A True Homesteader! Host: Bobby “MHP Gardner There is a lot of interest in being self-sufficient these days. People are looking for information on how to grow and store their own food, provide their own meats, go off-grid with solar setups… get out of the system so to speak. We see a lot of these … Continue reading A True Homesteader!
You will never find this Oven Canning technique in a USDA or National Center for Home Preservation website; there are just too many variables to say that the process works 100% every time with every food type. However, if you reread the section on food safety and see that for botulism to grow it needs […]
Charcutier Sean Cannon is opening his first restaurant, Nape, in London this month. Born and bred in Norfolk, Sean told the Guardian how growing up in a self-sustaining community influenced his cooking. His best kept secret – preserving.
“Whether it’s killing an animal and having lots of fresh meat, or early summer and everything is ripe, knowing what to do with a glut is key.” Cannon said.
If you live off-grid you’ll know that preserving food for future use is essential. Not only does it provide food security, but also allows you to taste sweet summer berries in the winter. By doing this age old tradition, it also stops more modern thoughts and concerns of “what is actually in my food?” If you do the preparing and the preservation, you know exactly what has gone into the food you will be eating.
There are many ways to preserve food including canning, freezing, dehydrating and smoking.
Canning is a valuable and low-tech way to preserve food. There are two main methods for this, either water bath canning or pressure canning. It is worth noting that water bath canning should only be done for acidic fruits, such as berries and apples. If canning other produce such as meats and vegetables, pressure canning should be used; otherwise there is a high risk of food poisoning.
The basic process is to heat water in your canner (or large pan if water bath canning). This should not be filled to the top; 3-5 inches should be left for your jars of food. Jars should have lids secured and be placed carefully into the canner, being careful not to knock other jars, as they could crack or break under the high temperatures. The jars should be immersed in the canner with the water just covering the lids. The canner lid should be locked in place if pressure canning and the jars left for as long as needed according to the recipe. After the required time, the canner should be allowed to depressurise if using a pressure canner, before the jars are removed. Heat protection and necessary precautions should be taken to ensure you do not burn yourself. The jars should then be left to cool and seal for a minimum of 12 but ideally 24 hours. The sound of popping and pinging will mark your canning success!
Canning is so popular because of the wide variety of foods that can be preserved this way and the length of time they will remain edible for. Plus there’s no worry of keeping food frozen or cool!
Canning does however come with an initial start-up cost. If you’re only looking to preserve fruits and jams, then water bath canning in a large pan is of course an economical way to go. However, if you’re looking to preserve a wider variety of foods which includes meat and vegetables, then it would be wise to invest in a pressure canner.
The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker comes in at a reasonable $86.44 on Amazon. This can double as a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Made out of aluminium, the canner allows for fast and even heating and with a liquid capacity of just under 22 litres, seven quart jars fit comfortably inside. The lid has a strong lock and an over-pressure plug can relieve any build-up of steam. With a 12 year warranty and excellent reviews, this canner will certainly suit the needs of most canners.
The Presto’s rival is the All American Canner. This is a pricier option at $225.37 on Amazon and has many similar features, being made of aluminium and also holding 7 quart (or 19 pint) jars. This is a heavier unit though, coming in at 20lbs to the Presto’s 12lbs. A reviewer having access to both canner makes did however point out another comparison between the two. She noted that the All American Canner has a weighted gauge which needs less “babysitting” than the Presto with its dial gauge, which required her to keep adjusting the heat of her stove. However, she pointed out that when compared side by side, both the Presto and All American took the same amount of time to get to pressure, to can the produce and to bring back down ready to remove the jars.
Once the initial canner investment is made, there are a couple of other bits and pieces which you will need. Jars are a must and are reusable. However, if using second hand jars to try and save on cost, it is important not to have any that are cracked or damaged in any way – this could lead to some nasty accidents later on!
In terms of lids, these can either be replaced for around $3 per pack or you could spend a little extra and invest in some reusable Tattler lids. These are marketed at $8.88 on Amazon for a pack of 12 and are “indefinitely reusable”.
Other kit you might want to buy (and are recommended to prevent nasty burns) are a jar lifter and canning funnel. These can be bought separately or in a set with other equipment such as kitchen tongs, a jar wrench and magnetic lid lifter advertised on Amazon at $8.79.
For more detailed information on canning basics for beginners, check out Starry Hilder’s video on YouTube!
Another popular preservation method, especially for meat and fish is smoking.
This involves long exposure to wood smoke at low temperatures, which is different to grilling over an open fire. Smoking preserves meat and fish by drying the produce and the smoke creates an acidic coating on the meat surface, preventing bacterial growth. The addition of a rich mouth-watering smoky flavour only adds to the appeal of this preservation method.
There are two types of smoking method. The first is called hot smoking and cooks the meat so it can be eaten straight away. This involves getting the temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will still need to be cooked over a long time, leaving it very tender.
The second is cold smoking which doesn’t cook the meat for consumption straight away. Instead temperatures between 75 and 100 degree Fahrenheit are used to seal the meat and flavour it. The time meat or fish is left to smoke depends on the cuts and type of produce. Adding salt to the meat can help to speed up the process as it is a natural preservative. After drying the meat should be placed in an air tight container and stored at a cool temperature until consumed.
There is a wide range of smokers from electric or gas to charcoal and wood. This propane smoker from Amazon comes with a built in temperature gauge and retails at $211.40. Alternatively, instead of trying to find a smoker that suits your needs, why not build your own? That’s what this family has done!
Part II of “Be Our Guest – Food Preservation” will cover refrigeration and dehydrating.
The internet is full of websites that give information on survival topics, including food storage. There are dozens and dozens of books that will teach you “the right way” to store food and YouTube videos galore. Most contain valid, trustworthy information, but mixed in with that are a number of food storage myths that many people accept without question.
Here are 10 that I take issue with, and I explain why.
By the way, following Myth #10 are 2 short videos that review these myths.
Myth #1: You should stock up on lots of wheat.
When I was researching foods typically eaten during the Great Depression, I noticed that many of them included sandwiches of every variety. So it makes sense to stock up on wheat, which, when ground, becomes flour, the main ingredient to every bread recipe.
There are a couple of problems with the focus on wheat in virtually all food storage plans, however. First, since the time of the Great Depression millions of people now have various health issues when they consume wheat. From causing gluten intolerance to celiac disease our hybridized wheat is a whole ‘nother animal that our great-grandparents never consumed.
The second issue is that wheat isn’t the simplest food to prepare, unless you simply cook the wheat berries in water and eat them as a hot cereal or add them to other dishes. In order to make a loaf of bread, you have to grind the wheat, which requires the purchase of at least one grain mill. Electric mills are much easier to use and, within just seconds, you have freshly ground flour. However, you’ll probably want to add a hand-crank mill to have on hand for power outages. All together, 2 mills will end up costing a pretty penny, depending on the brands you purchase.
Then there’s the process of making the bread itself, which is time consuming.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t store wheat, and, in fact, I have several hundred pounds of it myself. The emphasis on wheat as a major component in food storage is what I have a problem with. In retrospect, I wish I had purchased far more rice and less wheat. Rice is incredibly simple to prepare and is very versatile. It, too, has a very long shelf life.
Myth #2: Beans last forever.
While it’s true that beans have a long shelf life, they have been known to become virtually inedible over time. Old-timers have reported using every cooking method imaginable in order to soften the beans. A pressure cooker is one option but, again, some have told me that doesn’t even work!
Another option is to grind the beans and add the powdered beans to various recipes. They will still contain some nutrients and fiber.
Over the years, I’ve stocked up on cans of beans — beans of all kinds. They retain their nutrients in the canning process and are already cooked, so there’s no need to soak, boil, pressure cook, etc. You can always home can dried beans, and if you have beans that have been around for more than 10 years or so, canning them is a super simple process and insures they won’t become inedible.
Myth #3: If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat it!
Have you ever fallen in love with a recipe that was easy to make, inexpensive, and your family loved it? You probably thought you’d finally found The Dream Recipe. And then you made it a second time, then a third, then a fourth. About the 8th or 9th time, however, you may have discovered that you had developed a mild form of food fatigue. Suddenly, it didn’t taste all that great and your family wasn’t giving it rave reviews anymore.
When it comes to food storage, don’t assume that someone will eat a certain item they currently hate, just because they’re hungry. If you stock up on dozens of #10 cans of Turkey Tetrazzini, sooner or later the family will revolt, no matter how hungry they are.
Myth #4. All I need is lots and lots of canned food.
There’s nothing wrong with canned food. In fact, that’s how I got started with food storage. However, canned food has its limitations. A can of ravioli is a can of ravioli. You can’t exactly transform it into a completely different dish. As well, canned food may have additives that you don’t care to eat and, in the case of my own kids, tastes change over time. I had to eventually give away the last few cans of ravioli and Spaghetti-O’s because my kids suddenly didn’t like them anymore.
Be sure to rotate whatever canned food you have, since age takes a toll on all foods, but, as I’ve discovered, on certain canned items in particular. My experience with old canned tuna hasn’t been all that positive, and certain high-acid foods, such as canned tomato products, are known to have issues with can corrosion. Double check the seams of canned food and look for any sign of bulging, leaks, or rust.
Lightly rusted cans, meaning you can rub the rust off with a cloth or your fingertip, are safe to continue storing. However, when a can is badly rusted, there’s a very good chance that the rust has corroded the can, allowing bacteria to enter. Those cans should be thrown away.
Worried about the “expiration” date on canned food? Well, those dates are set by the food production company and don’t have any bearing on how the food will taste, its nutrients, or safety after that date. If the food was canned correctly and you’ve been storing it in a dry and cool location, theoretically, the food will be safe to consume for years after that stamped date.
Myth #5: I can store my food anywhere that I have extra space.
Yikes! Not if you want to extend its shelf life beyond just a few months! Know the enemies of food storage and do your best to store food in the best conditions possible.
TIP: Learn more about the enemies of food storage: heat, humidity, light, oxygen, pests, and time.
I emphasize home organization and decluttering on this blog, mainly because it frees up space that is currently occupied by things you don’t need or use. Start decluttering and then storing your food in places that are cool, dark, and dry.
Myth #6: My food will last X-number of years because that’s what the food storage company said.
I have purchased a lot of food from very reputable companies over the years: Augason Farms, Thrive Life, Honeyville, and Emergency Essentials. They all do a great job of processing food for storage and then packaging it in containers that will help prolong its shelf life.
However, once the food gets to your house, only you are in control of how that food is stored. Yes, under proper conditions, food can easily have a shelf life of 20 years or more, but when it’s stored in heat, fluctuating temperatures, and isn’t protected from light, oxygen, and pests, and never rotated, it will deteriorate quickly.
NOTE: When food is old, it doesn’t become poisonous or evaporate in its container. Rather, it loses nutrients, flavor, texture, and color. In a word, it becomes unappetizing.
Myth #7: Just-add-hot-water meals are all I need.
There are many companies who make and sell only add-hot-water meals. In general, I’m not a big fan of these. They contain numerous additives that I don’t care for, in some cases the flavors and textures and truly awful, but the main reason why I don’t personally store a lot of these meals is because they get boring.
Try eating pre-made chicken teriyaki every day for 2 weeks, and you’ll see what I mean. Some people don’t require a lot of variety in their food, but most of us tire quickly when we eat the same things over and over.
These meals have a couple of advantages, though. They are lightweight and come in handy during evacuation time and power outages. If you can boil a couple of cups of water over a rocket stove, propane grill, or some other cooking device, then you’ll have a meal in a few minutes.
TIP: Store a few days worth of just-add-water meals with your emergency kits and be ready to grab them for a quick emergency evacuation. Be sure to also pack a spoon or fork for each person and a metal pot for meals that require cooking over a heat source.
However, for a well-balanced food storage pantry, stock up on individual ingredients and fewer just-add-hot-water meals.
Myth #8: I can stock up on a year’s worth and won’t need to worry about food anymore.
That is probably the fantasy of many a prepper. Buy the food, stash it away, and don’t give it a thought until the S hits the fan. There’s a big problem with that plan, however. When everything does hit the fan and it’s just you and all that food:
- Will you know how to prepare it?
- Will you have the proper supplies and tools to prepare the food?
- Did you store enough extra water to rehydrate all those cans of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods?
- Do you have recipes you’re familiar with, that your family enjoys, and that use whatever you’ve purchased?
- What if there’s an ingredient a family member is allergic to?
- Does everyone even like what you’ve purchased?
- Have any of the containers been damaged? How do you know if you haven’t inspected them and checked them occasionally for bulges and/or pest damage?
If you’ve purchased a pre-packaged food storage supply, the contents of that package were determined by just a small handful of people who do not know your family, your health issues, or other pertinent details. These packages aren’t a bad thing to have on hand. Just don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Myth #9: Freeze dried foods are too expensive.
Yes, there is a bit of sticker shock initially when you begin to shop online at sites like Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Emergency Essentials. If you’ve been used to paying a few dollars for a block of cheddar cheese and then see a price of $35 for a can of freeze-dried cheddar, it can be alarming.
