Now that I have started a dehydrating Facebook page (SB Dehydrating) I am working on giving my followers information that will be helpful in stretching the longevity of their dehydrating foods. Here are some really easy things to do to keep your foods lasting longer in your pantry.
When you have dried your food it’s important to choose a vessel that will give the optimal time for the food to be stored. Just like in canning you want to avoid sunlight, heat, and for dehydrating you want to also avoid moisture and air.
Since you spent the time removing the moisture you should avoid storing in ziplock bags. These bags may allow air into the product and over time you may see the texture, quality and even taste change. The best place to store the food is in glass jars or metal canisters with tight sealing lids. I will explain how using your canning jars can give you the best seal below.
Another important thing to be aware of is not mixing your foods. There are some foods that will create moisture if mixed with others. You are also risking a flavor or aroma transfer from strong spices or seasonings.
Labeling is important as well. I didn’t know this but you should not write on the plastic surface with a black ink marker since this may affect the food inside the bags.
I talked about moisture but air can also be a problem with dehydrated foods. Air carries not only moisture but carries oxygen. Oxygen can change the components in the food which can leave you with an off flavor or it may change the color.
One way to avoid these problems is to completely let your food cool before storing it so it will not sweat in the container. If the sweat collects in jars you might find there are pockets of mold throughout later on. The key is to put cool food in jars then store those jars in a cool place. Some people who dehydrate a lot of food put some of their extras in the freezer to lengthen its storage life.
Exposure to sunlight just as in canning can have an affect on the color and flavor of the foods. Even household lighting can reduce quality over time. Remember find that dark place in the pantry or canning closet.
As I said earlier there are some things you can do to eliminate the air and moisture from your jars to help with longevity. If you are using canning jars Food Saver has designed an adapter that you can use to secure and seal your canning lid on the jar for your dried foods. This is not a substitution for processing in canning for sealing jars.
You will need either a full size Food Saver machine like the one below or a handheld version.
These are the adapters.
There is one for the regular mouth jars and one for the wide mouth. You only have to purchase one of each.
Another good idea before you seal the jars is to add an oxygen absorber packet. These are the perfect size to absorb oxygen in the mason jars while they are sealed. These can be used for short and long-term food storage.
Process for sealing:
You will add the lid to the top of the jar and then fit the adapter over the top of the jar. You will not use a ring. Using the tube from either a full size Food Saver Sealer or using a handheld Sealer you will turn on the machines and it will suck out the air from the jar and the result will be a fully sealed jar. Here is a video showing how the handheld sealer works.