e-book Food Drying: Food Dehydration and Safe Storage

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Moisture is the number one enemy of dehydrated vegetables. Damp basements, under-sink cabinets, or any other place where your stored vegetables will come in contact with moisture will shorten their shelf life. This is also why we recommend that people in humid climates store their dried vegetables in the fridge or freezer. Vacuum packing your dried vegetables can extend the shelf life exponentially by minimizing the amount of oxygen that they will come in contact with.

You will need special equipment, including a vacuum sealer and Mylar bags, to vacuum pack your vegetables. With a vacuum sealer, you can use Harmony House dried vegetables for long-term emergency food storage. One of the most cost effective ways of doing this is to buy in bulk and then repackage in Mylar bags using your vacuum sealer.

We sell almost all of our dehydrated vegetables in bulk sizes. Using a home vacuum sealer can make your vegetables shelf stable for many years. For an extra protective measure, you may also wish to add oxygen absorbers to the Mylar bag when you are ready to seal it. Keeping a supply of dried vegetables in your pantry is a delicious way to save time and energy by reducing the number of trips you need to take to the grocery store. Stocking up on staples like dried onions , peppers , celery , and mushrooms means you will always have those ingredients on hand for quick, tasty delicious meals.

How to Store Freeze-Dried & Dehydrated Foods

And now you know the tricks to storing them for the longest amount of time possible. Bon appetit! Home Blog Home. As dehydrated food experts, the Harmony House team knows the secrets to storing dehydrated food. We are happy to share our knowledge with you! Store all your dried vegetables in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

Why Dehydrate Your Own Food?

Keeping your veggies in the refrigerator or freezer will extend shelf life. Keep water away! Vacuum pack and use oxygen absorbers for long-term storage. Keep Your Pantry Stocked for Years Keeping a supply of dried vegetables in your pantry is a delicious way to save time and energy by reducing the number of trips you need to take to the grocery store. Previous Post. Dried Celery 8 oz. Dried Onions 16 oz. Use latex or vinyl gloves while cleaning the fruits and veggies and slicing them. Another way is to wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect them so no bacteria or germs can come into contact with the food.

The cores, seeds and stems need to be removed. Peel the product for better results. Most fruits can be sliced 3mm thick and one-inch in length. The sliced fruits may change color on account of oxidation. Spray lemon juice or use an acid dip to prevent browning due to oxidation. You have to peel fruits and vegetables and slice the food items.

Then, you need to place the slices on the tray, ensuring that they do not overlap. Leave the dehydrator on for anywhere from hours, for most models at an average temperature range of degree C depending on nature of the food items. Depending on the kind of food it is, it will either turn hard and crisp or leathery when done. Some items like fruits also turn brown when dried. To prevent this from happening, soak your food in acid dip before setting them out on the drying trays.

For vegetable items, you need to blanch the particular food stuff. This works just like freezing and ensures that enzymes are stopped from degrading food over time. Heat in boiled water for a few minutes and then place the vegetable in icy water to blanch it. There is a wide variance in the time taken to properly dry food. While apples in most dehydrator models take hours, bananas take 8 to 10 hours, for example.

If you are using a dehydrator for long term food storage, you need to know how long an item needs or you can end up with moisture and mold in the food. This will create a dry, hard skin outside and lead to moisture retention inside. Raising the heat to high will also kill off enzymes and reduce the nutritional value of the food to zero.

Learn How to Store Home-Dried Foods

This is one of the most important factors affecting the storage duration of dehydrated food. According to the US Department of Agriculture, with every The inverse could also hold true. The fact remains that temperature influences the period of time for which the dehydrated food can be stored, once the drying process is over. The weather and temperature in which the dehydrated food is dried influences storage and shelf life.

Frequent temperature changes can shorten the storage life. The temperature at which dehydration takes place should therefore be constant. You should also have a cool place to store the food. Another important point to consider while dehydrating foods for long term storage is that dry beans, grains, and flours contain 10 percent moisture on an average. Food should therefore be as dry as possible before being stored. Dehydrated food with even a little moisture can cause the items to spoil inside their containers.

For long term storage, for example, grains need to have moisture content of less than 10 percent. Therefore, the water content of your food once dehydration is taking place, is a key factor while drying foods for long term storage. Some fruits like plums and apricots retain more moisture and remain sticky. These need to be dried with care at optimal temperature to last as long as items like beans which dry out completely. The produce is dry enough when it feels leathery and can be bent without breaking into pieces.