However, take a look at how many servings are in each container and consider how much it would cost to either grow or purchase that same food item and preserve it in one way or another, on your own.
The 3 companies I mentioned all have monthly specials on their food and other survival supplies — that’s how I ended up with 2 cases of granola from Emergency Essentials!
Myth #10: This expert’s food storage plan will fit my family.
The very best food storage plan is the one that you have customized yourself. By all means, use advice given by a number of experts. Take a look at online food calculators, but when it’s time to make purchases, buy what suits your family best. What one person thinks is ideal for food storage may leave your kids retching.
Lots of resources to help you with your food storage pantry
- “A Round-Up of Food Storage Resources“
- Food Saver — vacuum system for storing food long-term
- Food Saver Mason jar sealer
- Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett
- Oxygen absorbers, 100 cc
- Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage by Gaye Levy
- The Preparedness Planner (Print this out and prepare a customized planner!)
- The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington
- Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Emergencies and Worst Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford
Want this info on video? Here you go!
Food Storage Myths, Part 1: Myths 1-5
Food Storage Myths, Part 2: Myths 6-10
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16 Facts You Should Know Before Dehydrating Food
Dehydrating food is one of my favorite ways of preserving; I love it so much I’m teaching a class on dehydrating foods! So if you’ve got a dehydrator in the closet that you bought for just making jerky–get it out! Because let me tell you, it can do so much more than make jerky! There are 25 lessons in the dehydrating eCourse and only one of them is about making jerky. Yes, you read that correctly–25 classes, and I keep trying to make them short and sweet but they all at least 20 minutes long, most are a little more. Not to worry, they are not too long, most are under 30 minutes. I only mention this because there is so much more to dehydrating than jerky.
Maybe you don’t even have a dehydrator yet and are wondering if dehydrating is for you. I hope I can convince you to give it a try because it’s fun, easy and so versatile. You can build a complete food storage easily, quickly and safely.
Dehydrating is a very old method of food preservation. If you remove 90 to 95% of the water content from food then bacteria that aids in the decomposition process can’t survive. Your food is preserved in a sort of suspended state waiting for you to add the water back in order to nourish your body. Here are some important facts you should know about this great food preserving method.
Facts About Dehydrating Food
Easy To Do
Dehydrating is fun and easy. Most foods can be dehydrated and there aren’t a ton of rules you have to remember like other food preservation methods. There are techniques that help your food be at its best through the dehydrating process but it’s really hard to “mess up” when dehydrating.
Risk Factor Is Low
There is a risk factor with all preserved foods. After all, they are not fresh, so something had to make them safe to eat at a later time. The risk of your food not being safe to eat after you have preserved it is very low with dehydrating. There is also a low risk of your food not tasting good after you’ve dehydrated it, provided you’ve used the correct pre-treatment.
Dehydrating preserves more of a food’s natural enzymes than other forms of food preservation. Dehydrated food can be as nutritious as fresh food provided the food is dehydrated at low temperatures. This is especially handy for preserving herbs for natural remedies, since all of the herb’s healing properties can be preserved.
Light and Portable
Dehydrated food is light and portable. All the heavy water content has been removed so the food is super light. This makes stuffing it in a backpack, a bug out bag or a 72 hour kit a great choice. You can carry considerably more dehydrated food than fresh or other food preserved by a different method.
Easily Add Food To Your Food Storage
Since dehydrating is such an easy process you can quickly build up a food storage for whatever emergency might come along, or just for a rainy day.
Takes Up A Smaller Amount Of Space
Since dehydrated food is missing the water content, not only is it light and portable, but its size is greatly reduced. So your food storage takes up less space. This is great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space. Also, it can be stacked, unlike home-canned food.
Preserve Your Organic Garden
You worked hard on that organic garden. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve your harvest. You can simply put things in your dehydrator as they become ripe. You can dehydrate in large or small batches.
You can create some great-tasting recipes even if you’re not trying to build a food storage. Have you ever had homemade crunchy spiced corn or kale chips? They make great healthy snacks.
Less Running To the Grocery Store
This one is kind of a no-brainer if you have a food storage. But the thing is that sometimes you’d rather run to the store before opening a case, jar or can of something in your food storage. But when you dehydrate you can open almost any container, take a little out, and seal it back up with little or no trouble.
Uses A Minimum Amount Of Energy
Other forms of food preservation use a lot of energy either for the process itself (C
) or to maintain the environment (freezing). Dehydrating takes very little energy to process food and none to store it.
Dehydrated Food Is Easy To Cook With
Dehydrated foods are really easy to cook with. Most of the time you can throw them into soups or stews without even reconstituted them. Even if you need to rehydrate them for a recipe it usually only takes a quick soak in a bit of water.
Save A Ton Of Money Making Powders
Not only can you save a ton of money by preserving things from your garden but you can save a ton of money by not having to buy so many items from the spice isle. You can make your own garlic and onion powder. Dry your own basil and rosemary. You can even make some of your own spice powders like ginger and turmeric powder.
Equipment Is A Good Investment
A good dehydrator is not super cheap but it’s probably not the most expensive thing in your kitchen either. The thing is if you buy a good dehydrator (I recommend an Excalibur) then you’re likely to have it for years. They are excellent dehydrators and mine has paid for itself many times over.
Can Be Done In Any Location
You can dehydrate most any place on earth. All you need is either a bit of electricity or the sun. Sun Oven makes a dehydrating kit for their solar oven, and you always have the option of making your own solar dehydrator. So dehydrating is a great off-grid food preserving option.
Children Love It
Kids love bite-sized snacks, and dehydrating different foods can give them a variety of healthy snacks. They are no longer limited to just raisins. You can dehydrate most any food and kids love the sweet (most fruit is sweeter once it’s dehydrated) chewy bites.
Dehydrated Foods Can Be Stored At Room Temperature
Although any food will last longer the cooler, darker and dryer it stays, dehydrated food will last a good long while at room temperature as long as it stays dry. So that means you can store it in a closet or bedroom.
Did I leave any dehydrating facts out? What’s your favorite reason for dehydrating food?
Source : selfreliantschool.com
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Speaking from experience, there is nothing more frustrating than finishing a batch of canned goods only to find that some, or even all, of your jars didn’t seal.
While there are a variety of reasons your jars might not be sealing, I’m going to focus on issues with the main components: the jars, the lids and the rings.
While this might seem rather obvious, you don’t want to use jars that aren’t made for canning, as they are more likely not to seal. Even though it is cheaper to reuse glass jars from the grocery store, it is ultimately not worth it if you end up with a whole batch of unsealed jars. Canning jars are made to fit the lids, seals and rings just right, so it is better to spend the extra money to make sure your jars seal.
You also want to make sure that your canning jars are not defective in any way. Specifically, you want to make sure that your jar rims are free of cracks, chips and debris, as that will prevent the lids from sealing properly. Running your finger along the rim of each jar is an easy step to take to ensure that your jar rims are in the best condition to seal. You also should take caution when filling your jars, so that you don’t end up with any food on the rim. If you do, quickly, but thoroughly, wipe away any residue before putting the lid on the jar.
Now that you know how to get the jars ready for sealing, the next component you need to look over is the lid. The lids are especially important in the sealing process, because they have the rubber seal that will make or break your canning process. While canning jars and rings can be used multiple times if they are still in good shape, canning lids and the rubber seal compound were designed to be used only once. Therefore, if a lid looks like it has been used before, it is best to just put it aside for some other use. When in doubt, it is always better to buy new lids, but even those need to be checked for any defective spots that could prevent the rubber seal from doing its job.
If you have good jars and lids, the last thing you want is to spoil all of your hard work because of bad rings. While they might not seem as important as the jar or the lid, ill-fitting or rusty lids can prevent your jars from sealing just as quickly as a chipped rim. If the rings are bent, they will not apply equal pressure around the lid. This will prevent the seal from bonding properly because it won’t be able to get a good grip on the rim. Before you use any rings, you can test them by screwing them on the jar before it’s filled and by running your fingers around it to feel for bumps or rust. Another good test is to set it on a flat surface to see if the ring wobbles or if it lies flat.
You also should make sure that the rings are tightly screwed onto your jar, so the lid sits with even pressure on the rim. However, you don’t want them to be too tight or else the air will not be able to escape to create the necessary vacuum that develops as the jars cool.
Before you go through the process of making a delicious jam or other canned good, you want to make sure that you have all of the proper components in good condition. It does not take much to ruin an entire batch if you make just one mistake. Checking the jars for any damage or debris, using new lids, and using proper-fitting rings are very simple steps to take to make sure your lids seal properly so that you can enjoy the spoils of your hard work.
What canning advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Having a large food stockpile is one of the main goals of every prepper. Unfortunately, many newbies think that all they have to do is run to the store and fill a cart with canned foods. This is a costly mistake. You need to take some time to figure out what foods to store and […]
Autumn is filled with tons of chores for homesteaders: raking leaves, preparing the livestock for winter, and, of course, canning.
Canning is the time-tested method used by our great-grandparents and grandparents to extend the shelf life of food, and – if done properly – can form the core of an emergency stockpile. But if the right steps aren’t followed, the results can be disastrous … even deadly.
On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we examine seven common canning mistakes that nearly everyone makes. Our guest is Kendra Lynne, a homesteader and canning expert whose DVD, “At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond,” is one of the more popular tutorials for beginning canners.
Kendra, who also leads classes on canning, tells us:
- Which mistake is the most common – and also perhaps the most dangerous.
- Which types of foods should never, ever be canned.
- Which vegetables should be used with a water bath canner, and which ones with a pressure canner.
- Which mistakes can be easily corrected without buying any new equipment.
Finally, Kendra answers a much-debated question: How long will canned food really last? She also shares her best tips for storing canned foods.
If you’re a homesteader or just someone who enjoys canning, then this is one show you need to hear!
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Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Cannin’ Nancy. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly win a $300 Amazon Gift Card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today.
Pressure canning is, by its nature, done by those who wish to preserve an overabundance of fresh food for consumption at a later date, and as such is an activity routinely engaged in by many preppers. Of course, there are many other reasons people do their own pressure canning: environmental (only a thin metal lid to dispose of as the jar is reusable); nutritional (you know what’s in that jar); financial (saving energy by cooking several meals at once and by having convenience foods on hand).
However, most people preparing for the dark days ahead don’t use their pressure canning to its fullest potential. Often people just don’t realize how important it is going to be to have variety in the diet, especially in a world where fresh and frozen foods will be lacking. Having a wide variety of pressure canned foods, many of which really aren’t available commercially, will be a welcome addition to our diets.
Most people look at pressure canning as a means of preserving garden produce and maybe some meat or a few stews here and there. And for those reasons alone a pressure canner is a worthwhile investment. But there is so much more that can be done. So let’s take it to the next level. The Ball Blue Book of Canning (hereafter the “BBB”) should be found in every prepper’s library and will provide all the guidelines for canning the basics. It should be consulted for all matters related to food preparation and processing times. This article is focused more on preserving some of the foods you really want to have on hand, those that will make meals a little more delicious and boost morale in difficult times.
Most of what is in the BBB regarding vegetables is pretty straightforward and beyond jazzing them up with spices or peppers, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss, with two exceptions. The first is canning shredded zucchini. Most people prefer to simply freeze their shredded zucchini to use later in zucchini breads and cupcakes (a favorite around here) and soups. But we’re preparing for when we won’t have freezers. So every year we can a few jars of shredded zucchini so that we can make our treats. The zucchini simply gets shredded in the food processor, packed in jars, and processed per the BBB.
The other exception is potatoes. Yes, potatoes are routinely canned so as to be able to make soups and mashed potatoes long after the fresh potatoes in the root cellar have run out. But in this case we’re talking about that other main food group in the American diet: the French fry. Even if the pressure canner was not used for anything else, it would be worthwhile (in this family, at least) to acquire one just to be able to have French fries when the grid goes down. These fries are so incredibly divine. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a taste. You’ll just have to trust me.
You’ll want a French fry cutter to make preparation a whole lot faster. Amazon sells them for about $15. (Use the larger blade—1/2”. The smaller blade is just too fine and the fries will kind of disintegrate. ) Buy a bag of large potatoes—not the super huge ones. The potatoes need to be scrubbed well, but as long as they are being used for fries, they don’t need to be peeled (soil can harbor the botulism spores, but deep-frying will kill the botulism, so no need to worry about peeling). Cut the potatoes into fries and follow instructions in the BBB, except instead of boiling potatoes for 10 minutes, only boil for three. Place the fries in wide mouth canning jars. Continue canning per instructions from your BBB.
When you wish to eat some fries (which will be often!), open the jar and put the fries into a strainer. Thoroughly rinse and drain to remove excess starch. Deep fry in peanut oil until they reach a golden brown.
