Author: June McGown

7 Natural Ways To Preserve Food

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: 

  • Potatoes; 
  • Garlic; 
  • Carrots; 
  • Onions; 
  • Cabbage;

4. Fermenting 

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. 

7. Canning 

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. 

Conclusion 

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. 

Why Bone Broths Are Delicious And Healthy

Bone broth is by no means a new concept. For generations, kitchens have relied on soups and broths made from bones. However, the current health culture has made it more popular than ever before.  

What Is Bone Broth  

Bone broth traced its roots to earlier civilizations when hunters repurposed normally indigestible animal parts such as bones to a soup they could consume. Because these native civilizations couldn’t afford to throw away food, they used even the unappetizing parts.  

Bone broth is prepared by boiling animal bones and cartilage. You can prepare broth from almost any edible animal’s bones. Given the long cooking period, it differs from stock. The nutrient-dense broth is often used as a base in soup and noodle dishes, such as pad thai and ramen.  

What Makes Bone Broth Delicious  

Bone broth is quite similar to stock, albeit it may be somewhat thicker. The thickness emerges out of gelatin that’s produced from the cartilage and bones as they boil. This is why whenever bone broth is chilled, it solidifies and becomes jiggly.  

If you’ve cooked homemade stock or broth, you’re probably aware that they’re practically identical. Customarily, the stock is produced with plenty of bones, while the broth is cooked with a blend of bones and animal protein.  

Putting vinegar in the slowly boiling broth aids in drawing out nutrients from the bone tissue. Furthermore, it dissolves the cartilage and tendon and releases them into the liquid. As a result, you’ll get a tasty, nutrient-dense broth. You can also add spices, like turmeric, to the concoction to produce a flavorful turmeric bone broth.  

What Makes Bone Broth Healthy  

The buzz surrounding bone broth is centered on its nutritional benefits. Here are some reasons why:  

  1. It’s Packed With Nutrients  

It’s difficult to determine precisely what nutrition you’re receiving from bone broth. The nutrition value of bone broth differs according to the components and quantity used. It’s very dependent on the kind and amount of animal bones and meat involved.  

Animal bones are a good source of nutrients and minerals which are necessary for the formation and strengthening of human bones. Likewise, it’s hard to tell exactly how much of each nutrient is in each pot of broth, but you’ll almost certainly receive trace quantities of each. These nutrients include the following:  

  • Calcium  
  • Magnesium  
  • Potassium  
  • Phosphorus  

Fishbone, on the other hand, provides iodine, which is necessary for thyroid and metabolic processes. Though it might taste fishy, fishbone broth is a good base for seafood dishes that can conceal its taste.  

Along with the minerals found in bones, you’ll obtain nutrients from tendons and cartilage. These tissues provide glucosamine and chondroitin. These two naturally occurring substances in cartilage have been shown to promote joint health. To enjoy these advantages, choose bones that still have some meat on them.  

  1. It’s A Source Of Collagen  

Collagen is also found in bone broth. It’s a protein complex that can be found in tendons, bones, skin, and muscles. Collagen has a variety of purposes, like giving elasticity to the skin and reinforcing the bones.  

As collagen in bones and cartilage cooks, it’s converted to gelatin and a variety of other beneficial amino acids. However, as the broth heats up, the amino acids’ chain breaks, making them less advantageous.  

If you want to increase your collagen, consume protein-rich meals with broth. Additionally, you need to take foods high in Vitamin C since it’s required for collagen formation.  

  1. It Can Be A Part Of A Healthy Diet If Consumed Appropriately  

There is an undeniable frenzy around bone broth and its potential health advantages. It contains essential nutrients and may enhance the taste of food even without adding salt.   

It’s quite rare that ingesting bone broth causes damage–unless consumed in enormous quantities. It’s well-known that animal bones have trace levels of harmful metals aside from the nutrients. Drinking large quantities of it is inessential. It might even be detrimental. So, it may be best to use it in soups and noodles instead of consuming it directly.  

How To Make Bone Broth  

Preparing bone broth is a very straightforward process but one that requires practice to master. To reap the health advantages of the broth, it should be prepared properly.  

