How do I extend the shelf life of homemade dog treats?
I am thinking of starting a business selling natural homemade dog treats. However, I am curious as to what type of preservatives are used in the healthy treats that sit on store shelves for extended periods of time. All of the homemade dog treat recipes that I found online were intended to be consumed within 1 week, unless they were kept frozen.
Thanks in advance.
Chef's Answer ~ There are several ways of extending the shelf life of homemade dog treats. For starters, I would recommend reviewing my tips and techniques on how to store dog treats. Something as simple as how the treats are stored after they have baked and cooled, can make a huge difference in their shelf life. Air, heat and light will shorten the freshness of even chemically preserved dog treats, not to mention the more natural dog treat recipes. Also, if you have recipes that you are able to bake longer, and remove excess moisture, that will definitely help them last longer and stay fresher.
There are many options when using preservatives to keep treats fresh. Some of the natural preservatives to choose from include vitamin C. You can also use tocopherols and tocotrienols, or the collective term for these two is vitamin E. You can also use citric acid (like those found in citrus fruits). There are several spices that can help preserve baked goods. These include cinnamon, sage, rosemary and cloves. Another option is to replace the sugar in your recipes with honey, since honey is a natural preservative. If the recipe calls for dairy you can replace it with it's dried equivalent. For example if you use milk, then replace it with powdered milk. You will have to experiment with the amounts and types of preservatives that will work best for you.
My last bit of advice is to make sure your customers are aware that you are providing a fresh baked dog treat. So, it is similar to any other fresh baked (people) treat, it must be bought fresh, bought often and stored properly. You could let your customers know they can refrigerate and freeze them once they are at home. I personally think that the delicacy of natural treats is one of their finest selling points.