Food Preservation and Storage

Exploring the different methods of storing and preserving foods for later consumption.

Choosing the Method for Food Preservation.

To chose how we are going to preserve foods we need to take several things into consideration such as:

  • What are we going to preserve?
  • How much we going to preserve?
  • How much room we have for storage (freezer or pantry)?
  • How much time do we have?
  • Most importantly what would be the tastiest way to preserve it?

Methods of Storage

Drying/curing – Removing water from the food is one of the oldest practices of food preservation. By removing water it inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Canning – Saving foods by preparing them and sealing it in a sanitized jar in such a way that refrigeration is not needed.

Steeping – The use of fats such as olive oil to preserve herbs. Warning do not preserve garlic in this fashion as it can grow botulism.

Smoking – Is the process of preserving or flavoring foods usually meat by bathing it in smoke.

Cold Smoking – Does not cook the food but adds the smoke flavor, it is useful for smoking things that do not need to be cooked like cheese. This is accomplished by having the food in a chamber separate from the wood fire. The temperature of the chamber ranges from 70-120 °F for this reason the food should be completely cured before smoking to prevent botulism.

Hot Smoking – The food is placed in the same chamber as the burning wood with a cooking temp of 225-300 °F. This allows the food to cook as it is being smoked.

Wood for smoking – Apple, Pear, Mesquite, Hickory

Pickling – There are two types of pickling, chemical pickling and fermentation.
Chemical pickling – Is using an edible liquid that kills or inhibits micro-organisms such as bacteria often this is vinegar.
Fermentation pickling – Fermented or lacto fermentation are foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.
Tip: Use glass fermentation weights to keep food under the brine.

Freezing – Freezing allows for long-term storage of foods in an unprepared state.
Downsides of freezing – Some foods do not freeze well. Requires a freezer and electricity. In a power down situation such as the ice storm of 2009 many residents were left without electricity, and allowed foods to thaw and go bad.
Good candidates for freezing – Tomatoes

For other methods of preservation checkout wikipedia.