How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?

Are you also the one who have to throw up their various extra vegetables and fruits which you purchased from the supermarket store?

Well, as an alternative, now there is no need to do that as you can save them with the help of a good food dehydrator in a very easy way.

When you store the dehydrated food, it not only saves your lots of money (which you might have to spend on buying dried food from the market) but also makes your meals stress-free too. On the other hand, if you do not know much about the food drying as well as preservation, then the very first question which will surely come in your mind is that how long does dehydrated food last?

Unexpectedly, as per rich sources, foodstuffs like dried fruits may last for around five years, and the dried vegetables can last for more than a decade, but if correctly cooked and put in proper storage. When you compare canned food with the dehydrated food, a dried food will be a better choice for long-term storage.

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What Does the Process of Dehydration Do?

The procedure of dehydration removes the content of moisture from the food, and this does not let yeast, bacteria, and mold to grow. One of the biggest benefits of the dehydration procedure is that it influences the nutritional content of the food negligibly.

There are numerous ways of dehydrating your food, but two of them are quite famous i.e. through sun drying, through freezing or with the help of food dehydrator.

Do you know that while using a food dehydrator, 3% to 5% of the nutritious content of the food gets vanished as compared to the canning technique in which 60% to 80% of the nutritive content lost?

While drying out food in a dehydrator, valuable things like carbohydrates, vitamins A & C, potassium, fiber, magnesium, sodium, and selenium does not lose. Hence, the outcome which you get at the end in the form of nutrient packed food can be stored for long term period easily.

Here comes the important question of our article i.e. How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?

Period for Which Dehydrated Food Last

How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last

Table 1: Average Shelf Life (in Years) of Different Types of Dehydrated Foods

Type of Food

Examples

Temperature ( in degrees F)

Average Shelf Life (in Years)

Soft Grains

  • Barley
  • Hulled or
  • Pearled Oat
  • Rolled Oats
  • Groats
  • Rye
  • Quinoa

70

8

Hard Grains

  • Buckwheat
  • Corn, Spelt
  • Dry
  • Flax
  • Special bake wheat
  • Hard white wheat

70

10-12

Beans

  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Turtle Beans
  • Blackeye Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Great Northern
  • Lentils
  • Mung Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Pink Beans
  • Small Red Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Soy Beans

70

8-10

Dehydrated Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

70

8-10

Dehydrated Dairy Products

  • Cheese Powder
  • Powder Eggs
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Butter/margarine pdr
  • Morning Moo
  • Powder Milk
  • Whey Powder

70

15

Flours and Other Products

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Unbleached Flour
  • Bakers Flour
  • White Flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Mixes
  • Cracked Wheat
  • Refried Beans
  • Germade
  • Granola
  • Gluten
  • Wheat Flakes

70

5

Pasta

  • Macaroni
  • Ribbons
  • Noodles
  • Spaghetti

70

8-10

Dehydrated Fruit

70

5

Honey, Salt and Sugar

Indefinitely if stored free of moisture

Peanut Butter Powder

70

4-5

Brown and White Rice

70

8-10

Garden Seed or Sprouting Seed

70

4

Textured Vegetable Protein

70

15-20

Yeast

70

2

Meat

65

3-5

Source

Well! The shelf life of the dehydrated food also depends upon the technique which you are using for drying out your food.

It is true that if you want to store the food for the longer duration, then they should be kept at cooler temperatures. The high temperature of the storing will ultimately reduce the shelf life of the food. If sufficient temperature and conditions are provided, then the shelf life of more than 30 years is also entirely possible for various foodstuffs.

After the period of shelf life, the taste, quality and the nutritional content of the food will also get decreased. That is why all kinds of dried food should also check through tasting before consuming them.

All foods which have yeast will also have a smaller shelf life as compare to the food without this constituent. The reason behind this fact is that there are some active enzymes in the yeast which has the shorter life.

Factors Responsible for the Longer Shelf Life of the Dried Food

There are four critical factors which are responsible for the longer shelf life of the dried food. Below we are going to discuss such factors:

1. Preparation of the Food Before Drying

Preparing your food before dehydration process plays the crucial role in the shelf life of the product. You can follow the following points for achieving this factor:

  • You should wash your vegetables and fruits with the solution of water and vinegar before the dehydration process.
  • You should keep the food in the solution for around 5 to 10 minutes as it will help in removing the pesticides from the food before cutting.
  • If your fruits have lots of juice in it, then you must partly freeze them for easier cutting.
  • If there are any seeds, cores, or stems in your food then peel them out before the drying process.
  • There are few foods which get darker after the slicing like apples which is known as oxidization. Thus to neutralize the oxidization effect, you can spray some lemon juice over the cut slices of the food.

