You already know that dried produce will keep far longer than fresh. But how much longer? The shelf life of our premium dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables lasts up to two years, but your veggies can last longer if stored in the right way. These four tips will help you store your dried vegetables and lengthen the shelf life of dehydrated food. (keeping them just as delicious as they were the day you brought them home).
1. Store all your dried vegetables in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.
We package our dried veggies in sealed, airtight containers that are convenient for everyday cooking. You might be tempted to keep those ingredients handy by storing them on your kitchen counter right next to the stove–but that will minimize their shelf life.
Heat, light, and air are three of the biggest causes of food spoilage (whether that food is fresh or dried). Oxidation and photodegradation are natural processes that decline the quality and nutritional content of vegetables. A dark, cool shelf in a pantry or cabinet will be a much better place for long-term storage of your dried vegetables.
2. Keeping your veggies in the refrigerator or freezer will extend shelf life.
Our dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables are shelf stable—that is what the USDA defines as “foods that can be stored safely at room temperature.” So they will keep just fine without refrigeration (if kept in a cool, dark place). However, refrigeration will extend the life of shelf-stable foods. So if you want to keep your dried veggies fresh for a longer period of time, then you might want to store them in the fridge or freezer.
People who live in areas with high humidity are especially encouraged to store their dried veggies in the refrigerator. The same is true for people who do not have a climate control system in their home. So, if you don’t have air conditioning, plan on storing dehydrated food in the refrigerator or freezer for longest life. (Bonus tip: freeze dried fruits are also more likely to retain their pleasing crispness if you store them in the freezer).
3. Keep water away!
The microbes that cause food to discolor and go bad need water to live. Freeze drying and dehydration prevents the growth of fungus, mold, bacteria, and other microbes that cause vegetables (and other foods) to spoil. It is the lack of water content in our dried vegetables that keeps them safe to eat for so long.
Moisture is the number one enemy of dehydrated vegetables. Damp basements, under-sink cabinets, or any other place where your stored vegetables will come in contact with moisture will shorten their shelf life. (This is also why we recommend that people in humid climates store their dried vegetables in the fridge or freezer.)
4. Vacuum pack and use oxygen absorbers for long-term storage.
Vacuum packing your dried vegetables can extend the shelf life exponentially by minimizing the amount of oxygen that they will come in contact with. You will need special equipment, including a vacuum sealer and Mylar bags, to vacuum pack your vegetables.
With a vacuum sealer, you can use Harmony House dried vegetables for long-term emergency food storage. One of the most cost effective ways of doing this is to buy in bulk and then repackage in Mylar bags using your vacuum sealer. We sell almost all of our dehydrated vegetables in bulk sizes. Using a home vacuum sealer can make your vegetables shelf stable for many years. For an extra protective measure, you may also wish to add oxygen absorbers to the Mylar bag when you are ready to seal it.
Keep Your Pantry Stocked for Years
Keeping a supply of dried vegetables in your pantry is a delicious way to save time and energy by reducing the number of trips you need to take to the grocery store. Stocking up on staples like dried onions, peppers, celery, and mushrooms means you will always have those ingredients on hand for quick, tasty delicious meals. And now you know the tricks to storing them for the longest amount of time possible. Bon appetit!