Dry beans aren’t a particularly exciting item to can, unless you get excited about saving money, time, and energy. Dry beans normally take hours to prepare for each meal. By utilizing a pressure canner, you prepare beans for several meals at once, saving money now and time down the road. So how is it done?
Soak beans for several hours or overnight. Rinse and drain beans several times, then fill jars about halfway. This is the part that is a little tricky, and I can’t be more precise than “about halfway.” You see, the exact amount to put in the jar will vary due to several factors—the type of bean, for example black beans usually expand more than pinto beans; the age of the bean; and how dry the bean is.
After filling jars about halfway with beans, add salt (1/2 teaspoon per pint, 1 teaspoon per quart) and boiling water. Process per instructions in your BBB.
For those who haven’t ever ventured into the world of canning meats, but do have experience with canning fruits and vegetables, don’t be scared. Yes, you need to follow directions and be careful, just like for produce, but canning meats is so much faster and easier! All meats are canned exactly as outlined in the BBB; what I present here, however, are some ideas for preparing and packaging meats for other uses generally not discussed elsewhere. Having a variety of dishes in our menus will be critical to good morale in the coming crisis.
I can a good quantity of stew meat to be used as is in stews, but also to be shredded for use as taco filling, French dips, etc. Ground beef also gets browned and canned so that I can make soups and casseroles very quickly. Most people who are preppers and canners are already familiar with this. However, I know it will be very nice in the future to also be able to have a hamburger now and then. Obviously stew meat won’t work for this purpose, and neither will ground beef that hasn’t had a little extra preparation.
So this is what I do to have some hamburger patties. Form about one pound of ground beef into a log and roll it up in parchment paper that has been cut so that it is about an inch wider than the wide mouth jar being used for canning. Fold the parchment paper over the ends to help hold the hamburger log together. Put the hamburger log into the jar, making sure that you have one inch of head space. Process as per ground beef instructions in your BBB.
When you’re ready for some slider-sized burgers, run the jar under hot water for a minute or so to loosen the hamburger from the sides of the jar. Carefully slide the hamburger log out and remove the parchment paper. Slice the patties about ½” thick and fry them in a little butter or bacon grease for extra flavor. Serve with buns and all your favorite condiments.
Some pork is canned in chunks for later use in chili or to be shredded for taquito filling or super quick pulled pork sandwiches. Leftover ham from Christmas and Easter (we always get a large one for just this purpose) gets canned for adding to soups or fried rice.
I think bacon will be one of the most important morale boosters in the food department, so I can quite a bit. To can bacon strips, cut a piece of parchment paper about two inches longer than the height of a wide mouth pint jar. Lay the bacon strips (which you have cut into halves or thirds) side by side down the middle of the parchment, fold the parchment over the bacon ends, and tightly roll the bacon up as you go. You’ll need a few pieces of parchment, and you’ll want to overlap each additional parchment strip with the previous one to hold everything in place. Stop when the roll is large enough to fill the jar and place the roll in the jar. Process per BBB instructions for canning pork. When you wish to cook your bacon, you’ll need to run the jar under hot water to soften the fat and be able to remove the roll from the jar. Lightly brown the bacon and enjoy.
I also can bacon ends and pieces. These are typically sold in three-pound packages. There is usually quite a bit of fat, but there is also quite a lot of solid meat, and there are some pieces that look more like regular bacon. They all get canned separately. I use the bacon fat in some of my cooking, and the meat will become bacon bits for salads and baked potatoes. Some will say that in a TEOTWAWKI situation, bacon bits will be a bit of a ridiculous luxury. And I might have agreed a few years back, but for this one experience. A few years back we had a phenomenal crop of potatoes, and as such baked potatoes were a frequent dinner in our home. The kids were getting a little tired of them, so I decided to fry up a can of bacon bits to add to the spuds that night. I could not believe what a difference it made in the kids. They were so excited! Another lesson learned in avoiding flavor fatigue.
This is probably what we can the most of in the meat department, mostly because I have one son who cannot have beef or pork. Home-canned chicken is perfect for making quick casseroles or adding to a summer salad for a main dish meal. And with a can of chicken on hand, it takes no time to get homemade chicken noodle soup ready when someone comes down with a cold.
Chicken bones. No, this isn’t being recommended as food for people, but chicken bones can be pressure canned (using directions for canning chicken meat) for feeding cats. Because the bones are hollow, after being pressure canned they can be easily mashed with a fork and fed to cats. Unfortunately, the chicken bones are too high in protein to be fed to dogs. (Too much protein can cause kidney damage in dogs.)
Pressure canning is mostly about preserving the harvest, but it’s also just as much about making life easier. It’s what people have been doing for decades when purchasing processed foods at the grocery store. However, as more of us realize what kind of garbage is being added to commercially produced convenience foods, we’re opting to do more of our own. While we all enjoy freshly prepared meals, sometimes that just isn’t an option—the chief cook is sick, there’s been an emergency, or labors that day were needed elsewhere.
Having some home canned convenience foods can really save the day. Keeping a ready supply of stew, chili, soup, and spaghetti sauce on hand for just such situations is a great way to reduce stress and be prepared at the same time. Because every family will have their own favorite recipes, I’m not providing any here. Most any recipe can be adapted for canning; one just needs to always remember to process for the time stated for the ingredient that needs the most time and highest pressure.
Traditional favorites for convenience foods to can at home are stews, soups and chili. Bear in mind, however, that some items just don’t do as well in a pressure canner at home. I’m not sure what the difference is between commercial canning and home canning, but unlike their commercially canned counterparts, noodles and rice just seem to go to mush when canned at home. So in this house we always add those ingredients just before mealtime.
With dark days ahead, and days that could quite conceivably turn into years, why not invest in a pressure canner and start preserving your own (at significantly greater savings over purchasing commercial products)? With more and more food being sourced from who knows where and with increasing reports of unsavory individuals employed at food processing plants, why not take control for more of our own food needs? A pressure canner is going to cost $100-$300. But the peace of mind that comes from preparing your own food? Priceless.
PANTRY: Long Term Food Storage Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! On this week’s episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, Author Bobby Akart continues his discussion about stocking your Prepper Pantry. Last week, the program focused on growing your own food and heirloom seeds. This week, we’ll focus on food storage … Continue reading PANTRY: Long Term Food Storage
How to Can, Freeze, Dry and Preserve Any Fruit or Vegetable at Home Knowing How to Can, Freeze, Dry and Preserve Any Fruit or Vegetable at Home is a not only for homesteaders, survivalist and people on a budget should be doing this too. I have been canning for years, I love doing it. It’s never …
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1000+ FREE Canning Recipes Are you just starting to can? Are you a seasoned canner? We all could do with more canning recipes, the site I came across has over 1000 recipes for you to browse and download for free. There are recipes for sauces, jellies, healthy food and even puddings. Canning food is not …
It’s that time of year in Vermont… apple season. We live near several family owned orchards that have a plethora of apple options – pre-picked, pick your own, utility apples, fresh pressed cider, and mouth-watering apple cider donuts. It’s also the season for some wonderful wild mushrooms such as Black Trumpets – a relative of chanterelles. Of course, it’s time for my herb garden to end the season – if I actually plant an herb garden. Obviously I can’t keep all of this bounty in its current form for the winter, so now I’m in the process of preserving what I’ve grown, gathered, picked, and purchased. Here’s an overview of my favorite food preservation options:
Food Preservation – Canning
I love canning; but I truly believe it’s the messiest food preservation option out there. It also requires the most specialized equipment. You’ll need a pressure canner or water bath canner and jars and lids. Canning also requires the most preparation; but this includes preparing jams, jellies, applesauce, fruit butters, tomatoes, etc.
There are two types of canning – water bath and pressure canning. High acidity foods like fruits and tomatoes can be canned using the water bath method. The Ball Kerr website has a great step-by-step guide to water bath canning. Water bath canning can be done using a special water bath canner, a pressure canner or a large stockpot with a lid.
Pressure canning is necessary for low acid foods to ensure there won’t be spoilage. Pressure canners are not cheap and I recommend that you buy the best one you can afford. Remember, a pressure canner can become a bomb if used improperly. Don’t let this scare you; using a pressure canner correctly can store your entire harvest. Again, the Ball Kerr website has a wonderful step-by-step guide to pressure canning.
Be sure that the jars seal. You can hear them seal when they pop as they cool and the lids will be slightly concaved. Never eat any foods from a jar with an unsealed lid or a broken seal. Never reuse a lid; they are made for single use only. Jars and rings can be reused again and again.
Canned foods take up more storage space than dehydrated and frozen foods.
Food Preservation – Dehydrating
Dehydrating is probably the easiest food preservation method with the least amount of preparation and special equipment. Dehydrating is simply removing the majority of the moisture from the food.
Before you actually start the process you need to prepare the items. Most often you need only to cut or slice the produce; think commercial apple chips or sun-dried tomatoes. There is no hard, fast rule for this. Simply reduce the size of the item and expose the “wetter” interior of the item. Smaller, thinner pieces are going to dehydrate faster, but may not be what you want your final product to be. Most fruits benefit from a short soak in water with a bit of lemon juice. This keeps the fruits from browning. Note – this doesn’t change the fruits, but keeps them from browning too much.
Fruit leathers and jerky take more preparation. Fruits must be pureed for fruit leathers and spread thinly on a baking sheet or fruit leather tray for your dehydrator. For jerky, the meat must be sliced thinly with the grain then marinated. There are lots of recipes, suggestions and even premade marinades available. Select very lean meat, as the fat increases the possibility of spoilage.
The actual dehydrating can be done in your oven, in a counter top – or larger – dehydrator or out in the sun. A dehydrater can be counter top or larger. There are so many options than run from <$50 to several hundred. I have this Nesco model and love it. What I like about my dehydrator is that it doesn’t tie up my oven and my baking sheets. To use your oven, simply spread your prepared produce in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into your oven heated to 150F-200F.
If you want to dehydrate in the sun, all you actually need is something on which to spread your prepared produce. Of course, this leaves it exposed not only to the sun, but also to the wildlife. A quick, inexpensive trip to the hardware store or a browse about the garage, and you can make a dehydrating frame. Make a square frame with wood- 2x4s work well because they allow some space for the items. Tack wire hardware cloth or small gauge chicken wire to one side. You can spread you prepared items on a flat surface and cover with the screen or you can make two screens and stack them. Use clamps or something heavy to weigh down and make it harder for furry thieves. Using the sun will take longer than using a dehydrator or your oven, but it adds a little something extra that’s difficult to define.
Be sure to remove as much of the moisture as possible before storage. Once your items are dehydrated, they need to be stored in a sealed container – a vacuum sealer is great for this.
Food Preservation – Freezing
Freezing produce retains more of the items “integrity” than other options. Freezing requires very little preparation of the items, usually just washing then cutting or chopping the item. The only equipment you need is a freezer (duh) and freezer-safe containers. Reusable containers are great, but require more space in your freezer and initial investment. Zipper bags are also good options. The biggest issue with these options is freezer burn, be careful that you remove as much air as possible from your containers. This is where a vacuum sealer is worth the investment. Seriously, why spend the effort of growing, harvesting and gathering or spending the money on produce if it’s going to be ruined with freezer burn?
Vacuum sealers are available at most big box home stores and department stores as well as my favorite vendor, Amazon. I have a FoodSaver GameSaver model. This gives me the option of using the film as well as special reusable containers. I’ve learned that wider, flatter bags store better and defrost faster. Unless your seal breaks or the film is punctured, you won’t lose any food to freezer burn.
Before you prepare stacks and stacks of containers for your freezer, be sure you have the freezer space. Refrigerator freezers have extremely limited space and should really only be used for short term storage since the door is opened so often giving fluctuations in the temperature. Chest or stand freezers are available everywhere – Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, Craigslist, etc. Get one that works with your space and lifestyle. Remember, bigger is not always better, especially with a chest style. Things tend to get lost at the bottom and you may find something you put in there 10 years ago. It’s good to keep an inventory of your frozen foods to keep things from getting “lost”.
Food Preservation – Root Cellar
When I was growing up, I was a little afraid of my grandparents’ root cellar. It was built into the side of a hill and had a damp, mustiness about it that was in comforting in a way. I wish I had one just like it. Traditionally, root cellars were below ground but that really isn’t necessary. Root cellars are basically below-ground rooms to store food with a consistent temperature around 35F-40F with high humidity of 90%-95%. Ventilation is also very important; good circulation inhibits mold growth. Potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas and even apples can be stored for the winter in a root cellar. I found this great article to help you set up your root cellar. My husband and I keep trying to figure out where we can put one.
Don’t let all of the effort and expense you spent over the summer go to waste. Start small and within your budget, space and resources. Enjoying these foods throughout the year is why we do this, right?
When most people think of putting up food for winter, there are a few vegetables and fruits that immediately come to mind.
But a look through any good quality food preservation book—such as the ones published by Ball, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, or the USDA—can reveal some interesting options.
