Author Topic: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?  (Read 9286 times)

Offline Call

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Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« on: July 25, 2009, 08:27:21 PM »
I have a number of canned goods coming up on their expiration dates and I'm wondering if I can dehydrate them for soups and other means. They include canned corn, peas, sliced carrots, and pineapple chunks.

Any reason they wouldn't work well in the dehydrator? I'm assuming they have already been treated like raw vegetables have to be for dehydration (steaming or blanching), but if someone can confirm that I might save myself some wasted effort.
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Offline HelenWheels

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 08:29:36 PM »
I think the consistency of the vegetables may end up being a little strange but I don't see why you couldn't dry them.

I just dried 2 cans of pineapple rings (canned in their own juice) in my dehydrator and they turned out fine.

Let us know how it goes.
      

sarahluker

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2009, 01:42:01 PM »
I just bought my first dehydrator and am interested in this topic.  Call, did you do this and if so how did it work?  My small container garden won't make much this fall so I want to supplement and this would be a good way to do so.  I think you can use frozen veggies and fruit too.

Offline HelenWheels

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 02:16:43 PM »
I think you can use frozen veggies and fruit too.

I dehydrate frozen veggies all the time - I live in an apartment and don't have a garden.

They turn out great! 15 lbs of frozen corn, after dehydration, fits into a gallon-size ziplock bag.

I do corn, peas, mixed veggies, green beans, broccoli, hash browns (cubes and shredded). I've also tried frozen peaches and blueberries.

      

sarahluker

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2009, 02:24:05 PM »
Thanks Helen, I am new to all this and am grateful for your expertise. 

Justinicus

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2009, 03:42:30 PM »
I think the consistency of the vegetables may end up being a little strange but I don't see why you couldn't dry them.

My practical experience with dehydration is pretty limited but I'm good with logic... so... take this with a grain of salt  ;)

I certainly wouldn't choose canned food for my dehydrating stock because it's already rather harshly processed.  Same for frozen, though I'd imagine that's better than canned for the final product.  However, if, as the OP stated is the case, you happen to have some you're not going to use for anything else, dehydrated canned food is probably better than getting poked in the eye with a pointy stick.

I'm not convinced it's a good idea for canned food that's nearing its expiration, however.  If the food is close to spoiling, I would think dehydrating it would give you somewhat questionable product, probably with a limited shelf life.  This is pure conjecture, but as I understand it, the reason food spoils is because the minute colonies of bacteria and fungi that survived the packaging process (be it canning, freezing, whatever) have over time managed to regroup and multiply.  The only other circumstance I can imagine allowing spoilage is if the seals degrade and the sterile environment is compromised.  If my original thought is right, then further processing something at the end of its shelf-life is a bad idea.  If it's all about the seals, though, then it shouldn't matter what the date says; if your cans are intact you shouldn't NEED to reprocess their contents. Ever.

Can anyone out there speak with any authority on this?

Offline Pukwudji

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2009, 11:00:47 AM »
Remember that the date on canned food is not a "throw it out because while it was good yesterday today it is spoiled" date.  It is a 'best if used by' date.  The manufacturers base this off expirimentation of when the food starts loosing it's tastiness.  It probably would be edible and wouldn't poison you a year or two after that date.  If you are close to or even a little after that date it should be fine to dehydrate.  I would, however, agree with the comment about the consistency.  I would mark those veggies and use them only as an ingredient in recipes an not as a side dish with nothing else in them. 

Just my thoughts,
Brian

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2012, 07:59:24 PM »
I would suggest that you shouldn't be having canned food entering it's expiration date, it's an indication that you are not rotating your goods. Sometimes we forget what we have because we don't keep an inventory list. Items for the freezer should not only be clearly dated but also inventoried so you know what you've got and where you've got it.

If I had a batch of canned food near or past "use by x/x/x" and I was concerned, I would throw all of it into a big pot and make a jambalaya. I'd overall be less concerned about the nutritional value, it going 'bad', and more concerned about the absorption of PBA's.

Offline NotAGrasshopper

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2012, 11:10:52 AM »
I have a number of canned goods coming up on their expiration dates and I'm wondering if I can dehydrate them for soups and other means. They include canned corn, peas, sliced carrots, and pineapple chunks.

I wouldn't dehydrate them because their texture is all wrong for that.  After you are done dehydrating and later re-hydrating them, I'd be surprised if they don't completely dissolve in your soup.

Just use them.  They'll be fine *way* past their expiration date.  If you have too many to use, donate them to a food bank.  Check with the food bank beforehand on their policies regarding expired food.  In some states you can donate it and other states you can't.  My state (Texas) has a law specifically saying you *can* donate expired food as long as it is "apparently good", which means the cans can't be leaking or bulging.  The same law exempts you from liability with regard to the food so donated.

If you donate them be sure to make an itemized list, record the current grocery store prices for the same items and take pictures of what you donated.  Then take a tax deduction for the donation  :D

Quote from: Justinicus
I certainly wouldn't choose canned food for my dehydrating stock because it's already rather harshly processed.  Same for frozen, though I'd imagine that's better than canned for the final product.

Frozen vegetables are actually ideal for dehydrating.  They are minimally processed - cleaned, cut, blanched and flash-frozen.   Nutritionally they are nearly as good as fresh and if you're dehydrating and then re hydrating in soup or other cooked food the nutritional issue becomes rather moot.

I contacted a frozen food manufacturer named after sensory apparati found in flying animals' heads and they told me that *all* commercial frozen vegetables (not just theirs) are blanched before freezing.  This is important because it stops enzymatic activity that would still continue (albeit at a slowed rate) after freezing or dehydrating.  Blanching consists of a short trip into simmering water and then into ice water to flash cool.

