What Food Preservation Tools Are Helpful At Home
Food preservation and generational culinary skills are largely lost in the current modern world. Instead, everything needs to be fast, calorie dense, poorly nutritious and so far removed from its whole food form its unrecognizable. What's worse, so much food is factory fake food with funky additives and synthetics. Lab grown meat? Yuck.
Whether drying, freezing or canning, food preservation has been a massively important homestead tool. History tells us that food shortages happen and it's best to be prepared with an abundance of shelf stable items. The hydro can and will go out and whether you have a generator or not, it's possible it runs on gasoline and that too may be a challenge to access if times or weather are bad enough. How do we keep our families fed?
Food prep can be wildly overwhelming as there are tons of resources and opinions that can vary.
So where do you start? What items do you really need?
An easy and great way to store almost any food is by freezer. You can do eggs, meats, fruits, vegetables, bread and more. While some items require a bit of prep, most do not. What is required is a solid seal on your containers or zip bags with all extra air removed. This impacts quality and reduces the risk of freezer burn.
When you do vegetables, you may have to blanch them first. Search for what items require this and what may not. The last thing you want is soggy veg when you pull them out!
I would encourage you to grab a vacuum sealer so that all the extra air is removed to optimize the quality of the product. We have one like this. If you want to keep it on the inexpensive side, you can always use a regular freezer zipper bag and a straw. Zip the bag closed with the straw pushed through and suck out all the air. Once deflated, quickly remove the straw and seal the hole. It works!
While you can freeze jam and apple sauce, I prefer to can them so the freezers have space for other things that cannot be stored elsewhere.
Dehydrator and Freeze Dryer
What is the difference between these?
Quick explanation, a dehydrator dehydrates enough for short term storage with lots of moisture removed so that it's shelf stable. The freeze dryer, dries the product out totally and can be stored for years using mylar bags. I don't particularly like eating freeze dried things on their own however, they are great on yogurts and salads (think berries!). When freeze dried, they can be rehydrated back to their original state. This includes mashed potatoes, milk, carrots, apple slices, liver... nearly anything you can think of!
The dehydrator we use has stainless steel exterior, interior and racks. They can be washed with ease. The glass door is great because you can view the progress of your items without opening the door and compromising the heat and air quality.
Pressure canners can feel intimidating but their use is worth getting over any fear of using them. You can cook soups, stews and more or you can do long term canning of any type of food. This past year we did some great stew beef and it will be shelf stable for years! Maybe this sounds off-putting but tuna is a canned meat and that is widely accepted. "Weird" ideas are simply what you're used too and growth comes from getting uncomfortable, learning and adjusting to new things, including canned meat.
Check out this preserving link
Stay active and nourished.
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