The conditioning of dehydrated food is a step often missed — not on purpose — but out of not knowing about it! When we have dehydrated our fruits and/or vegetables, it's time to let them cool down and then remove them from the dehydrator trays. Grab some "good" Ziploc bags and place the dehydrated goodies into the bags and zip 'em closed.
Let the filled bags sit out overnight on your kitchen counter top. If you live in an extremely warm climate, be on the safe side and put your bags in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, open the bags and feel for moistness.
On my website I tell readers what exactly to expect when the foods are appropriately dehydrated and if your food is "too damp," now is the time to put the food back on the dehydrator trays until the items are properly dried. The aim of the plastic Ziploc bag usage is to help any remaining moisture distribute evenly among the bag's contents.
There is one vegetable I stress that must be conditioned and that veggie is mushrooms. Bear in mind that mushrooms are dehydrated at two different temperatures (please read more here about that then come on back!) Mushrooms can very easily fool you into thinking they are "dry enough" after the first go-around but you'll be surprised when you check them the day after (while they've been resting in the Ziploc™ bags) at how moist they still may be!
Mushrooms need to be very dry before they are vacuum-sealed and stored away.
If a second go-around is deemed necessary, remember to put the foods into the Ziploc™ bags again overnight and check them again the day after. I know, I know ... it's a lot of work! I want you to only vacuum-seal food that is dried properly ... so you won't run the risk of mold growth in your stored foods (because they were too damp).
A quick note here to use the "good" bags — the Ziploc Freezer Bags are perfect. They are much thicker and stronger than sandwich bags, so don't be tempted to use the thinner variety. Dehydrated food (when dried properly) can be quite brittle and can easily puncture bags if you're not careful.
Feel free to re-use the Ziploc bags as I know they're not cheap but please do NOT re-use a bag that has had meat in it! Don't delay — throw it way — stay on the side of safe food storage!
Vacuum-Sealing Coming Up Next!
In the next post, I'll get into the step that the kids will love to do (and you will too!) It's the food vacuuming and sealing step! I'll show you why the vacuum-sealer bags are special and what extras you'll need to store your food safely for long-term food storage.
Can't wait to see you in the next post! Until then, have a great week.
To read all of Susan's posts, please visit this page on MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
Since December of 2010, Susan Gast has operated Easy Food Dehydrating, a website dedicated to dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meats. Susan teaches you how to safely store your goodies too—for long-term food storage. Keep your food pantry full—whatever the reason or season!
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