3 On Your Side

Freeze dried food is going mainstream

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Misty Marsh is a busy mom of four and when she's in a pinch for dinner, she turns to her freeze-dried favorites.

"If I just need a quick meal in 10 or 15 minutes, I can do that using all freeze-dried ingredients."

Marsh shares recipes and tips in a book about the freeze-dried frenzy, and has a website, too. Her pantry is full of enough food to feed her family for several years.

"If you're making a soup, you can scoop out a scoop of chicken, scoop out a scoop of onions, some carrots, and dump it all in a pot add some water and some seasoning and simmer, and you'll have a soup in five minutes."

"You can also get fully made meals like lasagnas, or meat loafs. Basically, anything that you would normally cook can be freeze-dried," said Alissa Rumsey, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Rumsey is a registered dietitian and said sales are exploding and it is not just full meals and individual ingredients.

"You're seeing things like vegetarian options, gluten-free options, organic options."

The dehydrated dishes can be found everywhere from national chains to online sites.

Unopened items can last for decades but, in general, we wanted to know if the trend is healthy.

"The process of freeze drying itself preserves it, so you don't need to add any sodium or any other additives to the food in order to keep it preserved for so long," said Rumsey.

The process does not change nutrients-- as for cost, Marsh said she pays more up front but saves overall.

"We no longer waste food. Not only is this food convenient and healthy, but it also has a shelf life."

Finally, the true test-- how does it taste?

"If you were to put chicken in your freezer and freeze it, and then thaw it, that's what freeze-dried food tastes like," said Marsh.

Experts said freeze-drying can change the texture-- especially if you still eat it in the freeze-dried form.

And it can be tricky to re-hydrate, so you will want to experiment.

Also, taste can vary from brand to brand.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
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With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

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