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Mastering the Art of Storing Freeze Dried Foods: An In-Depth Guide
In the quest for long-term food preservation, storing freeze dried food is a skill that is both essential and rewarding. This article will delve into the nitty-gritty details of how you can store freeze dried food effectively, with emphasis on methods such as using mason jars, vacuum sealing, and packaging techniques to ensure optimal shelf life.
Storing Freeze Dried Food: An Overview
Storing freeze dried food begins with understanding the primary principles that govern its preservation. Proper storage can maintain the quality of freeze dried foods for up to 25 years, ensuring you always have access to nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals.
How to Store Freeze Dried Food in Mason Jars
Mason jars have gained popularity for their versatility in storage solutions. For freeze dried foods, they offer an airtight environment that can significantly prolong shelf life.
- Cleanliness is Crucial: Always start with clean, dry mason jars. Any residual moisture can spoil the freeze dried food.
- Filling the Jars: Carefully fill the jars with freeze dried food. Avoid overfilling as this can compromise the sealing process.
- Sealing the Jars: After filling, ensure the jars are sealed tightly. A vacuum sealer with a jar attachment can be used to remove any remaining air.
- Label and Store: Always label your jars with the date and contents. Store them in a cool, dark place to maintain quality.
The Best Way to Store Freeze Dried Food: Vacuum Sealing
Vacuum sealing freeze dried food or freeze dried fruits is another excellent preservation method that ensures long-term storage. The process involves removing air from the packaging, thereby creating an environment where bacteria cannot thrive.
- Prepare the Food: Portion the freeze dried food into manageable sizes that suit your needs.
- Sealing Process: Place the portions in vacuum sealer bags and use the vacuum sealer to remove air and seal the bag.
- Label and Store: Don't forget to label your bags with the date and contents. Then store them in a cool, dark location.
How to Package Freeze Dried Food
Packaging freeze dried food properly can be the difference between a meal that lasts a few months and one that lasts for years.
- Choose the Right Packaging: Mylar bags, vacuum sealer bags, and mason jars are all excellent choices for storing freeze dried foods.
- Oxygen Absorbers: These are a must when packaging freeze dried foods. They help to remove any remaining oxygen, thereby prolonging shelf life.
- Sealing: Whether you're using a vacuum sealer or heat sealer, ensure that your packaging is sealed correctly.
- Storage: Store the packaged food in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
Can Freeze Dried Food Go Bad?
Yes, freeze dried food can go bad if not stored correctly. Exposure to moisture, light, heat, and oxygen can degrade the quality of the food, resulting in loss of taste and nutritional value. Therefore, proper storage methods are crucial.
Freeze Dried Food Shelf Life
With optimal storage conditions, freeze dried food can last for up to 25 years or more. The key is to keep the food sealed in an airtight container, away from light, heat, and moisture.
While there is a lot of information on the general lifespan of freeze-dried food, it seems like there isn't a lot of specific information on how long freeze-dried meat specifically can last. However, in the right storage conditions, freeze-dried food, including meat, can potentially be stored for more than two decades. Properly freeze-dried food is shelf-stable and can be kept in a dark, cool pantry for the best (and longest) storage results, with the temperature ideally between 37° and 40°F, and not higher than 60°F.
You'll want to store the freeze-dried meat in airtight containers to keep moisture and oxygen out. Mylar bags, sealable Mason jars, or containers with oxidizers are all good options. Adding an oxygen absorber to your container can also help remove any oxygen present, which can cause the food to degrade over time.
It's important to ensure the meat is completely dry before packing it in the container, as moisture can cause the food to spoil quickly. You can use a food dehydrator or an oven to dry the meat before packing it.
In addition to the right temperature, you should also ensure the relative humidity in your storage area is less than 50%, preferably below 35%. Avoid storing your food in direct sunlight or any other type of light, as this can cause the food to degrade more quickly.
Remember to label and organize your freeze-dried meat properly, and consider using a first-in, first-out (FIFO) system to keep track of your stock. This means using the oldest items first and adding new items to the back of your storage area.
Finally, keep your storage area clean and free from pests to avoid contamination.