Shopping for a lot of food only to have it spoil is such a waste. You probably know that you need to take steps to preserve food. The problem is that some people preserve food the wrong way. As a result, the food goes bad or loses its flavor and tastes weird.
This article is for you if you’ve tried to preserve your food but somehow can’t get it right.
When we talk about preserving food, we are not talking about what you do with leftovers from your meals. We are talking about preserving all types of foods — like milk, canned goods, cereal, herbs, vegetables, etc.
10 ways to preserve food
1. Have a food storage area
When making your food storage area, ensure it is not too hot and stays at a consistent temperature. If you have a spare pantry room, this would be better, but if not, you can make use of makeshift cabinets or other storage places.
2. Drying or dehydrating
Say you have too many herbs and want to store them for future use. One thing you can do is dry them. Additionally, when you dry foods like vegetables, you also lose a lot of mass, making it easier to store them. Not all foods can be dried or dehydrated, so do your research.
You can place certain foods — including fruits, tomatoes, pickles, jellies, spreads, and other foods — inside a can or jar with water to preserve them. Canning is suitable for long-term storage, but you must be sure to properly can each specific food.
There are 3 types of canning:
1. Water bath canning
This is for acidic foods with a pH of 4.6 or lower. Water bath canning is great for fruits, jams, tomatoes, pickles, jellies, and other spreads.
2. Steam canning
This canning method uses steam, but it can be a bit too complicated for home use.
3. Pressure canning
Pressure canning can be done with a pressure canner for low-acid foods like beans, carrots, corn, pears, meats, soups, sauces, and even broths.
Freezing is an obvious way to preserve certain foods, but storing cooked foods is not recommended since they will tend to lose their flavor. Freezing is good for meats and other ingredients that would otherwise spoil if left at a warmer temperature.
5. Freeze drying
Freeze drying will allow you to store foods for long periods if you have the proper equipment. To do this, however, you’ll need a heavy-duty freezer that can drop to -30°F or -34°C. The food should also be in an airtight chamber with no oxygen.
Fermentation is also a great way to preserve your food for long periods. The good thing about fermentation is that if it is done correctly and without contamination, the type of food being stored can last for years.
7. Salt and sugar preservation
This is an ancient technique that still works today. Salt and sugar draw moisture out of the food to prevent bacteria and other microbes from growing. Sugar and salt are great ways to preserve your herbs for long-term usage.
8. Immersion in alcohol
Like salt and water, by preserving your food in alcohol, you are also using an old way to store it for long periods. It’s important to note, however, that storing your food with alcohol might affect the taste since the alcohol concentration could make its way into your food.
9. Vinegar pickling
Like alcohol, vinegar creates a high-acidic environment that helps preserve foods for a long time without the need for canning. This old-school technique is similar to pickling and can be done with other types of foods.
10. Immersion in olive oil
This is a common way to preserve food in Europe. The best part about this is that when it is preserved in oil with the air locked out, the food can be cooked away with enough oil for the pan. The most common type of food that can be immersed in olive oil is herbs.
Knowing what foods are best for what types of preservation methods is important. Before using a preservation method on any type of food, research if it is possible to determine what the outcome will be.