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Grainlady will probably weigh in on this.........she does a lot.

I use just plastic bags for the stuff that I will eat fast........bananas, pineapple, peaches.

Use food saver for other things that have to be sure to stay dry or mold!! Use the food saver containers first, then the bags. I don't have enough containers for all of it......and they aren't cheap to stock up on.

I did toss a few onions in a snack bag but knew I would be using them soon.

Keep in a cool dry place, no matter how you store them for containers. If not, could spoil.

Even if I use just plastic bags I make sure the air is out of the bag.......as good as I can.......I use a straw.
 

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Same here - stuff that will be quickly used just go in any old container. Stuff that will be stored longer go go in vacuum sealed bags. AND I have both sizes of jar sealers. So I have purchased various sizes of canning jars (when found on sale) and vacuum seal in them. Everything is kept in a cool dry place or in some cases the fridge or freezer.
 

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Like Tammy on Dehydrate2Store I use two methods. For everyday stuff we can go through fairly quickly (especially fruits) I store in Mason Jars with Oxygen Absorbers. Anything we have in excess is stored in FoodSaver bags with Oxygen Absorbers then put in Mylar bags. I haven't tested any of my stuff in Mylar yet. Will probably start rotating it in the fall/winter when I start making more soups/stews. Hopefully everything will be fine.
 

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Lots of things to check BEFORE storing dehydrated foods to help them keep longer and prevent mold.

-Dehydrated foods are subject to moisture reabsorption, so they need be packaged as soon as they have cooled to room temperature when the dehydrating is complete.

After they are stored, a partially zipped storage bag, or leaving the lid off of a jar of dried food for a prolonged period of time (while snacking on those dried apple slices), or constant opening and closing in a humid kitchen, can find dehydrated foods reabsorbing moisture from the air each time it's opened, or remains open, to the point it can be moist enough to cause mold growth. So use a "get-in-get-out" method after the food is stored. Remove as much as you need from the storage container, and close it up immediately. Leaving the trays of produce sit in the kitchen after they are finished drying - until you can "get to them to put them away" - can be a big problem for mold growth if it has a chance to reabsorb moisture from the air.

-Don't package the dehydrated foods while still warm from the dehydrator because there can be enough moisture remaining in the food to "sweat" if it's warm when placed in a storage container. That moisture can be enough to cause the food to mold.

-I personally prefer canning jars for storage because they come in a number of sizes, and I vacuum-seal lids on those that will be in storage the longest. When I move the jar from storage in the basement to the pantry, I'll replace the vacuum-sealed canning lid with a FoodSaver Universal Lid (which can be easily open and vacuum shut again), or a plastic screw-top lid designed to use on canning jars. They come in both regular and wide-mouth sizes.

-Dried foods store well in glass jars, food-grade plastic storage containers, or plastic food storage bags. Caution using food storage bags for long-term storage because "pantry pests" (the bug kind, not the human kind - LOL) can eat their way through plastic bags and infest your dehydrated food.

-Fruit that has been sulfured should NOT touch metal. If you store sulfured fruit in a metal can, place the fruit in a plastic bag before store it in the can. Sulfur fumes will react with the metal and cause the color to change in the fruit.

-Glass jars are ideal because after the food is dried it needs to go through a conditioning process which is easy to monitor in glass. Conditioning is used to "equalize (evenly distribute) moisture left in the food after drying." Conditioning is done to fruits, herbs and seeds to improve storage without mold developing.

How to:
Fill jars about 2/3 full and cover with a tight-fitting lid and store where you can keep them away from light/heat/humidity and check at least once a day for 10-14 days.

You are checking for condensation on the lids and any signs of spoilage. If you notice condensation on the lid or jar, return the food to the dehydrator to finish drying. Then you go through the conditioning process all over again.

After conditioning, and there is no sign of condensation, that's when it's time for vacuum-sealing for longer storage, or use oxygen absorbers/mylar bags as another oxygen-free method of storage. Or a screw-top lid for immediate use.

-If food shows any sign of mold - destroy all the food stored in the container. Even if all of the food may not have mold on it, there are unseen mold spores throughout the jar.

