STORAGE AND PREPARATION
If food is not
preserved correctly it can cause botulism and other sickness
that you don't want to experience.I will discuss a few
different ways to preserve foods, but the way you choose
to do this is up to you and may require more research
on your part, as it would be impossible for me to cover
all of them in one article. Here are different methods
of preserving food for you to choose from.
FOOD STORAGE AND PREPARATION
The object of food preservation, aside from storing your
foods and making them last longer, is to prevent the growth
of bacteria, yeast and fungi.
If food is not preserved correctly it can cause botulism
and other sickness that you don't want to experience.I will
discuss a few different ways to preserve foods, but the
way you choose to do this is up to you and may require more
research on your part, as it would be impossible for me
to cover all of them in one article. Here are different
methods of preserving food for you to choose from:
FOOD PRESERVAION METHODS
•Drying: one of the oldest food preservative
techniques that reduces water activity to prevent bacteria
•Vacuum Packing: The storage of
food in a vacuum sealed bag or jar.
•Curing/Salting: draws out moisture
in meat through a process called osmosis. The meat is
cured with salt or sugar or both.
•Sugaring: Used to preserve fruits
•Smoking: Used by exposing meat
to smoke off of materials such as wood
•Pickling: Pickling is a method
of preserving food in an edible anti-microbial liquid.
Typical pickling agents include brine (high in salt),
vinegar, alcohol, and vegetable oil, especially olive
oil but also many other oils.
•Canning and Bottling: Canning
involves cooking food, sealing it in sterile cans or jars,
and boiling the containers to kill or weaken any remaining
bacteria as a form of sterilization.
•Jellying: Food may be preserved
by cooking in a material that solidifies to form a gel.
Such materials include gelatine, agar, maize flour and
•Potting: A traditional British
way of preserving meat (particularly shrimp) is by setting
it in a pot and sealing it with a layer of fat. Also common
is potted chicken liver; compare pâté.
•De-Hydration: Removing of moisture
•Freeze Drying: To preserve food
by rapid freezing and vacuum drying.
In this article I have chosen to discuss food dehydration
as a source of preserving your foods.
There are many different benefits to food dehydration.
Dehydrating is another low cost way to preserve foods
that you can't or don't want to jar. Or perhaps you have
an over abundance of a fruit or vegetables and no way
to can them, then this might be the way to go for you!
This way is very good for a person who doesn't have a
lot of space to store foods and is also a worry free way
to save your foods and not be concerned with botulism.
Selection and Preparation:
•Select your fruits or vegetables carefully. You
don't want any that are bruised. You want fruits that
are ripe and ready to eat.
•Cut your food selections into pieces as you would
serve them. For example, you would slice bananas, but
with apples you could slice them or cut them into rings.
Keep food evenly sliced is size and in thickness. Slices
cut at about 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch usually dry more quickly
than thicker cut slices.
•To prevent browning, try to stem your foods or
coat light colored fruits and vegetables with acids such
as lemon juice or a product called Fruit Fresh before
•Most fruits need some sort of preparation before
drying. Most fruits do not need to be peeled before drying,
but things such as cherries or tomatoes have a waxy peel
so would need to be cracked also known as blanched. Blanching
means to scald or parboil in water or steam in order to
remove the skin. Apples are peeled, cored and sliced.
Peaches would be cut in half and pitted. Here is a good
place to get an idea of how to prepare different sorts
•Dehydration Equipment: Selecting the right equipment
that is good for you is important. The three most common
ways to dehydrate are using a conventional oven, a store
bought dehydrator or using the sun. If you purchase one
please make sure to read the directions. Drying times
with each method will vary.
•You want to maintain a temperature of 130F-140F
degrees. The important thing to have is air circulation.
The circulating air removes the moisture from your foods
to prevent spoilage. The drying temps of 130F-140F allow
for fast removal of moisture to seal in flavor and nutritional
values. If you don't have proper air circulation or the
temperatures are not correct, that will allow unwanted
changes in your food you might not like, such as texture,
color or flavor changes.
•If dried correctly, your food should be leathery,
hard or brittle.
Conditioning Your Fruit:
This process is done after you dry your fruit.
•Conditioning is a process used to equalize the
moisture to reduce the risk of mold growth.
•When you remove your fruit from your dehydrator,
it might still contain some moisture due to its positioning
or thickness in the machine.
•After being dried, allow the fruit to condition
for about 8-10 days. To condition the fruit, take the
fruit that has cooled completely and pack it *loosely*
in plastic or glass jars. Seal the container and let it
condition. The excess moisture will be absorbed by the
•Gently shake the jars daily to loosen the fruit
so it doesn't become compacted.
•Check the moisture in the jar. If you begin to
see condensation in your jar, remove the fruit and return
it to your dehydrator.
•After conditioning you may then package and store
Packaging Your Fruits and Vegetables:
•The amount of food you package in one container
is completely up to you. We like to package ours in amounts
we think we might eat, because once your food is re-exposed
to air and moisture, the quality of the food and its nutrients
•Choosing how you package your food can depend on
what you are packaging. Metal cans, glass jars or plastic
containers are all acceptable ways for storing dried foods.
Plastic bags are acceptable as well, but are not mouse,
bugs or pet proof. Foods that have been sulfured should
not touch metal cans so make sure and place it in a bag
first and then in the metal container.
Storing Your Finished Products:
•Store in a cool, dark, dry place and use within
6-12 months after packaging. Most dried fruit will last
about a year if stored at 60F and 6 months at 80F. I would
not recommend storing in the garage.
•Storing your foods in glass jars or containers
is ideal so you can check your foods moisture frequently.
If you see any condensation but no spoilage then eat immediately
or re-dry. Anything with mold or that smells bad should
be thrown away.
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