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A Few Basics For Food Storage

In the not too distant past, drying, salting, and live storage were the only ways know for preserving foods. The Indians of the North and South depended on sun-dried foods. The American settlers survived bitter winters by salt-cured foods and live foods in root cellars. Caesar’s army carried pickled foods and China dined on salt-cured vegetables.

Canning has been one of the most popular methods of preserving food since 1809, when the technique was first developed. Canning must be carried out with careful care if bacterial contamination and spoilage are to be avoided. You must choose the proper canning method and follow procedures exactly, and adjust for high altitudes if needed.

Salt was a treasured commodity in the ancient world not only for its flavor but also for its preservative properties. When produce is impregnated with salt, moisture is drawn out and the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria inhibited. Now, there are four basic methods of salt curing: dry salting, brining, low-salt fermentation, and pickling.

Dehydration opens a new awareness of rich taste. Our great-grandfathers used to sun-dehydrate their food many years ago as one of their few means of food preservation. With modern technology it still remains one of the best means of preserving food.

Fermentation of vegetables is the same type of process as salting and brine. Fermenting vegetables is a simple, inexpensive method for preserving both meat and vegetables. It requires no special equipment, materials or skill. In many rural areas, or when it isn’t feasible to freeze, dry, or can, this method is used.

Smoking meat has a very palatable flavor. Smoking is a simple process to dry out meat. Smoking tends to inhibit bacterial action and cool smoked meats need no refrigeration.

In preserving bulk foods you must fumigate to protect your food from becoming infested with weevils or spoilage. There are several varieties of weevil, such as the saw toothed grain beetles, larder beetles, flour beetles, weevils, several kinds of moths, and cockroaches. Many of these are injurious. Under proper conditions these larvae can eat the germ or life-giving properties of grains so there is no vitamins or nutrients left.

The best way to fumigate is with Dry Ice.

Place a handful of grain or other food in the bottom of container; place one or two cubic inches of dry ice on top of it. Pour the remaining grain or other food on top of the dry ice. Fill the container and leave two inches headspace in each can. Do Not Place The Lid On The Container Until The Dry Ice Has Completely Dissipated.

The sulphur method can be done as well. Use the large rock size 1 oz for a five gallon can.

Place the proper proportion of sulphur in cheesecloth, a nylon stocking and or any porous material can be used. In order for the fumes to spread throughout the grain or product to be fumigated. Tie the sulphur in the material used and fill the can. Push the bag of sulphur as far down into the grain as possible. There is no need to wait; the lid may be placed on can immediately. Apply masking tape around the lid, making sure the can is airtight.

Information Obtained From http://www.pioneerliving.net/canningandpreserving.htm

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