies, but I could be wrong…

    Is it just freeze-dried? How much space is this portion of your storage taking up? You mentioned mylar–are those inside of a bucket?

  5. For those who are unaware, here’s a description of the difference between freeze-dried and dehyrdrated:

    Freeze-drying: Food is rapidly frozen then placed in a strong vacuum. 98 percent of moisture in the food is removed as vapor through sublimation. Freeze-drying uses low heat and causes little damage to the tissue, taste or aroma. Products easily reconstitute and more closely resemble the taste and texture of the pre-dried food. The process is time consuming and requires large, expensive machinery.

    Dehydration: Heat is applied to a food, removing the moisture through evaporation. This is the preferred drying method for some foods, including onions, peppers and tomatoes. Dehydration is a lower cost method and results in a more compact product.

    Another article worth reading says the following:

    Often when people first think of what food would be good to store for disaster preparedness, they think of dehydrated food.

    But is dehydrated food really a good choice for survival food?

    Let’s consider 3 factors; preparation, taste, and shelf life.

    Dehydrated food requires a lot preparation to be consumed. In order to use dehydrated food it needs to be hydrated so you need to soak it. You still need to prepare, mix and cook it. To cook you will need cooking equipment and fuel. You will have to clean up after the cooking.

    Compare this to freeze dried food.

    For a hot meal using freeze dried food you need heated water, just add it and wait a few minutes. If you have to, you can use unheated water but still no cooking is required. This is huge convenience, not to be undervalued for disaster preparedness. There likely will be times in a disaster when you do not have time and energy to cook using dehydrated foods.

    You may like the taste of dehydrated foods you have consumed as a snack or specialty food. However if you are eating for weeks or months meals made from dehydrated food as a base, you may have difficulty consuming healthy amounts of food.

    You should never underestimate the importance of being able to enjoy the food you are eating, there are examples in history of people starving even though there was edible food available.

    It is of great benefit to lower stress wherever possible in a disaster situation, lower stress results in people dealing more effectively with problems in any situation. Having good tasting hot meals regularly tends to lower stress. Freeze dried food retains the original taste and freshness when re-hydrated to a high degree.

    Finally there is the shelf-life to consider. The likelihood of a experiencing a disaster is greater over a longer period. The longer the shelf-life of your survival food, the less the often you will be replacing it. Even worse, would be discovering you have rancid food when you need it most. Dehydrated food shelf life is usually rated 8-10 years. Freeze dried food can keep it’s flavor, appearance and nutritional value for 25 years.

    While you may save a little with dehydrated food in the up front cost, the long run costs will be much higher than if you choose freeze dried food. The added benefits of taste and less time to prepare to eat make freeze dried food a much better choice than dehydrated food.

    I purchased the three month supply kit and it came in 40 #10 cans. The mylar bags for the Grab ‘n Go system are standalone, meant to simply be packed or carried around with you.

  6. For those who are unaware, here’s a description of the difference between freeze-dried and dehyrdrated:

    Freeze-drying: Food is rapidly frozen then placed in a strong vacuum. 98 percent of moisture in the food is removed as vapor through sublimation. Freeze-drying uses low heat and causes little damage to the tissue, taste or aroma. Products easily reconstitute and more closely resemble the taste and texture of the pre-dried food. The process is time consuming and requires large, expensive machinery.

    Dehydration: Heat is applied to a food, removing the moisture through evaporation. This is the preferred drying method for some foods, including onions, peppers and tomatoes. Dehydration is a lower cost method and results in a more compact product.

    Another article worth reading says the following:

    Often when people first think of what food would be good to store for disaster preparedness, they think of dehydrated food.

    But is dehydrated food really a good choice for survival food?

    Let’s consider 3 factors; preparation, taste, and shelf life.

    Dehydrated food requires a lot preparation to be consumed. In order to use dehydrated food it needs to be hydrated so you need to soak it. You still need to prepare, mix and cook it. To cook you will need cooking equipment and fuel. You will have to clean up after the cooking.

    Compare this to freeze dried food.

    For a hot meal using freeze dried food you need heated water, just add it and wait a few minutes. If you have to, you can use unheated water but still no cooking is required. This is huge convenience, not to be undervalued for disaster preparedness. There likely will be times in a disaster when you do not have time and energy to cook using dehydrated foods.

