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Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

Last post Sun, Mar 23 2014 5:06 PM by Elsi. 14 replies.
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  • Wed, Jun 22 2011 2:41 PM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    Canning is one solution to preserve fruits and vegetables. Canning is not possible for everyone,however. What are alternate solutions?

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Wed, Jun 22 2011 3:20 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    I freeze quite a bit with just the freezer on my refridgerator.  If I'm organized, I can get many pounds of frozen vegies in there in either vaccuume sealed bags or zip type bags.

    I dehydrate many many many pounds of tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, celery and other vegies in the summer.  Good for soups and stews and some other things and take up very little space.  These go in canning type jars with lids screwed on tight and are stored in closets and under my bed.

    Some friends of mine ferment their own sour ***.  I make vinegar based refridgerator slaw that lasts for weeks if I keep it covered and stir it now and then.

     

  • Wed, Jun 22 2011 5:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

     There's actually a wonderful book by Sharon Astyke called "Independence Days," which talks about alternative food preservation. It's fabulous. We can, but we also freeze, dehydrate, cold store, and this year will do over-winter planting! Canning is, for us, usually the most expensive way to preserve, but we can't cold store as much as we'd like because we don't have a way to make a root cellar (we rent, and live in an area that stays fairly warm for all but maybe one or two months of the year).

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

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  • Thu, Jun 23 2011 12:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    Thanks for the book mention!  I'll see if my  library can get it.

  • Thu, Jun 23 2011 2:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    Maggie Trudeau:
    I dehydrate many many many pounds of tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots, celery and other vegies in the summer.  Good for soups and stews and some other things and take up very little space.  These go in canning type jars with lids screwed on tight and are stored in closets and under my bed.
     

    We dehydrate apple, pear & peach slices, and have done strawberry slices when the harvest has been ridiculously good. When we lived in Idaho, we also dehydrated pie cherries & 2 types of plums. Our baby trees are not yet old enough to really bear a lot of fruit yet, but they will in time.

    I dehydrate onions & peppers also, as well as parsley & other herbs. I used to dehydrate potato slices as well, when there was a surplus for wicked cheap, & used them for scalloped potatoes.  Dehydrated food takes up very little space, & lasts indefinitely, which is a real plus for us.

  • Thu, Jun 23 2011 5:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    I've not done serious, long-term dehydrating, only fruits and leathers when the kids were little and jerky for lunches when dh worked, so I have a few questions for those of you that use this as a primary food storage -

    Have you lost much foods to mold over the long-haul?  If you found something had gone moldy, do you have to throw the whole lot away, or just the bad pieces?  Do any of you somehow 'measure' the amount of moisture that either comes out of or remains in your fruits or vegetables, so that you would know when it's 'safe' to store them long-term, or do you only time them according to the directions?

    I already have a couple good dehydrating books.  It's just that I mostly can or freeze my pantry items and am a little concerned about ruining expensive produce by not drying it long enough and not sure I can just 'eyeball' things and know that they are 'done' and ready to store indefinitely....Liz.

  • Thu, Jun 23 2011 7:32 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    I have not found the times given in most dehydrating books to be very useful, since fruits & veggies vary widely in moisture content.

    One of the most important parts of dehydrating is called "equalizing".  AFter the apple slices, or peach slices, or whatever, are dried AND COOLED, place them in a large zip loc bag for 24 hours.  I set mine on the kitchen counter & give a shake every time I go by.  After 24 hours, the moisture in the pieces will be equalized, which means the moisture will have moved from the center of the fruit piece to the outside, where you can feel it.  If it feels moist, or if there is moisture ont he inside of the bag, back into the dehydrator they go for a few more hours.  

    Vegetables should be dried until they are brittle, which is easier to tell.

    Personally, I have not lost any dried fruit to mold, but I store in glass jars, so if I see any moisture on the glass, the contents go back into the dehydrator.  I have some onions & peppers that have been dried for over 15 years, & are still fine.

  • Thu, Jun 23 2011 10:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    Thanks, zohner, that's a lot of help.  I plan on using glass jars as well, so I appreciate hearing your technique.  Aldi's has been having some good produce sales lately plus our garden looks promising, so I'm hoping to get some of this stuff dried as well as canned and frozen...Liz.

  • Fri, Jun 24 2011 1:48 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    If they are having a sale in your area, ask the grocer if you can buy the "culls." They sort throught the peppers, for example & take out any that are bruised. Usually there are only one or two bruises, & a lot of good pepper left that you can dehydrate.

    The price for culls is generally quite low.  I have purchased apple boxes full of "cull" apples for as little as $2 a box, & made quarts of applesauce.  Theapples were mixed varieties, but I think that makes the applesauce better.

  • Fri, Jun 24 2011 2:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Alternate Methods to Preserve Food

    drying it in the sun smoking it or shove3 it in the freezer we hardly can but thinking of freezer jam instead.

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