Keeping It Fresh | Food Preservation Techniques

Food Preservation Techniques

Preserving Food Ideas

When I think about the apocalypse, I am probably most worried about the loss of internet and technology. No Netflix?? Sounds terrible. But the loss of refrigeration should be my concern next to finding or making fresh water. The advent of the refrigerator was monumental to humans and the way we interact with food. Being able to store food allowed us to focus on specialized crafts and jobs. If or once society collapses, we will need tricks and ways to preserve our food in order to re-stabilize and start society over again.

  • Cook the food. Fire and smoke preserve food, especially raw meat. For even longer shelf lives for meat, consider dry curing where the meat can last up to a month. If you are interested in learning about the importance of fire and cooking food, I highly recommend Netflix’s Original Series “Cooked” and the episode called FIRE. Adapted from a book written by the same guy who did Omnivore’s Dilemma it is a well thought out cultural and scientific angle on food.
  • Can it. My sister cans and stretches the life of her home grown tomatoes months by canning salsa and marinara. It’s high on my list to learn how to do this from her because it is a precise art and you don’t want to mess up, and it’s great for gift giving too.
  • Salt.
  • Lime or lemon juice. Lime juice cooks food, so you can soak the fresh fish you caught, breaking it down to be easier to digest and preserving it. These citrus sources are also famous for being a source of Vitamin C that can last weeks. Captain Cook discovered that his sailors could avoid scurvy by taking lemons on ships for a prolonged source of Vitamin C. A lemon or lime tree could be a valuable part of your permaculture, garden, or bug out plan.
  • Snow. One advantage to living in the high country of Colorado is how long the snow sticks around. Nature’s fridge!
  • Vinegar. Vinegar will last forever if it’s in a sustainable jar and out of sunlight and can extend some shelf lives. I store garlic cloves in a jar of apple cider vinegar. With a little bit of sugar the cloves are sweet and so tasty when I use them.
  • Fermentation. Probably the best way because of all the healthy probiotics for our gut, and most common for our ancestors. I haven’t gotten into Kimchi yet, but sauerkraut and kombucha are just awesome. I have one failed attempt at home made sauerkraut under my belt, and have plans for beer and wine this summer. Some anthropologist hypothesize humans didn’t settle because of agriculture and gardening, but for fermenting alcohol. I like this thought, the social drink that continues to bring us together.

The DANGER Zone

Let’s talk about the danger zone real quick, as a method of keeping an eye on your food. From the time a food is processed, (chopped, cooked, taken out of one state into another) it has a shelf life of roughly four hours. In that time you want to get the temperature below 41 degrees, or heat it above 140 and plan on keeping it there to consume it within four hours. If it stays in that danger zone between 41 and 140 degrees for four hours, microbes and bacteria can fester and multiply. Those microbes and bacteria are not always a bad thing, IE fermentation, but you should make sure it is controlled and bacteria you want.

What are other good food preservation techniques?

I found this wonderful website with all the specific food preservation techniques you could hope for.