Tag Archives: preserve food

Saving the Taste of Summer for Winter

18 Apr

Food Preservation
by Catherine Meeks, volunteer writer for Crabtree Farms
posted July 14, 2010

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I am a glutton for punishment this time of year. Let me explain: I have a small vegetable garden; I’m a member of a CSA that gives me piles of fruits and vegetables every Monday; and I have a habit of going to the both the Chattanooga Market on Sundays and the Main Street Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays. Between all this and the occasional trip to the grocery store, I wind up with too much to eat. Which, of course, is a luxury beyond what many in the world can imagine. However, it goes from being a luxury to a problem when I forget about the bowl of tomatoes I set on top of the toaster oven that inevitably attracts fruit flies!

More here…

Methods of Food Preservation

2 Apr

Preservation of food can done in many ways other than using a refrigerator and here we will look at some of these options. First let’s ask ourselves a question. Why do need to preserve food? Well simply put food is essentially biological and was at one point alive and just like us when we die we start to degrade or rot. Some foodstuffs are seasonal so if we did not preserve them the majority of food would be wasted as most of it would become ripe to eat at the same time resulting in too much food at this point and none at others. Preservation processes must be non damaging to the food and non toxic to us so this narrows down the options.

Drying works on the principle that bacteria needs water to grow so by removing the water the growth of bacteria which rots the food is slowed or even stopped. This is a long established method of preservation involving drying out the food using the sun, wind or possibly smoking. An added benefit of drying is that it hardens the surface or skin of the food which stops dirt and other bacteria from contaminating the food. Dried or smoked fish has been a popular preserved food for hundreds of years and still regarded by many today as tastier than fresh fish. Meat is another product that can be dried although in many cases it is salted first, all red meats are able to be preserved in this manner. Fruits are also dried but undergo changes in texture and taste during this process some examples are drying a plum produces a prune and drying a grape produces a raisin. Vegetables are rarely dried as it takes all the flavor and vitamins out of them.

Pickling is a method of preserving food by creating a chemical reaction which is safe to us but which bacteria are unable to survive in. There are various ways in which this can be done with the most common ones being the use of vinegar or brine. Brine is produced when fermentation of salted water produces an acid solution. As this is more a chemical system the method tends to change between different foods as foods with more moisture can produce brine much easier than dryer foods. Food can last for many months using this process which doesn’t require a heat source like the sun or fire unlike the drying method of preservation.

Sugaring is a method used to preserve fruit where the fruit is placed into a sugar based syrup this is popular with apples, pears, apricots and many other fruits. Sometimes the fruit is cooked in this syrup and then dried and stored and in some instances the fruit skins are used as dried fruit skins are popular as a delicacy in some countries.

Freezing is the method that most of us use as most people have home freezers that are cheap to run. An advantage of frozen food is that many products can now be bought ready frozen to go straight into your freezer. Even foods that are unsuitable for freezing can be cooked and then frozen and many are prepared so that that defrosting before cooking is also not required.

Brands such as jenn air refrigerators and hotpoint refrigerator are among many. To choose the best refrigerator read users reviews.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_S_Thompson

Freezing Meats

25 Feb

Modern food preservataion is easier than ever before with a freezer than enables you to stock up on meats when they’re on sale or purchase directly from the farmer. Most people don’t have need for 180 pounds of pork per week even at a great deal of under $1.50/pound including customized cutting but with a freezer and proper storage you can indeed buy a whole hog, have it cut to order and use it as you need it.

However this game plan does have some cautions. Like everything there are advantages and disadvantages and money is a big advantage in stocking up. Another is you have food on hand if the paycheck is low one week or unexpected guests come over. However you must be totally prepared including if the power goes out in a disaster. Having disaster food is of little good if you use it because you don’t plan to keep the freezer cold. More

Be Safe Canning Foods

14 Feb

An important word about home canning of vegetables (see links for more information)

People still canning green beans at home using the boiling water canner instead of a tested pressure canning process are risking food loss and even worse, possible death or serious poisoning.  We are receiving phone calls from people canning dozens and dozens of jars of green beans in boiling water and then losing all that work and food due to spoilage.  Beans canned this way looked fine coming out of the canner, but are now turning cloudy and jars are popping open, even sometimes with force.  These beans are definitely spoiling from being underprocessed.  But it could be worse: even if the jars still look good, it is possible that they contain botulism toxin from this unsafe canning practice.

