Now might be a good time to learn the best ways to naturally preserve your food. Sure, canned goods are convenient, but are filled with preservatives. A better option instead is to learn how to preserve your own food. Not only is it healthier, but doing so could also save you money in the long run.
Preserving your food naturally gives you more control over what you eat. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize naturally preserving your food with the help of using the right food packaging also adds more flavor to your dishes.
With that said, here are seven natural ways to preserve food.
1. Apply Lemon Or Lime Juice
One of the best household ingredients you may have that can help you preserve your food is lemon or lime juice. It contains both citric and ascorbic acid—natural antioxidants and antibacterial agents. These components also make lemon or lime juice a good natural preservative, especially for fruits like apples and avocados.
Along with fresh fruits and vegetables, lemon or lime juice is also great for preserving homemade juice or smoothies. The juices you buy from the store already have preservatives. For natural juices and smoothies you make at home, however, do not, so they won’t last as long. A good way to keep them fresh and avoid spoilage is to add some lemon juice to slow down the chemical aging process.
2. Use Garlic As A Natural Preservative
By now you may have known that garlic is a natural antibiotic. But, did you also know that garlic can act as a natural preservative? Garlic’s antiviral properties make it great not just for making your dishes healthy but for also preserving them.
The best types of food to preserve with garlic are sauces, soups, and dips. All you need to do is to toss a glove of garlic or minced garlic to help the food stay fresh for longer.
3. Root Cellars
If you have a basement in your home, you can use a part of it to act as your food storage preservation room. The area, kept at room or cold temperature (depending on what you’ll store), is one of the easiest ways to preserve food.
Some of the best food ingredients to preserve in your root cellar include:
If you love Korean food, you’d know by now that kimchi is one of the most popular fermented food along with yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. Fermenting is one of the oldest methods of food preservation, a practice observed for over a thousand years. In the fermenting process, the food’s sugars are converted into lactic acid, a natural ingredient that stops the growth of harmful bacteria.
While cabbage as seen on kimchi is famous, basically any vegetable can be fermented. It takes a lot to learn at first. But, there are loads of resources you can study to figure out how to ferment food the right way. Fermented food is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat regularly as a part of healthy eating for good self-care.
5. Rub With Salt
In the absence of freezers many years back or in off-grid areas without electricity, one of the oldest ways of preserving food is salt. When you rub salt on meat, fish, and vegetables, the salt absorbs the moisture. By doing so, the amount of water in the food is also reduced. The lesser the moisture, the fewer the chances for bacteria to have a ‘home’ to grow in.
6. Soak In Vinegar
Like salt, soaking food in vinegar is also one of the oldest, most primitive but also equally effective methods of preserving food. Vinegar, itself, is an outcome of fermentation. Sugar and water solutions are fermented, creating vinegar as an effective natural preservative. Vinegar has high acetic acid content which can kill microbes. In effect, spoilage is also inhibited.
The process of preserving food with vinegar is also known as pickling. There are so many pickling recipes you can try out.
In the canning process, food is boiled while inside the jar to kill all the bacteria. During the boiling process, heat removes the air from the jar. A vacuum seal is formed once it cools, preventing any bacteria from getting in. Because the food inside the jar is already completely sterile, it won’t spoil. There are generally two types of canning process you can do at home:
- Water bath canning, a shorter process that is best done on highly acidic food like relish, fruit, chutneys, and jams;
- Pressure canning, a process best used on meat, stocks, poultry, vegetables, and fish.
The list above may seem like a lot to take in, but you don’t have to do everything all at once. Take it one preservation tip at a time, so you can slowly master the different food preservation techniques. It’s also up to you to choose which food preservation method applies the most to your needs at home. You may now have more nutritious and healthier meals ready at any time. Soon enough, your dependence on preserved, canned food may be lesser.