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 Post subject: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 5th, 2021, 8:46 pm 
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Joined: April 14th, 2018, 7:19 pm
Posts: 164
getting serious about dehydrating food now. mostly so i can get away from workarounds and dependencies which i have gotten used to. i bought 2 dehydrators to run in parallel, nesco 600 watt, 10 trays each.
and anticipate my hydro bill going up. i want to start nice and simple with this project, dry only a few foods (listed below), but completely master each one (learn the best kind to buy, best way to prepare that kind, exact dry times, post processing, storage method). log it all.

-ground beef
-chicken
-tomato sauce
-beans
-corn
-spinach
-green beans
-peppers
-carrots
-chickpeas (for hummus)

i will dry large quantities of each and want it to last 1 year indoors and be used on a 30 day trip (possibly hot) after that storage. i don't want to use vacuum sealers as i don't like being dependant on bags that work best with them. i prefer simpler and self sufficient methods for storing; i would accept a 6 month storage period if that enabled me to avoid vacuum sealing.

is my only option mason jars? do thick freezer zip locks work?
must items go into a freezer, or is room temperature fine in a dark place?
must oxygen be removed from the jar or bag?
can jars be stacked? (i read it's not a good idea (if i can't stack, that's an issue))
do you have any tricks or tips or warnings related to said items, from prep to storage?

thanks a lot everyone,


Last edited by remogami on October 6th, 2021, 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 5th, 2021, 11:29 pm 
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Joined: August 28th, 2021, 7:49 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver, BC
It’s a real issue. I’ve been on the lookout for a jar attachment to use with my vacuum sealer… that’s the holy grail so far as I can tell, sold out everywhere.

I have not had great luck with ziploc bags for long term storage, especially in the freezer. Right now I vacuum pack and refrigerate/freeze things like meats, and I use mason jars (no suction) for fruits and veggies. There’s room for improvement, but it works ok. I rarely keep things for a year, though, so ymmv. I’ve been thinking about getting/making one of these: https://pump-n-seal.com/product/pump-n-seal-pkg-1-2/… seems like a worthwhile idea.

I’m not a great fan of vacuum seal bags–so much plastic! That said, they are pretty awesome for canoe tripping and other outdoor adventuring. Meals stay dry and fresh for a long time, and of course they’re very light.

Have you read chef Glenn’s site? It’s full of great info, including a fair bit about storage. Lots of great recipes too.. the ground chicken and turkey works great. I also bought the book. https://www.backpackingchef.com/

I find the tricky thing about dehydrating is getting into the swing of it. I live in an apartment, and the noise is a bit loud, so we typically run it at night. Not ideal to do food prep before bed, but there you go. It’s fun watching the food stack up when you do get into a groove.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 6th, 2021, 5:19 am 
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Joined: January 3rd, 2010, 5:59 pm
Posts: 234
Location: Kanata
Meats I store in the freezer.
Veggies and fruit and sauces I store in a cupboard.
Rinse ground beef after cooking prior to drying. Even lean ground beef will feel greasy after dehydrating if not rinsed.
I've never had any item go bad on a trip - though longest trip has only been 14 days.
Drying times? Not sure - over night seems to dry pretty much everything. Wish I could figure out how to dry mangos and get them like the ones you buy from the store. Mine are usually a little too dry, but still good.
Most food I use within 12 months-some gets store longer. I've noticed that it changes colour a bit over time - salsa, spag sauce, strawberries - but all still seemed fine to eat. Well, not sure about the strawberries that are three years old...
Best dehydrated meal - coleslaw with pulled pork and fresh bannock.

rab


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 6th, 2021, 9:08 am 
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Joined: February 24th, 2005, 1:15 pm
Posts: 325
For the first ever Yukon 1000 mile race in 2009, I volunteered to prepare all the main meal breakfast and dinner food for my voyageur team of 7 paddlers. Race officials mandated 20kg (that's 44 pounds!) per paddler of on board food before we were allowed to begin the race. We could not include the weight of water to make high quality dehydrated food edible. I began dehydrating on my 1000 watt Nesco in February, double bagging in freezer weight zip locks and storing in the freezer, awaiting the July race start. With 7 paddlers in a voyageur canoe, it took that long to prepare and dehydrate all the required main meals for breakfast and dinner.

Two weeks before the warm July race, everything headed north by road trip from the Adirondacks to Whitehorse with food being carried in a required bear resistant container (a yeti lockable cooler). I stored the Yeti in my unairconditioned hotel room during several days of training and pre-race preparation activities.
During the race at meal times, without stoppping team paddling or forward progress, one lucky designated paddler briefly heated water and rehydrated food and passed it around to each crew member.

