Posts tagged: preservation

3 Useful Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

3 Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

When it comes to storing food for a longer period of time, you must be aware of the best preservation methods, which will ensure you do not die of hunger and with a pantry full of spoiled food.

Overview

Let’s face it: none of us disposes of the money needed to buy large amounts of already preserved food. That is why we all need to obtain not only edible but delicious food as well, by preserving fresh aliments.

From my point of view, if you have a basement or a closet in your house, you need to transform it into a storage filled with preserved foods and beverages. There are many scenarios in which this area of your house will become your shelter during a crisis, and what better way to survive it than to enjoy morale-boosting food.

Recent scientific studies have revealed that certain methods of preservation can maintain some foods and ingredients safe to eat even after 25 years of storage. Food usually spoils due to bacterial infections that alter its chemical composition. The techniques that I am about to share with you will guarantee that this process will not ruin your stored goods.

1. Canning

boiling This procedure is also called “pasteurizing” and it works by heating the food at a specified temperature, for a certain amount of time. The resulted product is then vacuum-sealed in glass jars and stored. The canning method can be used on a variety of foods, which include:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Seafood
• Prepared dishes

The products, which are preserved this way, can last for a period between five and eight years. However, with a little trick you can double that time and therefore, reduce your costs considerably. Here’s how to do it:

• Use your regular jam recipe, vegetable stew or desired seafood. Cook according to instructions.

• Once prepared, pour these mixtures into sterilized glass jars and use tight lids to cover them.

• Place the jars into a large pot and put old newspapers in between. This will reduce the risk of glass breaking during boiling.

• Pour enough tap water to cover three-quarters of the jars’ height;

• Place the pot over medium heat and after the water starts boiling, let it simmer for ten minutes;

• Remove the pot from the heat and the jars from the pot;

• Let the jars cool down before storing them in a dark and moisture-free room.

With this method, you will be able to preserve food for periods longer than 10 years. Just imagine a crisis that long and still you would be able to enjoy canned foods rich in vitamins and vital nutrients.

2. Drying

This is one of the oldest methods used by humankind to preserve food over long periods of time. It implies taking all the moisture out of the food, and therefore, eliminating any micro bacterial process that might take place. This technique works great with fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, and nuts. You can do this by using a conventional oven or a modern electrical dehydrator.

However, to store food in a smart way also asks for economic measures that will help you save money. For a well-stocked pantry, you will need a considerable amount of food. Therefore, you will be using your oven or your electric dehydrator extensively, and this will double or even triple your gas / electrical bills. Trust me, it’s not worth it!

Here is one simple and cheap technique that will do wonders for you, especially if you live in an area where the climate is at least moderately warm: sun drying.

You can create your own sun-dried tomatoes or fruits in less than one week. You must consider three factors:

• Natural temperature
• Humidity
• Circulation of the air

Simply put, the higher the temperature, the lower the humidity and the stronger the wind will be, the faster your food will dehydrate in natural conditions. You will need the following equipment:

• Two concrete blocks
• Two stainless steel or Teflon-coated racks

drying The dimensions of the racks can be chosen depending on the amount of space that you have and the quantity of food that you wish to dry. It is crucial that they are made from the indicated materials, as other metals could have a negative chemical impact on your food.

• Choose a convenient place where to set up your drying system, such as the roof of your house or your backyard.

• Place a rack evenly balanced on the concrete blocks and start dispersing the chosen ingredient (fruits, vegetables, meat) on it.

• Cover with the second rack to keep birds and insects away, especially for the first few days of the drying process.

*Note: If you cannot afford a second rack, use thin gauze to cover the goods.

• To avoid temperature oscillations, take the food inside during the night.

Fruits and vegetables take between 3 and 5 days to become dehydrated. Meat will take between 5-7 days to dry out. Keep in mind that when drying meat, you must first soak the pieces for five minutes into brine composed of water and a 15% salt solution.

3. Pickling

Up until now, we have used pasteurization and heat to preserve our goods. It is time to bring a new preserving agent to the stage: brine. This is a liquid, which usually contains salt, acid ingredients or alcohol, and it can be used with most fruits, vegetables, meats and even eggs. This method will ensure that you can consume tasty foods for a very long time.

For pickling one pound of vegetables, you will need:

• Sterilized glass jars
• 1 Cup of water
• 1/8 cup of sea salt
• ¾ cup of white wine vinegar
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
• ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds

Pickling Mix all the ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. In the meantime, place your vegetables (washed) into the jars. Pour the boiling mixture over the vegetables and seal the jars. Next, use the canning method explained in the beginning to increase the preservation time. Now, all you have to do is to store the jars into a cool and dark room, where the temperature never exceeds 24 degrees Celsius. For larger quantities of vegetables, increase the brine ingredients accordingly.

