Proper Food Storage: The Ultimate Guide to Storing Freeze Dried Foods
Proper food storage is critical for maintaining food quality and safety while preserving its color, texture, flavor, and vital nutrients. (1) The food packaging depends on whether the food is dry or perishable. While most food packaging is airtight and capable of keeping food fresh for an extended period, others are not. At Mother Earth Products, we package our freeze dried products in mylar bags, quart jars, or moisture-absorbent packets to ensure longevity.
Freeze dried foods have gained popularity in recent years because of their longevity. They're portable, lightweight, and simple to store. (2) Although they have a longer shelf life, improper packaging can affect the food quality. If you want them to last after opening, you must take certain precautions before storing them for a lengthy period. In this article, we'll go over how to store your freeze dried foods so they stay fresh longer.
Why is proper food storage necessary?
Proper food storage is vital for preventing foodborne infections, reducing food waste, and lowering food production costs. (1) Furthermore, it helps to preserve food for later use. The amount of time you should keep your food varies on the type. Meat, for example, must be refrigerated, although fruits and vegetables do not. (3)
Here's why appropriate food storage is critical:
- Poorly kept food is prone to contamination which might cause food poisoning. (1)
- Proper food storage reduces food wastage and helps save money. If you properly rotate foods or keep them at the right temperature, you won't need to discard them. (4)
- It saves the planet. Food production uses natural resources and may also require industrial processes that produce harmful gas emissions. Minimizing food wastage is beneficial to the environment. (5)
- It saves you time. Having every food item in the proper storage unit prevents you from wasting time searching.
What is freeze drying?
Freeze drying is a food preservation method that uses sublimation to remove water from its cells. The process reduces the moisture content of food, thus remaining fresh at room temperature without refrigeration. As a result, there is a longer shelf life and reduced food wastage. Freeze drying effectively preserves food that may spoil quickly after harvestings, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and meat. (1)
Freeze dried food is available in various forms, including fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, and beans. It is also available in various quantities, from individual servings to big containers. You can eat the food right from the bag. However, after opening, you may need to invest in adequate food storage containers that reduce humidity and increase their shelf life.
Benefits of Freeze Drying
- Freeze drying effectively inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and enables food preservation without refrigeration. (2)
- It preserves the nutrients, flavor, and organoleptic (involving the use of sensory organs: eyes, mouth, smell, etc.) characteristics of foods.
- It makes food storage, transportation, and distribution easier since it decreases weight and eliminates the need for a cold chain.
- Allows rehydration, allowing the meal to regain its organoleptic properties and weight.
- Freeze-dried foods can remain fresh for years! Its lifespan, however, is determined by how it is stored. (4)
Basic Freeze Dried Food Storage Guidelines
If you have noticed a change in the taste of freeze dried foods from the last time you ate them, then you're likely to store the food properly. Here are some guidelines for keeping freeze-dried meals correctly so that they remain fresh longer:
- Rotate your stored foods regularly so that you use the oldest foods first.
- Store freeze dried foods in a dry place, away from sources of humidity that might contribute to mold formation.
- Keep them out of direct sunlight because light can harm freeze dried foods whenever feasible, and can cause color to fade.
- Protect them from extreme temperatures, because it can induce chemical changes in freeze dried foods, resulting in loss of taste and nutritional value.
- Keep them away from open flames.
- Store them in airtight bags or containers and seal them properly to keep them dry, light-protected, and humidity-free. We can give you tips on how to do this.
- Ensure your containers have adequate locking mechanisms to keep them from opening in transit.
How to Store Freeze-Dried Food Storage for a Long Time
The storage of dried foods is equally as crucial as that of perishable ones since it can still get contaminated by physical or chemical agents. To guarantee that your freeze dried foods survive as long as possible:
- Keep them in an excellent, cool, dry spot away from sources of humidity and light. Keeping your dry storage items in dry, dark places away from direct sunlight will extend the shelf life of your food and help you maintain the temperature. (1)
- Store them in food-grade Mylar bags, quart jars, or oxygen absorber packs, and keep them in a cool and dry storage room. You can get the storage packaging here.
- Mark the date you placed the freeze dried items into long-term storage on their package for the best outcomes so you know when it's safe to eat them. Each package you purchase from us will have a date on the bottom right hand portion of the label.
How to store freeze dried foods after opening
- After opening, the foods begin to reabsorb the moisture in the air, softening and exposing them to harmful contaminants and deteriorating faster. Once you open a pack, keep the food in an airtight container such as a glass jar or a sealable Mylar bag to extend the shelf life.
- Also, keep the food containers in a dry, dark, and cool pantry or storage room since light can also quicken freeze-dried foods' deterioration. (5)
- Maintain proper temperatures and discard foods exposed to excessive heat for an extended period.
- Apply the first in first out (FIFO) strategy to use previously purchased items before purchasing new products. Label all food items stored at room temperature that are not in their original containers with the product's name, lot number, and opening date. Arrange the products according to their purchase date or expiry date.
- To minimize cross-contamination, keep freeze dried foods separately from raw foods.
- You can repackage your freeze dried goods in two ways: In their original packaging or repackaged in mylar bags. If packing them in their original containers, ensure they're clean, sterilized, and free of potential pathogens.
- When repackaging your freeze dried food into mylar bags, use food-grade bags and seal them correctly to eliminate contamination and keep the food dry. Wear gloves and use clean, sterilized containers when repackaging freeze dried goods at home.
How long does freeze-dried food last after opening?
We recommend you go by the date on each label (bottom right hand corner). You should consume the remaining part within 6-12 months if not storing in a cool, dry, dark place. (5) If you don't use the food frequently, you can reseal it in a Mylar bag and store it in a dark storage area.
Food preservation is an excellent strategy to protect your health and your wallet! Keep your freeze dried foods away from light and humidity for longer shelf life. Proper food storage also makes it easier to regulate expiry dates while preserving the items' freshness and organoleptic properties. Click here to buy food-grade storage bags.