How to store dried fruit long term

How to Store Dried Fruit Long-Term

Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Learning how to store dried fruit long-term will ensure your family can benefit from the nutrition of dried fruits for months and years. Fortunately, long-term storage of dried fruits can be simple as the key is to keep them away from the major causes of spoilage, such as air, moisture, heat, and light.

When stored properly, dried fruit can last up to 12 months in a pantry, 2 years in the fridge, and indefinitely in the freezer. Since dried fruits have a low moisture concentration, they have a long shelf life. Read on to learn practical tips for maximizing the shelf life of dried fruits.

dehydrated fruits

What is a Dehydrated fruit, and why should you store it?

Dehydrated fruits undergo a drying process in which the majority of the moisture is removed from the fruit. Due to it being dehydrated, dried fruits have a much longer shelf life than regular fruits and do not require refrigeration. This makes dried fruits a healthy snack alternative, filled with nutrients, fibers, and antioxidants. Plus, the long shelf life helps secure a stable and consistent food supply in an emergency scenario.

Fruits that are often dehydrated are raisins (dried grapes), figs, prunes, apricots, bananas, mangos, cranberries, pineapples, blueberries, and apples. Mangos and pineapples are often sugar-coated.

How to Store Dried Fruit Long-Term

Whether you dehydrated the fruit yourself or bought it from a supermarket, it is important to properly store the dried fruit to maximize its shelf life. This often requires a few extra steps to ensure the dried fruit is kept in a dark place as well as not exposed to air or excess moisture. Below are some helpful tips to ensure you can store dried fruit:

1. Wash Your Hands

This habit is crucial yet often overlooked. Most of us don’t realize that even if our containers were sterilized, the food could still get bacteria from our hands. Bacteria can cause food to spoil, so it’s important to maintain proper hygiene while storing dried foods.

To prevent this, simply wash your hands thoroughly before handling the food and containers. If possible, it’s best to wear gloves, too.

2. Cool Completely Before Storing

Bacteria thrive best in moist, warm conditions, and this is the last thing you want if you intend to store food long-term. Therefore, after the dehydration process, let your dried fruit sit and cool down completely first before storing them away.

3. Clean and Dry the Containers

The best way to keep bacteria off is to wash the containers and sterilize them if possible. Then, ensure they’re completely dry before putting the dried fruits in.

This part is crucial because even a little moisture is enough for the tiniest microbes to multiply. Once they’ve started on their business, you know it’s irreversible, and there won’t be much that you can do.

dried fruit in airtight container

4. Use Airtight Containers

When storing food for long-term storage, airtight containers are the ideal storage containers. Oxygen exposure is one of the main causes of spoilage; however, by using an airtight container, you can prevent the food from being exposed to air.

So, how do you know that a container is airtight? Here’s how you can run a leak test:

  • Make sure that the container and lid are completely dry.
  • Pour in enough water that’ll cover all the bottom areas. About an inch level will do.
  • Turn it upside down.
  • For good measure, place it on a plate or tray just in case it leaks.
  • Wait approximately three minutes and look out for seepage.

Even the tiniest amount of escaping water means that your canister isn’t airtight after all. If so, use it to keep other items, just maybe not food.

In addition to canning jars, mylar bags and food-grade 5-gallon buckets are popular airtight storage containers for larger quantities.

Related Article: Long Term Food Storage in Mason Jars

Related Article: How to store food in Mylar Bags: A Guide for Beginners

Related Article: How to store food in 5 Gallon Buckets

5. Pour Dried fruit into an Airtight container

Once you have confirmed the containers are sterilized and leakproof, you are ready to pour the fruits into the container. You can fill the canning jar up to 80%-90%, which should leave enough space for oxygen absorbers. Once you add the oxygen absorbers, apply the lid and seal it tightly.

Oxygen absorbers are helpful prepper tools that absorb any remaining oxygen in the container after it has been sealed, helping extend the shelf life of the dried fruits.

Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets

6. Picking a Storage Location

The storage location of your dried food will have a major effect on its shelf life. Read on to learn how different locations effect the shelf life.

Room temperature

This reminder can be found in virtually every food packaging and for a good reason. It’s because bacteria and mold love warm, moist places. Additionally, light, no matter how faint, emits heat energy that’s enough for mold to thrive. This is why it affects our food, even if we don’t physically feel its warmth.

So, if you intend to store dried fruits at room temperature, it’s important to keep them in a cool, dark place.

At room temperature, the shelf life of dried fruits is typically 12 months. When using oxygen absorbers, the shelf life can be extended to 10 years.

Keep Frozen or Refrigerated

Refrigerators and freezers are excellent storage locations because the colder temperature and lack of light are ideal conditions for long-term storage of dried foods. For this, make sure you’re using moisture-proof containers or bags.

In a fridge, the shelf life of dried fruits can be up to 2 years. When stored in a freezer, dried fruits can be stored indefinitely.

Vacuum Bags

Using vacuum-sealed bags that are more than 3 mm in thickness is an effective way to protect dried fruits from the air, moisture, heat, and light. Although a useful storage method, it is not effective against rodents. If you choose to vacuum-seal your food, make sure to store it out of reach from pests or within a glass or plastic container.

The shelf life of dried fruit in a vacuum-sealed bag is 18-24 months. They are an effective way to store dried fruits, but oxygen will leak into the bag over time.

dried fruits

Additional Tips

Be mindful of the below so that you can protect your dried food items.

