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I dehydrated canned chicken a couple months ago as per a backpacking recipe. I used a FoodSaver to take the air out. After 3 months pressure increased, no holes and filled the pouch with air ... does that mean it has gone bad or is there something dehydrated chicken produces while freezing it in an air tight bag?

First I need to make sure I understand what you did:

1) dehydrated the canned chicken
2) vacuum sealed it with an oxygen absorber tucked in it (or not)
3) put it in the freezer

If I understood your steps, then all should be well. The only thing I would not have done was put it in the freezer!

Warm food (meaning room temperature) will create some condensation when it is frozen, but that's supposed to be the FoodSaver's job – to extract as much air out of the bag as possible.

But when storing food for the long-term, I don't use a freezer. What I do is to make sure to add an oxygen absorber IN the package before vacuum-sealing. 

I can then safely store the properly dehydrated chicken in bins and buckets – without the added cost of freezing! But back to the condensation bit – water expands when frozen so I wonder IF that caused minute bag punctures and that's why your package has seemed to inflate? Have you let it thaw out? If you have and it was "puffy" and not "hard", then you've had a leak. I don't recommend FoodSaver bags anyway. I like to use bags from DC Sales Enterprises Inc..

Next time Patrick, try better bags. You can still freeze them if that's the route you prefer to take, and if you do, then you really don't need the oxygen absorber packets.

I'm new to dehydrating so your site is very helpful.  I just dehydrated strawberry and banana slices as well as a batch of turnip slices in my Excalibur for the first time. I let the slices cool and then vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber in each bag. I have two questions:

1. I guess I skipped the "conditioning" phase. Would you recommend I unseal the vacuum bags and "condition" overnight and then reseal?

2. I plan on placing the vacuumed sealed bags in Mylar bags for long term storage but am waiting for my heat sealer to arrive.  Are they safe until I can seal in Mylar?

Thank you for the great info., Karen.

Hi Karen!  My answer to opening them back up to "condition" is a no I wouldn't do it this time! That would be a shame to waste your vacuum bags just make sure these get used up within three months, instead of 6 months or longer. Just write on the bag "use first, I forgot to condition them" :-)

Also to answer the Mylar bag sealer question, use your FoodSaver sealer function IF you can; just the "hot seal" function and not the "vacuum and seal" function
that is if you have a FoodSaver that is wide enough to seal the full width of your Mylar bags.

Remember, the Mylar bag doesn't get the air drawn out   it's just another added "layer of protection" against light, mainly.

Belinda asks: Can I dehydrate frozen cooked chicken cubes?

Hi Belinda, hope you're having a fine Saturday! In answer to your question, "yes" you can dehydrate frozen chicken cubes! Just make sure they're pretty evenly-sized; then do the vacuum sealing with the oxypack tucked in after they're fully dehydrated.

Pam M. posted on our Dog Food page this question:
Can this recipe also work for cats? Or do you have a cat food recipe also?

Hi Pam – I would like to think it's OK for cats but to be on the safe side, check with your vet to see if millet and quinoa are safe for cats ... I'd hate to see something happen to your cat just because I said "it's OK!" If you do find out, please post back here so I can let everyone know. 

We used to have a cat but at that time he ate canned cat food. He passed away and a stray dog came into our lives. And that's how the 'make your own dog food' came to life ... We still miss Toby the cat he was great! Sorry to ramble on here.

I don't have any 'cat food' recipes other than what's posted in the cat section which I admit there's not a lot there aside for some treats. Thanks for posting Pam!

Easy Food Dehydrating & Safe Food Storage

Belinda from Mansfield, Ohio contacted us with this great question:

I opened a new pack of oxygen absorbers then vacuum sealed them in a mason jar after removing my needed amount.  But the jar has moisture in it from them ... is this normal?  They are 300cc in a qt. - I did this within 3 minutes or less.

I appreciate your site so much it is a necessity for me and others.  Thank you so much.

Hi Belinda, thanks for taking time to contact us. Your question regarding the Mason jar filled with oxygen absorbers having moisture in it does concern me. It's like the jar is sweating inside!

That being said, I don't use Mason jars to store my opened oxygen absorber bag; I split the big bag into five bags 100 ct divided by 5 = 20 per bag, and I put them straight away into these five separate bags and vacuum seal them.

I don't have to worry about leakage; so I'm wondering if that was your case, the seal wasn't good? Can you try this again with another jar?

We all know that water is two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen ... so if the oxygen is being absorbed by the oxypacks, then that would leave the hydrogen gas behind creating the vacuum.

When you vacuum-seal food, or oxypacks, in bags, just about all excess air is removed but with Mason jars, there's still 'excess room' in the jar, but if that has been vacuumed, then it should have the same 'atmosphere' as a vacuum sealed plastic bag.

So, I'm stumped. If there are any scientists out there who can explain to us why Belinda's Mason jars have excess moisture in it when the oxypacks are supposed to take care of that, then we'd greatly appreciate your response!

Found your site by searching for a safe way to dehydrate red cabbage ... Thanks very helpful ... Only two of us now and have had our fill of slaw in a meal or two and one cabbage head makes too much for that, which is why I wanted to dry the other half to use in soup. How can I reconstitute it for slaw again instead?

PS: Love your Site! LOVE to share it; but hate Facebook and Google + (too many questions just to login) can you add another option like an simple email option ? Thanks MAF

Hi Mark! Thanks for writing in. I know what you mean, there's a lot of cabbage to be had from one big cabbage! It's easy to reconstitute it for slaw, just put it in good clean cold water in the refrigerator until it absorbs the water and is crispy enough for your slaw. It may take a while, depending on how thick and evenly you sliced the cabbage in the first place! Read more HERE regarding re-hydration.

I hear ya regarding Facebook and Google+, unfortunately that's the way the website 'share' system is set up globally for the most part - the best way to share via email is just to simply send your like-minded friends an email telling them about our site.

I noticed that you mention using frozen peas a lot. Can you tell me why? I love fresh peas – how do I dehydrate fresh peas? Jessica M.

Hi Jessica! Yes, I do mention frozen peas a lot because they are one of the easiest veggies to dehydrate just open the bag, pour the peas on the dehydrator trays (I do use the Clean-a-Screens) and off you go!

Regarding fresh peas, shell them, and steam them for a couple of minutes now they're also ready to be dehydrated. Both ways take between five to 14 hours to be fully dehydrated. Thanks for writing in Jessica.

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