Preserve food, preserve our planet; they go hand in hand.
Which means, saving the Earth can be a tasty job! We love a win-win.
By learning how to preserve food at home, you not only ensure that you and your family have nutritious, whole foods, but you also avoid food waste. Especially if you’re getting into self-sufficient homesteading or ecological gardening, then food preserving skills are necessary to avoid food waste from your garden’s autumn abundance.
The most popular ways to preserve foods are:
Chances are you’re already probably pretty accustomed to this solution.
If multi-day food prep or DIY projects aren’t your thing, freezing is the most convenient way to preserve foods. In some cases, properly frozen food can be stored for months or even years.
Pickling is a type of fermentation that happens when foods are soaked in acidic liquid (namely vinegar).
It’s a tradition stepping from ancient Mesopotamian times, when fruits and vegetables were submerged in salty liquid to prevent spoiling while on long sea voyages.
So while not among more innovative food waste solutions, it’s a tried and true one.
Not only limited to cucumbers, pickling turns all kinds of fruits and vegetables into tasty snacks.
Other pickling ideas: beets, ginger, jalapenos, olives, asparagus, onions, peaches, carrots, radishes, apples, snap peas, garlic, eggs, avocados.
To ferment foods, you must induce bacteria to react in a way that is naturally present in our environment and the sugars inside food.
Since there are a number of variables in symbiosis, fermenting is one of the more challenging ways to preserve food at home. Some types of fermentation are easier than others. The most popular are sourdough, kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha.
Herbs, spices, teas, dried fruits, and beef jerky are all common food items you’ll see dehydrated. It’s usually done with an oven, in the sun, or with a dehydrator. All three will provide one of the best hacks to extend the life of food.
Canning is one of the most powerful solutions for food waste (and climate doomsday) we have, so familiarize yourself with the process to avoid botulism and keep food good for years.
We can’t emphasize enough that safe home canning needs solid research and proper tools. It works by heating foods in jars to a temperature (and often under pressure) that kills any harmful microorganisms, while also inactivating enzymes that lead to food spoiling.
If you’ve got a juicer or blender, then you might already know most expiring fruits and veggies have a further life in them thanks to juicing.
You can then consume these yummy juices or add to smoothies, soups, or kombucha.
According to The National Center for Home Food Preservation, “Curing is the addition to meats of some combination of salt, sugar, [and] nitrite.”
Refer to this guide for a plethora of meat and fish videos, recipes, and cheat sheets about curing theory, necessary equipment, and instructions.