Afraid you might get lost in a forest while camping and die out of hunger? We understand carrying lots of food and cooking them while camping can be tough. How about you carry dehydrated vacuum-sealed food? Because these last for a lifetime.
So how long does dehydrated food last if vacuum sealed?
Well, dehydrated food can last up to 30 years if vacuum sealed the right way. By preparing the food and knowing the right temperature at which to dehydrate and proper storing is essential to ensure long-lasting food. If you can avoid oxygen and moisture build up in your food, you’re good.
These were just the basics. We have provided an in-depth discussion about dehydrating food and its shelf life. So, what are you waiting for? Dig right in.
How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Dehydrated Food Last?
If you’re a lazy person and prefer to store your food or love camping out and need to carry a good load of food. You’ll have to make sure the food doesn’t get damaged. Well then dehydrating and vacuum sealing the dehydrated food is the best option for you. Because some of this food can last up to 25 years.
Yeah, you heard me right. You can actually store food for that long if you know the right method. Typically, dehydrated food lasts up to 5-10 years but if they are vacuum sealed these can last as long as 30 years. Yes, that’s how long dehydrated food lasts in vacuum sealed bags.
Now, most foods last up to 20-30 years but foods like meat and fish tend to last up to 3-5 years only. However, if you can follow the proper instructions for dehydrating and sealing them, you’re good to go for years. Here’s a chart for the shelf life of dehydrated food right below-
|Food||Shelf Life (In Years)|
|Potatoes, Carrots, Turnips, etc||30|
What Affects the Long-Term Food Storage?
Now, even though storing food for 25 years sounds amazing, you really need to go through a fight. There are a few things that you can basically call enemies of food storage. These factors often reduce the storage life or shelf life of the food.
You may wonder how long does dehydrated fruits and vegetables last. Well, if these enemies of food storage can be controlled, you can store them for a pretty long time.
- Temperature – First of all, too high temperature can ruin the food and even interfere with the taste. Cooler temperatures are better than hot ones in this case. If the temperature varies too much, it’ll shorten the storage life of the food.
- Moisture – Moisture speeds up the formation of molds and causes the dry food to decompose. Excess moisture in food will spoil it right inside the vacuum seal bags.
- Oxygen – oxygen interacts with the food particles and breaks down the nutrients. This results in the taste of the food to deteriorate. Often the food is oxidized and this reduces their shelf life to a great extent.
- Light – Now again, the photons from the light tend to break down the fats and nutrients of the food. This damages both the taste and nutrients of the food. So the food may get soiled soon enough.
How Vacuum Sealed Food Can Last Longer?
Now, once those foods are vacuum sealed and dehydrated, all you can do is proper storing. Yeah, just make sure that your food is in optimum temperature, moisture and light. And make sure that the vacuum seal is intact.
If you want to be extra secure then secure each of the food packs in another pack. And to make things better there are some great reusable bags out there. Some of those are even made for camping and outdoor purpose. So, order up those and store your vacuum sealed food in them.
Here are some of our top choice reusable bags for food storing-
Apart from double packing, you’ve got another task to do if you want to ensure food longevity. Make sure that your food is safe from rats and other hooligans. So, while camping gives some extra thought about food storage.
We’ve got another tip for you on this. If you really don’t want to share your foods with bears and rats and other wild animals, make sure that you’re storing the vacuum seal packs properly after use. Because animals might get attracted to the smell coming from the bags.
So yeah, that’s your answer to how to store dehydrated food long term.
Now, there’s another thing on this actually. And that’s the most important one.
If you want that food to last long, you have to make sure that the food is properly processed in the first place. Like if it isn’t stored properly it won’t last long. It’s basic logic.
Now, if you know the process yourself, then it’d be easy for you to understand if there’s something wrong with the pre-sealed package. Moreover, you can dehydrate and vacuum foods by yourself in this way.
So, let’s look at the process-
How to Vacuum Seal Dehydrated Food?
There are 3 super easy steps in this process. Once you master this, you won’t have to worry about rotten food while camping or other adventures.
Just follow these steps and you’d be ready to go-
Step 1 of 3: Preparing for Vacuum Seal
This is the most essential phase of the instructions. As easy as the preparation sounds, it needs to be done under full care.
Now the first thing that you need to remember is that the food will shrink quite a lot once it’s dried. For instance, 450 grams of pear would end up as 1 cup of dry slices. So it’s super important that you understand the portions and cut your fruits and vegetables or meat accordingly.
A rule of thumb here is that: Cut into 3mm thickness as it’s the ideal size.