    You may like the taste of dehydrated foods you have consumed as a snack or specialty food. However if you are eating for weeks or months meals made from dehydrated food as a base, you may have difficulty consuming healthy amounts of food.

    You should never underestimate the importance of being able to enjoy the food you are eating, there are examples in history of people starving even though there was edible food available.

    It is of great benefit to lower stress wherever possible in a disaster situation, lower stress results in people dealing more effectively with problems in any situation. Having good tasting hot meals regularly tends to lower stress. Freeze dried food retains the original taste and freshness when re-hydrated to a high degree.

    Finally there is the shelf-life to consider. The likelihood of a experiencing a disaster is greater over a longer period. The longer the shelf-life of your survival food, the less the often you will be replacing it. Even worse, would be discovering you have rancid food when you need it most. Dehydrated food shelf life is usually rated 8-10 years. Freeze dried food can keep it’s flavor, appearance and nutritional value for 25 years.

    While you may save a little with dehydrated food in the up front cost, the long run costs will be much higher than if you choose freeze dried food. The added benefits of taste and less time to prepare to eat make freeze dried food a much better choice than dehydrated food.

    I purchased the three month supply kit and it came in 40 #10 cans. The mylar bags for the Grab ‘n Go system are standalone, meant to simply be packed or carried around with you.

  7. Companies that sell FD foods perpetuate the myth that it lasts longer than dehydrated, but that’s just not true.

    One of the countries largest dehydrated canneries tested dehydrated food that was 35 years old, and it was still tasty, attractive and nutritious.

    Again, the advantages of freeze dried are:

    1. You can get real MEATS
    2. You can get prepared meals that just need boiling water added (though, in REALITY you’ll find that some items will NOT rehydrate properly and still need further cooking)

    The downsides still remain:

    1. Expense. The energy needed to produce FD foods drives the price very high
    2. Space usage. Since FD foods don’t shrivel, they take up twice the space as dehydrated (meaning you get 1/2 as much per can as with dehydrated)
    3. Lack of variety. Because of the expense, fewer vegetables are freeze-dried, compared with dehydrated. (Corn, peas and beans are pretty much it…)

    With dehydrated foods, if you SOAK them (like beans overnight), prep time is greatly reduced. Further, using a pressure cooker to prepare them, further reduces that prep time.

    I have no vendetta against FD foods, just trying to make folks aware of the realities … and save them some money.

    the company at http://www.internet-grocer.com sells both, so you can compare.

    Don

  8. Companies that sell FD foods perpetuate the myth that it lasts longer than dehydrated, but that’s just not true.

    One of the countries largest dehydrated canneries tested dehydrated food that was 35 years old, and it was still tasty, attractive and nutritious.

    Again, the advantages of freeze dried are:

    1. You can get real MEATS
    2. You can get prepared meals that just need boiling water added (though, in REALITY you’ll find that some items will NOT rehydrate properly and still need further cooking)

    The downsides still remain:

    1. Expense. The energy needed to produce FD foods drives the price very high
    2. Space usage. Since FD foods don’t shrivel, they take up twice the space as dehydrated (meaning you get 1/2 as much per can as with dehydrated)
    3. Lack of variety. Because of the expense, fewer vegetables are freeze-dried, compared with dehydrated. (Corn, peas and beans are pretty much it…)

    With dehydrated foods, if you SOAK them (like beans overnight), prep time is greatly reduced. Further, using a pressure cooker to prepare them, further reduces that prep time.

    I have no vendetta against FD foods, just trying to make folks aware of the realities … and save them some money.

    the company at http://www.internet-grocer.com sells both, so you can compare.

    Don

  9. I see the foods Connor talked about are a mix of freeze-dried and dehydrated, and are around $1.75 per meal.

    Wouldn’t call that “astronomical,” but appreciate the info Dean. I’m looking into getting some myslef. Tomorrow’s Harvest looks like they make it pretty simple to decide what to do…partly because the selection isn’t huge–you’re only deciding on quantity rather than foods (but I guess I won’t bee too picky in a TEOTWAWKI situation).

    Most of all–don’t forget that you’ll need to store more water if you go this route, since you’ll be using a lot more to rehydrate your food in addition to drinking, washing, etc.