2. Correct Setting of the Dehydrating Temperature

The next important factor is the proper setting of the drying temperature of the food. The maximum number of fruits and vegetables gets dehydrate perfectly between the temperature ranges of 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are few drawbacks if you don’t know the correct drying temperature such as:

  • For the faster dehydration process (to save your time) if you dry the food at high temperature, then it will result in a hard outer skin with incomplete drying in the inner side.
  • Furthermore, when you increase the temperature of your food dehydrator, then it will kill out the healthy enzymes and nutrients of your food very quickly. Hence it's vital to recognize the correct temperatures required for the dehydration process.

What to Do If You Are New to the Dehydration Process?

Well! There are some useful instructions and information given regarding the optimum time and temperature required in a food dehydrator (for different fruits and vegetables) on numerous online resources or even in the manual book provided by the manufacturers of the appliance. So, you can take benefit out of such information before setting the temperature of your dehydrator.

3. Proper Moisture Content of the Dried Food

The dried food which has less content of moisture habitually lasts longer. There are some fruits such as apricots and plums that stay somewhat very sticky and hold more content of moisture. Thus, such foods cannot last much longer than a dried potato or any other vegetable.

As soon as the dehydration gets complete, you should store them in the right place without breaking them into pieces.

4. Appropriate Storage as Well as Packaging

When you cut down any fruit or vegetable, soon the oxidization takes place (if you do not keep them in the safe place) which can deteriorate the flavor as well as the nutritional content of the food. Thus, in such case, the vacuum sealing is preferred which decrease the chances of oxidation and preserve all nutrients and vitamins in your food elongated.

However, in some bags after getting all the air out, some moisture also get remain. So, in such case oxidization can again occur in your food contents.

To overcome the issue as mentioned above, oxygen absorbers are available in the markets which are food-safe penetrable packages that absorb the extra oxygen. Besides this, you can also store your dried food in a sealed jar made up of glass and not plastic as the plastic material can be BPA or they might absorb the natural odor of the food also.

It is always advisable to store your dried food in a cool and dry place for much better outcomes.

Tips for Successful Food Dehydration and Preservation

There are various facts which stated that dehydrated food could last up to several years, but it varies with the category of the food which you are dehydrating.

According to a research conducted by United States Department of Agriculture, "Each 5.6 C. (10.08 F) drop in temperature doubles the storage life of the seeds."

Table 2: Temperature Vs Storage Life

Temperature (in Degrees F)

Storage Life (in Years)

39.76

40

49.84

30

59.92

20

70.00

10

80.08

5

90.16

2.5

100.24

1.25

The below points along with few tips will make you clearer about it:

  • You can store a dehydrated food like fruits or vegetables up to one year as per the nature of the food and also if correctly stored.
  • You should consume dehydrated meat in the period of 2 to 3 months for the quality reasons. On the other hand, if the food is not consumed within one month period then you may store it in the freezer for prolonged preservation.
  • The foods like spices and herbs can also last for many years.
  • If you wish to rehydrate your dried food in its original state, then it is advisable to add some boiling water in the container and cover it for around 20 - 30 minutes to accelerate the procedure. By adding some salt afterward, the re-hydration method will work magically.
  • The dried food shall be store in a place which is not only dry but also does not expose towards the light, for example, a storeroom.
  • The dehydrated food must put in sealed bags after pressuring out the extra air before you seal them.
  • When you store the dried food in a brown sealed bag, then the chances of getting in contact with the direct sunlight also get reduces.
  • The food which contains proteins must be store distinctly, so they do not get spoil.
  • For better storing of the dried food, they should placed in a plastic bag, in an airtight glass or any metal container.
  • If there is any moldy food in your jar, then remove them immediately.
  • Sometimes the bugs get arise in the dried foods, but this can be solved if you spread the infested dried food inside an oven at 300 degrees temperature for around 25-30 minutes. It will destroy the bugs, and your food will become eatable again.
  • The vacuum sealing of the dried foods in a bag is the best method to extend the storage existence of any dehydrated food. After the vacuum sealing, store the food in a cool place which is far from the effect of light. It can make your food lasts for eight to nine years easily.
  • You can also store the vacuum sealed food in the freezer, and this is also a safer way. But if you store them for the longer period, then it can harm the quality of the food to some extent.

Conclusion

The dehydrated food can last for many years if a person follows the correct steps regarding the preparation and drying. When you buy a food dehydrator, it always counts as a good investment for storing your food more efficiently. You can also say that drying food is one of the best ways to save your food as well as money.

After following the above steps required for increasing the shelf life of dried food, if you store your food in the darkest, coolest, and airtight environment then it will undoubtedly increase the shelf life of dried food more.

Forecasting the exact shelf life of all the dried foods is not possible as it differs from technique and the category of the food which you are using. By lowering the constant temperature of the dehydrated food proportionally, you will assuredly increase their shelf life.

The main thing is to store the dried your food in as much as possible low temperature which not only upsurges their shelf life but also preserve their nutritional value.

Do not forget to check your stored dried food regularly. If you find any moldy food, then remove food from the container immediately as it can affect the other food also.

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