contributed by Miles Schaeffer
We all love to save money, especially when it comes to an area of our budget as constant and fundamental as food. And we’d all love to save money without compromising quality. Our culture’s penchant for ready-made and processed foods is a disturbing trend that contributes to the increasing concern of obesity in the United States and many other countries worldwide. Preserving fresh foods is at least one simple way to eat healthy and save money. Food preservation does require some effort but is easily managed and simple enough to be well worth the time. If you are new to food preservation then here are a few simple things to keep in mind as you’re getting started.
Some of the most basic processes associated with preserving food are canning, drying, freezing and vacuum sealing. Most of the tools you will need for food preservation can be found right in your kitchen but certain methods may require additional tools. For example, pressure canners help to ensure safe low-acid canned foods and electric dehydrators are convenient, especially if you can’t afford to be without use of your oven for around 24 hours.
There are a lot of foods that can be easily preserved and there are a lot of ways to preserve them so you will want to do a little homework before beginning the process. For example, vegetables should be blanched (scalded briefly with water, steam, or in the microwave) before being frozen and you should be aware of Ph levels in fruit before canning to avoid the possibility of botulism (a type of food poisoning that doesn’t occur with fresh foods). The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides more detailed information for individual processes. These processes are quite simple and after just one attempt you’ll be able to replicate the procedure without any difficulty, allowing you to enjoy fresh food taste but with a much longer shelf life.
Miles Schaeffer is a freelance writer for shelfreliance.com who is a self-considered ‘food storage evolver’ that is constantly looking for new ideas.