Today with the way the food industry is constantly changing adding more and more “yuck” to our food. bringing back the art of preserving good quality food is much more important. It allows you to have more control over the convenience foods that your family might be consuming and also helps you to take advantage of in season foods that you grow or are able to get at your local farm to eat all year long. Here’s a few of the ways to go about preserving healthy foods.
Can it up….
Canning has a little bit of a learning curve but it’s really not hard at all to do. Depending on what you are canning you will either use the water bath method or the pressure canning method. Foods that are higher in acids such as fruits, jellies, salsa, and tomatoes are contenders for water bath canning. It involves actually properly filling the sterile jars and boiling the jars for an allotted amount of time to cause the lids to form a seal. The pressure method is a little bit more involved because you must still fill the jars a certain way but you have to bring the jars up to a certain pressure and keep it there for a certain amount of time to seal the jars without any contaminants. It sounds difficult but it’s all in the owners manual that comes with the canner or easily accessed online. Also it’s not very likely that the pressure canner will “explode” like so many people think might happen because there are safety plugs on most newer model canners. This is a great way to preserve food because you can store them anywhere in your house and you don’t have to use up freezer or fridge space. They can even be stored in a box under the bed or somewhere out of site. This method comes in handy because if you make a big pot of healthy soup and have a ton left over just stick it in your canner and you have wonderful homemade soup on hand right at your fingertips! The ultimate convenience food without any of the hidden junk you might find in soups from the store!
Freeze it up….
This is a super simple way to preserve foods, the only down fall is that you have to have freezer space on hand to store your food. You must use constant electricity to keep it going to so if the lights go out you could potentially lose your food. Freezing is really easy and many things do well frozen. To freeze simply blanch most things by throwing them in a pot of boiling water for one minute and then into an ice cold bowl of water to lock the enzymes in the food and place in your freezer bags and then in the freezer. I have to say if you only have a small amount of something left and it’s not worth getting the canning stuff out this is an easy option. There are some things that just don’t do to well like summer squash when it’s frozen. It gets very mushy, and although it would be fine to throw in a soup it will add a lot of water to your dish so it may not be to great in other dishes.
This was a method that was used typically years ago and is making a comeback now. This won’t keep things as long as canning or freezing but it definitely extends the shelf life of foods and drinks and also incorporates good microbes into your body as an added bonus. I’ve got several fermenting and culturing recipes on here that you can check out for great tasting healthy options:
To me this is one of the easiest and most space saving methods. It is great for those extra fruits and veggies from the garden and really take very little preparation when it comes to getting them ready to preserve. For fruit that might discolor when you cut them it’s a good idea to dip them into a little ascorbic acid and water so they don’t brown to much. All you do is slice them thin, lay them in the dehydrator or oven on the lowest setting and dry. It’s that simple. I store them in mason jars and use them as snacks or in soups or salads. Very easy, very little space for storing and no electricity needed to keep them preserved!
So there you have it, four different ways to preserve the food that you make. If you are going to put in the extra effort to change the way your family eats and possibly spend a bit more on good organic foods it’s a great idea to learn some of these skills to save yourself money and also to have some of your healthy foods on hand for those busy times that you might be tempted to make something out of a box. Instead reach for a tasty canned soup or other goodies you have preserved from the garden.