Saturday, December 24, 2016

Food Preservation

]New Mexico. Mrs. Fidel Romero Proudly Exhibits Her Canned Food. [Two Women Standing in a Kitchen Pantry. Pantry Contains Preserved Fruits and Vegatables.] 1946

Mrs. Fidel Romero proudly exhibits her canned foods. (Preserved fruits & vegetables)
Year: 1946 – Location: New Mexico

Food Preservation

There are 8 basic methods of food preservation

  1. Canning
  2. Freezing
  3. Drying
  4. Pickling (Spices, salt & vinegar)
  5. Sugaring (Jams/Jellies)
  6. Root Cellar Storage
  7. In-Ground Storage
  8. Curing


If practiced properly, Canning is a safe method for preserving food.
The process involves placing foods in jars or similar containers and heating them to a temperature that will destroy micro-organisms that will cause food to spoil.

Water-Bath Canning  This is only used for fruits and high-acid foods like tomatoes. It is not used for vegetables or meat.  If you are not into doing this over a stove-top the Ball Company offers an electric canner.

Pressure Canning – This method is used to preserve low-acid foods like vegetables and meat that need to be heated up to at least 240°F to kill botulism spores that prefer low-acid environments. 


When preserving food, curing refers to the process of drawing water out of meat through osmosis.
It usually involved an addition of salt, sugar and either nitrate or nitrite.
Many curing processes also include smoking.An example of this would be using a pink curing salt that
would be rubbed in small amounts to cure hams, beef, bacon, sausage or other meats to prevent the growth
of bacteria.


This is the easiest and most popular method. However, because it requires an extra freezer it is the most expensive.You must take into consideration the cost of an extra freezer and the cost of the extra electricity needed to maintain it. I do freeze food myself. One drawback is that electricity can go out. Several summers ago, we were without electricity for 9 days in the middle of the summer. We were fortunate to have a friend lend us a generator. Again, one must consider the cost of gasoline needed to run that generator, unless you are fortunate to have one that runs on free natural gas. 


Sun Drying – Drying foods outside in the sun/solar power. Here is an easy way to do this….
Drying in an oven or by using a dehydrator – Drying foods in your oven or a dehydrator. Homemade drying trays can be made by stapling a curtain or other type of porous cloth or  plastic screen to spare frames. It is important to note that metal should not be used, it will contaminate the food. 


Just about anything can be pickled with the right combination of salt, sugar, vinegar and spices. There are a lot of good books out there on this subject  Check out your library, local bookstores, or Amazon for books on pickling


The original “chemical” preservative were sugar, salt, and alcohol. Sugar’s preserving action begins to work at sugar concentrations of 50-60%.  In laymen terms, you are just combining water with sugar to create a syrup.
An example of food preserved this way are jams and jellies. Sugar can also be crystallized to offer a protective coating for foods. An example of this would be candied ginger.

Storing Foods In A Root Cellar

A root cellar is a structure that is usually built  partially underground or totally underground and is used to store root vegetables, some fruits, and nuts.
Storing foods in a root cellar is one of the oldest methods. But not all foods do will with this methods. This is used mostly for root vegetables. 

In-Ground Storage

This is an alternative method. Several people feel that most root vegetables should be left in the garden during the winter with perhaps a layer of mulch over them. I don’t feel this is the best method because the ground could freeze and digging up the vegetables is nearly impossible. Plus the mulch may cause the tops of the produce to rot. 

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