8 Harvest Preserving Methods
There are many ways to preserve your summer’s harvest that go beyond the obvious canning and freezing methods. Some techniques have been used for centuries while others use modern day equipment. Choosing the right method for you is as easy as deciding on the time you want to invest and your budget.
Here’s a look at 8 Harvest Preserving Methods you can try.
- Canning– Pasteurizing food through the method of heating for a specified amount of time then sealing it into jars. Most people are familiar with canning fruits and vegetables and making jams via this method. But fish and other meats can be done this way too.
There are pressure canners and hot water bath canners. Both require knowledge in using since you wouldn’t want to under process something and end up poisoning yourself with botulism. I’m not trying to scare you as I have been canning for years, but it would be wise to look up a course to familiarize yourself if this is not a skill that has been handed down in your family.
- Freezing– This method is the easiest for beginners. Sealing your bags as airtight as possible will keep your food fresh and free of freezer burn. For small fruits like blueberries or raspberries, try freezing them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper before putting them into a bag so they don’t all stick together in one lump.
Always label the packages with a jiffy pen so you have the date as to when you threw it into the freezer
- Drying– All you need is simple equipment for drying herbs, fruits, vegetables and jerky’s. A dehydrator or a low temp oven is used to try to remove as much moisture as possible from your products. You can combine this method with freezing to extend the shelf life as food that is dried can absorb humidity in the cupboard over time.
- Curing– This is where salt and nitrates are used to preserve fish and meats. This requires some know how as this method requires precise steps to ensure that the meats are preserved.
- Fermenting– The most known fermented food is sauerkraut, but so many other foods can be fermented including beans, meats and milk. This method basically produces ‘good bacteria’ which is said to be great for our digestive systems and guts.
There is a huge push to apply this method and there are plenty of kits available on line. Best to do your homework before you try this method out.
- Pickling– Using salt, vinegar or a brine to preserve meats and vegetables. This method can use a heat bath for processing as well. I have made pickles for years using a cold pack method pushing the cucumbers into sterilized jars and covering with a boiling hot brine, then sealing. I don’t double process my pickles as I like them crispy but others will use a hot bath as well.
Some pickling and canning is meant to be refrigerated, where you would use the product up with in a few weeks or months.
- Smoking– I love smoked salmon and trout. This method uses a two part technique where the product is soaked in a brine or cured with salt prior to hitting the smoker.
- Cold Storage– Using a cellar is the oldest method of keeping foods through out the winter and is one of the most easiest. There are plenty of instructions on line for you to create a frost proof, rodent proof storage in your own back yard. Great for potatoes, apples and winter squashes.
Whatever method you want to try, be sure to do your research. There is plenty of info on line and classes available to learn the art of preserving your own food. I recommend you learn how but caution you as you don’t want to waste time and money on doing something improperly not to mention you may risk your health eating something that is not fully preserved.
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