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The Beginners Guide to Preserving Food
- Preserving food is important because it prevents spoilage of food after harvest and increases the shelf life of food. After all as homesteaders the whole point of this lifestyle is to put up good quality food for your family to eat in the winter.
- If you live in a zone like ours you cant plant outside year round so preserving food is key.
- Preserving food can make for quick meals on busy days.
What is Food Preservation
- Preserving food is the process of taking an abundant amount of food after harvest or slaughter and extend the shelf life of the food for future use.
- Preserving food doesn’t have to be hard. There are many methods you can start with that are easy. But even the harder food preservation methods will become easier the more you do them. You just become more confident.
What are the 5 methods of preserving food
- Root Cellaring
- Root cellaring is the easiest way to preserve food.
- Some storage areas include: root cellars, heatless basement space, and crawl spaces.
- Foods that store really well in a root cellar are potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, apples, onions, and garlic.
- Drying or Dehydrating
- Canning is the process of preserving food in jars using heat.
- Water Bath Canning is the use of a cole packer and jars that sit on a canning rack and is covered with at least 2 inches of water.
- Foods that preserve well with water bath canning are fruits, jams and jellies, tomatoes, pickles and relish.
- Pressure Canning is the use of a pressure canner, high temperatures, and high pressure steam to preserve food in jar.
- Foods that preserve well with pressure canning are beans, carrots, corn, meats, soups, sauces, and broth.
- Freezing food requires no equipment thus being the easiest method for preserving food.
- It produces flavors and textures similar to fresh food.
- There are some techniques that are required to freeze certain foods.
- Fermenting changes the acidity level in foods, which gives them a longer shelf life and can be canned in a water bath canner.
- Fermented foods are easier to digest and are more nutritious for your body.
- Fermented foods are also known as live culture foods.
Which Method is Best
- The best method for preserving food depends on the types of foods your trying to preserve and also the amount of storage you have to store the preserved food.
- Canning is done soon after harvest and can be used on a wide variety of foods. It does require special equipment to preserve the food. The canned food is best used within 1-2 years of being canned.
- Fermenting adds nutrition to the food being preserved. But only last a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
- Dried foods take up the least amount of space. Dries foods can be used in soups, stews, and also as snacks. Dried foods can last any where from to 2-3 years.
- Freezing is the best preserving method for beginners. A decent amount of freezer space is needed for this method. Frozen foods can last 2-3 years if preserved properly.
The Last Thing You Need to Know
- Preserving food works beset when you choose properly ripened produce and you get it processed quickly no matter what preserving methods you use.
- What preservation methods do you use for your food?