I'm not expecting any absolute answers to this question, since I think answers all start with "It depends...". Clearly the fat content has a significant impact, as does residual moisture, and especially how the dehydrated food is stored (vacuum packed? kept in the freezer?). The "Backpacking Chef" recommends recycling dehydrated food on a yearly basis as standard advice, but doesn't factor in any of the above variables.
I typically vacuum pack most of my homemade dehydrated backpacking meals and (to the annoyance of my wife) store them in the freezer. This summer, just as a test, I tried some of the stuff that's been in the freezer for over a year just to see how they turned out. To my surprise, at least based on smell, taste, and consistency alone, most were fine. I tried reconstituting a Peanut Soup that had been in the freezer for at least 4 years and was pleasantly surprised, even though I did throw out the remaining stock that was that old just to be on the safe side.
But one thing that seems to deteriorate even with dehydration/vacuum packing/freezer storage is meat, like dried chicken or sausage or tuna, which seem to turn into hard chunks that never quite reconstitute. The tuna seemed especially bad!
What are other peoples experiences/insights?
I've always erred on the cautious side with homemade things. For vegetables and fruit though, you can easily tell if it went "off" as it gets limp and smells sour. Since I normally dehydrate those right, they can go a couple of years actually. Cooked rices/pasta I try to use in a year.
But meat....3 months unless in the freezer. I am really picky on that.
I still dehydrate stuff (such as mushrooms), but now I freeze-dry most items (since I have a unit).
For all items I seal in mason jars with an OA, or in mylar bags, with an OA. We have a sealer that pulls the air as well, in both the bags and the jars.
With freeze-drying I am far more confident in mixed meals.
But as you noted, fat can really mess time up in meals. I try to avoid adding fat to either methods.
Ahh, a response from the very person I was hoping to hear from!
Yeah, between the difficulty in rehydrating and possible contamination, I'm at the point of pretty much giving up on including meat in dried meals. Maybe it's much better when using freeze-drying. What brand freeze dryer do you use? I've seen several advertisements on Amazon for "Freeze dryers" that were NOT freeze dryers, but merely dehydrators. (It seems many advertisers don't know the difference.)
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate NWHikers.net earns from qualifying purchases when you use our link(s).