  10. I see the foods Connor talked about are a mix of freeze-dried and dehydrated, and are around $1.75 per meal.

    Wouldn’t call that “astronomical,” but appreciate the info Dean. I’m looking into getting some myslef. Tomorrow’s Harvest looks like they make it pretty simple to decide what to do…partly because the selection isn’t huge–you’re only deciding on quantity rather than foods (but I guess I won’t bee too picky in a TEOTWAWKI situation).

    Most of all–don’t forget that you’ll need to store more water if you go this route, since you’ll be using a lot more to rehydrate your food in addition to drinking, washing, etc.

  11. Conner,
    I would be careful what you call “freeze-dried” food. Tomorrow’s Harvest sells packages containing dehydrated entrees with TVP and includes some fruits, vegetables and desserts that are actually freeze- dried. Take a look at the ingredient list for every entree (on their website) and you won’t find a single freeze-dried item. All ingredients are dehydrated and all “meats” are actually imitation meat (textured vegetable protien).

    Take a look at dailybread.com. Daily Bread sells foods that are actually freeze-dried with REAL meat. Freeze drying is much more costly, so if Tomorrow’s Harvest is selling a similar package with dehydrated meals containing TVP you are probably paying too much for something that isn’t what you thought it was.

  12. Conner,
    I would be careful what you call “freeze-dried” food. Tomorrow’s Harvest sells packages containing dehydrated entrees with TVP and includes some fruits, vegetables and desserts that are actually freeze- dried. Take a look at the ingredient list for every entree (on their website) and you won’t find a single freeze-dried item. All ingredients are dehydrated and all “meats” are actually imitation meat (textured vegetable protien).

    Take a look at dailybread.com. Daily Bread sells foods that are actually freeze-dried with REAL meat. Freeze drying is much more costly, so if Tomorrow’s Harvest is selling a similar package with dehydrated meals containing TVP you are probably paying too much for something that isn’t what you thought it was.

  13. JM is dead right about the confusion between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. I think that, sometimes, that’s done intentionally.

    Steven,

    As to storing water, that’s a BAD idea, IMO.

    1. It takes up valuable space.
    2. The water must be treated with poisons (chlorine bleach, iodine, etc. I wouldn’t trust the “oxygen drops”)
    3. There’s a real danger of getting sick, or dying, drinking improperly-stored water.

    A much better solution is to get a quality water filter. For example, the AquaRain is a gravity-fed water filter that filters to better than 99.99% efficiency and uses NO power. (You can see it at http://www.internet-grocer.net/aqua.htm )

    With such a filter, you can safely drink lake, pond, pool, or puddle water, and not have to use extra storage space.

  14. JM is dead right about the confusion between dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. I think that, sometimes, that’s done intentionally.

    Steven,

    As to storing water, that’s a BAD idea, IMO.

    1. It takes up valuable space.
    2. The water must be treated with poisons (chlorine bleach, iodine, etc. I wouldn’t trust the “oxygen drops”)
    3. There’s a real danger of getting sick, or dying, drinking improperly-stored water.

    A much better solution is to get a quality water filter. For example, the AquaRain is a gravity-fed water filter that filters to better than 99.99% efficiency and uses NO power. (You can see it at http://www.internet-grocer.net/aqua.htm )

    With such a filter, you can safely drink lake, pond, pool, or puddle water, and not have to use extra storage space.

  15. To help our readers understand potential bias, it should be noted that “JM” is the owner of Daily Bread, the product/company he recommends in his comment.

  16. To help our readers understand potential bias, it should be noted that “JM” is the owner of Daily Bread, the product/company he recommends in his comment.

  17. Connor,
    Did you check the ingredient list to determine whether the food is freeze-dried? I thought you would be more concerned with ensuring that the information in your review is accurate. Just to be sure, do you have any affiliation with Tomorrow’s Harvest other than the purchase you made?

  18. Connor,
    Did you check the ingredient list to determine whether the food is freeze-dried? I thought you would be more concerned with ensuring that the information in your review is accurate. Just to be sure, do you have any affiliation with Tomorrow’s Harvest other than the purchase you made?

