4 Methods of Food Preservation You Need to Know

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Knowing how to preserve food has been essential throughout our history as humans. Consider that before the advent of refrigeration, which was originally devised in the 18th century, but was not perfected and widespread until the 20th century, most of civilization had to make do without refrigeration and freezing.

Many of these techniques are still in place today and are used for preserving the bounty of produce during the summer months. Here’s a look at the most common ways of preserving food:

Food Preservation Technique #1 Vinegar Pickling

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A highly acidic environment kills microbes so if you’re not a fan of canning and heating, vinegar pickling may quickly become your favorite among the methods of food preservation.

Pickling with vinegar is a much quicker process. In vinegar pickling, the vegetable does not ferment. Usually, the vegetable rests for a short time in a brine (to add crispness and flavor), is drained, often brought to a boil in a vinegar solution, packed into jars, covered in the remaining hot vinegar solution, and water bath canned for long-term preservation. The acetic acid in vinegar brings up the acidity of the vegetable to a point where no microorganisms can thrive. Acetic acid, by the way, is flavorless and colorless. When a recipe calls for vinegar that is 5 percent acid, that means the vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid. Click here for more info.

Food Preservation Technique #2 – Canning

Processing food with heat while they are inside glass jars is the process called canning. The heat is usually applied with a water bath and is best for high acid foods like pickles and tomato sauce as well as high sugar foods like jellies and jams. Another canning method is with the use of a pressure canner. It is best for low acid food items like carrots, beans, broth, sauces, soups and corn.

Simply put, canning is one step beyond cooking. It’s a method that applies heat to food in a closed-glass, home canning jar to stop the natural spoilage by removing air from the jar to create a seal. There are two home canning methods: water bath canning and pressure canning.

Watch this free survival video and Learn How to Make the Ultimate Survival Food: Pemmican was light, compact, high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and if done properly can last anywhere from a few years (decades) up to a lifetime without refrigeration!

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TECHNIQUE 1: WATER BATH CANNING

Water bath canning is a shorter, lower-temperature canning process that is ideal for high-acid foods. The high acidity of the foods kills bacteria, allowing for the water bath method. Types of fruits and vegetables ideal for water bath preserving, include:

  • Fruits and fruit juices
  • Jams and jellies
  • Salsas
  • Tomatoes with added acid
  • Pickles and relishes
  • Chutneys
  • Vinegars
  • Condiments

TECHNIQUE 2: PRESSURE CANNING

When preserving low-acid foods like many vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood, you’ll use pressure canning to keep your foods fresh and safe to eat. Pressure canning heats contents to 240° F, eliminating the risk of food-borne bacteria. Even when you’re mixing high-acid foods with low-acid foods, you must use the pressure canning method to safely preserve contents.

 

Food Preservation Technique #3 – Drying

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Drying is a great way to extend the life of foods when storage space is an issue, as drying significantly reduces the size and weight of food items. The negative side might be that drying can damage some of the nutrients in the food, so it is not as efficient as canning when it comes to preserving nutrients.

Note to Keep You from Drying Painfully

Yeah, the heading got your attention, didn’t it? Because we’re dealing with canning dried goods, we have to talk about botulism. I’ve talked about it in other articles, including my one on canning meat, but it bears repeating. Botulism spores thrive in high-moisture, low-salt, low-acid environments.

Any food with a pH lower than 4.6 is considered low-acid. This includes most vegetables, some fruits such as pears and bananas, and all meats. Drastically reducing the risk of botulism is one of the main reasons that most water traditional canning recipes call for adding lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid to the food when you can it.

Dehydrating is a good way to preserve low-acid foods too. The key to doing it safely is to dry it until it has less than 10 percent moisture; a good rule of thumb is that the food snaps in half when it’s done. Grains will be hard and unable to bite.

Drying is a great way to extend the life of foods when storage space is an issue, as drying significantly reduces the size and weight of food items. The negative side might be that drying can damage some of the nutrients in the food, so it is not as efficient as canning when it comes to preserving nutrients.

Tip: step-by-step instructions How To Make Your Own Solar Food Dehydrator at Home

Food Preservation Technique #4 – Dry canning

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Dry canning is also a good way to extend the life of some dehydrated foods and to keep your dried goods fresh and bug-free.

Dry canning, also referred to as dry packing, has essentially the same purpose as traditional water bath canning: you want to extend the life of the food by storing it in sealed jars so that bacteria that can cause illness or spoilage can’t get in. Dry-canned foods can be good for 30 years or more as long as the seal remains intact.

The difference, as the name suggests, is that you’re not going to be using any type moisture; not in the food or in the process. In fact, the idea of dry canning is to keep moisture OUT. There are a couple of different methods that you can use to dry can your dried goods.

The easiest, cheapest and fastest way to dry can food is to use oxygen absorbers. This technique is nearly fool-proof, and requires no electricity, fancy equipment, and it does not expose your dry food to heat. The true beauty to this technique is that you can break the seal on a jar, use some of the contents, close it up with the absorbed still inside…..and it magically reseals itself! SO it works not only for long-term storage but short-term as well! First you are going to start with some dry food you’d like to put up to store.

TIP: This technique works best on food that you would store in smaller amounts, and food that doesn’t store well in mylar bags (like spinach, that, when dried, would be crushed into dust if you were to use a mylar bag and oxygen absorbers) otherwise, for example, if you are wanting to store a large amount of flour you may want to look into using a large capacity mylar bag then storing it in a 5 gallon bucket. You will also need some canning jars. I use dry canning as an opportunity to use up some of the “no name” canning jars I acquire from yard sale purchases. You will also want to gather up an equal number of lids, and rings.

Are you ready to turn back the clocks to the 1800’s for up to three years? Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were the last generation to practice the basic things that we call survival skills now… WATCH THIS VIDEO and you will find many interesting things!

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1 Comment on "4 Methods of Food Preservation You Need to Know"

  1. Hey! Feller. You forgot Salt packing.

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