Food Preservation Tips You’ll Want to Try
You spend your hard-earned money and valuable time acquiring food.
Regardless of whether you grow some of it yourself or purchase all of it at the grocery store.
So it’s logical to make sure that food lasts as long as possible. Humans have known this for many centuries.
It’s the reason Native Americans and other cultures laid meat out to dry in the sun. They learned early on that removing moisture from food helped preserve it.
You probably don’t have a slab of beef sitting in your front yard, soaking up the sun’s rays. But there are plenty of things you can do to preserve your food.
Fighting food’s enemies
As we’ve discussed on occasion, the main enemies of food are moisture, temperature, light and air. Each can make most of your food items spoil quickly.
Your food preservation methods should seek to fight these enemies. The first way to preserve food that we’ll consider is freezing.
Refrigerating food does a good job of reducing bacterial action. Freezing pretty much stops it cold.
But there is still enzyme activity that is only slowed down by the freezing process.
The deep freeze
Here’s how to destroy enzymes and microorganisms before food is frozen. Vegetables should be blanched in boiling water.
Herbs, on the other hand, should be mixed with oil. Fruit should be sprinkled with sugar.
Once you are ready to eat frozen foods, start the thawing process. And once thawed, spoiling will begin soon.
That’s why it’s important to consume frozen food shortly after it has thawed out.
Bringing the heat
We’ve all heard that boiling water will kill bacteria. It won’t remove all contaminants, but boiling water at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and higher will get rid of the bacteria.
The same thing is true with food. You can destroy all enzyme activity and nearly all microorganisms in food by boiling or blanching it.
With acidic fruit such as oranges and grapefruit, microorganisms are destroyed easily by heat.
Once boiled, food items should be placed in airtight containers as soon as possible. In fact, do it while they’re still hot.
Another way to preserve certain kinds of food is by placing them in environments with high concentrations of alcohol, acid, salt or sugar.
Those preservatives prevent the growth of microorganisms. In fact, alcohol can completely destroy microorganisms.
A sugar or alcohol solution is usually used to preserve naturally acidic fruit. Acidic vinegar or a salt solution – or both – is used to preserve vegetables.
While it’s true that yeasts can ferment and spoil foods, they can also be used to preserve fruit juices.
Battling air & moisture
Just because a container is airtight doesn’t mean there isn’t any air inside it. It just means no more air can get in. Placing a sealed container in boiling water can allow some air to escape as steam. That heating can also destroy harmful organisms.
You can also use a seal of fat or oil to prevent airborne microorganisms from coming into contact with food. That seal will help keep air away from bacteria that need it to survive.
Microorganisms will die off in dry conditions. That’s because they need moisture to survive. There are several ways to dry food.
Warm air or an oven will do it. As will sealing that food in a concentrated solution of salt or sugar. This process is called osmosis.
Canning is not a lost art
While freezing is a good way to preserve food and keep the nutrient level high, it’s expensive. It also uses up a lot of energy. And it can destroy some vitamins.
Canning, on the other hand, preserves those vitamins. Some view it as rather old-fashioned. And it does take more work than popping something into the freezer. But many people still enjoy doing it.
Canning protects the appearance and flavor of food. As well as the nutritional value. And, just as important, it does not add harmful substances.
Canning during the spring, summer and fall allows people to place many different kinds of chemical-free, tasty, ready-to-eat foods in jars. They can eat those contents during the winter.
Two proven methods
There’s also no need to worry about a power outage spoiling the food that you’ve canned.
The two main canning methods are pressure canning and the boiling water method. Pressure canning is best for meat poultry, seafood and vegetables.
The boiling water method is best for acidic foods. Including fruit jams and jellies, salsas, tomatoes and vegetables.
After ingredients are prepared, they’re loaded into jars with special lids that allow steam to escape. The jars are then heated. When they cool, the food contracts and creates an airtight seal that preserves the contents for up to a year.
Food bars are well preserved
Speaking of ready to eat, have you tried our Emergency Food Bars yet? They taste like shortbread cookies and require no cooking, water or heat.
They last for five years without refrigeration. And they can withstand temperatures from 40 below to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Talk about preserving food! The advanced-polymer packaging for the Emergency Food Bars is disaster-resistant.
It protects the bars from moisture, air and extreme temperatures. Compact and lightweight, you can stash these nutritious bars anywhere.