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Three Ways To Preserve Food

Updated on September 15, 2008

Cherry tomatoes waiting to be dehydrated.

Just a century or two ago, a family would not have survived the winter without going to great lengths to preserve the summer and fall harvest. Preserving food was necessary to everyone's survival. In this century however, it seems to be a lost art. Food preservation is still a wonderful thing for a person to do though. There are even some choices as to how you want to preserve your food.

Freezing is the most frequently used option when it comes to preserving food. You can freeze almost any fruit or vegetable, with the exception of lettuce, potatoes and maybe a few others. If you take the proper steps in freezing fruits and vegetables they will last in your freezer for many months. Some foods have to be blanched first and others don't. Some need the peel off and some are fine with it on. Whatever you decide to freeze, make sure it is airtight and it will last longer.

I like freezing foods because it is fairly simple. It usually requires the least amount of work of the three food preservation options. I have found that it takes up a lot of space though, so I can't freeze everything. It also requires electricity to keep it frozen, whereas the other options don't use any energy once the foods are preserved. This means that you typically have to remember to thaw whatever it is that you want to eat that day. It also doesn't do you much good in a power outage.

Canning foods is probably the second most popular option, however it is very time consuming and requires certain equipment and pricey jars. I think that it stores very well though and is perfect for grabbing and eating either straight from the jar or after a quick reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Canned foods are perfect for power outages.

Some foods like jam and jelly can be canned using the inversion method, which does not require a canner. A water bath canner is your cheapest canner out there and will can highly acidic foods just fine. Low acid foods need a pressure canner and will be your costliest option. If you are in the market for a canner ask some older friends or relatives, they might have one they aren't using. I have my grandmother's pressure canner and it works like a charm still - at least 50 years later.

Dehydrating foods (or drying) is the third option for food preservation. I am in the process of my first attempt at drying. Supposedly you can just use your oven on a very low setting however it is taking me forever right now to dry some cherry tomatoes. I thought it would be quick and simple to make sun dried tomatoes in my oven however I am now on day 5 and they still aren't dry.

I think having a food dehydrator is the best option if you really want to dry a lot of foods. It is simple and once you have the foods in the oven or dehydrator you don't have to do anything but wait. Not all foods are a good option for drying, but once dry they store very easily and can be eaten in the dried state or be rehydrated. Once rehydrated though, I think dried foods would be best cooked in a recipe and not eaten plain. You can even make fruit leather, which is what is tempting me to actually buy a dehydrator, since obviously my oven isn't doing the trick.

So there you have it, your options for preserving food. The fall harvest is upon us at the moment and I have way more than we could eat right now. Putting extra food up for the winter, when you can't grow your own, or buy the best produce from the store is a great way to make your harvest last longer and feed your family good nutritious foods - preserved with lots of love and care.


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      dehydratedfood 5 years ago

      Like you we enjoy dehydrated food. We have our own vegetable garden & fruit trees, and dehydrating food is one of the healthiest, easiest and most cost effective option for us.

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      Veggie Me 5 years ago

      In order for foods to dry whether in oven or dehydrator is the circulation of air around food. A convection oven would probably help in that area more than traditional ovens. Secondly the other aid to drying food is the use of a mesh screen and a drying sheet. I would order from a company selling food dehydrators, such as Excalibur or Cabelas, one mesh screen and one drying sheet and place the foods to be dried on it and see if these materials tolerate the oven heat. They should be good up to 155 degrees. The mesh screen allows the heat to circulate above and below the food drying such as vegetables and sliced fruits. The drying sheet when placed on top of mesh screen for support, allows one to pour a liquid to be dried and once it begins to dry and thicken you can flip it to the other side for a chance to do the same. Once the liquid takes on the consistency of a solid you can remove it from the drying sheet and place it on a mesh sheet to allow air to circulate all around and under the food, drying it more quickly. Circulating air will do its job and completely dry the food you are preserving. I would be sure to place an aluminum tray on the bottom shelf of your oven to catch any possible drips from the fruits and or vegetables you are trying to dry. I hope this helps.

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      2cul4scul 6 years ago

      Thx doing this for a biology homework really helped me out>:D

    • profile image

      krish12345 6 years ago

      i am finding how to preserve a food

    • profile image

      KATRINA 6 years ago

      help me find all the ways for preserving foods............

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      kaylabates 7 years ago

      i really like this it is very good for children too

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      URL: optional 8 years ago

      3 ways of mking food?

      please!! help me find it.