If you long to fill your family’s menu with nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables and meats, then it’s time for you to explore many of the popular storing food by home preservation methods that are used by survivalists and Preppers. It’s your time to shine, and it’s easy.
Work Safely With Meat
Any meat that is to be preserved has to be fresh and clean. Meat that is on sale is not always a bargain. Fresh meat will smell fresh. Now that you are sure of the product that you are working with, you need to have your meat processing supplies ready:
- freezer paper
- food safe disposable gloves
- bag tape
- cutting board
- curing and smoking supplies
- cutlery and butcher’s tools
Sausage wraps are available in fibrous, collagen, netting and natural hog or sheep casings. There is an assortment of things you will need, and you’ll probably add to the list.
Make sure your plastic bags are food-safe grades. Avoid cutting corners and using something you may already have, like small white kitchen waste-basket liners. Sometimes these products are sprayed inside with insect repellents. Buy food-safe plastic or paper.
Organize a Butcher Shop
Butcher equipment has evolved from the stone tools in ancient times to sturdy stainless steel products that last forever. Basic beginner pieces can start with a six inch boning knife and a 12 inch slicing knife for trimming large cuts.
A meat cleaver is a valued piece of equipment that is primarily used for bone divisions; however, don’t forget the natural grain butcher board. Avoid a standard kitchen cutting board which cannot absorb the shocks of a cleaver. Another basic tool is a grinder for hamburger or sausage. One of your kitchen appliances may already have a grinder attachment.
Discover the Art of Curing Meat
Smoking, spicing and cooking meats are all proven techniques that work to cure meat. The salt cure draws out the water content and slows the growth of microorganisms. Adding honey or maple syrup encourages a growth of beneficial bacteria called Lactobacillas.
A successful preparation and application of nitrites and nitrates works to inhibit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. These are cures often used in processing meat products like bacon, hot dogs and cold cuts. These are all successful methods on how to preserve meat; indeed, they are guidelines on how to store meat safely.
Utilize Your Freezer to Store Meat
How long can you keep meat in the freezer? This is your personal choice. Freezing meat keeps it safe indefinitely, so the quality and taste is what really matters. Recommended freeze times for hamburger, ground turkey, veal, lamb and pork are up to four months.
Two months or less is a recommended time for hot dogs and lunch meats. Experimentation with taste and quality helps decide what works for you.
Dehydrate Fruits and Vegetables
Dehydrating and accumulating food helps to ensure your family the luxury of well-balanced meals year round. Preserving your abundance from a seasonal garden is a super low cost process. It always means savings in your pocket.
Also, there is no more panic in getting to a grocery store before a snow storm. Your stockpile is at your fingertips. Preparing ahead is a wise decision. Foods have been dried and used successfully in nutritious feasts since ancient times. Remember these important considerations to keep safe storage:
- Temperature – Store your dried food in a cooler location. 54 degrees Fahrenheit will double the shelf life of one year to two years.
- Moisture – Dehydrate your fruits to a leathery, pliable condition or a 20 percent moisture level. Vegetables need to be dried until they are crisp and brittle.
- Oxygen – Remove the oxygen from your dried foods to enable them to extend and retain their fresh taste and nutrition levels longer. Invest in a vacuum food sealer.
- Light – Assemble your successes in a darker place like the cellar or basement to avoid light concerns.
Remove Air And Vacuum Seal Food
Vacuum packing has been around for a long time, but has become more popular in recent years. Your vacuum food sealer is a food packaging machine that will have a prominent space on your counter. This method of dry canning removes air from your dried foods, and adds months or years onto their expiration date.
Invest in a food vacuum appliance that has an accessory port for mason jar sealers. An attachable plastic hose turns your sealer into a dry canning vacuum appliance. Standard and wide mouth Ball and Kerr mason jars, can be utilized for packing dry food.
Knowledgeable modern homesteaders still use the vintage pint and quart sized glass jars that food companies previously used to package and market coffee, mayonnaise, mustard and other consumer products.
These glass jars used standard and wide mouth lids,and they still work successfully for items like canned peaches, tomatoes and pickles; however, the thread around the rim is different. So save the Ball mason jars for use with your vacuum sealer; and more importantly, use the Ball jars for the pressure food canner also.
They are strong-walled, and the higher temperatures used in a pressure canner require more sturdy glass. Don’t throw away the vintage mayonnaise glass jars, they are still usable canning jars that are sought after by food storage experts.
Pressure Can Your Food
The container that you want to preserve your food in glass jars is a pressure canner. A pressure cooker is not for canning. It may not maintain a constant level of pressure that is necessary for sealing meats and produce. Invest a little more in a stainless steel version, and you’ll be assured of a higher quality.
Learn to Identify Safe Home Preserved Food
Frozen food is always safe if it has consistently remained frozen at a 0 degree F temperature; however, the quality becomes less. Home canned food that is safe will never be leaking or bulging.
Liquid or foam will not escape when the jar is opened; consequently, it will not be moldy, discolored or smell bad. Sometimes the visual test is important. Never taste food that is questionable.
These tips are just a beginning in the wide road to food preservation. Once you discover how much nutrition your home preserved food offers your family, there is no turning back. By using the many home preservation methods available, your home food storage can see you through a temporary financial situation or a storm, and it may even offer assistance to a neighbor. You deserve a well-stocked pantry.
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