For those who've taken the leap and started using an Excalibur product to preserve foods, the most common question asked is: How long will this last?
In short, it can be decades, if done right.
That concept can be hard to imagine for someone used to tossing the expired fruits, vegetables and meats that populate their freezers and refrigerators, but the science is sound.
The average shelf life for dehydrated foods varies based on storage method and temperature — the cooler the temperature the longer it can be stored.
Predicting the actual shelf life of dehydrated foods is not an exact science. However, many studies have found that it is possible to double, triple and sometimes quadruple the shelf life of foods by lowering the temperature at which they are stored.
Here are a few tips for extending the shelf life of food:
- Pack it in airtight containers at 50 F/10 C to 60 F/16 C.
- Keep it away from light to preserve its colors and vitamins.
- Only stow the food after it is cooled.
- Check for moisture in the containers several times the first week after the food has been dried. If moisture appears when it's shaken, put the food back in the dehydrator to extend its shelf life.
- Stock stored food away from concrete because of its ability to transfer moisture, thus off a concrete floor or away from a wall.
- Construct shelves so air can run under the container.
If contamination is suspected, place dried food in the oven at 175 F/79 C for 15 minutes. Another method for protection is to subject the food to 0 F for 48 to 72 hours.
Here's a chart that will help explain the various predicted shelf-lives of different foods: