Shelf life is dependent on a few variables - most especially heat, oxygen, light, and moisture. The less heat, oxygen, light, and moisture your product is exposed to, the longer it will last.
Recent studies show that fluctuation in temperature is the biggest culprit when it comes to decreased shelf life. So, if you can keep your food at a stable temperature, in an airtight container, away from moisture and light, you will have the most success in preserving your food. Studies also show that most dehydrated foods can last up to a year after opening, if stored well. Here are a few ideas on how to store that opened can or bucket:
- Put the product in a zip top plastic bag squeezing all the air out or use a commercial sealer and store the food back in the can with the lid on.
- Pour the product into Snapware containers, which create an airtight environment and are attractive and easy to use on a regular basis. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, easily able to accommodate almost any food storage item you wish!
- Metalized plastic bags can be purchased to put food in, and you can even seal them yourself with an iron at home! These bags can be put inside buckets for extra protection. They are a solid barrier to odors, which makes the bucket/bag combination nearly impervious to rodents. They are also wonderful at keeping out moisture and light.
- Gamma Seals are lids made especially for buckets that enable you to open the bucket with a simple twist of the seal. It allows you to get into the bucket, without having to pry off the lid. I use a Gamma Seal on my bucket of wheat, so I can get to it easily, yet keep the lid on therefore protecting it from any pests.