Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Food Preservation- Tips and Tricks?

I've posted a few comments that reflect my admiration for dehydrated food. No, not the factory canned stuff that lasts 30 years and costs 3 arms and your first born, but home done stuff. After receiving a minor influx of a few bucks, I needed to restore my preps. I have a food dehydrator that can do a pound per rack. How long will home dehydrated food last? No clue myself, as I rotate it a lot. Never seen anything fuzzy in it!

Just for those of you that have never tried it, first off, it’s easy and cheap! I got my dehydrator at a yard sale for 10 bucks, new in the box! I got it to do jerky in, but after reading all the things it can do, I'm running it almost non stop! Just for comparison, I prefer to use frozen food, as there is less water in a one pound bag of frozen food. Believe it or not, I can fit 18 POUNDS of dehydrated mixed veggies into a large coffee can! That's efficient! And even lighter than a full can of coffee!

I also picked up a water bath canning setup at another yard sale. The rack, pot and 60 jars and lids were only 15 bucks. As far as the USDA website claims, nothing but tomatoes or acidic food can be done in a water bath setup. I recall my mother and grandmother canning darn near everything in them, but sadly, granny is gone, and mom never paid attention and can’t pass on the knowledge to me! I never got sick from eating granny’s canned food, so...

I recently picked up a pressure cooker/ canner at yet another yard sale. It was brand new and still in the original box. I love yard sales!

It only does the little jars, but for a single guy, that's a meal. I still need to do some research on canning meat. I saw a site, wish I could credit it, but they mentioned a lot about canning meat,10 things I wish I knew, but no in depth tips. If you’re reading this, please reply!

I recall reading in the canning manual about canning nuts. Roast and toss in the canning jar, cook so long...So it's vacuum packed. Could this be done with dehydrated veggies, rather than vacuum pack machine/bags? I have yet to see one of those at a yard sale, and not in my budget yet. I've seen those lids for a pump, but it seems you need 1 per jar, and they ain't cheap!

I just finished my first batch of dehydrated eggs. Ok, it’s really my second batch. I tried it in the oven on foil first and something about the aluminum foil made it turn gray. Definitely not appetizing to look at! Wax paper or parchment would have been better. The second batch in the dehydrator looks pretty good! Imagine old dried out cheddar, crumble it up, add1 tablespoon of water and one tablespoon of powder and you’ve got an egg.

Ok....I'm sure RW is tired of doing a review and spell check on me by now. If anyone has tips or recipes on canning meat or anything else, feel free to toss in your tips and tricks!

I really hate to think that something as simple as canning and making homemade jam and jelly would become a lost art. Please share your knowledge with those of us that want to "preserve" traditions...get it "preserve?"Ok, bad joke!

I'd like to yet again thank RW for letting me ramble on yet again and again! For the valuable information he provides us is more than enough motivation for me to try and give him a well deserved break now and then!

RW, my thanks and best wishes to you and yours.

Dean in Arizona

Here are are a couple of links with useful information:

Home Drying of Foods

Efficient Cooking for One

RW

16 comments:

Marie said...

Wish I could find things like that--have to check out more yard sales, I guess... :)
Are you maybe talking about preparednesspro.wordpress.com? She had this post about canning meat:

http://preparednesspro.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/yes-you-can-easily-can-meat/

and this post:

http://preparednesspro.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/10-things-i-wish-i-had-known-about-food-storage-10-years-ago/

about things she wished she had known.
Good post---I need to get over not knowing how to can....

Shreela said...

Marie beat me with prepardness pro's 10 things link.

Preparedness Pro's 10 things article mentions waxing cheese from the store, but didn't link it to her excellent article about how to do it: http://preparednesspro.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/cheese-wax-will-save-us-all-2/

You wrote about wanting a vacuum system. Check out something like these until you find one at a garage sale, like my hubby did LOL:
http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Alvin-Vacuum-Sealer/
and
http://www.judyofthewoods.net/pump.html.

vlad said...

Dry ground beef round in Harvest Maid dehydrator until it snaps like a dry stick, batter it to pieces, grind in Corona mill, and store in large plastic screwtop jugs. Oldest on hand dated Feb 2007.
No problems yet. Use in soups, pancakes or "meat shake" for a meal on the move. Two oz sunflower oil. one cup meat powder equals 10 oz fresh meat. 50 grams protein. no carbs. with water in gatorade bottle. season to taste with ground cayenne, yellow curry, turmeric. shake well.