Avoid Tin Cans

Store-bought dried fruits commonly contain sulfur dioxide. This compound, which is used as a preservative, corrodes metal. For this reason, it’s best to avoid metal canisters for dried fruit storage.

Check for Moisture Regularly

You can indeed rest easy once you’re sure that your bags and canisters are airtight. However, this doesn’t guarantee that trapped vapor inside won’t condensate and develop into water droplets.

If you do find signs of moisture inside the container, check if the food inside’s still good to eat. If it is, consume immediately. Otherwise, throw it away if it smells off or if you see signs of mold.

Buy a Volume You Can Manage

When buying in bulk, make sure that you can consume the whole thing in a month or two. This will lessen your storage problems and the chance of the dried fruits going bad.

When you buy excessively, there’s a good chance that you won’t have enough containers or shelf space for it. So, you’ll end up buying new canisters just to accommodate the surplus, which is most likely an unnecessary expense.

Additionally, once you open the container, the food is immediately exposed to air, shortening the shelf life unless you reseal it with more oxygen absorber.

Use Glass Jars

If you’re not going to store dried fruits in the freezer, then airtight glass jars might be the best option for food preservation. We prefer glass mason jars because they’re durable and easy to clean.

Moreover, moisture can be easily seen if it ever forms inside.

Elevate Containers

It’s never a good idea to store food items on or near the floor. This makes it easily accessible for pests, pets, and small children to meddle with.

This also invites rodents and bugs even when you’re using tight, insect-proof containers. Remember that rats and mice can nibble their way through plastic containers.

Keep In Single-Use Size

We recommend packing dried fruits in sizes that you can consume or use in one go. For example, bag them in ½ cup portions. That’s just enough for a platter of fruity granola.

Generally, storing food like dried fruits in one huge canister is a bad idea. The frequent opening and re-opening of the container risks exposure to air and moisture.

dried pineapple rings

How Long Can Dried Fruit Be Stored?

The shelf life of dried fruits typically ranges from 6 months to 12 months in a pantry. In a fridge, it can last 12 months to 2 years. Storing dried fruits with oxygen absorbers can extend the shelf life even further. And when storing dried fruits in the freezer, they can last indefinitely. Below is a table of some fruits and their shelf life after they’ve been dehydrated.

FruitsPantryFridgeFreezer
Craisins6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Raisins6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Dried Cherries6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Dried Plums6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Dates3-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Figs3-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Dried Banana Chips1-2 monthsNot RecommendedNot Recommended
Dried Pineapple Rings6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite
Dried Mango6-12 months1-2 yearsIndefinite

Factors That Affect Shelf Life

In general, you’d want to store your dried fruits in the coolest, darkest, and driest place possible.

Other factors that affect dried fruits’ shelf life include:

  • Its freshness before storage
  • The drying method used
  • Drying process environment

How to Tell if the Dried Fruits Have Gone Bad

The tell-tale sign is the presence of mold. Food molds are usually fluffy, dusty, or fuzzy in texture and may come in black, gray, white, or green.

But not all molds are visible. So, you can rely on your sense of smell to detect their presence. It’s not so hard to tell, though, because spoiled food smells bad.

Additionally, spoiled dried fruits’ texture becomes chewy instead of crisp. However, we highly discourage tasting it to know if the food’s gone rancid.

Your best recourse is to throw the food away if you suspect molds in it, even without visible signs.

Why You Should Store Dried Fruit Storage

Here are some of the reasons why it’s important to observe the efficient handling and storing of dried fruits.

To Make Full Use of Health Benefits

Here’s a trivia for dried fruit lovers: they contain just the same amount of vitamins and nutrients as they were fresh. On that note, check out some of the benefits of eating dried fruit below:

  • They contain antioxidants, which fight against free radicals
  • They’re rich in fiber for good digestion

Air exposure may take away some of the dried fruit nutrients, so it’s best to keep those canisters sealed at all times.

Pack and Go

On top of being highly nutritious, dried fruits can be eaten on their own as a snack. So, when they’re stored properly and packed in to-go sizes, they become much easier to pick up and carry around.

Travelers and people who maintain an active lifestyle find this particularly convenient. Plus, it’s pre-prepared, so it saves you time.

Reduced Spoilage

Dried fruits are versatile and convenient food. This is why it would be such a waste if mold and bacteria get to them first before us.

By removing the conditions for mold and bacteria growth, we prevent the fruit from rotting. Therefore, proper storing helps us enjoy our dried fruits to the last piece.

Do you know what this means? Less food waste, which is good for the environment and cuts down food costs for us.

storing dried oranges

Conclusion

Learning how to store dehydrated fruits long-term is an important skill to have because you can ensure a nutritious and natural food source for your family in an emergency scenario. Fruits are an important part of our diets, and by storing dried fruit, you can store it for up to 12 months in a pantry, 2 years in the fridge, and potentially indefinitely in the freezer.

If you enjoyed this article, our article is on Long-Term Food Storage in Hot Climates.

Get FREE Access to the
Soulful Prepper Newsletter

Enter your email below for instant access
Sign Up to our Newsletter for access to our catalog of FREE eBooks
Food Storage: Canning and Jarring 101

Get our latest Articles
Subscribe to our Newsletter today!

Get our latest Article and eBook
Subscribe to our Newsletter today!

Find us on

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our latest Articles, eBooks, and Deals Subscribe to our newsletter today!