Dehydrating food is a great way to make all of those bulk foods last a lot longer. When foods are dehydrated, they can be preserved longer. This will clear up plenty of space in the fridge or freezer since they can easily be stored at room temperature.
How long does dehydrated food last, though? The answer to this important question will depend on the type of storage method you use and the type of food that needs to be stored.
In this guide, we are going to take a look at the different ways to store dehydrated foods so they will be preserved for longer. We’ll also take a look at how long foods will last in each of these storage solutions.
Will Dehydrated Food Go Bad?
Yes, dehydrated foods can go bad, especially if they are not properly dried or stored. If the correct drying and storage method is used, dried foods can last a lot longer compared to fresh food.
Usually, dehydrated products go bad if they are exposed to bacteria, mold, or contaminating microbes. Foods can also be ruined if they are exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat, or insect infestations.
In some cases, the food might still be edible, but the nutritional value, taste, color, and flavor of the food can be affected. This also occurs when food is stored for too long or if improper storage methods are used.
If your dried foods absorb bad odors or if the color and taste are affected, it might not make you sick. The problem is, these foods won't be nearly as pleasant to consume.
How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?
Dehydrated foods typically last 6 -12 months if they are stored in a pantry. The storage period can be extended to 10 - 15 years if you take additional precautions. Some of these extra provisions include:
- Storing food in airtight containers.
- Using oxygen absorbers.
- Placing the food in a cool and dark area.
- Preventing pest infestations.
- and more!
Different food types can also have different shelf life expectancies. For example, foods with lots of acids and natural antioxidants tend to last a lot longer than foods without a lot of acid, sugar, or antioxidants.
Here is a quick look at the shelf life of different types of food.
How Long Does Dehydrated Fruit Last?
Dehydrated fruits and fruit leather typically last about 12 months in a pantry, even if you don't use any special preservation methods. With additional methods like oxygen absorbers, your dried fruits can be preserved for over 15 years.
Dried fruits naturally last a lot longer because these foods contain lots of acids, natural sugars, and natural antioxidants. These natural elements keep mold and microbes from spoiling the food.
How Long Do Dehydrated Vegetables Last?
Dried vegetables will go bad quicker compared to fruit. Vegetables won't last as long as fruits because these food types naturally don't contain as many acids, sugars, and antioxidants.
With average pantry storage conditions, your dried vegetables will generally last 3 - 6 months. If advanced storage techniques are used, the dehydrated vegetables can last 2 - 7 years. After so much time, they will lose a bit of nutrients, color, and flavor as time goes by.
How Long Do Dehydrated Mushrooms Last?
Dried mushrooms typically last about 12 months in a pantry if you don't use any special storage techniques. Mushrooms tend to lose their nutritional value and flavor much quicker, however. This means they might not taste too good after a couple of months in storage.
Dehydrated mushrooms can last a couple of years if you use special storage techniques like special packaging and oxygen absorbers. If you place your dried mushrooms in a freezer, these foods can last indefinitely.
How Long Does Jerky/Dehydrated Meat Last?
Homemade jerky can be stored for about a week in normal pantry conditions. Commercially made dehydrated meats can usually be stored for up to a year if you place them in the pantry.
If you want homemade dehydrated meat or jerky to last a year or more in your pantry then you should take care to prepare the meat properly. Meat products should be low in fat and water content if they are to be preserved for longer. Proper storage techniques like airtight containers or a vacuum sealer should also be used or the meat won't hold up for too long.
How to Make Dried Food Last Longer?
You can make food items last long term by using the proper preparation and storage methods. With the correct method, foods that normally last 12 months in a pantry can easily last up to 15 years.
To extend the shelf life of your foods, you should take care to prepare and dry them properly. First, store them in containers with vacuum sealing, and keep them away from light. Place your food in a cool area away from moisture, and keep the food untouched by pests.
Here is a quick look at the top long-term storage strategies to use if you want dehydrated food to last for many years.
Dry Foods Properly
The drying process you use for dehydrating food can have a significant impact on the shelf life of the product. If foods still contain a little bit of moisture when they are placed into airtight containers, the water will eventually cause mold growth. It will start to decompose as microbes grow on your food.
It is very important to use a proper food dehydrator and to use the correct drying methods when you are busy preparing your foods.
Use a Vacuum Sealer
Vacuum sealing your dehydrated foods can keep dried food good for about a year. This is because it keeps your food from absorbing excess moisture while in storage.
Most food specialists believe that vacuum packaging isn't the best option if you want to store food for many years. The bags are not 100% airtight and will slowly let in a little bit of oxygen and moisture over time.
Plastic vacuum bags are also made from materials that can alter the taste of your food over time. The adhesives and materials can start to biodegrade or weaken after a couple of years. After a while, it will no longer offer the needed protection.
Additionally, plastic is a lot more fragile. Pests like insects and rodents can easily tear through the plastic to get access to food.
Store in Glass Jars
Airtight glass jars are the best storage container to preserve your foods for 1 to 15 years. This is because glass doesn't leak any contaminants into the food, and the container materials cannot be compromised over the years.
Glass won't let any air or moisture get into your food either. Plus, it forms a powerful barrier through which insects and rodents cannot get.
Store in a Cool Dry and Dark Area
After placing your dehydrated foods in a properly sealed container, you should place these food items in an appropriate area. Dehydrated food should be placed in a cool and dry area in your home. Room temperature should be just fine to preserve foods, but the cooler the storage temperature is better.
It is also best to keep dehydrated foods away from light or direct sunlight. Direct light or sunlight can alter the color of the food and will make it spoil faster.
Use Oxygen Absorbers
If you want to store food for many years then it’s a very good idea to get some oxygen absorbers. Oxygen absorbers will absorb excess moisture inside your storage bins or storage cabinets. This will keep the food packaging a lot dryer so the food won't be affected as much.
Some types of oxygen absorbers are safe to use inside storage containers like vacuum bags, airtight plastic bins, or glass jars. We see these oxygen absorbers all the time in pill boxes we buy from the pharmacy.
These absorbers will draw out any moisture that enters the container and prevents mold growth inside the container.
Place the Dehydrated Food in the Freezer
Many dehydrated foods like mushrooms, jerky, and fruits can be stored indefinitely if you place them inside the freezer. It’s important to package the dehydrated food properly if you want to store it in a freezer or fridge.
These appliances are designed to capture moisture and humidity. If the containers are not air-tight, your food will quickly become soggy and spoiled.
So how long does dehydrated food last? Your dried food can last anything from 3 months up to 15 years depending on the type of food you store and the storage methods you use.
Many different aspects can affect the shelf life of food items. We hope that the tips we shared in this guide gave some insights into the life expectancy of your foods. Hopefully, it will help you keep these food items fresh for as long as possible.
If you are looking for more information on how to dehydrate foods or how to store these dried foods, then you should have a look at some of the other guides we have on Healthy Meals Hub.
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