Guide to Preserving Food at Home

by on September 4th, 2013

Storing food from your garden or local farmer’s market is a great way to have healthy, mostly preservative free food for your family. And many times it cost a whole lot less than buying it in the store. Here are the most popular DIY methods of preserving food at home with links to some great sites with detailed how to’s.

Canning

Acidic foods like tomatoes, fruits or jams and jellies are the simplest foods to can.  The food is placed in clean, warm bottles, sealed and then boiled in water for a set period of time.  Most other types of foods need to be canned using a pressure method.  You’ll need a special pressure canner – either a stove top or electric variety.  While the equipment cost can add up, you’ll be able to re-use everything year after year.  Check out these sites for more info:

Freezing Foods

Because canning requires special equipment, freezing is a popular alternative especially if you have the space.  You can freeze just about anything but save your freezer space for meats, fruits and leftovers.  Unless you’ve got a bumper crop, frozen veggies are plentiful and cheap at the grocery store year round.  Download this freezing chart to see how long you can keep various types of food.

Drying

Drying works well for spices, fruits and even vegetables.  Little preparation is needed, but it takes the longest time especially if you “sun dry” foods.   Use your oven or special food dryers to speed things up.  Store your dried goodies in air-tight containers.  Find details on drying foods at this site.

Homemade Mixes

If canning is not for you and you don’t have a lot of freezer space, consider making mixes with ingredients you buy in bulk or some of your garden bounty that you’ve dried.  Ideal for baking mixes, sauces, side dishes and soups, here are some posts with great recipes for creating your own mixes.  Find more recipes at these sites:

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