Desiccant Packs and Long Term Dried Food Storage

Desiccant Packs

I see many people on the web recommending the use of desiccant packs to control moisture in stored foods.  In over 40 years of storing food, I have never used one.  Our dried storage includes all types of grains, legumes, dehydrated foods, both home dried and commercial.  During this time, I have never had any foods damaged by moisture.

The whole trick is to make sure your products are dry before you package them.  Dehydrated fruits, vegetables and meats should be dried to the point that they break when bent.  Foods dried to this point and package properly (in moisture proof containers) should not need a desiccant.  I have never seen a commercially dried long-term storage food with one in it.

The Mormon Church which has conducted extensive research into food storage does not recommend the use of desiccant packs.  None of the manufactures of oxygen absorbers recommend the use of desiccant packs.  In fact, some sources argue that they could be detrimental to your food storage.  Some types of oxygen absorbers require a minimum amount of oxygen to work.  Desiccant packs may drop the moisture level below this threshold.

Except in unusual cases with extremely high humidity, I would not use desiccant packs.


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5 Responses to Desiccant Packs and Long Term Dried Food Storage

  1. Heidi Awbrey says:

    I live in an area with very high humidity and though my grain is dry, I am concerned that it has been sitting in bags in the humidity and if dessicant (or salt wrapped in cheesecloth) would help I will do that along with my o2 absorber…. could I put the salt in the bottom and the oxygen absorber on the top of the wheat, then seal the mylar? Have some in my living room waiting to be interred right now!

  2. Prepardness Mom says:

    If your humidity is over 10% then you need to put in a desiccant package. Check the following link.

  3. FACTchecker says:

    Preparedness mom has given incorrect info. The moisture content of food is what your link discusses.. if the food’s MOISTURE CONTENT is over 10%, use desiccant. The humidity of the air is irrelevant.

  4. Ken says:

    I found this post while searching for a source for desiccant bags. I have stopped searching. What the OP says makes sense, as does the 10% rule applying only to the food (if stored properly), not the fact you live in the south. I am still going with the O2 absorbers though.

  5. Russell Bowman says:

    I think oxygen and moisture are both problems for long term dehydrated food storage (years of storage, not months). Oxygen damages vitamins and other vital nutrients in foods, so getting rid of it by a high degree should be beneficial. I live in a very humid area also, so if helps, does any one make packets for ball one quart mason jars sealed and containing well dehydrated food?

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