When I find myself with an overabundance of something from my garden and do not want to see it wasted at the end of the season, I am often inspired to search for creative ideas to preserve my harvest in new ways. Over the years, I have dug up a few possibilities that can surprise even some experienced home food preservationists.
Here are a few fruits and vegetables you may not have realized you can preserve:
1. Eggplant. Although there is no recommended method for canning eggplant and it is listed in the “poor to fair” category for dehydrating success, you can still enjoy your eggplant harvest all year long by freezing it. The trick is to use lemon juice in the blanch water. Add a half cup per gallon of water, process in small batches, and prepare only enough fruit for one batch at a time.
For eggplant that I plan to use for frying, I slice it one-third of an inch thick. If it is fresh from the garden and not at all overripe, I leave the skins on. Otherwise, I peel it. After blanching for 4 minutes and cooling the slices in an ice bath, I pat dry on towels and freeze in zip-top bags with wax paper between the layers.
For other uses—ratatouille, stews and casseroles—I peel the eggplant, cut it into chunks, blanch and cool in lemon water the same as with slices, spin dry in a salad spinner, and freeze in batches the right size for one recipe.
It has occurred to me that it would work well to bread it and fry it before freezing, but my garden harvest keeps me too busy for that. If you have time to do so before freezing and save yourself the trouble later, I encourage you to try it.
2. Onions and peppers. The happy surprise here is not that you can preserve them, but the fact that it is so ridiculously easy. To freeze onions, shallots and peppers of all kinds, just cut them to the size and shape in which you are most likely to use them—sliced, chopped or in wedges—put them in bags or containers, and toss them into the freezer. No blanching, no fuss. Just clean, peel, cut up and freeze. They will not be suitable for raw eating when they come out, but will be excellent for just about everything else, from casseroles to omelets to soups to stir-fries.
They can be preserved in other ways, also. Sweet peppers can be canned plain, pickled or in a variety of relishes. Hot peppers can be pickled, made into jam, or added to hot sauce. Onions, too, can be canned in vinegar, added to relishes and chutneys, and even made into marmalade!
Onions and peppers also dry very well, resulting in excellent culinary options for those off grid or with minimal freezer space.
3. Zucchini and summer squash. The truth is, you will never be able to achieve an exact duplicate of yummy fresh-out-of-the-garden squash. But if you cannot bear the thought of going without squash on pizzas and in frittatas and sautéed in olive oil for the winter months, try freezing some slices. Slice, blanch 3 minutes, cool in ice water, pat dry on towels, and pack in bags or containers with wax paper between the layers.
As with eggplant, you may do well to fry it first if you have the time.
You can also grate it and freeze it that way, for use in winter breads, cakes and cookies. I measure out what I need for my favorite recipes and freeze it in those quantities. It does not need to be blanched if it will be used in baked goods, where the texture of the end product does not matter, but be aware that it will become watery when thawed.
Do not can summer squash. Its texture does not allow for it to be safely canned by itself. There is an approved recipe for canning zucchini in pineapple and sugar, but the end result may not taste much like the vegetable you are trying to preserve.
4. Watermelon. Wait, what?! The books say you can freeze it, in seedless cubes or balls, either plain or packed into a container of heavy syrup. I admit I have never done this, and the reason is simple. I live far enough north that raising melons is iffy. When I do manage to raise a few successfully, I indulge in them right then and there.
The one method I have tried is watermelon rind preserves. It is a delicious way to use a part of the melon I would have thrown away anyway, and makes a nice winter treat.
Melons can be dried, but is not recommended. I know people who have done it, but because melons are almost all water, the result may not be satisfactory.
5. Greens. Canning greens is hard work, but the results taste great. If you have a pressure canner and are up for the task, canned greens are an excellent choice.
You also can blanch and freeze them, but you end up with a product that does not look anything like store-bought.
Another option for greens is to simply freeze as-is. If your intention is to use them in a way in which the texture is irrelevant, such as in a smoothie, and you will use them up within a few months, this is the way to go. Pack enough for a single usage into a zip-top bag, flatten to remove as much air as possible, and freeze.
6. Fruits and berries without sugar. Many people think it is necessary to make a sugar syrup for canning fruits and berries, but water or fruit juice can be used in most cases. I found a recipe for canning blueberries in water this year—I should note that I use canning recipes only from sources I know to be safe and reliable, and this one is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation—and was happy to can my home-grown blueberries using this healthy and hassle-free method.
It is wise to do some searching and read the side notes in order to find low-sugar and no-sugar options for canning fruit. Sometimes they can be found in the “special diet” section.
A word about experimentation—before you try it, ask yourself if the worst thing that can happen is about quality or safety. If it is about quality, and if you can afford the potential loss of losing the product, go ahead and try. But if it is about safety, do not risk it. What you stand to gain is not worth the possible cost.
Use this list for starters, use trusted resources, and have fun. You just never know what you might end up enjoying from your garden on a snowy January day.
What would you add to this list? Share your preserving tips in the section below:
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I am frequently asked what is the best preservation method for various foods, and the answer is almost always the same: It depends.
The best bet is to be ready and able to do a combination of canning, freezing, dehydrating and root cellaring in order to maximize your efficiency and to end up with the best possible end result for the least effort and cost.
There are pros and cons to each type of food preservation, and which one you choose depends upon the food you are preserving, your own particular needs, your facilities and equipment, and the time you are willing and able to put into it.
The general rule of thumb in food preservation is to shoot for the shortest distance between two points. That is to say, choose the easiest and cheapest way to get the job done in a satisfactory manner. However, there are often additional factors which must be considered.
Let us first look at a few basic facts about each preservation method.
The upside of canned food is that it can be stored without the use of electricity, making it versatile for off-grid situations and worry-free for possible power outages. In addition, jars of food can be stored just about anywhere, making storage space less of an issue than with other options. The contents of canned foods are ready immediately without waiting for thawing or rehydrating. Also, many people prefer the taste and texture of canned foods, especially that of meats.
On the other hand, canning is generally the most labor-intensive method of food preservation. It also presents a certain level of risk that is less prevalent with other methods—although the likelihood of botulism in properly canned foods is miniscule. Many canned vegetables have a less desirable texture than their frozen counterparts, and some are even said to contain less nutrients when canned.
The best part about freezing foods is minimal preparation. Another great plus is the increased flavor, texture and color of many foods.
The downside of freezing is that it costs more. Purchasing a freezer is a big investment, and running it continuously year-round adds up. Using a freezer to preserve food is a real challenge without a steady reliable source of electricity. Freezer space can be a problem, too. It takes up floor space in your home, and when it’s full, it’s full. Unlike other methods, the space is finite—16 cubic feet of food is not going to fit into 15 cubic feet of freezer.
Not all foods can be dried safely and effectively, but those that can are able to be stored easily, using minimal space and no power, for a long period of time. Taste and texture can be an issue with dried foods, which somewhat restricts their usage. The cost of dehydrating equipment covers a wide range, from a simple homemade screen which is adequate in some climates to high-end electric models that do offer a certain appeal. There is a learning curve to dehydrating, as well, with it being arguably the most subjective of methods—unlike canning instructions that give specific processing times and freezing directions with blanch times. Dehydrating the same food can range from four to 12 hours.
Root cellaring is easy and no-fuss. One of the older preservation methods, it involves at its most rudimentary level simply finding a cool place to store a vegetable and placing it there. But like most skills, it requires a little judgement and experience to know what goes where, how long it can be expected to last, and what not to pair with it. It can be as inexpensive and no-frills as a shelf alongside the cellar stairs or under the guest room bed, or as elaborate as an intentional structure out of stone and mortar.
A word about smoking: Although recognized as an excellent option for food preservation, it probably involves more skills and equipment than everyday gardeners may have access to in their backyards and kitchens and pantries. For that reason, I have chosen to omit it from this discussion. But if it is your preservation method of choice, thumbs up to you!
My personal food preservation plan looks something like this: I reserve freezer space for foods which do not generally can well—if at all—such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, green peppers, pureed squash and most berries. If there is space beyond that, I add in foods which I prefer frozen, such as green beans.
If I have an abundance of beans—which I almost always do—I will can some. I like to can a few batches of blueberries to eat with yogurt, in addition to many pounds I freeze for use in baking. I always can my jams and pickles because I prefer the texture and cannot afford the freezer space.
I dry some fruits and like to make fruit leather. I also dehydrate vegetables when they are so abundant that I still have some left over after other methods, for use in soups and casseroles.
My root cellaring depends upon the weather. If it gets cold early in fall without too much of an Indian summer, so that the temperature in my house cellar drops and stays down, it is a prime opportunity for storing a bounty of food. I set apples in screened crates on the stone steps of my exterior bulkhead, where it gets very cold and stays damp, and keeps my apples separate from other foods. I place carrots and rutabagas and leeks in bins of sand in the main part of the cellar, and stash winter squashes in the closet in my utility room.
If I have time, I prepare some convenience foods—those which I am glad to reach for when I need something instant, such as canned potatoes, canned stew and canned pork-and-beans.
Your personal preservation plan might look different than mine. To sort it out, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I realistically have time to can it?
- Can I afford the purchase price for a freezer, do I have room to store it, and do I have an adequate source of reliable electricity?
- Will I be satisfied with the end product of dehydrating foods?
- Do I have, or can I create, a place to store root crops as-is or in sand?
- Do I enjoy the taste and texture of my chosen method?
Certain foods ought not be canned, due to either quality or safety reasons. Brassicas, eggplants, summer squash, pureed vegetables and untested recipes are among these.
Other foods are able to be canned but often yield a disappointing result. Strawberries lose flavor and texture. Greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are a lot of work.
Conversely, tomatoes are generally better canned than frozen, but cherry types can be popped whole into freezer bags for use in soups and casseroles, and leftover batches that did not seal in the canner freeze fine, too.
Some foods have many options. Potatoes are great root cellared, canned, frozen or dehydrated. Most cuts of beef are, too, as well as many other meats and vegetables.
Sometimes, you can even use more than one method on the same food. For example, I hang my onions from cellar rafters, inside the legs of pantyhose with knots tied between them to keep them from touching, and they store well that way for months. But when they start to get soft—or when it gets cold enough for me to fire up my cellar stove—I peel them and freeze them in bags of slices or chunks. This two-phase method minimizes my processing efforts to only that which is absolutely necessary and still allows me to use onions at my convenience throughout the year.
There are many factors to consider when preserving food. Cost, space, effort and end result are all important considerations to be balanced. As long as you follow safety guidelines, there are plenty of options that can be tailored to a food preservation plan that works just right for you.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Next year have a plan for every piece of produce. Do you plan what you are going to do with your garden produce ahead of time? Well, eat it of course, but what else? Sometimes I find myself with a box of peaches that I couldn’t pass up from the grocery store and think ” […]
DIY Canning Jar Vacuum Sealer This is a great project to do one night. Don’t spend a lot of money on a canning jar vacuum sealer when you can make one yourself for half the cost, maybe free if you already have the parts. I found this video on YouTube that shows you how to make …
Lots of Apples? Here’s What to Do Apple harvests are pouring in and sales at the store are all over the place. It’s apple time and canners are firing up all over the country. Eventually though, you get to the point where you just don’t want to make any more applesauce! You realize that you …
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about canning safety. As is true with many topics, information found on the Internet supports a wide variety of truths and opinions, and it can be hard to differentiate between them.
Canning safety is a big deal. Doing it right is what comes between eating home-preserved food with confidence and risking upset stomachs, spoiled and wasted food, serious illness, or in very rare cases even death.
Before I explain which techniques are considered safe according to modern-day science and which are not, let me address the inevitable questions. I hear them at every workshop I conduct and see it in every comment thread on forum discussions and social media.
“My grandmother used wax on her jams and all us kids grew up eating them.”
“The ladies at church just flip the hot chow-chow jars upside down and call it good.”
“My mother never owned a pressure canner and we all ate her canned beans and beef just fine.”
“We eat canned cake at camp every summer… and nobody ever died.”
And my answer is always the same. Sure. Each one of us knew of someone consuming food canned by what is considered today to be unsafe practices, and many of us did it ourselves. And we did indeed all live to tell the tale.
But why take the risk? People survived automobile travel before seat belts came along, but most of us wear them nowadays. Communities have thrived for centuries without modern-day sanitation and plumbing, but most of us today consider running water and flush toilets to be good things. Mammograms, steel-toed work boots, prenatal ultrasounds, child safety locks—all things people lived without, until the advantages of using them became clear.
You can take the chance of doing it the old-fashioned way if you want to, but know that it is a risk. No home-canning method is guaranteed 100 percent bulletproof, but using techniques tested and approved by science and research are the best ways to minimize potential problems.
There are three main points I would like to highlight – three things our grandmothers often didn’t do when canning. First, processing in a canner is necessary for every canned product. No shortcuts, no alternatives. And second, using a pressure canner is essential for all low-acid foods. Third, all recipes are not created equal. Read on for details.
