Dried fruit is a great addition to your long-term food storage. It’s healthy, tasty, and easy to store. But how should you go about storing it? If you’ve wondered how to store dry fruits, you’re in the right place! In this post, I’ll give you some dried fruit storage tips so that it lasts for as long as possible. Read on to learn more!
Why Dried Fruit is a Great Addition to Any Prepper Pantry
Before I get into the how, I first want to mention just a few benefits of adding dehydrated fruit to your prepper pantry.
Dried fruit is a great addition to any prepper pantry because it is healthy, tasty, and easy to store. It contains essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It also makes a healthy snack that you can take with you on the go. Dried fruit provides energy, which is important when you’re in an emergency situation.
One of the things that I like the most about storing dried fruit is that it satisfies my craving for something sweet, and yet it is healthier than candy, cookies, and other sweets that are nothing more than empty calories.
How to Prepare Dried Fruit for Long-Term Storage
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One of the best ways to add dried fruit to your prepper pantry is to dehydrate it yourself. Here are some tips for making sure your home dehydrated food is in optimal condition for long-term food storage.
To dehydrate fruit at home using a food dehydrator, start by choosing fresh fruit that is in good condition and free of blemishes. Cut the fruit into similar sizes so they will dry evenly. Dehydrate at a temperature of no more than 135 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent spoilage. Make sure the fruit is completely dried before storing.
There are several ways to test food for dryness. Since the dryness test differs from one type of fruit to another, I recommend the book, The Ultimate Food Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff, which you can pick up on Amazon. It’s my go-to book for everything related to dehydrating, and I highly recommend it.
Conditioning Dehydrated Fruit
Dehydrated fruit typically has uneven moisture content. Therefore, you will want to condition it before long-term storage. This will even out the moisture content and prevent the dried fruit from going bad.
To condition dried fruit, first let it cool completely after turning off the dehydrator. This is important because warm food creates moisture, which may result in mold growth. (Source)Then pack it loosely into glass jars or plastic containers. Put a lid on the container and let it sit out for at least a week, shaking every day. If you see condensation, put the dried fruit back into the dehydrator and repeat the drying and conditioning process.
Best Storage Containers for Storing Dried Fruit
Glass jars, such as mason jars, are my personal favorite option for dried fruit storage. They are airtight and keep moisture from seeping in. You can purchase mason jars on Amazon, or, if like me, you like doing business with smaller companies, you can pick them up from Lehman’s.
In addition to that, you can vacuum seal the jars by using a vacuum sealer with attachments.
Plastic containers can also be used, but they are not as airtight and may not keep the dried fruit as fresh.
Mylar bags are another option, and you can use a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorbers to keep them airtight.
Pro tip: If you want to learn more about how to store food in mylar bags, check out my article, Long Term Food Storage in Mylar Bags.
The good news is, you can get vacuum sealers, mason jar attachments, mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers at a decent price on Amazon.
How to Pack the Storage Containers
Choosing the right storage containers is the first step, but it’s also important to properly pack the storage containers.
If you’re looking to store dried fruit for the long term, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to packing food storage containers.
First, you’ll want to pack the fruit tightly into the container – but not so tight that you end up crushing the fruit.
Second, try to pack the fruit in amounts that you can use all at once. Every time you open a container of dried fruit, it lets in air and moisture, which can shorten its shelf life.
Having said that, if you only need to use part of a container at a time, be sure to reseal it tightly as soon as possible to minimize the amount of moisture that seeps into the fruit.
Special Considerations when Storing Sulfured Fruit
If you look at the ingredients on a package of dehydrated fruit you purchase at the grocery store, you’ll notice that it typically contains sulfites. Sulfites are added to commercially dried fruits to increase the shelf life of the fruit and to keep it from discoloring.
The health considerations regarding sulfites is a whole separate topic that I won’t get into in this article. But if you purchase dried fruit, be sure to check the ingredients list to see if there are any sulfites in the food.
See the image below for an example of what you may see on the label of commercially dried fruit.
If by chance the dried fruit you want to store long term contains sulfites, the main thing is to avoid storing it in a metal container. If you do need to store it in a metal container, first put it into a plastic bag so the fruit doesn’t touch the metal. This matters because the sulfites interact with the metal in such a way that it will cause the fruit to discolor.
Optimal Dried Fruit Storage Conditions
You can store dried fruit at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
Storing Dried Fruit at Room Temperature
You can store dehydrated fruit at room temperature in a cool, dark, and dry location. The ideal temperature for storing dried fruit is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. That isn’t always possible to achieve if your home is naturally warmer but try to avoid storing dried fruit in direct sunlight or heat.
Both heat and light causes food to degrade quicker, so if you leave containers of dried fruit on the counter, or in a warm spot, you’ll need to consume the fruit sooner.
Storing Dried Fruit in the Refrigerator
Especially if you live in a hot, humid climate, you may want to store dehydrated fruit in the fridge. Even when storing dehydrated fruit in the refrigerator, you’ll still want to use glass jars or airtight plastic food storage containers, such as these, on Amazon.
Avoid storing dry fruit in plastic bags in the fridge, because they can pick up the flavors of other foods. You don’t want your dehydrated fruit tasking like onions, now do you?
Storing Dried Fruit in the Freezer
Storing dried fruit in the freezer is a great way to make it last longer than the other storage options.
To prevent freezer burn, be sure to store dehydrated fruit in an airtight container. And while you can technically store dried fruit in the freezer at any temperature, for best results, aim for a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
When you’re ready to eat the dried fruit, simply remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw. This should only take a few minutes.
Maintaining the Quality of Dehydrated Fruit
If you follow the tips above, you should have good results with storing dried fruit. However, it’s important to check dried fruit that has been stored for a long time for any signs of spoilage. Use your eyes and nose to check the quality before consuming. For instance, if you see mold or if there is an off smell, discard the fruit.
As is the case with all food storage, it’s important to rotate your dehydrated fruit. To help you know how long your dehydrated fruit has been in storage, be sure to label the container with the contents and the date you put it into storage. Eat the oldest fruit first.
FAQs About Storing Dried Fruit
Q: Can dried fruit be stored at room temperature?
A: Yes, dried fruit can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark, and dry location. The ideal temperature for storing dried fruit is 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Q: How long does dry fruit last?
A: When dried fruit is stored properly, it can last for several months to a year. In fact, if stored in optimal conditions, such as in a cool dark place in a container where oxygen has been removed, it can last up to two years.
Q: Can you store dried fruit in the freezer?
A: Yes, you can store dried fruit in the freezer. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. For the best results, aim for a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Q: How can I tell if dried fruit has gone bad?
A: You can tell if dried fruit has gone bad if you see mold or if there is an off smell. If you notice either of these signs, discard the fruit.
Q: How long does dried fruit last in the freezer?
A: When stored properly in an airtight container, dried fruit can last for up to a year in the freezer. It likely will be fine to consume after a year, but the quality and flavor may not be optimal.
Q: Do I need to thaw frozen dried fruit before eating it?
A: No, frozen dried fruit does not need to be thawed before eating. However, if you want the dried fruit to be softer, you can remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw for a few minutes.
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