Now before you dehydrate your low acid vegetables and vacuum seal them, make sure to throw them in for steaming. Steam for at least 10 minutes and then dry them off. For high iron fruits and vegetables, you can also add lemon juice to avoid browning. You can also give your vegetables an ascorbic acid bath that works just as fine as lemon juice.
Step 2 of 3: Dehydrating the Right Way
For the dehydration process, you must consider two factors. While dehydrating the food, make sure the drying temperature and the moisture content of the food are optimal. A slight mistake in this step could result in damaged food. That way your vacuum sealed food can go bad and you won’t even realize it.
Knowing exactly which temperature to use for dehydrating your food can be tricky. Often, we end up using too high of a temperature without realizing how it could impact the food. So, it’s important to get a good dehydrator and to keep the dehydrator temperature at the right level.
Here are some of our top choice dehydrators-
Now, here’s the thing-
We often get tempted to raise the temperature level in order to speed up the process but that’s where we go wrong. This causes the fruits and vegetables to create a rough outer skin with a not so dried inside. Moreover, raising the temperature too high also causes all the good enzymes to get damaged due to the heat. This means the nutrients in the food tend to get lost. So, all the benefits are basically gone.
You see, while most fruits and vegetables tend to dehydrate great within 125-135 degrees Fahrenheit, foods like meat could take higher temperatures.
Now, most dehydrators come with instructions for optimal temperature for each variety of fruits and vegetables for your ease. So make sure to follow that.
Here’s an instruction chart to make things easier for you-
|Living Foods||105.8 degrees|
|Raising Bread||109.4 degrees|
Fruits with low moisture content usually tend to last longer than all dehydrated foods. Because moisture speeds up the build-up of mold in these kinds of foods. So moisture is never good for you in terms of dehydrating food.
Now, how to know my food is dry enough?
When the fruits or vegetables have leathery skin and can be bent, that’s when you know these babies have completely died off.
At this stage, you’d want to keep them inside the dehydrator or in a zip bag to distribute the leftover moisture evenly eliminating all the damp spots. This is also known as conditioning.
Fruits like apricot and plums tend to be stickier with a lot of moisture. Hence, their shelf life is quite shorter, unlike potatoes and beans.
Step 3 of 3: Storing the Vacuum Sealed Food
As soon as you cut down the food and pack them, it’s best to vacuum seal them immediately to avoid oxidation. You can also double bag these in a heat-sealed bag as we explained before. This process will help you to protect the food nutrients.
Now you must know exactly how to store dehydrated food. Because once the sealing is done, there’s little to do.
Here’s the thing-
It’s very important to store the food at the right temperature and place. Keeping your food in a cool place away from light is vital. Temperature can highly affect the nutrients in the food and cause damage.
Now, storing meat and fish can be tough because these can become rancid pretty quickly. You can’t store meat at room temperature for too long. So make sure to keep them in the freezer to extend their vacuum sealed shelf life.
You can also use oxygen absorbers with your vacuum seal bags. It’s worth the investment because these suck up the oxygen and help your food last longer.
We loved using these oxygen absorbers-
For powdered food, the bag can suck up the food so make sure to use a coffee filter or paper towel inside the bag and seal it. For fragile foods, vacuum sealer bags can often crush the food, so it is important to set up the vacuum seal to allow less force. Follow all the instructions for storing the food and pack your rucksack with food that can last for years in case you get deserted.
By the way, here are our top choices of vacuum seal bags-
Now that you’ve sealed your bag, you can think about cooking your vacuum-sealed food. All you have to do is take the meat out of the bag. Put it in your pot with loads of spices. Fire up your stove with either hexamine or trioxane tablets.
And finally start cooking your warm, hearty stew.
Question: Can dehydrate food be spoiled?
Answer: Dehydrated food can be spoiled in presence of oxygen and moisture. To keep the food safe from being spoiled, keep it away from light and use oxygen absorbers to suck up the oxygen and moisture.
Question: How can you tell if food is dehydrated?
Answer: When your food has a leathery texture and is moisture free, it is ready. Moreover, the food will be almost brittle but not quite brittle.
Question: Can you keep food in the dehydrator overnight?
Answer: Dehydrators are designed to be left 24 hours or longer. This helps to evenly remove the moisture from food.
That was all from us. Hope all your queries about how long does dehydrated food lasts if vacuum sealed have been answered through our article.
By now you should be able to have good knowledge about dehydrating and vacuum sealing your food for a long time. So follow our guide and enjoy your dehydrated food for years.