View Full Version : Vacuum sealer - necessary for storing dehydrated food?

Hickory Stick
02-18-2011, 17:09
I'm considering buying a dehydrator and preparing some pre-packed meals for my trips. Is it necessary to have a vacuum packer to package the food in, or are ZipLok bags sufficient?

02-18-2011, 17:19
All I have used are zip locks and I have had meals stay good for a 6 months @ room temp and even longer in the freezer. With my dehydration usage, a food saver seemed like a waste of money.

02-18-2011, 18:25
I've been looking into both and don't know which would be better. Any opinions?

Daydream Believer
02-18-2011, 20:05
I have a vacuum bagger (Weston) that I use with our Pastured Poultry business. I love the thing. Last hike I vacuum bagged all my muffins...fresh muffins before I left. Some 10 days later they were still very moist and good. I have not used it for other than that and meat obviously but I think they are a great tool for those who want to make their own meals well in advance and store them for years. Meat that is vacuum bagged will keep for years in a freezer without freezer burn, etc... Obviously not too many folks are taking fresh meat out but I still think it would keep your food fresher longer.

02-18-2011, 23:02
It can be worth it for saving space and freshness. If you do sharp items such as rice or pasta line the bag with a clan paper towel to avoid poke-thrus (remove before eating). You can add boiling water to the bags as well, for easy FBC style meals.

If you do buy a Food Vac buy brand name and check out Amazon and Costco for better deals, although Walmart often has them for good prices as well.

02-19-2011, 07:23
I'm considering buying a dehydrator and preparing some pre-packed meals for my trips. Is it necessary to have a vacuum packer to package the food in, or are ZipLoc bags sufficient?
Hickory, I haven't used a vacuum sealer, but I have dehydrated for at least 20-22 years now. I used to dry everything including leftovers, but now i have fallen back to fruits/veggies and jerky....

After I dehydrate, I place the item in a freezer style ziploc (I think these are way better than regular thin lunch ziplocs) and keep them in either the freezer or refrigerator.
You don't have to worry about freezer burn with dehydrated foods as much, since there is little moisture left that can be extracted.

Vegetables can routinely keep for a few years in my fridge without any real loss of texture/taste past what was done in the drying stage.

If you are packaging foods up to sit in in boxes unrefrigerated for months at a time, waiting to be mailed-dropped to you by your anchor person, then you might want to consider a method to protect any meats or dehydrated full meals (unless you leave them labeled in the freezer/fridge for your anchor person to just pull them out and stick them in the box just prior to shipping.

I did have a batch of Beef jerky once that I had not dried enough - fresh off the dehydrator, It was great eating as it was a little "juicier" then normal, but when I went on my trip about a month later, it was moldy when I finally got it shipped to me a few weeks a few weeks after that. (about 6 weeks in total).

02-19-2011, 12:59
I'm just getting into dehydrating now, although I plan to get a Weston before too long. IMO, I think you'll get more immediate use from a dehydrator. Then as you get into making your own meals for the trail, you'll get into vacuum packing.

Wise Old Owl
02-19-2011, 14:13
I like the thicker plastic around the meals, the vacuum removes extra space or volume, the bags are great for boil a bag. less chance of getting a wet block of powdered mess in a downpour.

02-19-2011, 14:17
I dehydrate as well, and I use a vacuum sealer. The sealer doesn't necessarily help keep everything fresh, although it does work well with breads. The main reason why I put my dehydrated meals in the sealer is to reduce bulk in my pack. No reason to take up space when you can prevent it.

Hickory Stick
02-19-2011, 22:39
Thanks for all your advice. I think I'll start with the dehydrator - learning what foods to treat and how I like them after storing for a few weeks then rehydrating. That should tell me if I want to get further into it with a sealer. Good hiking, all.