How to Properly Organize your Dehydrated Food
Opt for decluttering, when it comes to organizing your dehydrated food. Declutter food storage, getting rid of old or expired items and also get the advantage of eliminating the food you do not eat (1). After clearing out the old clutter, you will find it easier to get more room and this will free up space. To carry out these steps correctly, you need guidance, and that is what this article will attempt to do.
Why Organize Dehydrated Food?
Below are some of the most important reasons why you need to organize your dehydrated food. Dehydrated food has a value for the user, only if it is stored and organized properly. The dried foods can then be accessed easily, whenever we want it. That is the whole point of working round-the-clock to dehydrate the food in the first place.
If you organize and store your dried food correctly, you will have a variety of different items to eat throughout the year, not just seasonal fruits and vegetables. Organizing the dried food like meat jerky in your freezer and fridge can also benefit you because it ensures convenience when you are trying to use these items for further recipes.
- Avoid Food Expiration
If you have organized dried food efficiently, you will have recorded the dehydration time and the period in which it expires. So, organizing and labeling food correctly ensure, that you do not need to remember when the dried food will expire.
- Increase in Productivity
Another point to consider is the benefit of increased productivity. Now you don’t need to search through 10 cans to find that jar of dried herbs you need! Better time utilization ensures that your efficiency levels do not get hampered.
- Easier to Track Food
When we dehydrated the food, how much is left and when it expires or when it expires etc., becomes easy to track. Better food tracking is one more benefit of organizing dehydrated food efficiently.
- Aesthetic Appeal
The use of organizers for making your food shelves look attractive can help your kitchen decor to look more appealing. Your kitchen looks good, and you feel satisfied with the outcomes of organizing your dehydrated food effectively.
- Better Space Utilization
Less wasted space means we can fit in a lot more things. Backs of shelves have supplies for refilling the storage containers, so ease of use becomes another factor. Extra shelving through wire hanging and raised shelves ensure even the deeper parts of your storage space gets used.
- More Visibility
The dried food can be easily seen and measured for quantity and quality if it is organized well. Easier visibility of everything happens because the dried food is labeled and stored well. Apart from saving time and money, this cuts down on effort too.
How to Organize Dehydrated Food
Once all the dried food has been categorized and inventoried, you need to take the time to organize the dehydrated food and this is where these steps serve as a useful guide. It all depends on your pantry though. If you have a walk-in pantry, you need to organize food keeping that factor in mind. For properly organizing dried food, you need to be able to store the items in cool, dry areas where it does not undergo exposure to wide temperature variations (2).
- Group Items by Category
Organize different zones in the pantry for categorizing different types of food. If you need tall pantry shelves, use expandable ones for additionals storage. Keep like dried foods together. For example, dried herbs should be in one place, spices in another. For jerky or fruit leather, the ideal place for storage is the freezer or fridge. Place fruits and vegetables according to their shelf life in a stable, cool, dry part of your pantry (3).
- Organize Size Wise
Try to place the bulky or heavy items at the mid-height for ease in getting these off the shelves. Lighter dried foods like dried fruits and herbs can be stored higher where they can be easily accessed. Cans and jars should ideally be at eye level so you can see which dried food item is stored where.
- Place Quick Snacks Separately
Another important point is that quick dried food snacks should be placed separately. Healthy snacks should be within easy reach of your family members. This helps seniors and youngsters to access food frequently that needs to be consumed faster.
- Containerize Foods for Optimal Functionality
Beauty, form, order, and symmetry are not the only reasons for containerizing and organizing dried food. Apart from the aesthetic appeal, there is a question of functionality. Food containers that are closed and opaque work best for dried foods. Open food containers attract pests such as mice and rodents. But take care that root vegetables like onions may need to breathe so place them in natural fiber bags.
- Labeling the Food
When you containerize food in your pantry, labels offer many benefits. They list the botanical name, expiry date and date of preparation of the dehydrated foods. As you are using opaque jars and cans, labels offer you with the convenience of knowing which item is there. Label either the containers or the shelves of your pantry to assist with organization and storage. Label makers can be used too. Labels are important because you will eliminate doubt about where the food is placed.
If things are taken out of their package for storage, expiration and other useful details are also noted through labeling.
Labeling shelves or containers also offers another benefit namely have a family member upload groceries onto the pantry without assistance or fetch the right dried food item in seconds.
