how long does dehydrated food last
Dehydration is a great way to prepare some healthy snacks out of extra production of fruits and vegetables. The process of dehydration involves the slow and gradual removal of moisture while retaining the nutrients. This process enhances the flavor and makes food longer lasting.
Dehydrating foods in a dehydrator requires no preservatives or additives. Thus the process yields organic snacks, which are beneficial for overall health and wellness.
How long does the dehydrated food last
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The duration for which the dehydrated food can last depends on various factors. As a general rule, the food with the least water content can last up to 5 years. Now, that’s a long time. However, for food to last this long, it should be properly cleaned, thoroughly dried, dehydrated for a suitable time and temperature, and then stored in an air-tight container.
If you are about to dehydrate vegetables, the experts recommend blanch or cook them partially. This partial cooking before dehydration can enhance the storage time for as much as ten years. This makes the dehydrated vegetables even better than the canned ones, which may not even last for five years.
Remember, the more time you invest in food reparation, the more it will last long. Here are some steps you should follow to prepare the food for this procedure.
- The first step is to wash the fruits and vegetables is to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly. You can rub them with a washcloth or soak them in a bath of vinegar and water solution.
- Let the fruits and vegetables soak in the bath for 5 to ten minutes. This is to ensure that all the pesticides and wax are removed.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before handling food. Use latex gloves if available. If the fruit or vegetable you are about to dehydrate is too juicy, freeze them before cutting.
- Remove all the seeds, peels, and cores. Slice them into ⅛ inches thick slices. You can also cut them into 1-inch pieces. Arrange these pieces as single layers on the food dehydrating trays. Remember to spray lemon juices on fruits like apples and bananas to prevent them from oxidizing and losing nutrients.
Deciding the dehydration temperature
Most fruits and vegetables have an optimum dehydration temperature between 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature higher than that will only result in tougher and drier outer skin and improperly dried food.
Controlling the moisture content
When it comes to dehydrating fruits and vegetables, the initial moisture content matters a lot. Citrus fruits such as oranges, runes, lums, and apricots remain sticky even after hours of dehydration. They tend to retain moisture. Vegetables like potatoes, beans, carrots dry completely and form nice and crispy chis like snacks.
Storage and packaging
After dehydrating your supply of fruits and vegetables, it is very important to take care of their proper storage and packaging. The properly dried fruits and vegetables should be placed in air-tight containers. These containers prevent the entry of oxygen, which can cause deterioration of foods.
The good idea is to place oxygen absorbers in the container, which absorbs all the oxygen. Fruits that have retained moisture should be placed in glass containers because plastic can absorb moisture and result in a microbial infestation.
Vacuum sealing is another storage method through which you can safely store dehydrated foods without fear of spoilage. You can use plastic bags for placing all the food and then lace them horizontally to take out any air within them. Seal with a vacuum sealer. However, this method requires resealing each time you open the bag.
Fruits and vegetables dehydrated this way can last longer, up to 5 years too. Some of the blogs claim that dehydrated foods can last even longer. However, it is not recommended to consume any food older than five years.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs
How do I know my food has been dehydrated?
Looks can be deceiving and it is right about the dehydrated foods. Any food which looks hardened can appear to be properly dehydrated. However, the inside might still have moisture. Therefore, selecting the right temperature and cutting the food properly into a dehydrator is very important.l always follow the guide to properly dehydrated foods. Follow the temperature setting advised for the fruit or vegetable you are dehydrating.
If you are still not sure whether the food is completely dehydrated or not, It is advised to check the dehydrated food by slicing it in half. If possible, squeeze the fruit to check if the item is completely dry.
How can I use my dehydrated foods?
Dehydrated foods have several uses. Since they can be kept without cold storage, you can take these with you during long journeys, adventures such as mountaineering, hiking, camping, etc. They are a good source of quick energy, necessary vitamins, and minerals. The best part is that they can be used as it is without any preparation as well.
The reared dehydrated foods can be a part of other dishes a swell. Sweet potatoes bark can be turned into the mashed sweet potato. It can also be added to oat porridge, can be used to make pecan sauce, and dehydrated to add to the vegetable medleys. Dehydrated meat can be used to make soups and stews, and some fruits or vegetables can be made as jerky for pets. Dehydrated foods can make delicious and healthy snacks for children.
Dehydration is the most nutrient retaining method of food preservation. It enhances the flavor and aroma of food as well and keeps it long-lasting. However, it is only possible when you have met all the conditions of dehydrating the foods properly. The fruit or vegetable should be thoroughly washed and dried. The produce should be cut into nice, thin, and even slices for optimum results. Set the timer and temperature on the dehydrator according to the guides. Store dehydrated foods into sealed vacuum sacks or glass jars with oxygen absorbers. Bingo, you have your supply of dehydrated foods in your kitchen now.