If you dehydrate fresh vegetables you're going to have to do a ton of work to get them ready for drying, including blanching.  Bah - at a buck a pound it's way easier and cheaper to use frozen.


« Last Edit: July 15, 2012, 11:21:48 AM by NotAGrasshopper »

Online TexasGirl

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2012, 11:25:56 AM »
When fresh food is dehydrated, it will loose a little vitamin and enzyme content, then continue to loose more over time.

Canned food looses most all of it's enzymes and much of it's vitamins immediately upon canning due to the heat involved.  So, by the end of it's "best buy" date, it really has little food value compared to it's fresh counterparts.  The big question is "why would anyone want to go to the trouble to dehydrate food with little actual food value in it?

I have canned corn, beans, applesauce that is a year or two past it's BB date.  It all tastes fine, and works because it's generally served in a meal with other more nutritious items.  Older "people food" can often times be used for animal food, too.

~TG
 

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2012, 12:19:31 PM »
I'd be interested in finding out when expiration dating started. By the USDA or by commercial food companies?
Here's some info on explaining terminology: http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/the-real-meaning-of-food-expiration-dates.aspx

Offline NotAGrasshopper

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2012, 12:28:10 PM »
I'd be interested in finding out when expiration dating started. By the USDA or by commercial food companies?

Canned food doesn't spoil so expiration dates are all about taste, texture and quality, not safety.

Inasmuch as expiration dating isn't *required* by the USDA (or any other federal agency), it seems the answer would be that it was started by the commercial food companies.  As much as folks like to bash "evil corporations", they do have an interest in making sure their stuff tastes as good as possible for what it is.

I have contacted some companies and they are amazingly circumspect when answering questions about shelf life. They almost invariably refuse to acknowledge that their products will be remotely edible past the expiration or best-by date - as though on one day it will be top quality - and if ye dare let a forkful pass thine lips the day after, thou shall surely be doomed.


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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2012, 12:45:50 PM »
There are food labeling regulations, but "best by" and "expiration" dates are regulated by each state.  Twenty states currently require dating.  I read last year where New Jersey has a BB limit of 2 years from date of manufacture on any item sold in NJ.  So while many foods could actually be good past that date, that makes a defacto ceiling for nationally distributed products.

Here's USDA info on this:
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Food_Product_dating/

Manufacturers have no control on how food is stored, it could be in an un-airconditioned pantry, or a 55 degree basement, so I would expect them to be conservative.  As knowledgeable food storage peeps, working to provide optimum storage conditions, we can expect longer life, depending on the item.  Something like canned corn might extend well, while a higher fat product like Hormel canned chili may be more limited due to fat rancidity.  Also, with a mixed ingredient product, lifespan is based upon the weakest ingredient going bad.

~TG
 

Offline chickchoc

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2012, 07:31:57 PM »
I've dehydrated fresh, frozen, and canned -- even leftovers like rice and pasta.  No problem with rehydration.  In fact, dehydrated cooked rice is the same as "instant"; ditto for dehydrated pasta.  Fresh veggies need blanching and you must be VERY precise with the timing or you will cook the veggies altogether before drying them.  It's no biggie if they do get a bit overcooked, but then you're duplicating the effect of drying canned food (albeit without the salt, etc. of commercially canned foods).  In fact, blanching fresh veggies is recommended before freezng them to halt the enzyme process and preserve color and flavor.  Again, be careful about the amount of time they are submerged in boiling water to keep them crispy-fresh, not soggy.  Rehydration of commercially frozen veggies is a snap and my family likes the flavors. 

All in all, I would recommend eating the "about to expire" commercially canned goods in a stew, casserole, or other such dish.  For future, if you need to decrease the space used for storage, then by all means go ahead and dehydrate commercially canned veggies and fruits, but frozen is MUCH better to dehydrate. 

Also, there is the thought that canned fruits and veggies are good to store because you won't need clean water or an energy source to bring them to edible condition.  Dehydrated veggies are usually not very easy to eat in their dried state.  Fruits are incredibly good as high-energy snacks in their dried states, however.

Just my two cents' worth...

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2012, 09:34:33 PM »
Dehydrating cooked rice has been of interest to me as for the time involved in the original cooking that you would save by simply adding water. But dehydrating cooked pasta? It only takes several minutes to cook, I don't know why anyone would do that.

Dehydrating commercially frozen vegetables is really the only way to go for dehydrating vegetables. The most difficult part of it is keeping the little kernels from falling through the openings of the trays. If you use cheesecloth, they get stuck to that.

I keep our canned goods stored according to date they were bought. Tape, magic marker, or stick-em labels with dates on them, if they are not dated from the factory. I've got SPAM that comes with something like a 4-year sell-by date. I just cooked up some that was sell-by that month and it is perfectly fine.

Online TexasGirl

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2012, 10:45:36 PM »
Dehydrating commercially frozen vegetables is really the only way to go for dehydrating vegetables. The most difficult part of it is keeping the little kernels from falling through the openings of the trays. If you use cheesecloth, they get stuck to that.

Try using "plastic canvas" from the crafts store.  It is commonly used in needlepoint type applications, and comes in various grid size sheets that can be cut to fit your trays. 



I like the clear:



~TG
 

Offline jim

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2012, 02:40:54 PM »
Yes, Some canned fruits and veggies may be canned. I have been dehydrating frozen and canned ones for a loooong time. Check Mary Bells complete dehydrator cook book (hard cover)page 141. Jim W

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Can you dehydrate commercially canned vegetables/fruits?
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2012, 02:50:36 PM »
Texas Girl, thank you! I'll get those. The ones they sell for the dehydrator are ridiculously expensive.