Storing dried foods and how long of a shelf life for the food?
After you dry your items be sure to store the food properly to get the longest shelf life! Once the food is dry, turn off the dehydrator and let the food cool down. Take the time to split up casseroles and items like hummus into serving size portions and pack them into the appropriate sized bag for trail use. Bag up your dried pasta into weighed portions into quart freezer bags. Store dried vegetables, fruits and beans and similar items in tightly sealed freezer bags or air tight containers.
According to the University of Missouri Extension:
“Store containers of dried foods in a cool, dark, dry area such as a basement or cellar. Exposure to humidity, light or air decreases the shelf life of foods. The lower the temperature, the better: Foods stored at temperatures under 60 degrees Fahrenheit will keep approximately one year, at 80 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit the food begins to deteriorate within several months. For every 18 degrees Fahrenheit drop in temperature, the shelf life of fruits increases three to four times.”
For items such as meat, dairy or casserole dishes it is a good idea to store the dried items in your freezer, tightly sealed in freezer bags till trip time. This extends the shelf life and keeps it fresher. It doesn’t hurt to store all dried items there if you have the room, particularly for those who live in humid regions.
Try to cycle through your dried meats, casseroles and dairy items within 6 months, vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes within a year.
Concerning meat and items with fat, why do I store them in the freezer?
Even with careful prep, meat is going to have residual fat in it. And frankly, in hamburger, fat is much of the flavor! The fat can go rancid if stored in a warm environment over time. You can normally smell when items have gone rancid, it is a flat smell that isn’t good. This is also the same with items such as wheat germ, brown rice and other grains that have natural oil in them.