1. Processing is crucial.
Old-fashioned methods and trendy hacks are not good choices. Topping preserves with hot wax allows potential harmful bacteria and molds to seep in. Even after mold is scraped off the top—like our grandmothers used to do when we were not looking—it has been determined by recent science that there could well be lingering pathogens below the visible mold. The safe bet is to just pop them into the hot water bath canner for a short process time instead.
So-called “oven canning” and “open-kettle canning,” along with creative ways to can foods in the dishwasher and microwave, have not been tested to be safe and are not recommended. Food processed in this way does not always kill potential contaminants which may spoil food and make you sick.
Neither is it safe to simply invert the jars when hot and allow the product to seal itself—it might appear to seal nicely at the time, but is apt to unseal and reseal itself as the storage temperature fluctuates between now and the time you eat it.
Process, process, process—in a canner. There is no shortcut that is worth the risk.
2. Process all low-acid foods using a pressure canner.
Here is why:
Hot water bath canners heat water to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. That is as hot as they can get. Pressure canners, by design, heat water to 240 degrees. The reason heat is an issue is because of rare but naturally occurring spores of the microorganism C. botulinum. When given exactly the right conditions—low acid and anaerobic—they can develop into botulism, which can be deadly. When canning low-acid foods, care must be taken to kill the spores before the product goes into the anaerobic jars, and 212 degrees is not sufficient to do so. It is imperative to use the higher-heat pressure canner to destroy any possible C. botulinum spores present.
Some folks insist that by canning them longer, all foods can be safely canned using a hot water bath canner. This is not true. Boiling water will never reach the temperature needed to kill possible dangerous spores. And besides, who wants to eat green beans that have been boiled for an hour and a half?
High-acid foods—most fruits and tomatoes—do not provide conditions for botulism to develop, and so hot water bath canners are sufficient. Vegetables, meats and other low-acid products need to be pressure-canned. The exception to this rule is when the vegetable is “acidified.” When sufficient amounts of acid, usually vinegar or lemon juice, are added, the end result is a food with enough acid content to safely can in a hot water bath canner.
3. Always use an approved recipe.
In addition to giving you the exact amounts of every ingredient and explaining exactly how to cut, chop, combine and cook them, a good recipe will tell you which canner to use, what size jars are best, and how long to process the products.
I know, I know. Great Aunt Hilda’s relish recipe was the best! And that wonderful easy salsa recipe on Facebook—yum! But has it been tested? Is the ratio of high-acid and low-acid foods adequate for the method and time given for canning? Is it worth the risk?
Another way people get into trouble is by starting off with a safe recipe and making their own modifications. Tomatoes are generally high acid, but peppers and onions are not. Adding low-acid foods can alter the acidification of a recipe enough to change the safety factor.
The perfect way to have your cake and eat it, too, is this: If you absolutely must use that online salsa recipe with questionable ingredients, go right ahead. Just freeze it. Botulism will not develop in the freezer, and your salsa will be good to go.
Use a recipe source approved by your cooperative extension. These include publications by Ball, USDA, and the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation. Ball canning books are inexpensive and can be found in most supermarkets and department stores. The National Center for Home Food Preservation’s excellent publication, “So Easy to Preserve,” sells for a little more money, but all of its recipes are available online for free at http://nchfp.uga.edu/
In addition to these three must-dos, remember to keep everything painstakingly clean. Pots and utensils, jars, lids, canning equipment, kitchen linens and hands all need to be carefully washed and rinsed before you begin any canning project.
Stay safe, play it smart, follow the guidelines, and you and your family will enjoy the fruits of your labors for seasons to come.
Do you agree? What canning advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
6 Secrets of Hot Water Bath Canning You May Not Know Hot water bath canning is one of the most used canning methods used today. Get 6 secrets of this old school hobby and improve your method and food stockpile. Knowing how to can food is just a homesteaders daily life, this article I found …
The post 6 Secrets of Hot Water Bath Canning You May Not Know appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Canning food in the modern world is easy. We have well-made jars, proven methods developed over a century and a half of trial and error, and the ability to consistently put up safe, nourishing and delicious food.
Even a century ago, canning was a well-established science, regardless of if you used Mason jars with zinc lids and rubber lids, or jars with glass lids and wire bails that locked down tight over a rubber ring. The end result was the same, even if the methods were quaint and old-fashioned today. But prior to our WWII-era metal bands and disposable lids, and prior to the old Lightning jars with wire bails or their competitors, and prior to the earliest Mason jars, there were other methods, and that’s what we are looking at today.
In 1858, John Landis Mason patented the basic screwtop canning jar. It used a zinc lid and a rubber band to provide an airtight seal, and with only minor modifications this method would remain unchanged until WWII. Mason revolutionized home canning with his simple invention, as it brought the reliability of consistently made canning jars, lids and rings into the public sphere for the first time. Prior to that, our ancestors had all manner of ways to put food up in glass and crockery jars.
In 1810, Nicolas Appert, a French inventor, worked out the idea of hermetically sealing food in jars after cooking it. His methods involved placing food in jars, corking it, sealing the cork with wax, wrapping the jar in cloth and then boiling it. While science tells us now that the boiling of the jar essentially pasteurized it, Appert was unaware of the scientific reasons that ensured his method worked, only that it in fact worked. He was the first to put up food in glass jars, and he thought it was the exclusion of air that preserved the food (he was half right; the other half was in the boiling).
But prior to his efforts, people were still storing food in jars and crocks. The most common methods involved cooking food with a high sugar content or pickling them. In either case, the final product was placed in glass or crockery jars, and sealed in some form or another with glass, crockery, wooden or metal lids, wax, cloth or paper. Here we see the origins of canned food, but grossly lacking in the kind of processing that allows for safe, long-term storage. Such foods relied on their ingredients, being closed off from the air and stored in a cool dark place, and some of them are considered unsafe today.
The mid- to late-19th century was a boomtime for canning jars and canning technology. Before the Mason jar, we would see “wax sealers,” which used a glass lid and ring of hot wax to provide an airtight seal. This technology is echoed by modern homesteaders who may still use wax to seal jars of jams and jellies. It should be cautioned that wax-sealing of any sort, with or without a lid, was not always successful when it was in vogue, and should not be practiced now; it’s impossible to tell if you’ve gotten a good seal, and it’s easy to break the seal. I remember eating jams put up in wax-sealed jars by my grandmother, but I’d be hard-pressed to do it today.
Another common sort of jar was the “Lighting” or wire bail jar. Countless variations on this theme exist, ranging from the common sort we may know today to complex systems involving levers or even thumbscrews. All work on the same idea, though, of securely latching a glass lid over a rubber ring that has been sealed through boiling.
The harsh reality is until the 19th century, canning really didn’t exist, and food storage in jars, bottles and crocks was as much hit and miss, as accepting the fact you were stuck with heavily brined or sugared food. Modern concepts of sanitation did not exist, and stored foods were at a greater risk of loss through spoilage.
The current Mason jar, with its on-time use metal lid and reusable metal rings, represents the ultimate in home glass jar canning, and should be embraced with great vigor, due to the low cost, ease of use and proven sanitary track record. If you have older shoulder-seal jars like the old blue Ball jars, or wire bail seal jars, those are best left for decoration or dry storage, and given a gentle and loving retirement.
If you are looking to understand and practice home canning as done by our ancestors, then applying modern sanitary methods and storage, combined with well-made modern storage containers can be rewarding, but outside of an emergency, such methods should really only be practiced for entertainment. An exception could be argued in favor of certain pickling techniques, but those exceed the scope of this article.
Hundreds of companies made thousands of variations of canning jars through WWII, and many still survive today. They are a fascinating glimpse into a time in our nation’s history when self-reliance and sufficiency was an important part of many American’s lifestyles, and the ability to “put up” food for the winter could mean the difference between life and death.
How To Make Homemade Jam Without Adding Pectin Nothing says “summer preserving” more than homemade jam, but if you’re using store-bought pectin, you may be adding ingredients that you’d rather leave out. Nearly all of the boxed and liquid pectins that you can buy at the store contain genetically modified ingredients, something many people are …
I’m not much of a cook. In fact, I almost always eat plain food–sandwiches, grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, etc. If I ever do follow a recipe, it’s a recipe for survival food or preservation, and never for anything really fancy. So naturally, I don’t visit recipe sites like AllRecipes.com very often. But recently a friend […]
The post Hundreds of Free Canning and Preserving Recipes in One Place appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
Nothing is more of a summer tradition here at our house than making enough homemade jam from fresh fruit to see us through the winter. Get some fruit, some sugar, … Read the rest
When preparing food for long-term storage, consider how much is required, how long it needs to last, its nutritional value, and the resources available for preparation. Depending on your goals, there is a long-term food storage method for you.
- Depending on the emergency, freezing may be an acceptable option. Storage times vary depending on the type of item and its packaging, but meats can last up to two years when frozen properly. Blanch fruits and vegetables to halt quality-compromising enzymatic processes before freezing them. Most of the nutritional content remains stable when frozen items are stored in air-tight packaging.
- Dehydrated items maintain much of their nutritional content. Herbs, which are both beneficial to health and flavorful, are good candidates for dehydration. Fruits and vegetables also store well when dried. Blanch vegetables and fruits first to extend their shelf life. You can use a dehydrator or your oven on low heat to dehydrate items.
- The key with dehydration is to ensure that all of the moisture has been removed. Food fresh off the dehydrator may still feel soft or moist. Follow instructions for each food, and take a sample off the dehydrator to cool for a minute or two in order to test its dryness. Dehydrated items should be stored in cool, dry, dark places. Use glass jars and vacuum-sealed pouches to extend the life of dehydrated foods.
- The curing process harnesses the power of salt to eliminate moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria. Curing can be time intensive at the outset, but it will enable you to preserve flavorful meat for extended periods of time.
- Dry curing involves coating a cut of meat in salt and other herbs and letting it set for an extended period. Smoking is another method of curing which adds flavor to meats. Brining is a wet curing method in which meat is soaked in a salt-rich solution. Research instructions for dry curing, brining, and smoking before using any of these methods. If cured incorrectly, items can harbor botulism, which can lead to food-borne illness.
- Canning is a time-tested method for preserving fruits and vegetables. The acidity of the food will help you determine how to process it. Most jams and tomato-based products are safe to prepare through boiling. Low-acid vegetables and meats necessitate the use of a pressure canner. It is wise to look for updated canning recipes to ensure that new food safety measures are included in the instructions. Once food is canned, check to make sure that the jars are sealed. Store canned items in a dark, cool, and dry environment. With regard to shelf life, items with a high acidity can last one to one and a half years. Foods with a low acidity can last up to five years.
- Fermented foods have been making a comeback in recent years. Their popularity is likely due to the health benefits associated with consuming them. Items like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles are rich in pro-biotics. During a disaster, the benefits that fermented items have on the immune system make them must-haves.
- The fermentation process involves many considerations. Fermenting can extend the life of your foods for months or years. While the items may be safe to consume after extended periods, their health benefits may decrease as they age. Using a fermentation pot is the most common way to get results.
- Vacuum sealing may be performed on nearly any food. It is important to remember that vacuum sealing is most often used as an adjunct to other preservation methods. For example, you may vacuum seal meat, but you will still have to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer in order for it to be safe. Jerkies and dried fruits and vegetables may also be vacuum sealed to increase their shelf lives.
- Vacuum sealing can be accomplished with equipment such as the Food Saver, but Mylar bags may also be used without a special machine. If you are not using a machine to suck the air out of the packaging, oxygen absorbing pouches can be used to achieve the same effect. This method is great for processing bulk grains. Vacuum sealed bags can be placed in five-gallon plastic buckets to make them easy to store and protect them from pests.
There are so many options for long term food storage. A conscientious prepper will take advantage of multiple food preservation methods in order to reap the benefits of each type. With proper research about storage environments, recipes, and food safety guidelines, it is possible to maintain a safe, balanced, and flavorful food supply – even during a disaster.
How To Can BUTTER For Food Storage I have been reading a lot of canning articles and looking at a lot of canning websites as I want to start canning my vegetables I am growing this year. I never knew you could can butter. I know there are foods you shouldn’t can and I honestly …
5 Ways to Store Food Long-Term Dry Pack Canning is the process used to store foods that have less than 10% moisture and are low in oil content. When properly done, these items will last a long time, maybe even 30 years under certain conditions. We’ve talked in the past about the reasons to have extra […]
Making Raspberry Jam with Clear Jel:
The recipe calls for crushed berries. I use my potato masher/ricer.
Mix the dry ingredients to the heated berry mixture slowly. Bring to a boil.
Would you like the Recipe?
1/4 cup lemon juice
7 tablespoons Clear Jel®
Sugar to taste (approximately 1 1/2 cup)
Add lemon juice to berries. Combine Clear Jel® with 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add to berries. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add rest of sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour into jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or freeze.
Take Home Points:
- Clear Jel is shelf stable and according to my research lasts indefinitely. Compare that with traditional products that are used to make jam.
- Jam recipes calling for Clear Jel often use nearly half of the sugar that traditional jam recipes call for.
