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food shelf life in resupply boxes
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Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
food shelf life in resupply boxes on 07/03/2010 17:05:28 MDT Print View

I have really enjoyed dehydrating foods and making my own boiling water/ziploc/cozy dinners with one of my favorites being pasta/couscous/veggies and dehydrated pasta sauce. I am thru hiking the JMT this summer (north bound July 26th) and have been wondering about food spoilage (especially the dehydrated pasta sauces) with them being mailed three weeks or more before pick up. For example, I really like Brian Robinson's "Trail Dad's Spaghetti" (with a little variation of my own) but at the end of the recipe (out of Lip Smackin" Veg Backpackin" by the Conners) there is a warning about dehy pasta sauce's shelf life of about two weeks. I really wouldn't like to open a resupply box and find moldy food packets. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks...
Leonard

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: food shelf life in resupply boxes on 07/03/2010 17:35:22 MDT Print View

"I really wouldn't like to open a resupply box and find moldy food packets. Any thoughts on this?"

Use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air/oxygen from the food. It will keep much longer that way.

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
great question on 07/03/2010 17:43:17 MDT Print View

have no answers but i'm pretty much in the middle of the same process.. making dehydrated pasta and veggies and was about to get to sauces. all this is to be mailed out for a CT thru hike.

i was even worried about mold on fruit leathers .. and leathers in general.

Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
mold on 07/03/2010 17:57:53 MDT Print View

Yes, I am also worried about the fruit leathers. I am hoping that someone here has a bit of experience with this and can shine a ray of light on the issue.

Leonard

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: mold on 07/03/2010 18:15:20 MDT Print View

I dehydrate lots and lots of fruit at home. I take no special precautions after it is dry. I just put it into a tight-lid plastic container. I have never had any of it get moldy or otherwise bad. Now, maybe it is because I dry it thoroughly. I don't dry it quite to the brittle stage, but it is a stiff leather. I've eaten some of this that is six months old.

Obviously if you leave too much moisture in it and then leave it open to air, you may develop a problem.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: mold on 07/03/2010 19:02:50 MDT Print View

Exactly.....get your food truly dry and those items you cannot guarantee will be properly dry - BUY them commercially done instead. Yes, it may cost more or not be exactly what you want but it will be edible when you pick it up.

On pasta sauces? If it has no added fat or dairy added before you dry it it won't be an issue - and if you keep it tightly sealed.

In these days you can buy nearly anything commercially dried so there is no worries - and you can make a mean pasta sauce out of dried tomato powder, olive oil packet, spices and herbs and lots of Parmesan cheese.....

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
tomato powder online? on 07/03/2010 19:20:20 MDT Print View

Sarah,

As usual there are too many options when I look up tomato powder online.. is there any brand you would recommend? Also, do you know if these powders have anything to do with sun dried tomatoes?

Thanks!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: tomato powder online? on 07/03/2010 21:13:49 MDT Print View

It is freeze dried tomato paste actually! Kind of neat how they do the powders.

If you want a good healthy amount check out http://www.frontiercoop.com/products.php?ct=dfmdf&cn=Tomato

Good stuff!

I am working on a recipe for pasta sauce as we speak!

Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
test subjects on 07/03/2010 22:00:26 MDT Print View

Well LongHiker ... starting to look as if we are going to be guinea pigs. I am trying to keep as sanitary a work area as I can and get the dried pasta sauce sealed up and in the freezer as soon as I can. And try and keep all hand contact to a minimum and also not let air born contaminants get to the products. Then hope that the sealed packages do not show up with a little colony of happy fuzzy stuff along for a ride. I will look into getting tomato powder and working out a recipe but I would like to use the sauce I have prepared. I may just pack into the bucket a few extra emergency meals to be left in the backpackers extras bin if not needed. A inexpensive back up plan and if not needed and left then someone will be happy to find them there :-)

Dont Wantto
(longhiker) - F
some ideas on 07/03/2010 22:37:43 MDT Print View

I actually wanted to ask Sarah and other knowledgeable people here if there is any harm / benefit from instantly putting my dehydrated veggies and meats into freezer ziplocks and freezing them right away.

I just did that to a batch of blueberry leather (just mashed blueberries).. my trip isn't for another 4 weeks and the maildrop will be opened in 6-7 weeks from now, so I figured I should keep it frozen as long as I can.

Another idea was to pack the ingredients for my meals separately in the maildrop, so I can throw something out if it does go bad.

for eg, my most common meal uses these ingredients:

couscous
grated parmesan cheese (like Kraft)
dehydrated veggies (asparagus, green peppers, green onions, carrots and maybe tomatoes)
dehydrated ground beef w/ onions

My initial plan was to mix the right amount of each of these together so there would a complete meal in each ziplock bag.

But now with the talk of mold and all, I might pack the veggies for 5 meals together, the meat for 5 meals together and so on and mix them on the trail.. or at least after opening the mail drop.

Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
re some ideas on 07/04/2010 05:56:04 MDT Print View

I am not a expert but sealing your dehydrated foods in a freezer zip with as much air out as can get out then freezing the packages will only increase their shelf life, prolonged while in the freezer.

And I would for sure package meats separately in portions and separately from other ingredients. I package my meals separate per serving both for convenience and to avoid the "if one goes bad (for what ever reason) then they all go bad" scenario.

I am looking for feedback on how long I can reasonably expect dehydrated sauces, fruit leather etc to stay good/not spoil in resupply boxes assuming they have been prepped, handled and dried well. Any experience would be helpful.

Edited by lci2000 on 07/04/2010 07:49:08 MDT.

Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
info needed on 07/04/2010 06:33:41 MDT Print View

"I am looking for feedback on how long I can reasonably expect dehydrated sauces, fruit leather etc to stay good/not spoil in resupply boxes assuming they have been prepped, handled and dried well. Any experience would be helpful."

Sarah ... you commented that if no fats in the sauce then no problem. The sauce I have chosen to dehydrate is Bertolli's organic Olive Oil, Basil & Garlic sauce. Would you think that the olive oil in the sauce is enough fat to compromise the life of the sauce? Think the oil would go rancid over a 3-4 week in the box storage? Hard to quantify the amount (it is listed in the middle of the ingredients) and a hard question to answer ...

I know I should have tested this earlier but this one slipped by.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: info needed on 07/04/2010 09:09:03 MDT Print View

Is that a red sauce? If so, it having a little fat isn't a big issue - you probably would want to avoid drying say vodka sauce though.

On packing up after drying - let it cool first, then pack up. Then let sit for a half hour or so to check for moisture showing up on the bag. Then off to the freezer!

Leonard Ingalls
(lci2000) - M

Locale: Southwest USA
red sauce on 07/04/2010 09:32:32 MDT Print View

It is a red sauce. I have been drying it well (20-24 hrs at 135 degrees). I liked your suggestion of setting it out bagged for a bit to cool then looking for moisture before freezing. Haven't done that though will. I looked and there are no ice crystals in frozen freezer bags with the dehy sauce. Thanks for the tip!