Learn How to Store Home-Dried Foods – During times of food shortage, preserving food becomes important. You can get your food home-dried and preserve it well or else you can also go to a market and buy the best vacum Sealer for yourself, only the thing is that you would have to do the job the right way.
Following are a few tips for storing your home-dried and dehydrated foods
Storing Dehydrated Fruit: Before storing, dehydrated food needs to be conditioned. The moisture content in fruits dried at home should be around 20 percent. It is better to place them loosely in jars and shake the jar once a day for seven days. Doing this, if you see condensation happening, you should keep the fruits back in the dehydrator for further drying. Before placing sulfured fruits in metal containers, put it in a plastic bag. Otherwise, the flavor might deteriorate because of the sulfur reacting with the metal. You can store dried fruits for up to a year.
Storing Dried Foods: Here are a few things you can consider when storing dried foods- You should not pack dry foods for storage until they have completely cooled down as the air surrounding the warm food will hold more moisture, this moisture is released on cooling. This is why you have vacum sealers in the market., they help in keeping the moisture content out of the stored food. Some of the best Food Saver Machine available in the market are- Jukmen Vacuum Sealer Machine, Full-Automatic Electric Vacuum Sealing Machine, Mixen Vacuum Sealer, etc. Dried foods should be kept in air-tight containers. Also, you can use a jar with an air-tight seal. In the case of plastic bags being used, they should be freezer bags, not sandwich bags because they are thicker than the latter. Be careful, and do remove all of the air from the freezer bag before using it.
Vacuum sealing gives the best shelf life to the food because it helps in removing all the air and removing the moisture away from the food you have saved. If you are going to dry food, vacuum sealers will be of great help. Food should be stored in batches and not all in one place. This prevents them from getting contaminated and also maintains their freshness. Keeping the containers in a cool, dry, and dark location will also be helpful. Exposure to light can degrade the dried food.
You can store dried vegetables and meat for about six months: If you plan to use the dried food for a longer period of time, it is advisable to store them in your freezer. You should not pile new items on old ones. Make sure to use the older ones before you use the new ones. For this what you can do is, store the old ones above or in front of the new ones. If in case you have opened the container once, you can refreeze it to increase its shelf life.
Before consuming the dried food, you should inspect it once. If there is anything with molds, discard it immediately. If you are in doubt regarding the freshness and quality of the food you stored, it is better to throw it away rather than eating rotten food items and having ill-health effects. Always remember, even the best vacum food saver can go wrong if you leave any loopholes on your part.
Vegetable Dryness: If you are interested in keeping or storing vegetables for a long, it is better to dry them out until they are brittle or crisp. After drying, some vegetables might shatter if you hit them hard with a hammer. If this begins to happen, there would only be about 10 percent of moisture left in these vegetables. At this stage, these vegetables become too dry to need any sort of conditioning as fruits do.
Pros and Cons of Home-Drying
- Airtight containers help in keeping the moisture away so your dried items would last longer.
- If the dried items such as vegetables have been powderized by you, the tight lids will prevent vegetables from spilling.
- Your shelves get an organized look.
- If you are using glass air-tight containers, they are odor resistant so the flavor and aroma remain intact.
- If you use plastic containers, they are undoubtedly economical but they contain chemicals like BPA which is toxic. It will be better if you choose BPA-free plastic containers for storing your dried items.
- You could use stainless steel containers as well, but they are costly.
Pros and Cons of Vacuum Packaging
- It protects your food from moisture, insects, and dust.
- Vacuum features have different features such as resealable zippers, channeled, or foil-lined. So you may choose according to your requirement.
- If you are vacuum packing your dried items, they would not require any type of chemicals or preservatives.
- You can save a lot of space by using them.
- Vacuum packaging can prevent freezer burn.
Vacuum packaging machines are costly and everyone can not afford them. Also, the packing bags are expensive too. However, how expensive your machine is, depends upon the quality of the machine.
Can You Make Dried Fruits in an Oven?
Yes! You can. Your oven only needs to have a “Dehydrate” setting. It would take 8-10 hours for the fruits to dry. What you need to do
Step 1: Cut the fruits with a sharp knife. If you cut them 1/8 inch thick, it would take about 8-10 hours for them to dry. The thickness can range between 1/8 inch and ¼ inch. To get more even slices, a mandolin can be used especially, for fruits like apple and pear.
Step 2: After you have the slices just put them inside the oven on the racks and the rest is all your oven’s job. Leave the slices to get dried completely.
If you have an oven with a huge capacity, you will be able to get more fruits dried. Imagine being able to place six 15 inches 10-inch wire racks in your oven! The more the capacity, the more number of fruits can be dried in one round. You may use different fruits such as pineapple, apples, clementines, Cara Cara oranges, etc. They all smell so good that it might seem to you as if you are in a candy shop.
Where Can You Use These Dried Fruits?
- If you dry pineapple slices, they will take a golden color and will be sweet, chewy, and soft as well. You can decorate the pineapple juice for your guest with it, just the same way you get at those mocktail parties.
- You can use the apple slices with honey and your Honey Crisp Apples are ready. They will be mildly sweet and you can have them as snacks.
- Dried Clementine slices would have a bitter taste. They are crunchy at first but after being kept in a container for a day or two, they soften. You can add them to the delicious Sweet Red Bean Soup.