Storing Dried Foods

Dried foods keep four months to eight months (stored at 60° F), depending on storage conditions. Store in cool, dry, dark areas. For best quality, store under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it is not necessary to store dried food in a refrigerator or freezer, except for meat jerky, low (under 60° F) temperatures extend the shelf life. Dried foods must be stored properly to maintain the very low moisture content and to prevent microbial deterioration. Proper storage prevents insects and rodents from eating the food. It also keeps moisture out and saves nutrients. Before packing foods, the dried pieces should be allowed to cool for a short amount of time. Immediately after the product has cooled the food should be stored. Use glass jars, metal cans or boxes with tight-fitting lids or vapor-proof freezer cartons. Heavy-duty plastic bags with press-together seals are acceptable, but are not insect or rodent proof. Screw lids or covers on glass jars to prevent insect contamination, but it is not necessary to heat-process the jars.

Note: To be sure that the food remains dry, add dessicant or silica gel which you can purchase in the notions or housewares section of a department store or at hobby shops. Place the substance in the glass jar to cover the bottom of the container to a depth of ¼-inch thick. 
The dessicant absorbs any moisture from the surroundings and prevents the food from absorbing moisture. Place the dried food wrapped in a sealed plastic bag over the dessicant and tightly seal the jar. Packaged dried food should be stored in a dry, cool, 60° F place. Dried food should also be kept out of the sun to prevent discoloration and nutrient loss. 

Dried foods in sealed plastic bags may also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

The shelf life of food dried in the home is not as long as the shelf life of commercially freeze-dried products, because freeze-dried foods are first frozen at -40° F and then placed in a chamber connected to a vacuum pump and heat is applied to the frozen food after the air is evacuated from the chamber and the ice sublimes or evaporates directly into vapor. 

Freeze-drying is not practical for home use because elaborate and expensive equipment is necessary. 

Warning: Check containers within seven to 10 days to see if moisture is present. If you see moisture, remove food and redry at 140 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If food is moldy, discard it.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
Place cooled dried jerky strips in an airtight plastic food bag or jar with a tight fitting lid. Pack jerky with the least possible amount of air trapped in
the container. Too much air causes off-flavors and rancidity to develop. Label and date packages. Store containers of jerky in a cool, dry, dark place or the refrigerator or freezer. Properly dried jerky will keep for approximately two weeks in a sealed container at room temperature. It will keep for 3 to 6 months in the refrigerator and up to one year in the freezer. Check occasionally to be sure
no mold is forming.

Only tested recipes that assure
adequate destruction of bacteria
should be used for fruit leather
and jerky preparation. FREE Recipes