Ways to Preserve Food
By Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Terri Wallace
Perhaps you are a “Prepper,” or are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, or maybe you just want to be able to feed your family healthy food year-round—no matter what your motive, preserving food is becoming trendy again.
Here are some easy ways to preserve food without breaking the bank.
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10. Freezing Berries
Freezing berries is one of the quickest and easiest ways to keep the flavor of summer all year round. Simply wash your selection of berries, patting them dry, remove any berries that are overly soft, and place the washed berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or foil. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours. Once the berries are frozen solid, scoop them into a freezer bag, label and date the bag, and tuck it away in the back of the freezer to keep from eating them all immediately.
9. Freezing Onions
Onions are also incredibly easy to freeze. Peel the outer skin and dice the onion. Place the diced up bits on a lined cookie sheet, freeze for several hours in the freezer, then scoop the diced onion into freezer bags, label and date, and tuck back into the deep freeze.
8. Freezing Tomatoes
While canning tomatoes is one way to keep the taste of summer handy for your winter stews, another way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze them. Simply preheat your oven to 325 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil, cut tomatoes in half and place cut side down on the cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for 2 hours. Remove the cookie sheet and allow the tomatoes to cool. The tomato skins will peel off easily and the remaining tomato half can be placed in a labeled freezer bag and frozen for later use.
7. Freezing Soup Stock
Any kind of meat or vegetable based stock that you cook up can be allowed to cool and placed in freezer bags or other freezer-safe plastic ware, or glassware, and frozen for later use.
6. Freezing Herbs
Herbs like basil, cilantro, coriander, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage, rosemary, savory, and tarragon all freeze well when made into a paste. To make the paste, mix 1/3 cup of mild tasting olive oil or safflower oil with 2 cups of one of the above fresh herbs, and pulse in a blender until smooth. Spoon the paste into small jars, seal, and freeze. In winter, simply spoon out the frozen paste and add to your soups, stews, and pastas.
5. Drying Produce
Many fruits and vegetables can be died with the use of drying racks, food dehydrators, or even your oven. The length of time needed varies with the type of drying method, as well as the thickness and moisture content of the food to be dried. There are many resources available to help determine the right method for you.
4. Short Term Preserving
There are times that you don’t want to can, freeze, or dry food—you simply want to extend the life of fresh produce a bit in order to avoid spoilage and waste. If that is the case, use the right food storage solution to keep produce fresh for up to ten times longer!
Some foods, such as cucumbers and cabbage, are well-suited to pickling. Pickling can either be the preservation of food in a liquid that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria, or it can refer to a natural fermentation. With fermentation pickling (also known as lacto-fermentation), the food itself produces the preservation agent with a process that produces lactic acid.
Canning is a process that involves cooking food for a designated period of time and sealing it in sterile jars that have been boiled to kill any bacteria. Canning extends the shelf life of foods and allows for food to be enjoyed out of season.
1. Root Cellars
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Root cellars seeing resurgence in popularity. Previous generations used root cellars to store food at a low temperature and steady humidity in order to prevent spoilage. The vegetables were traditionally placed in the root cellar after harvesting. Many vegetables are suitable for storage in a root cellar, including potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets, onions, winter squash, and cabbage. Those who lack a traditional underground storage facility can simulate a root cellar using a trash can!
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