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How To Pasteurize Dehydrated Food For Long Term Storage

I have some self dried foods I had done up in bulk a few months ago, but never got around to sealing them up in vacuum sealer bags. Now they need to be pasteurized before I can seal them up for long term storage.

I have 5 pounds of dried broccoli, about 2 pounds of mixed vegetables and a pound of strawberries. These were items I got on sale in bulk and then dried right away for storage. But then I moved to a new location and these got stuffed into a container until now.

When dehydrated food does not get vacuum sealed immediately, it will start to absorb moisture. Also pests can get in and damage your food.

This is an easy process. First, inspect each package for signs of bugs or mouse attacks. Mouse damage is easy to spot. There will be large holes eaten through the package. If this is the case, discard the whole package for safety.

To spot signs of insect damage, you need to look very closely. Moths often bore a tiny hole through a bag and then inject eggs into it. The eggs hatch and the larvae grow in your food package until they become adults. Often they cannot get out and die in there. They leave tiny, fine webs all over inside the package, sort of like super fine cobwebs. There are other types of insects you may find, depending on where you live. If you find any insect damage, you must toss the whole package of food. It is not safe to use.


If there are no signs of damage, then you can pasteurize your food and seal it away.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Get out a large, flat tray and spread out a package of your dried food on it. Spread it all out evenly in a single layer. Check the food again for any sign of insects. When the oven is heated, slide the tray of food into the oven and wait for about 15 minutes. When it is done, pull out the tray of dried food and leave it to cool off fully.

After removing the food from the oven, it will probably be a bit soft or spongy feeling. This is normal and fine. When it cools off it will be dry and brittle again.

When your dehydrated food is at room temperature, you can seal it. It should be quite brittle and snap easily. If not, then it needs to be dried more. You can dry it in the oven at 175 degrees with the door slightly propped open until it is fully dried out.

When your food is ready you can vacuum seal it with your favorite vacuum sealer and put it away for long term storage.

Store your food packages in larger, air and water tight plastic or metal containers to keep rodents and insects out. Moths will eat right through your vacuum sealer bag to get to the food inside.

Keep your food cool and dry and it should last many years.

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Troy Reid


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