Shelf Life of Old Freeze-Dried and Dried Foods

Chinese freeze dried foods

 

The other day I wrote a blog about a food storage problem a friend of mine had.  Today I Encountered a New Food Storage Problem.  We got some excellent suggestions on how to keep this from happening to you.  I am going to explain a little more about this problem now that we have sorted and checked on all the food and learned more about the shelf life of the stored items.

First, I should start by explaining that part of the problem was not rotating food on a regular basis.  There were approximately 250 cases of freeze-dried and dehydrated food stored at this location.

shelf life
This is chicken that packed for the US military in the 1980s and is still in great shape.

As I explained, my friend is moving to another state and had decided not to take this with him.  Some members of my family and I helped him go through it.  Surprisingly we were able to pretty much find a way to reuse everything there.  We opened quite a few cans and checked the condition of the products.  On the whole, this was a pleasant surprise despite the long shelf life..

While the termites and bugs had eaten many of the labels, the food had been stored in cool temperatures and the contents of most of the cans were good.  The loss to damage cans or spoiled foods was approximately 20%.

Here is some good hamburgers that is approximately 30 years old.  We made tacos from it and it was fine.
Here is some good hamburger that is approximately 30 years old. We made tacos from it and it was fine.

We found cans that had rusted through or had lost their seal and some that had just exceed their shelf life.  Here are some examples of what we found, Mountain House foods according to their manufacture dates were mostly from the 1970’s.  Generally, the Mountain House foods were edible with a few exceptions and these were mostly damaged cans.  The one exception was their macaroni and cheese, every can of that we opened had a strong rancid odor.

There were quite a few cans of pork and beef that had been packed for the military in the 1980’s.  We opened a few cans of these and the contents were like new.  Overall meat, fruits and vegetables seemed to have survived in the best condition.  There were some cans of milk made by Shelf Life a company that no longer exists.  These cans were from about 1980 and were borderline; they seemed to be just starting to turn.

Here are some raisins that were from the early 1980's.  I ate some but they were a bit dry.
Here are some raisins that were from the early 1980’s. I ate some but they were a bit dry.

All the grains and beans seemed to be in good condition and the wheat would still sprout.  There was several hundred pounds of the old MRE fruit bars from about 1985.  I have been happily snacking on them and they are still quite tasty.

I am happy to say that we figured out a use for all the food, the grains, legumes and all the meats, vegetables, fruits and other food that appeared to be in good condition was distributed to various families that were working on their storage but were struggling.  They were given this with the condition that they needed to replace it as soon as they could.

The balance that was damaged or we had serious questions about, went to feed a friends pigs.  My friend who had this has learned something and will be more careful with his new food storage.  Fortunately, he is in a position to replace it and it was an interesting learning experience for me.

Howard

 

1 thought on “Shelf Life of Old Freeze-Dried and Dried Foods”

  1. When I let an ordinary 1 lb box of raisins get too dry due to not eating them, I sort of rehydrate them. Since I make my oatmeal in the microwave, I put the raisins in with the dried oats and plump them as I cook my oats. Put in cakes or cookies, the raisins rehydrate themselves as the pastry cooks. Eating dried raisins out of hand is pretty gruesome for the jaws.

    Feeding any food gone or going rancid to animals is foolhardy since the rancid food can harm the animals, too. My chickens back away and don’t touch anything rancid.

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