In this paper we present hyperelastic models for swelling elastic shells, due to pressurization of the internal cavity. These shells serve as model systems for cells having cell walls, as can be found in bacteria, plants and fungi. The pressurized internal cavity represents the cell vacuole with intact membrane at a certain turgor pressure, and the elastic shell represents the hydrated cell wall. At pressurization the elastic shell undergoes inhomogeneous deformation. Its deformation is governed by a strain energy function. Using the scaling law of Cloizeaux for the osmotic pressure, we obtain approximate analytical expressions of the cell volume versus turgor pressure-which are quite comparable to numerical solutions of the problem. Subsequently, we have simulated the swelling of shells-where the cell wall material is embedded with microfibrils, leading to strain hardening and anisotropic cell expansion. The purpose of our investigations is to elucidate the contribution of cell membrane integrity and turgor to the water holding capacity (hydration) of plant foods. We conclude with a discussion of the impact of this work on the hydration of food material, and other fields like plant science and the soft matter physics of responsive gels.