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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Preserving The Harvest

This month is all about Preserving The Harvest.  In a time of emergency, any excess food will need to be carefully preserved.  Those who lived before electricity and refrigeration knew how to do this, but in these days of 24 hour supermarkets and ready food, we have lost alot of these skills.

This month the challenge is to learn and practice at least one kind of preserving, even if just something simple. 

Now is the perfect time.  With gardens and farmer's markets overflowing with produce, you should be able to find inexpensive food to preserve for a rainy day.  Ideas to try:

  • Water Bath canning for all acidic foods - tomatoes, most fruit, salsa, pickles, jams.  I use a Steam Canner for faster processing times.  Check one out here:  Steam Canner
Image result for steam canner
  •  Pressure Canning for all non-acidic foods - beans, corn, meats.  My favorite is a little pricey but worth the money if it's in your budget.  I got mine for Mother's Day one year!  All American Pressure Canner
 Image result for pressure canner
  • Freezing for most any foods.  This is simple and quick.  Make sure you learn about which foods need to be blanched before freezing to increase the lifespan of the food.  Here is a good link about it: Freezing information 
Image result for freezing food
  • Dehydrating is another simple way to preserve food.  You can purchase a dehydrator (you can often find one used on or can use your oven or even the sun.  Make sure to get info on how long to dry the foods and how to prepare them for dehydrating.  Here's a useful guide Dehydrating information
Image result for dehydrating  food
  •  Root Cellaring is the way many of our ancestors preserved food for the cold months when they couldn't grow crops.  This is a useful skill to practice now - I know because I've done it and made mistakes that I needed to learn from.  You can preserve food anywhere that is dry and cool and below the frost line.  You also need to protect the food from critters.  Here is a basic starting document:Root Cellar basics 
Image result for how to use a root cellar
  • Fermenting is a very useful skill to have, because it doesn't require anything other than a container with a lid and some salt.  It also can be stored at room temterature for long term periods of time.  Here is a basic guide. Fermenting basics 
Image result for fermenting food 

I want to talk about Fermenting for a bit.

Why Fermenting is the most predictable, most useful form of food preservation in a long term emergency...

In an emergency, the popular forms of preserving will be difficult, if not impossible.  Freezing won't happen without electricity.  Canning can work over a fire, but it would be very difficult and the handles will melt off the canners.  Both require specialized equipment.

Dehydrating can be done with the sun, but not predictably and a lot of the food can be lost if not done correctly.

You can store in a root cellar, but not everything can be stored that way (not any of the soft fruits of veggies) and not everyone will have access to a cellar.

This leaves fermenting as the winner!  You don't need anything but a jar and some salt.  You can ferment veggies, fruit, meats, eggs, dairy (this is what yogurt is...).  It is very healthy for your digestive system, and heaven knows in a long term emergency situation, anything that will improve health will be needed desperately.

Fermenting is the oldest form of food preservation and every indigenous society has their version of it (think salami and cheese - both are ferments).  It goes WAY beyond sauerkraut!

Check out the group buy below for how to prepare to ferment if you need to in an emergency.

To help you get started, this month's group buy is for Jim's Jartop Fermentor

Image result for jims jartop

Image result for jims jartop

 With this fermentor top you can turn into mason jar into a safe fermenting container.  We are also including a Fermenting for Beginners book

Fermentation for Beginners: The Step-by-Step Guide to Fermentation and Probiotic Foods by [Drakes Press]

Both together are going to cost $22.  

Talk to your ward leader to order through Venmo or with cash or check.

This is a great opportunity to be prepared to simply preserve food in any time of an emergency.

Check out the documents on this blog called Living Without Refrigeration and Fermented Food Info.  

Please try something this month, and there are so many great resources online if you have questions.  Happy preserving!