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I read in your apple dehydrating prep steps that you use lemon juice strayed on the slices. I've always used orange juice to dip the apples in.

Is the lemon juice better? I've always had very good results with orange juice, but because I dip & drain the slices, they are a little wetter when the drying starts.

I'd appreciate your dehydrating advice - Dawn.

Hi Dawn,

I'd never thought of using orange juice but if it keeps your apples from overly-browning, then I wouldn't worry about it. I guess OJ will make the apples a little sweeter, if anything?

Lemon juice is more acidic and that deters the oxidation process, (think ascorbic acid).

Thanks for taking the time to write in Dawn, appreciate it!

Two questions (with good comments) just in from JJ:

1) I understand the value of mason jars as being able to be sterilized, clear to see contents, etc. but one of the desirable effects of dehydrating is that with the water removed products are MUCH lighter in weight!

Besides Mylar bags, are there any other clear and sturdy container that isn't breakable and not heavy, like glass is?  Also, I found a company that makes reusable canning lids (not the separate ring and lid type) ... are these also acceptable/recommended?

Hi JJ, thanks for the questions/comments!

I agree with your comment about products be lighter making them ideal for taking with you on rambling walks etc.  Mylar bags would do the trick! IF you're going to use Mylar bags, then please make sure that the contents have been vacuum-packed and are in their own packet. Why? Mylar bags cannot be vacuum sealed due to the fact that both sides of the bag are smooth—making it pretty much impossible to withdraw the air!

Yes, you can use reusable canning lids provided you sterilize them like you would when canning. Thing is, though, with the screw-on/off lids, they're only good for very short-term use. The air is always in there, even with an oxygen absorber to help out. That's why I say short-term for mason jars—like a couple of weeks—with an oxygen absorber.

2) How long is "long term"?  Some companies advertise their ready-to-purchase buckets as 25-year shelf-life.  But if I dehydrate on my own with oxygen packs and vacuum-sealer bags (under Mylar) how long can I reasonably expect the dehydrated food to last?

Hi again JJ,

That's a question I cannot answer — as to "how long IS long-term!"  To me, long-term is a couple of months, up to six-months. Some foods fare better; it depends on how well the food was dehydrated in the first place; and how well the food was stored (with oxygen absorbers, in air-tight containers, out of sunlight, out of heat).

This is another reason why I say "rotate your stock" often ... and when doing so, you'll discover any punctured bags, or bags that didn't hold their seal 100%.

If you can afford the buckets of food, then I say "go ahead" and get 'em!  I think they are a great alternative for those who don't want the hassle of dehydrating food; but our site (for the most part) is for those who have produce in their gardens and don't want to see it go to waste.

Thanks JJ — Susan

Where do you get your oxygen tablets from? - Cynthia B.

Hi there Cynthia!

The oxygen absorbers I use are from Amazon. Why? They offer a great selection with fast shipping - along with great prices!

Sincerely, Susan

PS - Don't forget to check out their Mason Jars and Mylar Bags while you're at Amazon too.

Easy Food Dehydrating & Safe Food Storage

Hi! First of all thank you for putting in the time and effort into such an informative and helpful website! Practically everything I need to know all in one spot!

I was wondering if the Mylar bags step is mandatory for long time use. Are these bags just to keep light out? For example, can I wrap the vacuum sealed bags (with the oxy packs) in aluminum foil then place inside a dark sealed container/bucket? The reason I ask is unfortunately Mylar bags are a little expensive to get in Australia.

Hi there Skye!  Thanks so much for the kind words ...

Regarding the Mylar bags; they are definitely only used for long-term storage; I hear ya regarding them being a bit pricey. They are used for their being air-tight (if sealed properly); for their un-tearable strength; and will keep BUGS and moisture out too.

I could see you wrapping your vacuum-sealed goodies in lots of plastic wrap (that have their oxypack tucked inside it while vacuuming). You could then store these packages in air-tight buckets. How does that sound?

Regarding the plastic wrap; I do that step anyway AND put 'em in Mylar bags. Why? When they're wrapped in plastic wrap, the sharp corners of the vacuum bags won't puncture any of the other bags while in the Mylar bag. But hey, nothing's 100% for sure.

Please make sure you check your stowed goodies for any packages that have gone soft. That means the seal didn't work; toss them, don't risk using them.

Cheers, Susan

I bought organic homemade food for my cats and it is too mushy and refuse to eat. I would like to know if I could use a dehydrator to give it some crunch. They eat the treats which are identical (but dehydrated) so I want to replicate it.

What are your thoughts and what dehydrator would be best for this? Thanks and look forward to hearing from you soon - Michelle.

Hi Michelle,

That's an excellent idea; only the excess water in the food would be removed. You could try baking the food in your regular oven to save $.

However, if you are set on going the dehydrating route, then I love both the Nesco brand and the Excalibur brand. Check out both on the site and scroll about half way down until you reach the Nesco and Excalibur section. Thanks, Susan.

Is it possible to dehydrate blueberries and not do the dipping in hot water step? Also, how would a person dehydrate the frozen berries?  We have a lot of frozen blueberries that we picked in MN and they have some solid juice in the bags with berries. Thanks, Mar

Hi there Mar,

Great questions regarding blueberries! Regarding NOT doing the blanching - give your berries a good rinse and gently roll them between your fingers (under the running water) and that might crack the skins a little. Test this out and please post back if you find that worked for you.

Regarding your frozen blueberries that you did yourself: I would let them thaw in the kitchen sink (but watch out for staining if you've got a white porcelain sink like I do!), and do the same step I mentioned above with the fresh blueberries.

When you buy frozen blueberries from the grocery store, they have already done the "blanching" step and that's why I say it's so easy to dehydrate frozen fruit (and vegetables) due to them being blanched in the manufacturing process.

Thanks for writing in, Mar!

Can I reuse my vacuum sealer bags? -- Carly

Hi Carly, if your bags remain dry and have NOT had dried meats in them, then yes, you can reuse your vacuum sealer bags. I would only reuse them if there is enough "bag" left at the top to actually reseal and to have the same item in them again, i.e. dried carrots prior ... then dried carrots again! 

Thanks, Susan

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