Learn different food preservation methods to keep your homestead stocked with fresh and nutritious food all year round.
10 Food Preservation Methods For Your Homestead
Getting fresh food is relatively easy in summer, however, the cold season is entirely a different situation. That is why food preservation is important, and I’m not talking about the ones used commercially. There are different food preservation methods that do not involve the usage of harmful preservatives. Knowing which one is convenient for you will definitely help in having fresh produce all year round.
Canning is probably the most popular method of food preservation. It is actually a staple here in my homestead. Canning is the perfect way to preserve the fresh flavors of the bountiful harvest. While canning is easy and safe, it is important to do it right, knowing how to use your canning supplies should be your basic foundation. Poorly canned food can cause health problems.
You can freeze almost all fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and meats, bread and cakes, and casseroles and clear soup. This is a great food preservation if you want to eat your produce without having to change its state i.e. chopping and pureeing.
Properly packing food in freezer containers or freezer papers prevents degradation to its quality. Damage in frozen food happens only when your food comes in touch with the dry air of the freezer. Despite the fact that freezer-damaged sustenance won’t hurt you, it makes the food taste terrible. Freezing might be the easiest method of food preservation, given you can buy and properly operate such expensive appliance.
Drying or dehydrating may be the oldest method for food preservation. It is a process of exposing food to a certain temperature enough to remove moisture but will not cook it. It can be done with most food, including vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seafood, meats, and nuts.
The most common homestead produce used for drying are herbs. And I’m practically doing it here in my homestead and I find it very easy to do.
Pickling is the method of saturating food into a solution comprising of salt, alcohol, or acid. It can be done with most food, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, eggs, meats, and seafood. Most methods don’t need a special equipment. However, pickled food can be unsafe if not prepared carefully or placed at a room temperature. Pickling is frequently combined with other food preservation methods, like freezing, fermenting, or canning. Here’s a simple recipe of refrigerator pickling to get you started.
Smoking, as a method of food preservation, is most likely as old as cooking with fire. Heat and smoke mix an exquisite flavor into fish, meat, ham, and poultry. It can obstruct the growth of microorganisms that causes food spoilage. Smoking is a very efficient way of food preservation, however, proper care must be done to prevent contamination and food related illness.
If you think a smoke house is expensive and impractical to have, think again because you can actually build a 3’x3’ smoke house for less than $100.
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Salting is a sub-classification of the drying technique. The fundamental distinction here is that salt is added to items, for the most part, meat, and fish, to draw out dampness. This brings down the microbes substance and makes food versatile for later use. Adding salt to animal protein transform it somewhat a little leathery. Most known food made in this technique are meat jerky and dry salted cod.
7. Root Cellaring
As the saying goes, everything old is new once more, and that unquestionably applies to the old method of root cellaring. In its most essential frame, a root cellar is a dark, cool, generally damp territory intended to support stockpiling conditions suited to root crops. Today, it can be as complex as a custom-built cold room, a detailed root basement with proper ventilation, a kind of storage room with an electronic cooling system, or basically an area with shelving.
Sealing is a procedure of covering food to keep air out, which interrupts (but doesn’t stop) the action of bad micro-organisms. Sealing serves as a complementary procedure to different food preservation methods, like freezing or drying. Both vacuum sealing and fat sealing methods are somewhat easy. Vacuum sealing device is a moderately inexpensive small appliance.
With the intriguing art of fermentation, you can take control of food spoilage. Meaning, the process with fermenting will still get spoiled, “ripen” or “age,” but they’ll do as such with good—even helpful—organisms instead of the bad ones.
Fermented food preservation is made through allowing one kind of micro-organism to interact on the food essence so it can transform some of its elements into acids or alcohols. Yeasts are used to ferment alcohol, while the lactic acid bacteria are commonly used to most foods. This family of preserved foods comprises some of the world’s most amazing culinary treasures, like bread, pickles, cheese, sauerkraut, coffee, beer, chocolate, wine, and a mass of cured meat, to name some examples.
10. Jellying Or Jamming
Jellying or jamming is the process of preserving food through cooking it in sugar until it thickens into a gel form consistency. Fruits are generally preserved as jam or jelly, fruit preserves or marmalade.
Want to know why there are the need and benefits of food preservation? Check out this video from Iken Edu:
That’s all I have for now my fellow homesteaders! Food preservation ensures, edibility, quality, and the nutritive factor of food. However, these methods still need careful planning and our keen attention to cleanliness and it’s always best to start with the basics. Choose the best food preservation method that will work for you, master the basics before moving forward to a more complex one. Happy Homesteading!
Which food preservation method will you try in your homestead? We’re excited to know! Let us know how it went in the comments below!
Check out how to make herbal infusion! It is a great skill to have for your homestead as it will allow you to fully make use of herbs healing properties.