I tend to use smaller jars for things that are notorious for mold growth, like potato slices (especially if you are slicing them by hand and have different thicknesses of slices, instead of with a mandoline for slices that are the same thickness). That way I may only have to toss out a pint of them if they mold, instead of a quart or 1/2-gallon.

-It's also handy to pack foods in amounts that will be used in a recipe so you only have to open the container once. One cup of dried apple slices for applesauce, 1-1/2 c. dried apple slices for Dried Apple Pie, and 2 c. dried apple slices for Dried Apple Coffee Cake... I have even put dried apple slices, or dried zucchini slices (we use them like potato chips) in small zip-lock "snack bags", and THEN placed the bagged food in quart jars. That way we have a measured amount of "snack", and each time the jar is opened, the remaining food stays dry.

-If you are using the dehydrofreezing method, the food MUST be stored in the freezer to prevent microbial growth. Fruit normally has 80% of the moisture removed, and veggies 90%. During hydrofreezing only 70% of the moisture is removed.

I also freeze cooked lean meat cubes I dehydrate.

-Dehydrated food does NOT store "forever". Food quality is affected by heat, so the temperature you have your food stored at will determine the length of storage. The higher the temperature, the shorter the storage time. Most dried fruits can be stored for one year at 60°F, six months at 80°F. Vegetables have about half the shelf-life of fruits. "For every 18°F drop in temperature, the shelf life of fruits increases three to four times." You can double the storage time if you use an oxygen-free method, or you freeze the food (which also benefits from vacuum-sealing while frozen to prevent the moisture in the food from migrating and causing ice crystals from forming). Always store jerky in the refrigerator, if using it quickly, and in the freezer for longer storage. The fat in jerky quickly goes rancid at room temperature. Fat + oxygen = a free radical.

-Meat jerky must be heated to 160°F to destroy microorganisms before consumption or placing in storage. There are two methods.
*If the meat is marinated, heat the meat in the marinade prior to drying.
**The second method is to heat the dried jerky in the oven at 275°F for 10-minutes after the dehydration process.

-Don't store dehydrated food where it's exposed to light - it can change the texture and color of the dehydrated food. A cool, dark, dry area such as a basement is a good choice. Exposure to humidity, light or air decreases the shelf life of the food.

Hope that gives you some ideas about storing dehydrated foods... These are the methods I teach in classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I found this link that gives a lot of great information if your are wanting to use oxygen absorbers for food storage.

Dry-Pack Canning in Canning Jars
Thank you very much for sharing this - I've been wanting to know more about the oxygen absorbers and I was very happy to see your post.
 

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Bumping this thread..I don't yet have a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorbers. Can I store food in regular freezer bags, in the freezer, until I a. Have enough to fill a jar, and b. I can order oxygen absorbers? It was all I could swing this time to buy the dehydrator..
 

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Dehydrated food doesn't need to go in the freezer. A freezer is an expensive way to store food so you want to conserve room for what really needs to go there.

I personally don't like to remove oxygen from dehydrated food. Mold and mildew won't grow in a vacuum but other nasty bugs will. I prefer to lose a food to mold instead of losing a loved one to Listeria. So, I store dehydrated food in canning jars or freezer bags but I don't worry about oxygen eliminators or vacuum packing. Properly dehydrated food is shelf-stable all on its own.
 

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Dehydrated food doesn't need to go in the freezer. A freezer is an expensive way to store food so you want to conserve room for what really needs to go there.

I personally don't like to remove oxygen from dehydrated food. Mold and mildew won't grow in a vacuum but other nasty bugs will. I prefer to lose a food to mold instead of losing a loved one to Listeria. So, I store dehydrated food in canning jars or freezer bags but I don't worry about oxygen eliminators or vacuum packing. Properly dehydrated food is shelf-stable all on its own.
Glad to hear! I was getting a bit worried with all the talk of vacuum sealers and O2 packets.
 

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I would follow the instructions in the book that will come with your dehydrator. It will tell you how to store the food to make it last the longest. Not everything is shelf stable for a long time. For example, the instructions with my dehydrator says jerky should not be stored at room temp more than two weeks. Which is handy for a camping trip, but not for long-term storage.
 
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