- When added to dry ingredients, it mixes well and give the jam a wonderful consistency.
- This is a simple recipe that does not take a lot of time.
- Rooster Senior has already polished off one jar. Rooster Junior took a jar, and I have 2 to the neighbors already. The magic or jam brings smiles to all those who receive it!
Where do you purchase Clear Jel?
When we work our way toward a goal of self-sufficiency, a lot of times producing and preserving food comes up. There are lots of methods, and there are thankfully things like dry meats, grains and legumes, and fruits and veggies that can go straight into cellars and other cold storage. However, for most of us, […]
It is never more gratifying to be a gardener than when luscious ripe tomatoes are rolling off the plants and into our kitchens. For most of us, though, there are often far more tomatoes than we can eat at the time. After slicing, sautéing, roasting, making salads and salsa, adding to pizza and ratatouille and grilled burgers, and filling the freezer with sauce, there is only option left.
It is time to can tomatoes. People have been canning tomatoes for long enough that everyone and their great-grandmother—and I do mean that literally—has strong opinions on how it should be done. Some folks use strictly paste tomatoes, meaning only those varieties developed specifically for use in homemade sauces. Others use any varieties of tomatoes at all, from commercial or traditional to heirloom, in all shapes and sizes.
There is no single correct answer when it comes to the best tomato varieties for canning. The primary difference is that paste types usually have less water content and therefore require less reduction for sauces and ketchup. Taste, texture and personal preference are factors that matter.
The thing about canning tomatoes is that there are a lot of choices, not the least of which is whether to use a pressure canner or a boiling water bath canner. And the right answer to this question is that both methods are correct.
This is unusual. For almost every other food, there is only one right choice. All vegetable, meats and seafood products need to be pressure-canned for safety. And while fruits can be processed using a pressure canner, it would diminish the quality of the product.
So why can tomatoes go either way? To explain, let me first talk about acid. The value of various foods are either very acidic—which registers very low numbers on the pH scale—or very neutral and registering very high pH numbers.
Almost all fruits range from 3.0 to 4.0 and are considered to be high acid. Vegetables range from 4.8 to 7.0 and are considered to be low acid.
And then there are tomatoes. The average tomato sits at 4.6, right on the cusp of high acid versus low acid. In this sentence, “average” is the key word. If the average is at 4.6, that means there are some varieties that are a tad more acidic, and a few—particularly some of the heirloom types—that are a little less acidic.
Therefore, the safety rule with tomatoes is to acidify them. By adding a little acidic content to every jar of canned tomatoes, we can be absolutely sure that they are adequately acid. Just a tablespoon of lemon juice or ¼ teaspoon of citric acid per pint of tomatoes does the trick. It is super easy, inexpensive and does not affect the taste of the finished product.
It may sound as if it is alright to skip the acidification step—adding the lemon juice or citric acid—if you are pressure canning, but that is not the case. Acid needs to be added with both processes, and here is why: The directions and processing times for both canning methods have been tested using acidified tomatoes. If you do not use added acid, the processing times given may not be adequate.
The major difference in canning tomatoes using the boiling water bath method versus pressure canning is processing time.
For example, tomatoes packed in water take 40-50 minutes (depending upon the size of the jars) in a boiling water bath canner and only 10 minutes in a pressure canner. Tomatoes with no added liquid take a whopping 85 minutes in a boiling water bath canner and 25 minutes in a pressure canner. With crushed tomatoes, there is a huge time difference as well—35 to 45 minutes versus 15 minutes.
However, there is more than just processing time to consider. Using a pressure canner involves 10 minutes of venting, several minutes to build pressure, and more time to depressurize after processing. When you add it up, the actual time differences are less dramatic.
So why use a pressure canner for tomatoes? Many people say it is about the quality of the finished food. Pressure canned tomatoes often have brighter colors and flavors, retaining more of that tart zing that only a fresh backyard tomato can pack.
Either way, there are some basics to go by. Following is a synopsis, although complete step-by-step directions can be found either in Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving, which can be purchased for under $10 at most stores, or accessed free online at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Prepare your supplies. Wash and rinse jars and lids, and keep warm. Assemble equipment: canner, jar lifter, funnel and headspace tool.
- Peel tomatoes by dipping in scalding water until skin loosens, plunge in ice water to make them cool enough to handle, and pull skins off. Trim ends. Cut or crush as needed for recipe.
- Prepare your canner and heat the water to simmering.
- Add lemon juice or citric acid to each jar.
- Pack tomatoes according to recipe: crushed, whole or halved packed in water or tomato juice, or whole or halved with no liquid added. Add salt if desired.
- Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust lids to finger tight.
- Process in either boiling water bath canner or pressure canner, following times and procedures for the one you are using.
Processing times cannot safely be mixed and matched. It will not work to use pressure canning times in a boiling water bath canner, or to go with times given for whole tomatoes with added liquid for crushed tomatoes. If using the boiling water bath method for whole tomatoes, follow that recipe to the letter.
I have canned many tomatoes and have used very nearly all of the permutations—with liquid and without, whole and crushed, boiling water bath or pressure canner processed. I admit that I do not have a single go-to way of doing it. An hour and 25 minutes is a long process time, but once it’s boiling, I can set it and forget it. Pressure-canned tomatoes do seem a little tastier, but it is more of a multi-step process than a boiling water bath. Crushed tomatoes are easier to pack into jars, but require more prep work and yield a product that I tend to use less in recipes. Most years, I do a variety.
Even though it seems a little more complicated at the outset, tomatoes are the perfect food for canning and are just right for those who prefer a wide variety of methods. And as long as you use an approved recipe, there is no wrong way to can garden-fresh tomatoes.
What canning advice would you add? Share your tips and secrets in the section below:
Do you have tomatoes running out your ears? Get more. Once you taste genuine homemade spaghetti sauce you will definitely want enough that you never have to resort to … Read the rest
The post A Guide to Making and Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Like an Italian Grandma appeared first on The Organic Prepper.
It’s apricot season! If you have access to an apricot tree, you know they can produce plenty of the sweet tart little guys. Where we live, apricots are a luxury, only producing on years where there is a mild enough spring not to freeze all the blossoms. And this year is one of those! I’ll be posting a few different ways to preserve them over the next couple of days so you can get some variety in how you preserve your apricot harvest this year. One of the easiest and tastiest ways to can a lot of apricots is to make apricot nectar. It’s so pretty, and tastes fantastic!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Fresh apricots
- Fruit Fresh (optional)
- Lemon Juice
- Food sieve or strainer (like you’d use for making apple sauce). Here’s a great one I’ve used, or this one makes it SO easy if you have a Kitchenaid mixer.
- Jars and canning lids
- Canning funnel
- Water bath canner
Step 1: Pick and wash your apricots.
We only hire the best 5 year old help around here.
And I set up the washing/halving station outside to save some mess in my house, so we’re washing in a big mixing bowl like this one.
Step 2: Halve the apricots, discarding the pits and trimming off any damaged parts.
Hire the kids for this part!
I put the cut apricots directly into a mixture of 2 quarts water and 2 TB Fruit Fresh to keep them from browning while we cut the rest. This is entirely optional, but does help preserve the color.
Step 3: Cook the apricots.
Put the apricot halves in a pot, adding enough water so they don’t stick to the pan, and boil them until soft. Apricots that are more ripe will soften faster.
Step 4: Run the softened apricot mixture through your food sieve.
I use my Kitchen-aid with the strainer attachment to make this super easy!
Step 5: Pour strained apricot nectar into a pot and keep it hot while you’re preparing to can it.
At this point I also put the canning lids I’ll be using into a small pot of water and heat them so they’ll be ready to put on the jars and get the canner filled with hot water as well.
Step 6: Fill jars.
Measure 1/2 cup sugar and 1 TB lemon juice into each clean quart jar. A canning funnel makes this step lots less messy! Add apricot nectar to slightly more full than the 1″ headspace you want to end with, and stir it up with a wooden spoon or long handle of any kitchen tool. Air is released from the sugar pile as you stir which will lower the level of liquid in the jar slightly. Don’t stir with metal as it could damage your jars.
Step 7: Put lids on jars.
Wipe the jar rims clean of any residue, apply the hot lids, and screw them on finger tight.
Step 8: Process jars in a water bath canner.
Process 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. I processed mine 20 minutes because we’re at about 5,800 ft. I also set up my canning station outside using a Camp Chef Explorer stove which saves a ton of mess and heat in the house! One of my canners is this larger style that will process 9 quarts at a time instead of the standard 7. Remove from canner and let cool.
Step 9: Enjoy!
If the apricot nectar is too thick for your liking or you just want to mix it up a bit, you can add water, or it is fabulous mixed with apple or pineapple juice. Yum!
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Canning Water In Case Of Emergencies In all my years as a prepper I have not come across this. I feel really silly looking at this because I am saying to myself “why didn’t I do this sooner”. Water is the most important thing to have in an emergency so wouldn’t it make sense to …
Everything You Need to Know About Canning Jars (And More!) Canning and the canning jars we know and use today have a rich and long history behind them. Knowing the history of not only the jars we use, but also how it was first discovered to be a viable method of food preservation is surprising. …
The post Everything You Need to Know About Canning Jars (And More!) appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Complete List of Home Canning Recipes These canning recipes will not only keep you busy any time of the year but they will keep your grocery bills low too. Canning any time of the year is just wonderful. If you have an abundance of crops, fruits and veggies to eat or get rid of, canning …
People have been canning at home for years … decades actually. With all of this experience, you would think we all would know what can be canned in pressure cookers. We don’t.
In fact, many people are under the very wrong assumption that fruits, vegetables and things like jam and soup are the only things they can home can.
The reality is that you can home can just about anything you serve your family today. You aren’t limited to eating mushy veggies and fruits if you are relying on your food storage.
You are in for a real treat when you see the following list of foods that can be canned and stored for years. Check out nine things you can preserve in your pressure canner so your family will be eating like kings for years down the road.
1. Hamburger patties. Imagine being able to have a juicy burger, perfectly seasoned, after a blackout. The next time ground beef goes on sale or you get a great deal on a side of beef, you don’t have to put it all in the freezer. It isn’t just patties you can preserve. Ground beef, in general, can be stored for years on your pantry shelf – as can meatballs.
2. Chicken legs and thighs. Eating your favorite cut of chicken cooked the way you like is a pretty common comfort food. You can bake it, fry it or put it on the barbecue with your favorite sauce. Your family will love the idea of their favorite meal, just like they used to eat, when things were normal. You can buy packs of chicken legs and thighs for just a few dollars. This is an excellent, inexpensive way to stock your food storage shelves. Chicken breasts are also an option.
3. Fish. Going fishing is a fun activity and instead of wrapping up your catch and popping it in the freezer, can it instead! Salmon, steelhead, halibut and trout are all excellent tasting after the canning process. You can fillet the fish or dice it up. You don’t need to add any salt or preservatives to the water in the jar. Let the fish do the flavoring. Add a little vegetable oil if you like.
4. Pot roast. It often goes on sale and the next time it does, buy a bunch and home can it. Cutting the roast into small chunks, adding a little salt and then processing it in the pressure cooker is all you need to do to add some nice red meat to your food storage.
5. Bacon. This is something few people want to live without. Canning it and adding it to your food storage means that, during a blackout or crisis, you will be able to make Sunday breakfast like you used to, bacon included.
6. Hot dogs. OK, it may not be the healthiest food, but imagine being able to grill up some hot dogs or whip up a batch of corn dogs for your little ones, even if the food in the freezer is spoiled. Hot dogs are cheap and often go on sale during the summer months, which is a perfect time to load up.
7. Butter. This is another staple you won’t want to live without. Load up on butter when it goes on sale and melt it down to put into your canning jars. It is important to note that the USDA does not have any approved methods for canning dairy products, and actually discourages it. However, any seasoned homesteader or canner will probably tell you many stories about eating canned butter without getting sick. Ghee, which is basically canned butter — regularly used in foreign countries.
8. Cheese. Cheese, glorious cheese in all styles like mozzarella, cheddar and even cream cheese. Again, this is another one of those items that people have been home canning for decades, but there is no official approved method. There is always some concern about bacteria growth, but if you go through the canning process the right way and store the jars in cool areas, you reduce the risk of bacteria growing and making anybody ill.
9. Cake. This is something nobody wants to live without, but baking a cake during a blackout or emergency could be difficult. Having jars filled with your favorite flavor of cake ready to eat when you get that craving will be an appreciated luxury. Cake mixes are easy to make or buy in bulk and you can fill your shelves with lots of cooked cakes to make any occasion a little more special.
