Mountain House freeze-dried meals have been keeping climbers, soldiers,
explorers, hunters, anglers, hikers, backpackers, preppers, and all
sorts of other people happily nourished for decades. If you’re reading
this, we reckon there’s a good chance you’ve already had the pleasure of
tucking into one of our dishes—out in some alpine or canyonland
campsite, say, or hunkered down in candlelight during a stormy power
But what exactly is freeze-dried
food, and how do you go about rehydrating it for consumption?
When it comes to how to prepare freeze dried food—well, it really
couldn’t be easier. Here we’ll serve up (if you will) a short summary of
the freeze-drying process for some background, the basic benefits it
affords, and the how-to of our ridiculously convenient, super-delicious,
and nutritionally rich just-add-hot-water meals!
The Nuts & Bolts of Mountain House’s Freeze-Drying
As we’ve explained
before here at the Mountain House blog, the fundamental
process of freeze-drying is actually pretty simple—though of course, it
takes some high-tech equipment to pull off at scale. Here’s how it
works, in a nutshell:
First, we cook our meals—all of them delectable dishes, from Biscuits
& Gravy to Italian
Style Pepper Steak With Rice & Tomatoes. (This part of the
procedure smells really good.)
Then we transfer the contents of our big cookpots to specially made
trays. These go into our massive freezer in order to (you guessed it)
freeze the food solid.
When the vittles are nice and frozen, we load up a cart with the trays
and wheel it inside a vacuum chamber. To actually make the vacuum within
the vessel, we reduce its air pressure to approximately what you’d
experience a cool 46 miles above Earth’s surface.
Next, we add a small amount of heat beneath the food trays. The one-two
punch of the heat and the vacuum turns the ice directly into water
vapor, without any liquid phase (aka melted water) in between. In other
words, the ice sublimates. We
capture the water vapor produced by the sublimation so that it doesn’t
re-enter the food. This step typically takes between 12 and 24 hours,
depending on what sort of food we’re freeze-drying.
The last step is packaging: a proprietary technique that results in
freeze-dried meals and ingredients with the longest shelf life in the
unbeatable 30-Year Taste Guarantee!
The Advantages of Freeze-Drying
The primary benefit of our freeze-drying method is that it preserves the
nutrition, flavor, and texture of our foods. The sublimation of ice into
vapor without an intervening liquid state preserves the food's natural
pore structure. With our just-add-hot-water meals, therefore, moisture
can efficiently fill those pores and rehydrate the dish in its
pre-frozen form: the inherent vitamins, minerals, and enzymes—plus the
original mouthfeel and taste—left intact.
Rehydrating food, in other words, you get all its innate goodness. And
meanwhile you’ve got lightweight, highly storable and packable food
packages ideal for camping and backpacking adventures as well as
disaster kits, bug-out bags, and other emergency stockpiles.
How to Prepare Freeze Dried Food
Rehydrating freeze dried food is as straightforward as it comes with
Mountain House packages. We’re not oversimplifying things when we call
them “just-add-hot-water meals.” Really—that’s all it takes!
To whip up a gourmet Mountain House meal, all you need to do is heat up
water and add it directly to the pouch. How much water depends on the
particular meal: Typical amounts are one, 1 ¾, or two cups. Just check
the directions on the back of the package.
Before you pour in the water, remember to remove the little
oxygen-absorbing packet inside the pouch. (And don’t worry: If you
forget to do so before adding water, your food’s still fine—just pluck
the packet out of there before you chow down.)
The pouch directions will give you the short-and-sweet timetable for how
to make freeze dried food. Typically you’ll add the boiling water, stir
the mixture, and seal the pouch to let it sit for eight or nine minutes,
stirring midway through if you wish.
** Tip! If you can't
heat water, cold water will also work to rehydrate your Mountain House
meal. Rehydration will take about twice as long, and we think our meals
taste better hot, but in an emergency, a cold just-add-water meal will
do the trick, too!
Rehydrating Food: The In-the-Field Benefits of
Mountain House Just Add Hot Water Meals
It’s no secret why military personnel and outdoor recreationists of all
stripes have turned to Mountain House just-add-hot-water meals for so
many years. Besides all the good stuff we mentioned above—the preserved
flavor, texture, and nutritional value of freeze-dried food; the
easy-to-pack, easy-to-tote nature of our packages; the exceptionally
long shelf life—Mountain House meals are ideal for the backcountry
because of their speedy, minimalist preparation.
Rehydrating freeze dried food requires nothing more than a small amount
of water and the fuel to heat it to a boil. From sparking the stove to
your first (mouthwatering) bite, we’re talking a “cooking” process that
takes mere minutes. In our kitchen, freezer, and vacuum chamber, we’ve
done basically all of the work for you.
That leaves more time for setting up the tent, drying off gear, scouring
the map for next day’s itinerary, soaking up the wilderness sunset,
sneaking in a quick scramble up that alluring-looking summit above
camp—in short, appreciating the setting, the experience, and the company
(even if it’s just the jays and squirrels). And that's another very
important part of the magic of Mountain House.