Anonymous said...

Vlad, you never cease to amaze me with your good down to earth useful information. Thanks

matthiasj said...

Here's a post on Utah Preppers Network about canning chicken. Could be useful to you.

matthiasj
Kentucky Preppers Network

TennZen said...

Good luck and welcome to the world of canning! I can foods as well as freeze and dehydrate. Preferred method depends on the food.

Re: Canning meat:

Must always be done in a pressure canner. Here is a link to all you need to know about it:
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/usda/6_USDAcanningGuide5_06.pdf

Also, here's the whole "canning bible":
http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/publications_usda.html

And here's the post on my website about canning safety and unsafe practices:
http://tennzen.blogspot.com/2009/05/pre-canning-season-equipment-check-and.html

Anonymous said...

Marie,thank you for the link,I found it after RW posted this article.They make canning meat sound way too easy!From the way I read it,you just slice/dice/cube the meat,pack the raw meat in a jar and pressure cook it? No juice or such? I'd love to try it,but I'd like more advice before I ruin a good hunk of meat.
Dean in az

vlad said...

Anon,
Thank you. I am glad to help.
http://vlad-unclevlad.blogspot.com/2009/06/got-leatherman.html

barbeesblessings said...

Dean & fellow preppers - the best place to learn about canning is from Jackie Clay at Backwoods Home Magazine (www.backwoodshome.com.She has made me fearless and I can most everything now including meat (buffalo; elk; chicken; corned beef;)It is so simple to do - a little time consuming but easy and you don't need any refrigeration or freezer and you can eat any of it straight from the jar. Happy eating!

Stephanie in AR said...

If you have a food sealer you can get an attachment to vaccuum pack using any glass jar and a canning lid. You can re-use canning lids for this to save money. If the lid that came with the jar had a rubber for part of the seal it can be used too. I saw this as part of a video series on food storage. The lady who did the series has never used the sealer for plastic bag just for jars. here is the link:

http://letusprepare.blogspot.com/2009/01/wendy-dewitt-food-storage-seminar.html

Anonymous said...

Steph and Shreela:
Thank you for the link's! I'm sure,or hope I have,been confused about those vacuum lid's for the jar's.I thought it was a 1 per jar thing.Can you remove the thingy after you sealed it?You only need 1 to do a cabinet full of jar's? I thought you needed 1 per jar,but if not,it's a great deal!And a timesaver!
Dean in az

Stephanie in AR said...

Well there are two different types. There is on sold at Wally world that & online that is a one per jar lid. The one I bought uses other lids to seal. You would warm the lids in water to soften the seal, dry well, place on the jar the add the vaccuum attachment & seal. The videos show her using the sealer & attachment. She also shows chocolate chips sealed and some where the seal failed - quite a difference. I was just a tickled to learn about this attachment as using just the bags was too expensive for our family, the attachment means a lot of food stored in the freezer can be moved to the shelf - coconut, flavored chips, tea bags. Yeah!! Bought mine & played with it but season business has kept me from moving stuff as quickly as I'd like.

Marshall said...

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vlad said...

from Wilderness Cookery by Bradford Angier
Drying is the simplest way to preserve meat. Cut with the grain. Cut lean deer, moose,elk, caribou, beef and similar red meat in long strips 1/2 inch thick. Hang strips not touching on bushes, etc. Lay on sunwarmed rocks. Turn every hour os so. Smoke from a small fire of non-resinous wood keeps flies away. Season to taste with salt, pepper, thyme. oregano etc. Dry meat until hard, blackish., leathery. Jerky keeps indefinitely if kept dry and away from insects. Trim visible fat for long storage. Jerky alone lacks sufficient necessary fat for the long-term. Supplement it with fats.

from Arctic Manual by Vilhjalmuir Steffansson
On a diet of straight meat , cut fat and lean into inch cubes. Eat one fat, one lean. When fat no longer tastes good, eat just lean until you are full. If fat makes you nauseous you are eating too much of it. The Eskimos he saw were a strong, healthy race and they subsisted on a diet which consisted largely of meat and animal and marine fat. The fat included large quantities of whale blubber. Yes the Eskimo did not suffer from obesity. If meat needs carbohydrate and other vegetable additions to make it wholesome then the poor Eskimo were not eating healthfully .. they should have been in a wretched sate. On the contrary, they seems to me the healthiest people I had lived with."

