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Traditional belief has it that every food product can only last for so long. That’s true in a sense. Yet in an age where kitchenware technology continues to improve, we now have the best food dehydrators that can preserve different types of meals for a very, very long time.
Now, the question really isn’t whether these devices work or not. We know they do. And our hand on testing shows that they can be quite promising.
The real question is, is dehydrated food healthy for you? And if they’re healthy, then how long exactly do they last? This is what we’ll look at in this article.
But first things first
- 1 What is Food Dehydration?
- 2 Is Dehydrated Food Healthy?
- 3 How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?
- 4 What Affects the Lifespan of Dehydrated Foods?
- 5 Conclusion
What is Food Dehydration?
Dehydration is a process that removes moisture from food products while preserving almost all the nutrients. Unlike canning that loses 60 to 80% of nutritional content, only 3% of nutritional content is lost during the dehydration process.
Believed to be the most affordable and the safest way to preserve food, dehydration is popular than freeze-drying, especially because it doesn’t alter vitamins, carbohydrates, fibers, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. Plus, dehydrating food doesn’t just preserve food for a long time; the process also maintains the flavor of the food.
Is Dehydrated Food Healthy?
We have reasons to believe that dehydrated foods are as healthy as fresh produce. Below is an explanation for each point.
1. Safe preservation measures used – low risk of damage or bacteria
Food dehydration involves removing all water and moisture from food before the actual storage.
When the food is completely dry, it is stored in cans or plastic bags. The air in the cans or plastic bag is further removed to make the storage medium air-free.
This preservation method is common among backpackers, hiking enthusiasts, and astronauts. And because dehydration leaves no room for water content, there is really no room for bacterial growth.
And, of course, the food will remain fresh for a couple of months, therefore lower risk go spoiling.
2. People don’t use chemicals and preservatives in food dehydration
Perhaps one of the most confusing things about food dehydration is the preservation method itself. Are there any chemicals or preservatives used? The simple answer is a NO. But then you might ask another question. What removes the water (moisture) content?
A food dehydrator is the machine used to remove water content from the food that you would like to preserve. So, in fact, the only ingredient required for this kind of preservation is the food that you would like to preserve for future use.
And since dehydrated food can last for up to 12 months, you really don’t have to worry about the food going bad at all.
3. Twofold storage approach used
Storing dehydrated food is a two-step process:
The first stage involves removing all moisture content from food. And this is precisely what a food dehydrator does. And the best is? These food dehydrators are actually so cheap that even if you’re on a budget, you can still afford to buy one. By removing all the moisture from the food, you prevent the growth of bacterial in the food.
The second step is to shrink the size of the food. This makes the storage of food easy. In the end, what you get after dehydration is healthy and nutritious food that can last for a very long time without going bad.
4. Food dehydration and extended shelf life
There is no guarantee that the food you have in your home won’t go bad. After all, every food product is perishable. It’s even worse if you have food in surplus. Fortunately, the food dehydration process can help you to reduce food wastage by extending the shelf life of your stock.
An extended shelf life means that you will have food to eat now and in the future. And since food is essential to healthy living, you can always be certain that you will have enough when necessary.
How Long Does Dehydrated Food Last?
It depends. But on average, most dehydrated food products can last for 364 days before going bad. Here is a quick summary of the lifespan of different food groups:
Make sure you eat your noodles within the 364 days. They won’t have the best freshness after this period. Herbs can last for years and retain their nutritional value for around the same time
All types of vegetables and fruits can last for a year provided you store them properly. You can’t preserve meat for 364 days. We recommend dehydrating and consuming meat within two to three months.
What Affects the Lifespan of Dehydrated Foods?
While dehydrated food is assumed to have a lifespan of one year or more, how long your food last will depend on the following factors.
The cooler the temperature, the longer the shelf life of the food you intend to preserve. So, it is important to store your food under the lowest temperature possible. Food products that are stored in warmer temperatures have shorter shelf life. Foods stored at room temperature have an average shelf life.
Each time you drop the temperature by 10-degree, the shelf life of your food doubles. Overall, lower temperatures are significant for long-term perseveration of dehydrated foods.
Photons aren’t good for dehydrated foods. So make sure you store the dried foods far away from light. Remember, light often breaks fats, proteins, and vitamins in food products. And it does so very fast. Foods hit with light lack flavor and they often spoil quickly.
One of the best things about food dehydration is that it helps you to prepare for emergency. In times of food crisis, dehydrated food can protect you from hunger and save your life.
And since dehydrated food can last up to 2 years before going bad, you can be sure that you’ll have enough available to eat when there isn’t surplus in the market.
One of the most important things to remember is that dehydrated food won’t lose their nutrients or flavor. And when you want to cook dehydrated food, all you have to do is to hydrate first. Then, prepare the food as you normally would other meals.