Six days later we crossed the finish line with 3/4 of all the dehydrated food remaining. No one went hungry or lost any weight during the race. We packed up and waited another week before all racers finished and attended the closing ceremonies in Whitehorse, then another week long road trip home.

At home I gave away most to the remaining food packages, but saved some to use during my later summer guided trips. None of it seemed to loose any flavor or quality at any time until gone.

Thankfully that was the one and only year race officials mandated that ridiculous food requirement. The next time I raced the Y1K, I prepared just enough to finish with only a couple of days of emergency food in reserve.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 7th, 2021, 10:39 am 
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Joined: October 6th, 2005, 8:02 am
Posts: 609
Location: a bit south ofWinnipeg
High acid, low fat foods store well.

Mylar bags are the gold standard.

I'm told that high fat foods can even go rancid in the freezer over a long time

You can buy really good aftermarket lids for mason jars though I confess we most often use old PB jars and throw in an oxygen absorber or two. We have a cold store in our basement though I do store dried salmon in the freezer.

Slightly confused by you drying chick peas. Whole? If making hummus its better to make the hummus up without oil and then dry that. Dries quicker too!
For tomatoes consider scooping out the juice and seeds and only drying the flesh.

I know it's good drying your own but Briden's Solutions and Good2Go sell a lot of this stuff in #10 cans, often freeze dried which retains more nutrition and rehydrates more quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 8th, 2021, 5:22 am 
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Joined: April 14th, 2018, 7:19 pm
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@two2the8 @rab @nessmuk @chris
thank you all very much for your detailed responses, i really appreciate it.
i will be shipping a dried slice of watermelon to each of you :)
apparently they are beyond delicious. not quite thirst quenching though.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 8th, 2021, 7:01 am 
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Joined: October 6th, 2005, 8:02 am
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Location: a bit south ofWinnipeg
Alternatively find a buddy who has bought a freeze drier! We were treated to freeze dried ice cream on a recent Quetico trip and apparently pumpkin pie is on the menu this weekend.

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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 8th, 2021, 9:28 am 
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Joined: December 9th, 2012, 9:57 am
Posts: 395
I dehydrate in small quantities so I don't often have anything to store beyond the first season. It stays in the fridge freezer door where there's room for it. There's too little room in our chest freezer as it is 3/4 full year round. I've been low tech happy with me sucking (nearly all) the air out of the Ziplock freezer bags with a straw. I check them after they've sat in the freezer for signs of frost indicating moisture. I also check them after removal for signs of condensation. In either case that would be a deal killer. Only seen that once as I am meticulously fussy about achieving optimum dry and vacuum as much as possible. I have had successful (fridge freezer) shelf life of 3 years but am never aiming for long term dehydrated food storage, 6 months is what I'm after. "Aim high" I say. I've got loads of time every year to make up the upcoming season's worth. I run one machine but with only two trays for faster results. Takes less than a week of evening/overnight dehydrating. Seems pointless to hoard too much.
Our menu is suited to our tastes. Basmati rice, lentils, quinoa, spaghettini, for quick cook carbs and some veg protein, dehydrated shredded turkey and chicken is our only dinner meat protein but I've had easy success with ground beef. I'm too lazy to dry fruit. If I can splash out for wine (her) and Scotch (me) then I can buy a small amount of dried raisins and cherries which we combine with walnuts and pecans for our own gorp. The store bought dried fruit also goes in the home prepped bannock mix, just add water in camp. I dehydrate complete (vegetarian and prepped thick) soups and chilli. Some fresh items worth the weight and space are whole onion, sweet pepper, 1 dozen eggs; maybe a couple steaks for the first night. I do dehydrate sauces. Everything is double bagged, paying particular attention to make sure the chicken and turkey do not pierce the bags.
Since I don't want any extra hanging around from one year to the next I prep and dehydrate measured amounts to make up individual meals; ie do just enough chicken for however meals we require for that season's tripping. No more, no less. At the end of the soft water season if there's any left over dehydrated items I prefer to incorporate them in our home meals rather than carry them over to next year. But it's good to know I can if I want to.
Our trips are far less adventurous than others' I am sure. I plan for 2-10 day trips, but all too often we end up spending half that allotted time out there. When that happens we double down on the fresh and dehydrated, saving the dry staples to be restocked in the home pantry, even if that means omelettes and frittatas for a camp meal, chicken thrown into an everything goes soup.


Last edited by Odyssey on October 8th, 2021, 12:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 8th, 2021, 10:33 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2021, 7:49 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver, BC
FWIW, I went and ordered the pumpnseal this week… will letcha know how it goes. (Those 90s infomercials are just too convincing!)