  19. Did you check the ingredient list to determine whether the food is freeze-dried?

    Their ingredient list does not delineate which are freeze dried versus dehydrated. It does include a few mentions of some dehydrated components in some of the meals, thus implying (in my mind) that the rest are freeze dried.

    I have reached out to Tomorrow’s Harvest regarding your allegations, and will post here any response I receive from them.

    Just to be sure, do you have any affiliation with Tomorrow’s Harvest other than the purchase you made?

    Nope, I’m just a one-time customer with no particular interest, financial or otherwise, in their continued success.

  20. Did you check the ingredient list to determine whether the food is freeze-dried?

    Their ingredient list does not delineate which are freeze dried versus dehydrated. It does include a few mentions of some dehydrated components in some of the meals, thus implying (in my mind) that the rest are freeze dried.

    I have reached out to Tomorrow’s Harvest regarding your allegations, and will post here any response I receive from them.

    Just to be sure, do you have any affiliation with Tomorrow’s Harvest other than the purchase you made?

    Nope, I’m just a one-time customer with no particular interest, financial or otherwise, in their continued success.

  21. I don’t have a horse in this race, but the descriptions of the meals are “dehydrated and freeze dried” and many meals ingredients specify “real meat”.

  22. I don’t have a horse in this race, but the descriptions of the meals are “dehydrated and freeze dried” and many meals ingredients specify “real meat”.

  23. Re: “dehydrated and freeze dried” and many meals ingredients specify “real meat”.

    Freeze dried meals contain REAL meat. However, there are companies that offer wet-packed (not freeze dried) meats in cans.

    Dehydrated products can only have TVPs (textured vegetable protein) for long-term storage. The only other way to dehydrate meat is to jerk it … which adds a lot of salt.

    Bruce

  24. Re: “dehydrated and freeze dried” and many meals ingredients specify “real meat”.

    Freeze dried meals contain REAL meat. However, there are companies that offer wet-packed (not freeze dried) meats in cans.

    Dehydrated products can only have TVPs (textured vegetable protein) for long-term storage. The only other way to dehydrate meat is to jerk it … which adds a lot of salt.

    Bruce

  25. JM, you are wack son!! I ahve done researched and talked to reps from each company. Tomorrow’s Harvest had better customer service and knowledge on their product. Daily Bread claims 100% freeze dried food which is not true, yes, they do have about 5 meals that are all freeze dried, but the rest of the meals have dehydrated ingredients.The Tomorrow’s Harvest rep i spoke to claimed they have a few meals that are 100% freeze dried and the rest are freeze dried with some dehydrated ingredients. I know for a fact that in order to be 100% freeze dried you must carry Mountain House in every meal, and Daily bread does not, neither does Tomorrow’s Harvest. Soo.. i will buy from the company that is ethical..TH. In other words I will not buy from Daily Bread.

    1. Ha Ha, you could not have it any more backwards . . . and unfortunately it seems like some of Tomorrow’s Harvest reps are either misinformed or are being deceptive . . .

      I couldn’t decide which company to go with so I actually bought a smaller package from both and have since put the time into more in-depth research on my own. Tomorrow’s Harvest primary supplier is a company called Alpine Aire which uses (to put it simply) dehydrated entrees with freeze dried meats mixed in (Look up AlpineAire on the web and you will also notice that they do not claim their food to last 25 years but Tomorrow’s Harvest does?). Their package consisted of: Breakfast – all dehydrated, Lunch/Dinners – dehydrated and freeze dry mix, and yes two (just two – and these are usually the free sample they let you try) are Mtn House 100% freeze dried meals which are actually in pouches with only a 5-7 year shelf life.

      Daily Bread packages on the other hand consisted of: Breakfast – 2 of them are freeze dried and the other 4-5 are dehydrated, Lunch/Dinner – different meals 100% freeze dried and come from Oregon FreezeDry/Mtn House and a company called Canada FreezeDry which does a couple of the meals too. This freeze dried food is basically labeled under the Daily Bread label and sold in their kits in bulk.

      Both companies have similar prices but I plan on adding more Daily Bread due to the fact that it is more actual freeze dried food. I’ve talked to a few of their reps at trade shows too and it seems like when I talk to a rep and order that they are a few promo offers if you be sure to ask.

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