How to Preserve Food for Longer Storage

Food preservation is a widely used solution to extend the life of what we consume. Whether you found a really great sale at the market or your garden gave a truly bountiful harvest this year, food preservation can ensure that you are able to enjoy your bonus for weeks and months without worrying over waste and spoilage.

Canning

Canning is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. There are several different methods of canning, including water bath canning, steam canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning is usually used for things with high acidity such as pickled items, jams, preserves and tomato-based food. Steam canning uses steam to preserve and seal food. Pressure canning requires special processing equipment and is mostly used for low acidity food such as corn, carrots and legumes.

Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum sealing is one of the most common methods to store food for a long period of time. You’ll need to invest in a vacuum sealer along with food saver bags. Vacuum sealed food can last for many months in your freezer. According to Vacuum Sealers Unlimited, when you’re ready to consume it, the vacuum-sealed bags can even be used to slowly cook food in a manner called sous vide. This makes reheating your food easy and convenient. The key to using the sous vide method is to make sure your ingredients were sealed as flat as possible, with minimal overlap.

Freezing/Freeze-drying

Although freezing and freeze-drying food can preserve it for a long time, they are used for different types of food. Freezing can preserve food at its freshest state, but it is usually used for produce such as vegetables. Freeze-drying can be used for food that won’t freeze well, such as dairy, creamy soup or cooked meals. All you need for freezing is some hot water to blanch the produce and a freezer. Freeze-drying, however, requires a freeze-drying unit that creates the sublimation effect.

Food Drying/Dehydration

Food drying, also known as food dehydration, is one of the most popular ways to preserve food if you are lacking in storage space. Some common foods to dehydrate include fruits, vegetables and jerky. All you need to dehydrate food is a constant heat source such as an oven. If you want to dehydrate larger batches but don’t want to keep your oven in use for hours, you should consider investing in a dehydrator. A food dehydrator often comes with preset temperatures and a timer to make the process as simple as pressing a button.

Often, the food preservation method you choose is dependent on the type of food you wish to store and the type of equipment you have on hand. An investment in equipment or supplies such as a dehydrator, a pressure cooker, jars and food saver bags can be a wise expenditure.

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