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 15th, 2021, 9:58 pm 
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Odyssey, thanks very much for these fantastic details. awesome stuff. the impression im getting all around is that meats are main risk and even they, if done proper (max o2 removed, max reduced fat, max dried), should last 30 day trip (possibly hot) after 1 year storage in freeze. veg should do just as well as they're less prone to going bad, as i understand.

probably meat could last that same trip after stored for 6 months Not in freeze. and i could probably push limits even further (o2 level, dryness, temp, store time, etc), but these max settings seem to be the somewhat 'known' safe zone area, so i'll stick to it.

only thing i need to figure out is whether it need be vac sealed on 30 day trip. my gut tells me probably not. but i need to know as it could mean obligation to vac sealing with those special bags and machine (which i don't want to get into), or could mean i should stick to a 6 month (not 12) freeze followed by trip. thanks again for your info Odyssey, really helpful stuff.

if anyone has carried dried meat for close to 30 days in warm weather and not vac sealed on trip, please let me know how you stored that meat before trip and for how long.

@two2the8 thanks, please let me know. i much prefer glass over vac plastic or mylar things. i have a freezer chest spare so will have space for the lost space those bad boys cause. but if i end up needing to vac seal food on trip (food saver bags, etc) then this would make glass jars not so ideal as, in that case, i might as well vac seal from the get go.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 16th, 2021, 10:23 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
Posts: 2103
Location: Manitoba
I’ve dried my own food for 50 day canoe trip. Simply stored in ziplocks or plastic bags knotted or twist tied.
Vegetarian. I don’t dry meat.

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http://www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

 


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 17th, 2021, 7:31 am 
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Joined: February 24th, 2005, 1:15 pm
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remogami wrote:
if anyone has carried dried meat for close to 30 days in warm weather and not vac sealed on trip, please let me know how you stored that meat before trip and for how long.


See my post above about the massive amount of food I dehydrated and transported to and from the Yukon. Many of the meals I prepared included ground beef, some wer made and dehydrated with shredded pork or beef. Stored in my freezer in doubled freezer weight ziplock bags, then transported by car for 10 days in July weather to Whitehorse, stored in a hotel room for 5 days before the race start, going 6 days by canoe on the 1000 mile race in warm temperatures some days in the 80's, then the leftover unopened food was stored for another week in a hotel room awaiting the race finish ceremony celebration, then another week plus on road trip back to the Adirondack region. Finally replaced back in my freezer before being deliciously consumed later in the summer on local canoe trips. No sign of deterioration or off flavor issues in any case.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 17th, 2021, 10:21 am 
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Joined: April 21st, 2004, 10:52 am
Posts: 1166
Location: Near Ottawa ON
remogami wrote:

if anyone has carried dried meat for close to 30 days in warm weather and not vac sealed on trip, please let me know how you stored that meat before trip and for how long.

Yes, ground beef and pulled chicken and pork that was stored in 2 zip-lock type freezer bags (with the air evacuated with a straw) for a year in a cold cellar, then 2 weeks in a barrel in a vehicle in Florida then 2 weeks in a canoe paddling to the Gulf of Mexico. All good. Bacon in a zip-lock was still good after 4 weeks as well. I lightly rinse the fat out of the beef and pat the bacon dry with paper towels and add oil when cooking.
I've used meat and vegetables stored this way that were 2 years old and indistinguishable from freshly dehydrated.


Last edited by Krusty on October 17th, 2021, 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 17th, 2021, 10:47 am 
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Joined: August 28th, 2021, 7:49 pm
Posts: 16
Location: Vancouver, BC
nessmuk wrote:
See my post above about the massive amount of food I dehydrated and transported to and from the Yukon.


That's a great story, btw. 44lbs each, that must have been quite a pile!

Another tip that occurs to me, remogami: when we're canoe tripping, we package our dried meat in small packages separate from the rest of our food. We add a small packet of meat to each meal as-needed when we're rehydrating. The thinking is that if some of the meat goes off, it won't spoil a whole meal or affect the rest of the meat. We've never gone out for 30 days, but if we did I think we'd very likely do it that way... wouldn't want to get to day 20 and find that our last 10 days of meals are ruined.


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 Post subject: Re: storing dried food
PostPosted: October 17th, 2021, 11:20 am 
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Joined: April 21st, 2004, 10:52 am
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Location: Near Ottawa ON
two2the8 wrote:
we package our dried meat in small packages separate from the rest of our food. We add a small packet of meat to each meal as-needed when we're rehydrating.
Me too. It also helps with measuring quantities that are hard to judge when rehydrating. I always make too many hash-browns.


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