Storing Dehydrated Foods
FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer
I just purchased a food dehydrator to do fruits and vegetables. As I was reading the instructions it stated that the foods can be stored in the fridge for weeks. I thought once foods were dehydrated they could be stored for years. Do I need to store in the fridge? I want to store the foods for emergency usage not to use up in a few weeks.
I also recently purchased a food dehydrator for the exact same reason. I don't know if you read that (storing in the fridge) in the manual that came with your unit or another book, but I believe manufacturers, and some writers of instruction books, tend to be overly cautious.
The key to long term storage of dehydrated foods is very low moisture, and for some foods, pretreatment.
The enzymes that cause fruits and vegetables to ripen do not stop completely with drying, or freezing for that matter. These methods only slow it down. When the moisture content is very low, the enzymatic action is slowed way down, and deterioration in color, flavor, texture and loss of nutrients is slowed also.
So to extend the shelf life of our home dehydrated fruits and vegetables, most should be brittle when dried. Then they can be vacuum sealed in glass bottles (using the device pictured above) or sealed in appropriate plastic bags such a those used with FoodSaver Vacuum Sealers.
I also bought the book "Making and Using Dried Foods" by Phyllis Hobson. It is very complete on all subjects about dehydrating. You may find more helpful information on www.family-survival-planning.com/dehydrating-food.html.
Good luck with your dehydrating - you're on the right track. Would love to hear how it's working out for you.