The precise quantity of helpful nutrients in bone broth will certainly vary based on the bones used and the length of time they are cooked. Choose bones with cartilage and some meat to get an excellent result.  

Simmering slowly at a low temperature and using an acidic substance optimizes nutritional extraction. Herbs and spices may be added toward the end of the cooking time to enhance the flavor.  

WrapUp  

Bone broth is packed with nutrients and minerals, most of which have been linked to amazing wellness benefits. Of course, it’s hard to know the amount of each nutrient present in each batch of broth. However, including it in your diet can likely bring a slew of health advantages. 

4 Weight Loss Challenges And How To Overcome Them

If you’ve taken up a weight loss challenge recently, you know how challenging it could be to achieve your goal. The reality is you’re not alone. Every person who sets out to lose weight may experience challenges that are unique to their circumstances. These challenges could range from unmet targets and stress to struggles with creating time for workout and even genetics.   

Even so, experiencing these challenges doesn’t mean you couldn’t overcome them and realize your weight loss goals. However, to succeed, you’d need to be conscious about the challenges you’re dealing with and find ways to rise above those barriers.  

Below are some common types of weight loss challenges and how you can overcome each of them:  

  1. Physical Challenges  

Physical challenges present significant barriers that could make it difficult for people to lose weight. Often, these challenges manifest in a variety of ways, including body discomfort, medical problems, dehydration, lack of sleep, and fatigue. If you find yourself struggling with physical challenges, there are several things you could do to overcome them.  

Perhaps the most effective solution is to see a physician and get advice on the lifestyle changes you may need to make to improve your ability to reduce weight. In some instances, your inability to lose weight may be due to medications you’re taking for a medical condition. Talking to a physician could help you understand how drugs like steroids, birth control pills, and depression medications may be contributing to weight gain despite your efforts to reduce it.   

If you’re a woman, hormonal changes may be causing you to gain weight. Talking to a physician could help you find a solution to this challenge. You could also address physical weight loss challenges by embracing a healthy routine that’s characterized by getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, and eating healthy food.  

  1. Emotional Challenges  

Though weight loss is largely considered a physical activity, your emotional status could enhance or undermine your weight loss efforts. Your emotions could be affected by several things. These include high stress levels, negative attitude toward physical activities, lack of motivation, and even skepticism about your ability to realize your weight loss goals.  

If you realize emotional challenges are holding you back, consider setting aside several minutes each day to engage in simple activities to keep your stress levels down. Some good activities to engage in include yoga and meditation.  

You could also consider taking short walks to breathe in fresh air and step out of situations or environments that drain your energy. Your appetite hormones may be affected by inadequate sleep. This could cause you to overeat and reduce your chances of achieving your weight loss goals. To avoid this, try to increase the number of hours you sleep if you’ve not been getting adequate sleep. If you want to see stories on how people overcome emotional challenges to realize their weight loss goals, you may read more here

  1. Challenges Relating To Work Environment 

Your work environment may pose a challenge to your weight loss goals, particularly if you spend your days sitting behind a desk. Such a work environment reduces your physical activity significantly, which means your calorie intake remains higher compared to the rate you burn those calories. This would make any weight loss efforts counterproductive because you gain more weight than you lose.  

To overcome this challenge, make a deliberate effort to take short exercise breaks every so often. If you can’t take two or three half-hour breaks a day, try to get off your desk and move around every hour of the day. Alternatively, you may get a standing desk. These desks give you an excuse to engage in physical activity. In doing so, you’d be able to burn calories in a passive way since your body would require energy to maintain the standing posture. 

  1. Aging Challenges  

As you advance in age, you’d find it challenging to reduce weight the way you’d want to. This is largely due to declining physical activity. To address this challenge, consider getting a fitness professional to develop a customized exercise plan for you. Such a plan could focus on strength training to help with the conversion of fats into muscles. This would boost your weight loss goals since muscles are more active metabolically and therefore better at burning calories.  

Final Thoughts 

The journey to losing weight may be different for every person. As such, the challenges people face in the quest to lose weight would vary. But whatever challenges you experience in your weight loss journey, you can overcome them if you take the right steps. If you’re experiencing any of the challenges described above, try to take the suggested actions and get yourself on the path to successfully achieving your goals.