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Nov 10, 2014

Unintentional lessons in food preservation

Mr. Newbie and I are very fond of hiking and camping in the late spring and autumn months and toward this end we decided several years ago to put up some dehydrated foods that we could take along with us on the trails.  We were able to enjoy the fruits of our labor (punn intended) and felt a great sense of satisfaction in having learned a skill that would put us in good stead in our future endeavors. 

While recently clearing out some items we had in storage, we found that several packages of these dehydrated fruits had unintentionally been stored away.  What a great opportunity to have a little homesteading test of our food preservation.  We had followed the general rule of thumb when dehydrating fruits.  They were dried until they had a pliable, leathery texture.  We packaged them in freezer bags with oxygen absorbing packets. 

First we unpacked the dehydrated mangos

Condition of packaging: like new.
Texture: leathery
Smell: faintly arromatic
Taste: rather bland with a slight after-taste of mango

Next came the apples

Condition of packaging: like new.
Texture: leathery
Smell: non-existent
Taste: very bland with no aftertaste.
This was easily our most successful carry-over along with our tea-mix that consisted of apple bits, apple and orange peels.

Condition of packaging: like new.
Texture: leathery with very dry orange peels
Smell: slightly fragrant smelling of orange
Taste: very faint orange flavor.

Next followed the three least successful:

Pineapples which tasted mildly unpleasant and were followed by
Strawberry which along with the below pictured banana slices were inedible, somewhere between burnt coffee and the actual flavor of the fruit.
The positives:  we learned that the oxygen absorbing packets work very well creating an almost vacuum-sealed packet.

The negatives:  Taste...  While I believe the quality of the fruits remained and they were not spoiled in any way, the flavor of the fruits did not hold up over the span of time they were in storage. 

Lesson learned:  Properly dating the food storage bags is very important.  While our home-dehydrated fruits were very tasty when first dehydrated along with those we kept with us and consumed within the first 6 months to a year, those that had ended up in storage for more than a year were a bit more disappointing.  Overall, this worked wonderfully for short-term storage and is yet another great way of preserving the fruit and vegetable harvest from year to year.

Have you had similar experiences?  If so, I'd love to hear about them.

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  1. Interesting and good to know! We do mostly veggies so far in soups and such so the quality hasn't been checked (like you would on eating it by itself for fruit). Thanks for sharing your tips on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    Please join in again this week :)


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