How to Store Dehydrated Food

It occurs to me that I’ve written tips on storing dehydrated food in different articles over the years but I’ve never really published a consolidated list of tips.

Storing dehydrated food is easy; here are my 6 tips for best results:

  1. Make sure the food is actually dry.  In order to check the texture, I remove the product from the dehydrator for at least 5 minutes before assessing (it will get harder as it cools).  For a guide on desired textures check out the last page of this pamphlet from the Colorado State University Extension Office (via the National Center for Home Food Preservation).
  2. Ensure that the container that you’re storing your food in is absolutely dry (and clean).  Residual moisture will be absorbed by food and leads to spoilage.
  3. Place a lid or cover your jar (this prevents dust).
  4. Store the container in a cool location with low humidity (over your stove where you boil pasta isn’t a great location).
  5. Keep the container in a dark area (towards the back of a shelf is often fine).
  6. Store food in large chunks (powder will lose flavor faster due to increased surface area/ air exposure).

What would you add to this list?

Comments

  1. If in doubt about the dryness or planning to store for a longer time, the freezer is best. When I have room I’ll often do this.

  2. a few months ago i found a dehydrator at the thrift store in its original packageing for like 5 bucks. i haven’t yet had time to actually dry much of anything to store, but when i first got it i did some googling and there is a method people do called dry or oven canning for dry stuff which is intriguing, but that led to a doomer/prepper site that suggested buying those O2 absorber thingys like what come in medication bottles (little plastic cylinders that take in oxygen) and putting your dried stuff in a canning jar, dropping one of those suckers in there and closing the jar. the site said after awhile it will actually seal – no heat needed. I greatly dislike adding plastic that will end up in a landfill, BUT this sounds like a brilliant idea to me for some stuff. I have recently set up shelves and dedicated an area in my basement for food storage. That same thrifting that scored the dehydrator also netted me a ginormous 22 qt canner. I had to purchase a new weight and seal, but all total I spent about 20$ and i can can 20-36 1/2 pints in one go! i had never canned anything so that has been my focus. Thanks for a great blog!

  3. I have been considering a food dehydrator but am still not sure. I like the idea of preserving produce without salt, vinegar, sugar etc. but I’ve not been able to get any real idea of how long dehydrated produce can be expected to last. When I’ve asked friends who use them, they’ve said they dehydrate such small volumes that they eat them within weeks, whereas I was looking for a solution to preserve larger amounts for longer periods.

    If you have any thoughts on this, or any suggestions on where I can read more, I’d be very grateful.

    I do understand completely your recently expressed feelings about giving advice about food safety issues, so just want to clarify that I am not looking for actual advice so much as anecdotal feedback on your own experiences.

    It remains my own responsibility to make any decisions about what we do based on my own risk assessments.

  4. Sometimes I intentionally leave some moisture in the end product. I like halved cherry tomatoes this way – pretty well dehydrated, but not bone dry. These can probably be stored at room temperature for quite a few weeks but I always freeze them just to be safe.

  5. When using canning jars, I use my vacuum sealer to remove the air from the jars.

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