Tips for Storing and Organizing Dehydrated Food
- Last In, Last Out Rule
This should be followed when you place items in a pantry. The first in, first out or last in, last out rule is essential for dried foods. For example, herbs lose their potency after a while. This is true for dried herbs as well. So you need to ensure that the herbs dehydrated within one year are used up. Move the older jars first and don’t leave dried food in the back of your pantry so it expires before usage.
- Can Organizers
Another important point is that if you use a lot of cans for storing dried foods, a can organizer can help you because it is designed to load cans. Organizers for cans can make a lot of sense rather than placing cans asymmetrically so that they are prone to tumbling over or becoming hard to retrieve.
- Organizing Spices
Organizing spices and herbs correctly is critical, Dried spices can be stored in spice racks, but it is important to keep them in airtight containers and where they can be easily accessed. Unless a particular spice is quickly used, store dehydrated foods like these in small amounts. This is because over the passage of time, they lose flavor and need to be replaced.
- Simple Racks, Air Tight Containers
Try to keep the spice racks simple. This makes it easy to clean and maintain them. Buy racks just the right size for the dried foods you will store. For containers, you need to opt for the airtight variety.
Plastic or glass canisters with locking lids and seals help to maintain the freshness. Lazy Susans are a special type of stainless steel container which can come in handy for certain dried foods. If you opt for storage baskets or tubs, make sure they have lids. Plastic bins should be used to group items. There are even accessories like over the door racks and organizers apart from shelf expanders to increase shelf space (4). Mason jars are a wonderful idea for storing dried food too, as are #10 cans (5).
- Watch Out for Storage Time
While dehydrated food has a long shelf life, bear in mind that it too will eventually lose its potency. So check if the dried food is nearing the end of its expiry while organizing dehydrated food in your kitchen. Storage items for some foods like vinegar is unlimited and this holds true for dried items like dehydrated honey as well (6).
- Make Rolling Shelves
Another way out is to create simple, inexpensive rolling shelves for food rotation. Older cans are used first. For this, what works best are ready to assemble, light metal shelving units. Assembling these shelves is important. Loading cans at the high end ensures that they easily role if the shelf is slanted.
- Organize Food by Types
Another golden rule is to organize food by types. Newly dehydrated food needs to be placed first. Canned dehydrated fruits should be placed on one shelf, vegetables on the other and so on. This prevents mixing of flavors and also ensures herbs do not lose their smell.
- Always Clean Out
Another important organizing tip is to always clean out. Cans look the same from the top. So coding the cans using a marker can help. Doing an annual cleanout is extremely important too. Have pull-out shelves that place lighter items in boxes or heavier ones in trays and crates.
- Floor and Door Storage
Another food place to store larger items such as bulk dried foods is baskets or containers on the floor, provided the stacked bins or baskets are closed and airtight. Try vacuum sealing for best results. A door in your kitchen space can also come in handy. Use door racks to provide extra space for dry foods and dehydrated canned items (7).
- Storing Grains
Dehydrated cereals and grains are long lasting and perfect in airtight transparent containers, provided you store them in the right temperature (8). Rice, for example, has a shelf life of 20-25 years when dehydrated.
- Proper Food Rotation Is Important
Always keep the freshly dried food at hand. When rotating dried food, ensure that you inspect it for spoilage signs. Bulging home canned food seeping from the seal is not a good idea! You need to ensure that food remains in prime condition, especially if it is dehydrated.
During rotation, check for signs of infestation and contamination. Mice, ants, and roaches need to be warded off, and along with pest control, proper organizing and storage of dried food helps too. Rotating dried food will also give you the chance of regularly using food for storage and regularly inventorying it. Date cans, packages, and boxes with regular numbers. Store like items during food rotation (9).
- Benefits of Labeling
Labeling food makes it easy to keep an up-to-date inventory. You can easily identify what you do not want and do away with it. Nutritional labels should be created keeping the correct ingredients in mind. Nutritional analysis by US Department of Agriculture can, for example, ensure that nutritional information is correctly recorded on the label. Select the right label and make sure you accurately identify the contents and nutritional value of the dehydrated food before selecting it. Correctly account for nutrient loss during processing (10).
Organizing Dehydrated Food Video Guide
Finally, understand that organizing dried food requires care on your part. You need to be alert about a lot of aspects from food rotation to correct labeling, optimal storage to an accurate assessment of the freshness of dehydrated foods. Freshly dehydrated foods contain a lot of benefits such as aroma, color, and nutrition, without the added drawbacks of chemicals and preservatives. It is essential that the food which is being dehydrated also be organized properly, for it to remain fresh, nutritious and beneficial as always.