Jul 6, 2023
So many people are interested in freeze drying mainly because of its shelf life. So much so that when before, it was created to preserve blood serum. Then it evolved to industrial food preservation to eventually home use. But how long does freeze dried food last?
Freeze dried food can last for 25 years or more when met with ideal conditions. This is why freeze-drying food has become a popular solution for preserving food. Frozen food can only last for 3-6 months without yielding to freezer burn. Dehydrated food, on the other hand, lasts for 4 months to a year.
Why does freeze dried food last that long? This is because the process removes as much as 98% of the water in food. Dehydration, in comparison, removes about 90%. But there are factors that determine how long your stored food can last in your pantry.
There are several factors that can affect the shelf life of your freeze dried food. Unfortunately, they’re so basic that they’re easy to overlook, especially when you’re too busy with life.
Oxygen can do several things to food because of a couple of things. One is the oxidation process that breaks down not only flavor and color but also vitamins and nutrients. Another is it encourages the growth of harmful microorganisms that cause food poisoning.
Solution: vacuum seal your food and always remember to add oxygen absorbers. These take out any oxygen that’s inside the bag after sealing.
Moisture can do more damage to preserved food than anything else. This is because it provides a beneficial environment for harmful microorganisms to grow in.
Solution: Keep your freeze dried food free from moisture at all times. Store them in a dry area, free from moisture or humidity. Use only storage containers that keep away water
Light breaks down proteins, vitamins, and nutrients. It can also cause your freeze dried food to lose its appetizing color.
Solution: Keep your freeze dried food in a dark room, especially if you’re using mason jars.
Heat can also destroy proteins, affecting texture, flavor, and odor. It can also break down vitamins and nutrients in food.
Solution: Experts recommend that you store freeze-dried food in temperatures not higher than 72°F (22 °C).
They can also keep your food for 25 years or more, and have several pros and cons for storing freeze dried food.
They’re relatively inexpensive, and you can get them just about anywhere. Since they’re made of glass, they’re virtually impenetrable to moisture and air. You can also immediately see what’s inside by looking at it.
The downside is that they’re very heavy, fragile, and take up space. They’re great if you have a large pantry, but you can’t travel with them unless you pack them securely.
One is to always have your trusty oxygen absorber. Unlike Mylar bags, you can’t squeeze out air from the jar.
There are Mason jar vacuum sealers that you can use, though. There’s a manual one that you can use in case the power goes out. But the fastest and most efficient one to use is the electric version. It does suck out quite a lot of air and can come very handy if you have weak hands and arms.
Don’t forget to add in the oxygen absorber, even if you use a vacuum sealer. Check the lip of the jar first before you reseal it. A small crack can ruin a perfect batch of preserved food.
Yes, do sterilize your mason jars before you store your freeze dried food. You can use the traditional way as it’s safer for the jar. Dry heat can cause temperature stress that often cracks glass. Just make sure you cool down and dry the mason jar before storing your food.
If you open a bag or a jar of freeze dried food, you must consume it in 1-3 weeks. 1 week if you can’t reseal the bag or container properly. 2-3 weeks if you can put it in an airtight container.
Treat it like you would leftover food if you already reconstituted or cooked it. Put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days. After that, the risk of food poisoning will increase the longer it stays in the fridge. If you can’t eat it right away, you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 months.
The best way to keep opened preserved food longer is to repack it in not just airtight but vacuum-sealed containers.
It’s a challenge for standard Mylar bags because they’re not textured. There are textured ones, but they’re almost three times more expensive. But you can vacuum seal Mylar bags as long as you have a straw that can fit your vacuum sealer.
For added measure, replace the oxygen absorber you used. This way you have extra security knowing that your resealed storage food.
Under ideal conditions and proper storage practices, freeze-dried food can last for 25-30 years. Just remember to:
Also remember that you need to sterilize Mason jars before putting in your preserved food. This way, you’ll keep the microorganisms to a minimum. This lessens the risk of food contamination and keeps your food safe to eat.
What are your plans for your freeze dried food that you’re interested in storage life? Let us know your store in the comment section.
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