Jars of improperly canned vegetables and meats can contain the deadly botulism toxin without showing signs of spoilage such as being seen in the reports mentioned above.  Those that do show signs of spoilage could also contain botulism toxin because they are showing other signs of underprocessing.

Spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, as found naturally in soils, are very, very heat resistant.  Even hours in the boiling water canner will not kill them if they are inside your jars of beans.  Left alive after canning, they will eventually germinate into actively growing bacterial cells that will produce a deadly human toxin when consumed.  The bacteria like the conditions inside closed jars of low-acid foods (such as vegetables and meats) sitting at room temperature, so they must be killed during the canning process for safe storage.

You can find the USDA-recommended procedures for canning green beans at home here:  http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_04/beans_snap_italian.html
The list of available vegetable canning processes is found at this menu:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can4_vegetable.html
and those for tomato and tomato products here:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can3_tomato.html

We do not have home canning procedures to recommend for vegetable, meat, poultry or seafood products not found on this website.

You can read a little more about botulism and ensuring safe home canned foods here:  http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general/ensuring_safe_canned_foods.html
and principles about safe canning at home here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/general.html

Please be safe when canning foods for you and your family! Knowledge and recommendations change over time with scientific developments.  You should use up-to-date recommendations and methods and not just rely on practices of past generations.

Using a Food Dehydrator – Do’s and Dont’s

11 Feb

Before putting the food into the food dehydrator, always slice them into one-fourth inch pieces or sections. This will allow the optimal exposure of the surface to the heat and airflow of the dehydrator.

As much as possible, evenly distribute the slices of food across the dehydrator sheets. This will also facilitate the process of drying, making it very extensive and effective.

It is advisable to sporadically inspect the drying condition of the food. The items which are located near the fan of the food dehydrator will dry out faster than the other foods. This can be remedied by alternately repositioning the trays after a couple of hours.

Make sure to carefully dry out food and give them time to cool down at room temperature prior to placing them inside a container which has an airtight seal. Even if the moisture level of food removed from the dehydrator is at a low level, they can still secrete some amount of water. The moisture will be kept out of the airtight container if the food is given a cool down period right after it goes through dehydration and prior to placing them inside the airtight container.

Sporadically clean the dehydrator using tepid water particularly near the base of the dehydrator where small pieces of food may have collected.

Try out a variety of food items, recipes and the different methods of preparing food.

Never attempt to fast-track the drying process of the food by increasing the temperature of the dehydrator above the suggested temperature level that the food is supposed to be exposed to. If this is done, hardening will occur or a partial dehydration will occur and the food will have a hard surface with the inside still moist which will spoil the food items too early.

Dry out food items of the same kind together. Dry out vegetables together with other vegetables and fruits with other fruits. Do not dry out asparagus or onions together with bananas and other kinds of fruit.

Always label the containers of the dried food with the date when they were dehydrated. You will be able to monitor the age of the food items and its shelf life with this.

Do not use a microwave oven to dry out food. The best way to dehydrate is with a food dehydrator. There are many types of dehydrators available in the market for home usage. Here you can read further about choosing a food dehydrator to use at home.

Ashley writes about food dehydrating at All Food Dehydrators. You can check out her website to learn more about food dehydrating at home, read food dehydrator reviews, guides and recipes.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ashley_Cooks

Dehydrating herbs for culinary use

11 Feb

Dehydrating herbs is one of the easiest ways to add to the household budget while on a budget. There are so many options available and even those with limited room available can have a wonderful assortment of fresh herbs as well as plenty of herbs to dry.

For the purposes of the article here some easy culinary herbs that are useful around the kitchen are also inexpensive to start in a container. A bucket or pot is a wonderful way to contain mint, which can be invasive if left unchecked. People think of mint and most people think of peppermint or spearmint – two of the most popular. When you have your own you also can have chocolate mint, apple, lime, lemon and several other varieties of mint.

 

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