Another important trick to dehydrating produce for the long term, is to condition the dehydrated produce. This can be done by storing it in plastic zipper bags overnight, distributing the moisture in an even way and eliminating damp spots. Food packed in air does not store as well as those in airtight containers. This holds true for dehydrated food as well.

The air contains oxygen which leads to compound oxidation in food. Food storage companies have different methods for removing the oxygen while storing dried foods namely:. To get the best storage life of dried products, these must have hermetic or airtight sealing.

16 Tips for Safe Storage of Dehydrated Fruit and Foods

This includes:. Oxidation can reduce the flavor and nutritional value of food items. So, vacuum sealing helps to retain the vitamins and nutrients in the food longer. Some moisture may even get into the packaging so oxygen absorbers are the best choice, Food safe, bags that are semi-permeable, these absorb free oxygen using iron filings and activated charcoal, ensuring food lasts longer. Dehydrating food for long term storage also involves sealing them in glass jars once they are dried. This is because plastic absorbs smell and moisture across time. Mylar bags and food storage containers with oxygen scavenging facilities built into the packing material also yield good results.

Store dehydrated food in cool, dry areas for best outcomes. While herbs can last for years, fruits and veggies generally last for 1 year and meat items dehydrated must be consumed in months. If you store dehydrated food in airtight containers at optimum temperature of 60 degree F or lower, the dehydrated foods will last longer. Shelf life of 30 plus years is possible for food items dried and stored properly! High storage temperature lowers shelf life.

See a Problem?

See the table below to get an idea of how long dehydrated items can last, if the correct procedures are followed:. Once the food has been dehydrated, the problem is the 3 percent moisture in the air regardless of where you reside.

The food undergoes reabsorption of the moisture and spoils. To prevent this, you need to store the dehydrated fruit in a container that is airtight to prevent air from coming into contact with the food. Either you can vacuum seal the container using a home vacuum sealer or use Mylar bags.

Another option is to dry can it. Vacuum sealing works well because it ensures that the fruits and other remains lightweight and you need to store the individual bags carefully to prevent rodents and bugs from getting at them. The food should also be stored in an area not exposed to light.

Use craft paper inside bags to shield dried food from sunlight otherwise it may spoil. Store only one kind of food together to prevent flavor mixing and cross contamination in the event of spoilage. Do not pack dry food items till they become cool to touch. Air surrounding the dried food should be rich in moisture which is then released when it cools.

This is important because otherwise, water droplets can enter the storage container and spoil the shelf life of dehydrated food. Before they are stored, dehydrated foods must be conditioned or loosely packed in jars for days and regularly shaken. If condensation is seen in the jar, the item needs to be dehydrated further. Store dehydrated foods in small batches to match the freshness and prevent contamination.

Store the container in a dark, dry and cool location with a temperature of 60 degree F or less. Store older items on top for easy and quick access. Dehydrated food is convenient and easy to store, making it perfect for emergencies. They can be consumed without any extra preparation and make for a healthy snack. Dehydrated foods that are sufficiently dried do not need refrigeration. You can also eliminate molds, and bacteria through low moisture content of food.

Dehydrated food is easy to save and carry. It is nutrient rich and easy to carry out the dehydration process too. You get great tasting food retaining vitamins and minerals while removing preservatives and additives, resulting in cost savings too. Dehydrated food is light and easy to carry. It takes less space and can be dehydrated easily. Dehydrated foods last 1 and a half years on an average in airtight containers with lids. Good vitamins remain in the food, as against canned items. Cost is also economical. All in all, dehydrating foods for long term storage saves money, time and effort.

Provided you have an optimal dehydrator to meet your needs, dehydrating foods provides flexibility to the chef or consumer. The best part about dehydrating foods for long term storage is that you can stock up on season specials. Through the careful process of cleaning, drying and storing food items properly, you can increase their shelf life by years. They can even last years in complete vacuumed chambers at temperatures of 70 degree F, if you follow the right instructions regarding how to prepare the food item for drying.

You also need to set the right temperature. If it is too low, water content will remain and the food will spoil. If it is too high, your food can get burnt outside and remain tender inside.