Contributed by Jennifer Dawson [caption id="attachment_2968" align="alignleft" width="200"] Photo by Voicu Oara from Pexels;[/caption] Freeze-dried foods are considered to be the best type of dehydrated food due to the fact that their texture and taste are retained after rehydration. If you’ve got a rainy day food stock, you’ll likely already understand the benefits of being able to make certain foods last well past the traditional expiration period. Seeing as these types of foods pack a lot of punch in regards to vitamins and nutrients, it’s important to ensure you know how to stretch your stock in case of a particularly rainy day. Doing so will allow you to reap the nutritional and taste benefits of your dehydrated foods.

Where to Store Certain Foods

It’s best to store dried foods in small batches to maintain their freshness. This is also a great way to avoid contamination that can occur in one batch. If one bag of dried fruit, for example, is opened and overtaken by pests or affected due to natural elements, you can avoid spoiling the rest of your supplies by packing them in smaller batches. Storing your dehydrated food in individual servings is also recommended as it will allow you to open one container each time you need a serving. If you store the food in large containers then you’re letting air into the container each time you need to take some out and this can lead to quicker spoiling. If you plan on doing this, however, and it’s just the way you and your family plan on accessing your dried food, it’s a wise decision to invest in a home freeze dryer to continue drying your food in the instance that condensation forms or air enters into the container too often.

What Storage Conditions Do Dehydrated Foods Need?

Like medicine and other sensitive products, it’s best to store dehydrated foods in cool, dark and dry areas of your home. Exposure to light can not only compromise the quality of your food, but it can lead to the food actually degrading, which is why it’s suggested to store your food in a cellar or refrigerator. To prolong the life of your food, store it in a dark place that never gets above about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Mini fridges are great for this in two ways. First, they allow you to more easily control the temperature at a level that is adequate for dried foods. Setting a regular fridge to 60 degrees and allowing it to stay there will require more work on behalf of the appliance. Mini fridges are also great for reasons mentioned above regarding small batches. They’re small enough to allow you to store the most precious, perishable items in a dark place that is set to exactly the right temperature.

How Long Can You Store Food For?

The answer to that question largely depends on the type of food you’re storing. Dried fruits and herbs can usually be stored for up to a year while vegetables and meat will only be good for about six months in storage. If you need to store your food for longer, you can try freezing it, but you’ll want to ensure that you’re packing it in a way that prevents condensation from forming inside of the containers. If it helps, you can organize your storage containers or mini fridge with the older items in front to help you remember to consume them first.

Preparedness Starts Now

Preparing for a rainy day is a great way to ensure you and your family are taken care of in case of a large-scale emergency. However, preparedness begins from the moment you purchase your dehydrated or freeze-dried food. Learning how to properly store it will help you prolong the life of your rainy day food stock and ensure it’s fresh for when you’re ready to consume it.