Canning & Food Preservation
As the sun sets on summer, you’re likely silly with squash, tomatoes, beans and more. Without the right canning & food preservation methods, you’ll either end up bestowing your garden goodies on appreciative neighbors or you’ll have to gobble them up quickly. Sure, there are plenty of easy zucchini recipes. However, even the versatile zucchini gets tiresome night after night. Alas, no homesteader wants to waste a homegrown harvest.
Every culture since the dawn of time has employed canning & food preservation methods. Today, it’s never been easier to preserve our food through several modern methods. Even if you don’t grow your own food, you can still save money, reduce waste and store emergency essentials in your pantry with the right strategies. Food preservation examples include home canning, freezing, dehydrating, freeze drying, fermenting, pickling, smoking meats and cold storage.
Home canning is ideal if you are facing a bountiful harvest of garden delights. Canning is also an excellent option to save on food costs, but investing in the best canning jars and equipment (like a pressure cooker) can be expensive. Freezing food preservation methods are the quickest and easiest of all the strategies. Basically, store foods at 0 degrees Celsius in freezer-safe containers — no expensive equipment required. On the flip side, dehydrating and freeze drying do require that you invest in the proper equipment, which ranges is price.
Fermenting is all the rage nowadays. Some examples of fermented food include yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, buttermilk, kimchi, apple cider vinegar, and even beer and wine. Basically, fermentation is the process of covering foods in liquid and allowing them to sit, which creates probiotics that assist in digestion and gut health. Backyard chicken owners are even fermenting chicken feed. Studies have shown that feeding fermented feed to chickens can increase egg weight, eggshell thickness, and boost the chickens’ intestinal health and immune system, increasing their resistance to diseases including Salmonella and E.coli.
With the challenge of feeding a growing population, we should all consider adding canning & food preservation methods to reduce food waste.
Can anyone tell me how to make vinegar? Mom says Grandma used to make it from vinegar “mother.” Is the “mother” used as a starter of sorts?—Nancy Partridge, Cascade, Montana
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