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Sherry wrote in to ask: I would like to freeze my veggies after dehydrating as a way to store. Does this work ok? Or am I better off blanching and freezing?
Can you long term store in the mason jars without the oxypack?
Hi Sherry, thanks for taking time to write in to us. Appreciate it.
If you are using very good vacuum-sealer bags, then, yes, you can store in the freezer, but I don't like to do that. You see, when we dehydrate the food, we are taking out air and water. So, to me, putting our dehydrated foods in the freezer runs the risk of moisture getting back into the packet, defeating the dehydration purpose in the process. To me, you are better off blanching and freezing and skipping the dehydrating process.
I look at it this way, though: if the power goes
out, you don't ever lose long-term food when stored in vacuum-sealed
bags, and then in air-tight bins!
Frozen food only stays frozen 'so long' after the power goes out, and I know this from having gone through back to back hurricanes where our power was out for weeks!
I would not like to store my goodies – long term – without the oxypacks. They are not only great for eliminating 'stray' air in the jar – the oxygen absorbers protect dry foods from insect damage and extend the shelf life by preventing mold growth which eliminates the need for additives like BHA, BHT, and sorbates, etc.
Bill wrote in to ask: We have a bumper crop of Japanese eggplant this year. Would it dehydrate pretty much the same way as the zucchini?
Hi Bill – short answer, yes! Thanks for taking time to write in, and let us know how your eggplant turned out.
Kadel posted on Facebook: My dehydrator does not have a temperature gauge. How can you tell when your fruit or vegetable is dry enough to not spoil the entire contents in storage? Thank you for your help.
Hi Kadel! If you look at my fruit/vegetable pages, I mention what to look out for, regarding "dryness." For instance, on the plum page where you posted, I say they will be "leathery in consistency when dried." So, check out the other pages too, and you'll see my "Drying Time" comment shown. Thanks for posting, Kadel!
Can I dehydrate using my electric smoker? What other equipment / procedures should I use? Thanks - Don
I don't own a smoker, electric or otherwise, so I'd be way out of line to suggest you try it! (If your smoker instructions say you can, then by all means, follow those instructions. To be honest, Don, dehydrators are not that expensive; my favorite is the Nesco. You can get 'em for under $70 and they are a very reliable brand (I have one!)
Check out this link and look over on the right hand side of the page, scroll down about half way and you'll see the Amazon ad for the Nesco FD 75PR 600 watt model.
Sorry I'm not able to be of much more help! Thanks Don, for taking time to write in, appreciate it.
Bev posted on Facebook: I noticed you mentioned about roasting seeds. If you do this how long do the seeds last? I grew sunflowers this year and hoping to get some seeds from them. Thank You.
Hi Bev! The roasted seeds are for eating right away; I don't keep them hanging around for long-term storage purposes - it just seems a shame to throw them away, hence roasting and eating them when they're cool! Thanks for posting :-)
I have a question. You use oxygen packets in your quart jars to store dehydrated food. Would it work just as good to vacuum seal the jars with my food saver? -- Linda
Hi Linda! Thanks for writing – but first I want to make sure I understand your question. Do you mean to just vacuum seal your jars WITHOUT using an oxygen absorber? If that's what you mean, the answer is "yes."
I use oxygen absorbers for long-term storage, i.e. anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months ... expecting to keep that jar closed. The oxygen absorber takes care of any mold-growth situation that may arise, so please bear that in mind.
For jars that you're using on a daily basis, then I wouldn't bother with an oxygen absorber – again, that's if you're opening them on a daily basis. Hope that answers your question. Please write back if I've misunderstood!
Feather, in South Carolina, wrote in to ask: Can we dehydrate canned peaches, pears and/or fruit cocktail?
If the fruits are in a no-sugar solution, then you should be OK to do so, but my thought is, why bother? When fruits have been canned, you know they will be good for years and you can store them "as is" ... but if you still wish to dehydrate canned fruits (or veggies) due to the cans' reaching their expiration dates, then go ahead! Just remember, upon re-hydration, the fruits will not taste as sweet as you might be expecting due to the fact they are re-hydrated with water, and not a sugary syrup.
Don't forget you can dehydrate FROZEN fruit too. This way, you're taking up less room in your freezer - and even better, should you lose power, they won't turn to mush in your freezer IF you've taken the time to dehydrate the frozen fruits (and veggies) first!
Thank you for taking time to write in.
Hi Susan - Can I soak my apples in water with a dissolved Vitamin C tablet, instead of lemon juice, while I am preparing other apples?
Hi, Helen! That's a very good question. Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, so why don't you try dissolving some Vitamin C tablets in water, then toss your apples in it.
Then dehydrate. Let us know if the Vitamin C tablet was strong enough to deter rapid oxidation!
Thanks for posting!
Brendan asked: I just took in about 30# of Concords and was wondering if I need to remove the seeds first, or if eating the raisin and spitting the seed like watermelon?
Hi Brendan – good question! I would wash them, cut them in half, de-seed, and then dry the grapes "cut side up" to save from having a drippy, sticky mess! Thanks for posting.
Bradley posted: I dehydrated broccoli last night. They turned out great. My concern is they seem pretty delicate. Will they get crushed in the vacuum seal bag? I don't want broccoli powder yet. :-)
Hi Bradley! Don't worry about crushing it, that is, unless you dried small-ish pieces to begin with! They are quite tough, but can be brittle ... the main thing to watch out for is for sharp points that might puncture your vacuum bag – so make sure you have purchased GOOD bags. Check out the plastic wrap guide on this page for even further protection (for long-term food storage).
How hard is it to open a can of beef and dehydrate it? Plus how to store other than in a freezer?
Hi Linda – thanks for contacting us. First of all, I wouldn't bother dehydrating canned meats. They're already in a container that lasts for several years or more. The cooked meats I refer to on the site are deli-sliced meats (i.e. pre-cooked) and those are what I dehydrate.
And yes, I dehydrate to save electric by not having to have a separate freezer storing food for the long-term!
I hope this answers your questions.