What foods would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
What about the milk and eggs? If you have a food stockpile, then at some point you probably asked yourself this question. Most people purchase milk and eggs every week, and the only place you can keep them is in the refrigerator. So how are you supposed to stock up on these things when they […]
Naturally, your garden harvest will come during the summer – quite possibly when the weather is hot. Have you ever wondered if there is a way to avoid getting your kitchen and house from getting miserably HOT while canning? Here’s what I do… CAN OUTSIDE! Simple, right? Here are a few photos of my […]
24 Food Storage Tips From 100 Years Ago I have always struggled with my food. When I first started prepping I would just buy extra food and then forget about it. Then years later I would go to it and it had expired, I know you can still eat it but with the meat I …
Clean and rinse beans to make sure there aren’t any rocks etc.
I then soaked 3/4 of a cup of beans in each jar full of water overnight.
Next morning drain water and refill with fresh water
These need to go for 70 minutes at 10 pounds.
SUPER easy. For me, even better than Mylar bags for long term storage.
One pint of home canned is about 2 store bought cans. Those beans are packed in there where a store bought has more water.
Rough break down of cost
Canning jars: $7.50 per doz (.62 per jar)
Beans roughly .25 per jar full.
So around .87 a pint
Not including electricity for the stove
And more bang for your bean in terms of servings.
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How To Can Food Without Electricity Canning is a safe sure way of having food after any disaster. Canning is fun and a great family night spent preparing. I call canning my insurance for the future, Now, if SHTF how can you carry on canning? There is no electricity or gas? Growing a garden, hunting …
Garden season is starting to heat up, and that means it won’t be long until the produce starts to roll in! As much as we love creating meals from all of the fresh berries, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and more during growing season –
The post Planning To Can and Freeze – Stocking Our Pantry From The Garden appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.
Canning is an annual task for all homesteaders, ensuring a long-lasting stockpile of meals to eat.
And while most people may think of staples such as relish, pickles, tomatoes and olives, canning actually can include foods such as meatloaf, ground beef and chicken.
But if canning is not done properly, the food can quickly go bad, leading to illness or even death due to Botulism.
Stay safe this year when canning by avoiding these five mistakes:
1. Not property sterilizing
Cleaning the jars, bands and lids is essential to ensuring that no bacteria can grow. The method to follow when sterilizing the jars is to first wash them in the sink with hot soapy water. Then put them in hot, boiling water for 10 minutes. For the bands and lids, it is appropriate to just wash them in hot soapy water.
Ball actually discourages the boiling of lids, due to the fact that it could damage the rubber gasket. Ball’s recommendation is to simmer (180 degrees Fahrenheit) and not boil (212) the lids.
2. Not following the recipe
Everything that is stated in a recipe is there for a reason. From preparing the food to how much headspace is needed – it is all required. Most importantly, make sure to pay attention to the various times in the recipe. Additionally, choose a recipe from a credited source. You may be placing these jars in storage for months or even years, and it’s no time to cut corners.
3. Not property sealing
This is the whole magic behind canning. To hear that “pop” is music to a homesteader’s ears. When putting the food into the jar, it is a great idea to use a funnel. This will help ensure that any food chunks do not get on the rim of the jar. Then, have a warm and clean towel ready to wipe off the tops. Next, when placing the band and lid on, hold the lid with one finger while twisting the band on. This should allow for proper sealing.
4. Now allowing the pressure canner to cool down by itself
After letting the pressure out of the canner, as directed by a recipe, you can simply leave it alone. Speeding up the process by putting the canner under cool water can lead to problems, such as the cracking of jars or the food being under-processed. These extra few minutes actually are critical to the canning process.
5. Not using the correct method of canning (hot water bath or pressure)
The rule of thumb is to put non-acid foods such as peas or chicken into a pressure canner and acidic foods such a pickles or jam into a hot water bath. The reason is simple: The potentially deadly Clostridium botulinum spores don’t grow in acidic foods.
What would you add to this list? Share your canning tips in the section below:
Care and Maintenance of Pressure Canners As preppers, it can be a challenge to think of all the little details. Rotating everything into your normal food stock as it nears expiration is, in itself, a chore! It can be very easy to overlook the maintenance of pressure canners. If you are like the millions of …
How to Preserve Meat: 5 Easy Ways Let’s face it: meat doesn’t have a very long lifespan. If left out in the open, it will deteriorate in quality very quickly, essentially becoming useless. But if you know the different techniques for preserving meat, then you can make it last much longer without going bad. One …
Sweet. Smoky. Spicy. Is there anything better than these flavor combinations? This recipe happened purely by chance when I accidently let a pot of strawberry preserves go too long on the stove. I’m not about to let a pot of preserves go to waste, so I decided to make a barbecue sauce out of it. My mistake ended up being one of the best recipes I have ever come up with!
The chipotles will balance out the sweetness of the strawberries and really give some oomph to this sauce and is amazing on all meat types. My family loved it on ribs, chicken and pork tenderloin.
Now that barbecue season is quickly approaching, I thought I’d share this new take on the traditional bbq sauce and kick things up a notch. Happy grilling!
Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce
- 4 cups strawberries, hulled (if they are large cut them in half)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
- 2 tablespoon garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- In a large pot, sterilize pint size canning jars, lids and rims.
- In a large sauce pan, add strawberries, lemon and sugar and cook over medium heat until they start to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Skim off any foam that may develop from the cooking process.
- Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until pureed. Add ingredients to strawberries and simmer for 2o minutes.
- Ladle bbq sauce into canning jars, remove air bubbles and wipe rims before sealing.
- Process in hot water bath for 20 minutes.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
To most people, canning appears to be the scariest and most complicated food preservation method. It requires specialized equipment, recipes, knowledge, and can even be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. But before you panic and abandon the idea of canning altogether, keep reading. The basics of canning and how to do it […]
Knowledge on canning non-acidic foods is invaluable to the modern homesteader. Knowing that these canned items will rest safely on the shelves of your storage room or pantry – and be edible when you need them – can give you peace of mind.
What Is Non-Acidic Food?
Non-acid foods do not contain acids like tomatoes do, and they are not canned with vinegar. As stated by the Ball website, non-acidic foods need to process at a temperature of 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that no fungus grows within the jars.
Non-acidic foods also need to be pressure canned. Unlike non-acidic foods, acidic foods only need to be put into boiling water for a set amount of time. Examples of non-acidic foods include meats, soups and vegetables such as carrots, peas or asparagus.
Materials Needed to Can Non-Acidic Foods
Pressure canning non-acidic foods requires you to have a few items:
- Pressure canner.
- (Make sure there aren’t any indents, scratches, rust, etc., on the bands.)
- (Make sure that there aren’t any scratches or tears on the seals.)
- Clean glass jars.
- Jar lifter (optional).
- Head space measurer (optional).
- Long thin spoon.
- Recipe from a safe canning book such as a Ball book.
How to Pressure Can Non-Acidic Foods
1. The first step to pressure canning is ensuring that the glass jars, bands and lids are cleaned with hot soapy water. Also, make sure that they don’t have any nicks or cracks.
2. Put the jars in hot water until needed. This ensures that when you put the food into the jars and put the jars into the water, they don’t crack.
3. Get the pressure canner and add two to three inches of water into it. Bring and keep the water at a simmer until the cans are ready to be put in.
4. Prep the food that you are putting into the jars. This depends on what your recipe says.
5. Remove the jars from the hot water, and add the food. Make sure the correct headspace is achieved as in the recipe you are using. Take out air bubbles with the spoon or headspace tool.
6. Clean the rims of the jars with a clean moist rag to wipe off all of the junk that could prevent a proper seal.
7. Add the seals and then the bands. Tighten until fingertip tight.
8. Put jars in the pressure canner.
9. Lock the pressure canner and open the vent pipe. Leave the heat on medium to high heat and let it blow steam for 10 minutes to ensure that there isn’t any air in the pressure canner.
10. Close the vent pipe by whatever means is appropriate for your own canner. Allow the pressure to build up to where you need it and then keep it at whatever your recipe calls for by adjusting the heat.
11. When it has finished after the amount of time needed for your recipe, take the jars out of the canner using the jar lifter, if you have one.
12. Put them on a towel or on the stove.
13. Leave them alone for a day to ensure proper sealing.
14. Lastly, check the seals to ensure that they have been properly sealed. You should be able to press on the top and it should not move up and down. Also, try to pry off the seal, gently. If you cannot pull it off and it does not move up or down, then you have a perfect seal. If there is a jar that did not seal, then put it in your fridge and eat it soon. As for the sealed jars, put them in a cool and dark place, label them, and leave them there for as long as they stay good (check the jars every year to ensure they are still sealed and suitable for consumption).
Why You Need to Be Careful
It is critical to ensure that the cans of food are properly pressure canned during the processing. Without proper sealing, mold can grow in it, and one could be Clostridium botulinum. This is a very dangerous mold that can paralyze and kill you. Following these directions will ensure that you have a safe and fruitful canning experience each time!
What advice would you add? Share your thoughts in the section below:
26 Useful Hobbies that Pair Well with Prepping George Matthew Allen once said “People with many interests live, not only the longest, but the happiest.” While I am not sure if Allen said anything else worthwhile, this quote hits home for us preppers. With the majority of the people in the US living sedentary lives, …
Water Bath & Pressure Canning Recipes These water bath and pressure canning recipes will not only rock your socks off but keep you busy all season long. 🙂 Do you want to get into canning your food this year? I have been looking at different canning articles over the past few days and I actually came across …
Yes- this is an extra post today – and we certainly promise that it will be the only “extra post” that you get from us for a long time to come. First and foremost, we always enjoy writing about our
Massive Survival & Preparedness Printable PDF Collection Let’s say you weren’t paying attention to great sites like SHTFPreparedness.com, owned little or no books on preparedness and survival and let’s face it, wanted to learn some new skills quickly because you were caught entirely with your pants down when SHTF. I have been asked a number of …
The post Massive Survival & Preparedness Printable PDF Collection appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
With freeze-dried foods and survival seeds vying for your dollar–not to mention emergency gardens full of fresh foods–pressure canning just doesn’t feel necessary to many people in the preparedness world. If that sounds like you, your feelings are wrong. Having come to preparedness late in the game, I empathize with the overwhelming urge to learn […]
The post 10 Reasons You Should Learn How to Pressure Can Food appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
A couple weeks ago, a friend of a friend remarked during dinner about her enthusiasm for making dandelion jelly. “Tastes like honey…” was her commentary and since I love honey, I purposed to create this nectar of the dandelion at my first opportunity. (In addition to jelly, you can create a syrup or wine from the blossoms as well.)
Dandelion Petals Have Some Medicinal Value
In my research, in most of my go-to resources, I could find no mention of any real medicinal value to the flowers, fresh or as an infusion (the leaves and roots are another story), until I dug into Healing Wise by Susun Weed. (I think it is too funny that that is her name and she is an herbalist!) According to her, dandelion flowers are good for beautification, pain relief and heart health. She says fresh blossoms steeped in boiling water for at least an hour are amazing for beautifying your face and dealing with just about any facial skin anomoly you might have – putting the strained flowers on your face first for a while and then rinsing off with the liquid w/o following with plain water. I must try this!
She recommends making dandelion wine for a heart strengthener and claims that an infusion will rid one of aches of all kinds -head, back, stomach, cramps, etc.! In addition, if you infuse an oil with the blossoms and then rub it into painful, sore and stiff areas, it should help with stiff necks, arthritic joints and such. I have infused St. John’s Wort in oil for this reason…hmmm – I think this year I will add in some dandelion heads!
Now, I’m not sure if any healing value is left after all the processing of a jelly, but it is fun to just know that this is a creation from a gift of nature. These are my favorite ventures in life!
What To Do On A Sunny Day
Yesterday was the sunny, pleasant, relaxed day I was looking for to pick the flowerheads. Little did I know it would take me 3 hours(!!) to collect enough flower petals (a loosely-packed quart) to do a batch of jelly! This is one situation where you want to ask all hands on deck to help because otherwise, I’m just not sure the result justifies the time expense! But for me, I was just enjoying the sun and downtime as I picked enough flowers and de-bracted them.
Don’t Leave Any Green!
Dandelion greens are bitters, so that includes the bracts that hold in the flower petals…it is important that if you want a sweet product, that you remove all the green parts! This is very time consuming! I used my thumbnails and broke each base in half and then ran my thumbnail along the base of the flower head to release the petals. Another friend says you just have to develop a technique of twisting the bracts while squeezing them and the petals will just fall into your hand.
It takes a lot of flower heads to get a quart of petals and honestly, I just had to be done at one point and shook up my jar to expand the volume! (They had indeed settled down into the jar and gotten moist.)
Make the Infusion First
I then brought the petals indoors and boiled them in a pot with 2 quarts of fresh, non-chlorinated water for 10 minutes. I decided to let this infusion sit overnight for the best potency. In the morning, I strained twice, first through a double layer of cheesecloth and then through a coffee filter. I had 6 cups of liquid.
Then Make Jelly!
Using Pomona’s Universal Pectin, I came up with the following recipe for 6 cups of dandelion tea:
3/4 cup fresh (if possible) lemon juice
zest from two lemons
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scooped into the liquid
3 cups sugar
2 Tbs. calcium water
2 Tbs + 1/2 tsp pectin
Then I just followed the general directions for using Pomonas. Altogether I got 5 1/2 pints and 8 4-oz jars. (About 4 1/2 pints)
My honest first impression was that it tasted like lemon meringue pie! This recipe jelled nicely and has a very pleasant delicate lemony-vanilla flavor.
