If you’re looking for an introduction to the methods of food preservation, then you’re in luck. I’ve been posting some food preservation articles these past few weeks on Surv and it is obvious that its one of the SHTF prepping and homesteading topics which I am passionate about, but why? Aside from SHTF prepping, knowing the methods of food preservation can save your family big bucks. Food prices are increasing yearly, and knowing how to grow your own food only becomes really valuable if you know the right methods of food preservation you can use to extend their life.
Once I started gardening, I knew that the next step in my SHTF prepping agenda is learning the methods of food preservation. As a dad, I also wanted to teach my children basic life skills, and food preservation is definitely one of them. Without further ado, below are SHTF Dad’s 9 methods of food preservation you need to know:
Food Preservation Technique #1 – Freezing
Freezing is one of the most popular and easiest amongst the methods of food preservation because it can be done without the use of specialized equipment.
Freezing Tip: For freezing produce, just blanch them first in boiling water to ensure best quality. Using vacuum seal bags also prevents ice crystals from forming and improves the quality and freezing duration of crops.
Food Preservation Technique #2 – Lactofermentation
Lactofermentation raises the acidity level of foods to give them a longer shelf life. They are also called live-culture food and is a well-used technique of preserving foods because it improve the digestibility of most food items.
Lactofermentation Fact: Foods change their flavor profile and texture when undergoing lactofermentation. Delicious items like cheese, chocolate, kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, bread an vinegar are all products of lactofermen.tation
Food Preservation Technique #3 – Cool storage
Cool storage is the storage of foods in a cool and dry storage area like a cellar, basement, crawl space and the like.
Cool Storage Tip: Root crops as well as beans, squash and pumpkins benefit the most from cool storage.
Food Preservation Technique #4 – Vinegar Pickling
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. I know it is mine, just check out this dill relish recipe.
Food Preservation Technique #5 – Olive Oil Immersion
A favorite technique of preserving foods in many parts of Europe, this technique is not one which I would recommend to those who are new to this area of SHTF prepping and homesteading. Immersing food in olive oil works by preventing any contact between the food and air, thereby preserving the food.
Food Preservation Technique #6 – Drying
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.
Drying Tip: Use commercial dehydrators like the American Harvest Dehydrator or the Excalibur or use a DIY solar dehydrator to dry food up. They work better and produces more consistent results plus prevents insect problems as compared to hang drying.
Food Preservation Technique #7 – 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.
Food Preservation Technique #8 – Using Salt and Sugar
The preferred technique of preserving foods before drying, freezing and canning were available, packing foods in sugar or salt takes out the liquid in food items, thereby drying it out and preventing bacterial growth. The method also changes the flavor and texture of food.
Food Preservation Technique #9 – Immersion in Alcohol
Immersing food in alcohol is not just for extracting flavor, it is to impart flavor and preserve the food too.
Immersion in Alcohol Tip: Make your own flavorings at home by using vodka as an extracting and preserving liquid. You can make your own vanilla extract and orange extract this way too!
When it comes to picking out the best amongst the methods of food preservation, you need to remember that it is not a one size fits all kind of thing. There would always be some nutrients which food preservation can’t preserve and that the rate of nutrient lost depends on the methods of food preservation which were used and how long the food has been in storage. This is why it is best to start preserving foods at the peak of harvest so that even if they lose some of their nutrients over time, the fact that you begun preserving them at their peak means they would retain the most nutritional value as well.