For pickling one pound of meat, you will need:

• 1 stainless steel bowl
• 1 stainless steel plate
• 4 cups of water, or just enough to cover the meat by 1 inch
• 1 cup of sea salt
• 1 raw egg
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
• 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Pour the water into the bowl and dissolve the salt into it. To make sure that you have added enough salt, place the egg inside, and if it floats you have the right composition. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the meat inside the brine and put the plate on top of it, to make sure the meat is completely submerged, as it should stay for the whole pickling process. Next, place the bowl into a cold environment, such as the freezer or the cellar. Keep the meat in the brine for a period of 10-14 days, turning it once every three days. Afterwards, the meat will be ready to cook on the grill or in the oven and the product will be edible for many months to follow.

These are just a few of the simple techniques that will help you preserve food for a very long time at a relatively small cost. You can use these methods ensure your family with a reliable resource of nutritious food.

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3 Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage
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Natural Preservatives

Despite the negative image preservatives have gained over the last decades due to the media concerns over their effects on health, not everything that falls into this category is bad. In truth, preservatives are important for keeping food safe to eat, and not all of them are synthetic. Nature has left us many preservatives, and if you know how to use them you can preserve food for a very long time in harsh conditions.

1. Bain-marie boiling

The Bain-marie is a method of preservation by double boiling food to certain temperatures. It is mostly used for tomato sauce to store it over winter. After you mince the tomatoes you boil them for one hour, then add salt and oil until everything is homogenous.

bain-marie

The second step is to put it into glass recipients (jars or bottles) as glass is the best material to store food because it preserves its consistency, as opposed to plastic and wood, which always retain the smell and flavor of stored materials. The recipients are then put into another larger recipient filled with water and are boiled like that for about half an hour more. Before putting the lids, seal off the bottles with cellophane. The heat pushes the hot air outside, and the oil should reach the mouth of the bottle so that when you seal it off there is no air in it. Stored in the basement, they can last for years. Of course, this method can be used for mostly anything: fruit juice, guacamole, coconut milk, mashed vegetables, you name it.

To make matters simpler, you can just buy a bain-marie equipment.

2. Oxygen deprivation

oxygen

Oxygen is the source and sustainer of life, but also it is unmaking. Everything on the planet deteriorates and dies because of oxygen. Oxygen alters tissues in time (we call it aging), and the same effect happens with food as well. This is why void packed foods don’t go bad, and avoid packing machine is vital for food storage. It’s only 100 dollars and you can make big provisions with it, from dried fruit to meat and dairy products.

3. Salt

salt

Before refrigerators existed, and especially in the Middle Ages, meat was preserved using salt. You may have heard of the term corned beef or salt fish; this means treating the meat with sufficient salt up to the point where mold and bacteria can no longer develop. Salt dehydrates the meat, and bacteria need water to grow. You can try this at home: salt a slice of meat and leave it out of the fridge for several days. You will notice the absence of foul smell and it will still be good to eat. This method can also preserve food for years on end if done properly.

4. Lemon

lemon

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is one of the most powerful antioxidants, and it also draws water from other surfaces. Though not as powerful to last for years, lemon juice can preserve food out of the fridge for several days. You can test it most easily with avocado, one of the fastest oxidizing fruits: after squeezing a lemon over it, it won’t blacken within the hour.

5. Vinegar

vinegar

Acetic acid is a good natural preservative that is used for many non-artificially preserved products, such as mustard and other sauces, but only use wine vinegar. Other types of vinegar contain artificial acetic acid. This is one of the best preservatives, provided you can stand the smell and flavor.

6. Horseradish, Ginger, and Wasabi

horseradish

Horseradish, along with its Asian relatives, ginger, and wasabi, contains the same active ingredient (Allyl isothiocyanate), which is a great preservative against alteration and bacteria. You need 2 ounces of any of them (minced) in a quart of water to have a natural preservative for your food.

7. Hot Peppers

hot peppers

Red Peppers, Jalapeno, or any other species of hot peppers all share a common compound, which makes them hot: capsaicin. Given its heat for the human tongue, it’s not hard to imagine what it does for bacteria. It’s no coincidence that all the cultures who live in tropical and equatorial climates all share an abundance of capsaicin in their cuisine: it’s not merely a traditional whim, but it comes from old methods of preserving food in warm and dirty environment.

8. Honey

honey

Honey products and propolis has many antiseptic uses since ancient times, and not only by humans. If bees – some of the cleanest organisms on the planet – use it against fungi and bacteria, so should you. These substances are extremely stable against bacteria because of the low water percentage, low PH, and hundreds of anti-bacterial natural compounds secreted by bees.

9. Drying

drying

When it comes to dried food, the same principle applies as with salted meat. You can find dried fruit, meat and vegetables at the supermarket, but you can also make your own. Use your oven to dry tomatoes, fruits, and sausages, then store them in the pantry vacuum sealed.

Final Thoughts

As for other natural preservatives you could include in your bug-out bag, you should take into consideration grapefruit juice (also a great antiseptic and antibiotic), rosemary extract, sugar, Neem oil, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, mint, eucalyptus, and rose oil.

Last but not least, do not forget the oldest method of preservation and probably the best there is: freezing. If you find yourself in the wild during a Wyoming winter, food preservation will be the last of your problems.