How To Make A DIY Beehive In A Jar There are so many benefits to beekeeping: honey, beeswax, royal jelly and the knowledge that you are helping the bee population survive. It is a fun and rewarding hobby or occupation; more and more people are raising bees in suburban areas than ever. I mean, how …
50 Tips for Eating From the Pantry When You Have No Money for Groceries When do you actually use the stuff in your prepper’s pantry? Have you ever stopped to think about what is the most frequent disaster that causes people to turn to their emergency food supplies? It isn’t what you might think. The …
The post 50 Tips for Eating From the Pantry When You Have No Money for Groceries appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
Small investment, Big return By now you have planned and maybe even planted your garden in the hopes of preserving the harvest in months to come. Even if you don’t have room for a garden you can still preserve fruits and vegetables purchased from the grocer. This week I got a killer deal on asparagus! Start […]
Stockpiling food and other supplies is central to being prepared for an emergency, but there are some foods – such as meat — that are harder to pack for long-term storage than others.
I’m sure there are some people out there who think that they can live off of rice and beans, getting all the protein they need from the beans. While that may be technically true, I, for one, don’t want to try it. Not only am I not a huge fan of beans, but I also am a huge fan of meat. So, I need to have ways of preserving that meat and ensuring that I’ll have it available when a disaster strikes. Fortunately, there are actually a number of ways of preserving meat which work quite well — ways our ancestors used.
The Key to Preserving Meat – Salt
If there’s any one key ingredient for preserving meat, it’s salt. Salt is one of the few natural preservatives, and it works ideally with meat. Salt draws the moisture out of the cells in the meat in a process known as osmosis. Essentially, osmosis is trying to equalize the salinity on both sides of the cell wall (which is a membrane). So, water leaves the cell and salt enters it. When enough water leaves the cell, the cell dies.
This happens with bacteria, as well. Any bacteria that are on the surface of the meat go through the same osmosis process that the cells of the meat do. This dehydrates the bacteria to the point of death. Unfortunately, the salt won’t travel all the way through the meat quickly, killing off the bacteria, so salt is usually used in conjunction with other means of preserving.
Probably the least complex form of preserving meat is canning it. Canning preserves any wet food well through a combination of killing off existing bacteria in the food and container, while providing a container that prevents any further bacteria from entering.
Canning uses heat to kill off bacteria. All you have to do is raise the temperature of the bacteria to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and it dies. This is called “pasteurizing,” so named for Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist who discovered the process in the mid-1800s. To kill viruses, you raise the temperature a bit more, to 174 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only problem with canning meat is that it has to be canned at a higher temperature than fruits and vegetables. This is accomplished by canning it in a pressure canner, essentially a large pressure cooker. The higher atmospheric pressure inside the pressure canner causes the water to boil at a higher temperature, thus cooking the meat.
Meats that are canned tend to be very well-cooked. You have to at least partially cook them before canning, and then the 90 minutes they spend in the canner cooks them further. That makes for very soft meats, but they do lose some of their texture.
Dehydrating takes over where salt leaves off, removing much more moisture from the meat than just salting it will. However, dehydrating of meats is usually combined with salting the meat with a rub or marinating it with a salty marinade. The salt on the outside of the meat attacks any bacteria that approach the meat once it is dehydrated. Meat that is dehydrated without salt won’t last, as the bacteria can attack it.
The American Indians used dehydrating as a means of preserving meat, making jerky. While a very popular snack food today, jerky is excellent survival food. Not only will it keep without refrigeration, but it can be rehydrated for use in soups and stews. That takes it beyond being a snack and makes it possible to use jerky for part of your meals.
Dehydrating can either be done in the sun, in an electric dehydrator or in a solar dehydrator. The American Indians used the sun, hanging strips of meat on poles. However, there is a risk in dehydrating meat as they did, in that the meat may start to spoil before it dries. All fat should be removed from the meat, as the fat can turn rancid.
3. Salt fish
Salt fish is another means of dehydrating meat, something like making fish jerky. It has been done for centuries and is still a popular dish in some countries. Salt fish uses the concept that the salt draws the water out of the fish, starting the drying process. This is accomplished by packing the fish fillets in alternating layers of salt and fish. Then, the fish is sun dried to complete the process.
Smoking is another method that combines salt with a secondary method of preservation. For preserving, one must use hot smoking, which cooks the meat, and not just cold smoking, which is used to flavor the meat. Typically, the process consists of three major steps: soaking the meat in brine (salt water), cold smoking and then hot smoking.
When meat is smoked, the proteins on the outer layer of the meat form a skin, called a pellicle. This is basically impervious to any bacteria, protecting the meat. However, if the meat is cut, such as to cut off a steak from a chunk of smoked meat, the open surface can be attacked by bacteria.
In olden times, this problem was solved by hanging the meat in the smokehouse once again. In some homes, the kitchen chimney was large enough to be used as a smokehouse, and meat was hung in it, where the constant smoke helped to protect it. Most of the fat was usually trimmed off the meat, so that it would not turn rancid.
One nice thing about smoking meats, besides that it adds that lovely smoke flavor, is that the smoking process is a slow-cooking process, much like cooking meat in a crockpot. This helps to break down the fiber in the meat, turning otherwise tough cuts of meat tender.
The deli meats we pay top dollar for today are actually cured meats. Curing is a process that combines smoking, with salt, sugar and nitrites. Together, these act as an almost perfect preservative, protecting the meat from decay-causing bacteria. Technically, smoking is a type of curing, but normally when we talk about curing, we’re referring to what is known as “sausage curing,” which is the method used for making most sausage and lunch meat.
The curing process is all about killing the bacteria and is done mostly by the addition of salt to the meat. For sausage curing, the meat is ground and then mixed with fat, spices salt and whatever else is going to be used (some sausage includes cheese). It is then allowed to sit, in order for the salt to permeate all the meat and kill the bacteria. Cooking or smoking is accomplished once the curing is done.
Curing meats, like smoking, tenderizes it. So, traditionally, the tougher, lower grade cuts of meat were usually used for the making of most of what we know today as lunch meats. One nice thing about properly cured meats is that they can be left out, with no risk of decay, even when they have been cut. That is, if it is properly cured. I wouldn’t try that with commercially prepared lunchmeats, as they are not cured with the idea of leaving them out.
What meat-preserving methods would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:
9 Good Reasons to Can Your Own Food Canning your own food will not only save you money at the grocery store but it will give your family “food insurance” if SHTF. I touched on this a little in my 6 Secrets of Hot Water Bath Canning You May Not Know article. Now is the perfect time …
How To Preserve Dairy Products For Emergency Situations When it comes to being prepared, food and water is usually right at the top of the list. The focus is generally on getting proteins stored for the long term but many of them overlook the importance of having preserved dairy products on hand as well. Sure, …
The post How To Preserve Dairy Products For Emergency Situations appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
There is nothing like freshly picked sun-kissed berries. We have a plethora of wild growing berries where I live and I love to preserve them. I tend to draw on more natural based recipes that have been passed down from my pioneer ancestors, like the ones found in my prepper cookbook. After all, past generations didn’t have packets of pectin in their pantries and still their preserves always came out delicious; so this is me paying homage to my people.
This recipe for raspberry jam is delicious and has a touch of vanilla to intensify the flavors and doing have added ingredients like corn syrup that you find in store bought preserves. As I was making this recipe the other night, my daughters flocked into the kitchen to “taste test” the jam bubbling away on the stove. What I love most about this recipe is it is so easy and always cooks up with just the right thickness.
Raspberry Vanilla Jam
Makes 5 – 1 pint jars
- 4 cups raspberries
- 4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (Here’s an easy recipe for making your own vanilla extract)
- Wash and sterilize canning jars. Boil the flat parts of the lids in a small pot and keep at a low simmer.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add fruit, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Mash the fruit with a potato masher and skim off any foam that may form and discard.
- When mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to continue to softly boil for 5 minutes. Tip: Stir regularly to prevent scorching. You will know that the jam is done with a gel forms on a spoon.
- Remove jam from heat and let sit for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. It will thicken slightly.
- Ladle jam into hot jars, clean rims, then place flat lid on jars, and add screw bands.
- Immerse jars in hot water bath, and boil rapidly for 15 minutes (check your elevation areas and adjust the cooking time accordingly).
- Remove from bath and place on a towel on the counter to cool. If jars aren’t sealed within 12 hours then move them to the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Pot Roast in a Jar Recipe – Canning Roast Beef For all you folks that are prepping this is a great idea to can a pot roast. I’m all for stockpiling MRE’s, but why not have food fit for a King? I am going to be learning the skill of canning shortly but i wanted to …
Pressure Canning on Propane vs Electric Stoves Pressure canning is a wonderful food preservation method that can be done on both electric and propane stoves. You would think canning on propane would be more difficult than on an electric range. This article compared the two types of canning and details both the good and the …
Chances are good your stockpile is filled with commercially canned and home canned foods. A jam-packed food storage area is a necessity in these uncertain times, and preserving fresh vegetables and foods is one of the best ways to store food for future shortages.
Of course, canning foods at home is economical and easy. Yet there are some differences between home canning and factory canning that are important to understand in order to choose effective stored items to feed your family in the future.
Food safety is no trivial concern, and the safety of your stored supply should be foremost in your mind. Spoiled emergency food is more than a liability; it could kill. Botulism is a real danger in canned foods, but you can learn to safeguard yourself and recognize spoilage in preserved foods. With proper storage techniques, monitoring and labeling, you will have a reliable and ready supply of food when you need it.
It is difficult to determine how long canned goods can be safely stored. While most experts agree that canned goods cannot be stored forever, the truth is that not many studies have been performed. These days, people are usually too wary of the expiration dates stamped on commercial products to keep and eat food stored after these dates; most “expired” cans are thrown away. Canned goods do not require a “best before” date, because they are shelf-stable when their packaging remains undamaged. Most commercially canned foods will have a date on them showing about three years from packing. According to the USDA, high-acid canned foods can be eaten for about a year and a half, and low-acid foods for five years after packing. Many foods will still be edible for a long time after that, though.
Canned goods prepared under proper conditions and stored properly are sterile; however, they do suffer some nutritional loss. In 1974, scientists conducted tests on a supply of canned goods that were more than 40 years old. They evaluated nutritional content and bacterial spoilage, and found that the canned foods were safe to eat. Vitamin A and C content has been shown to drop in canned foods, and in some by as much as 5-20 percent annually. The safety of the canned items is only compromised if the can itself becomes damaged.
The conditions under which canned foods are stored is an important concern. Cans should be kept between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and prevented from freezing and overheating. They must be stored in spaces relatively free of moisture and out of danger of being damaged. Dented, rusted and broken cans can harbor unsafe food, because flaws in the packaging can allow air and bacteria access to the food inside. Foods stored in glass jars must be protected from light exposure and, of course, breakage.
Monitor and document your canned foods carefully to ensure they will be safe to eat when you need them. All cans and jars should be labeled and marked with their contents and packaging date, so they will be identifiable if the paper labels are detached. If you create an inventory, you can keep track of any incidents that may affect the shelf life, as well as plan what to eat first to make sure older food is consumed before newer items.
It is important to be able to recognize unsafe foods in your stored supply; carefully observing cans and maintaining records will help you notice if the appearance of cans changes. According to the CDC, food may be contaminated if the container is leaking, bulging, swelling or if the food inside is foaming, moldy or smells bad. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your food; throw away anything that seems suspect without tasting it.
Anecdotal evidence of storing home-canned goods and eating after five to 10 years exists; not too long ago it was not uncommon to store food for hard times and eat it many years later. Despite this, most canning experts and food safety agencies recommend eating home-canned goods no more than two years after packaging. The difference between home and commercially canned foods is in the preparation; it is more difficult to maintain sterile conditions at home than within a commercial processing facility. Properly observing canning standards can ensure safer, longer-lasting home-canned goods; it is essential to learn how to preserve sterilization if you want to rely on home canning.
Canned foods are among the best options for stockpiling. Be certain to store all preserved food under proper conditions to ensure its viability to sustain you when you need it. If you are home-canning for your stockpile, you absolutely must observe rigorous sanitation practices throughout the canning process. Monitor all canned goods for signs of spoilage, and don’t risk the serious illness or death that may result from eating spoiled items. With careful preparation, storage and routine inspection, your home-canned goods can become an important part of your long-term food plan and contribute to the security of your family in times of shortage.
What is your experience – how long have your canned foods lasted? Share your observations in the section below:
How to Build Inexpensive Basement Storage Shelves Having room to store your preps is always going to be a tough one. Shelving and storage is expensive and could cost in the hundreds if not considerably more. My family and I have a small house and we have plenty of storage issues! So I did what I do …