Farming for Self-Sufficiency John & Sally Seymour page 117
Biltong is salted and dried strips of buck meat or beef and it is almost worshipped by South Afrikans. Living in the back-veld of South West Afrika, as I used to do, biltong formed an important part of my diet. If I shot a gemsbok or a kudu I would turn a very large part of it into biltong. I have made it in Wales since then, in fact I made some last year, out of beef,
and it has been perfectly successful. The only drawback is you need prime cuts really; biltong made from odd bits of scrag end is not really much good.
But this is the way you do it. Cut lean meat up in strips, say an inch square but the longer the better, along the grain or fibre, of the meat. This is most important: do not cut it across the grain. Lay it in dry salt for six hours. Wash the salt off it and hang it - if in southern Afrika in the dry season - in the shade but in the breeze - if in the British Isles in the chimney. I leave mine in the chimney, in light smoke, for say three days, take it down, hang it up in the kitchen, and it is perfect biltong. It is as hard as hickory. To eat it you just pare or shred little shavings off the end of it across the grain with your Joseph Roger 'Lambsfoot' knife (old back-velders will know what I mean), put it on bread and butter, and it is delicious.

vlad said...

http://www.mongoliatoday.com/issue/5/borts.html
Dried Meat, Food to Last

Mongolian food is rather simple and nourishing. Encounters with different cultures in the course of centuries long wandering across Europe and Asia did not affect the basic diet of nomads, comprising mainly of various combinations of meat and flour.

Life in a saddle, frequent moves in search of better pastures tending their herds prevented Mongols from developing a sophisticated cuisine.

But while Mongols failed to come up with a wide variety of dishes, they mastered what was available to perfection, especially when it comes to meat. There are dozens ways of cooking it: boiling, frying, drying, steaming or smoking.

Here we give a description of how borts (bour- tsi), or dried meat is made-- an ancient way of preserving meat through long harsh winters or marches across continents

As soon as the first cold winter days settle in early December, most Mongolian families set out to store meat reserve.

As a rule, one cow and up to seven to eight sheep are sufficient for a family of five to last through long and harsh winter, until diary products become more available during spring livestock breeding season.

Beef is the meat of choice, but each region has its own specifics. Herders in the Gobi Desert store mostly camel meat, while mountain tribes prefer to slaughter a yak or goats.

First, fresh meat is cut into long, 2- 3 cm thick and 5-7 cm wide strips, then hanged on a rope inside a gher, just under the ceiling where air circulates freely.

Within a month, the meat dries up. Once all the moisture evaporates, meat strips turn into hard, wood-like sticks of a slightly brownish color. The stripped and dried meat of one cow shrinks enough to be easily fit into the animal's stomach.

When the borts is ready, it is taken down and either broken into small pieces, 5-7cm long or minced. The borts is put into a bag made of canvas that allows airflow in and out. Borts can be kept in such bags for months and even years without losing the qualities of meat.

Dried meat is an ideal food for travelers. On long marches, Mongols simply take out a stick of dried meat, powder it and add to boiling water to make a cup of fresh and nourishing bouillon. Even nowadays, many Mongols take a small bag of borts when traveling to faraway places for study or to live.

"I survived the wet and cold winter only by making a cup of borts soup once in a while," says a Mongolian journalist, after spending six months on the Atlantic shore of England.

page 90 Wilderness Cookery by Bradford Angier
Meat is the one complete food. Plump fresh meat is the single food known to mankind that contains every nutritional ingredient necessary for good health. It is entirely possible for man to live on meat alone. No particular parts need be eaten. Fat juicy sirloins, if you prefer, will supply you with all the food necessary for top robustness even if you eat nothing else for a week, a month or a decade.
Every animal in the far and near reaches of this continent, every fish that swims in our lakes and rivers and streams is good to eat. Nearly every part of North American animals is edible, even the somewhat bland antlers that are not bad roasted when in velvet, to the bitterish gall that has an occasional use as seasoning. The single exception is the liver of the polar bear, and of the ringed and bearded seal, which at certain times become so rich in Vitamin A that it is well avoided. Juicy fricasseess, succulent stews and sizzling roasts are fine fare.
If anything, most of us would be happy eating more of this ideal grub which contains all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for full vigor. One way to acomplish this? By not passing up the birds and small game which are freely available to many of us thoughout the entire year and which if not eaten will only be wasted.

Manoj Singal said...
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