These Are A Few MORE Of My Favorite Food Preservation Methods

July 14th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food and Health

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Oh hey, a whole gallon of kale chips!


Last week I wrote about food preservation, and how this is the time of year when all of us urban homesteaders ought to be full-on, all-out, non-stop stockpiling. Because right now the produce is abundant and the prices can’t be beat, which means right now is the best time to acquire as much organic, nutrient rich, perfectly-in-season-and-therefore-perfectly-delicious fruits and vegetables. It’s such an exciting time of year!

In my post last week, I shared my very favorite food preservation technique – freezing! – and in this post I’m going to share the other two methods that I love and use on a regular basis. First up:


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Dehydrating

Dehydration is one of the absolute easiest ways of saving food (which is why it’s been a part of home preservation for ages and ages). You can do all sorts of amazing things with a dehydrator, and you don’t even need the fancy one (though I gotta say, that thing is freakin’ amazing). But really, you can totally do what you need to do with those little round ones you see around.

When most people think of dehydrated foods, they imagine fruit, or maybe kale chips. And that’s understandable since dried fruit and kale chips are both awesome. I mean, freezing food is great, but it does take up a lot of space. One thing that I love about dehydrating is that it shrinks the food and makes storage way more convenient.


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And there’s so much more to dehydrating than just plain fruit or kale chips! You can do jerkies (like eggplant, portobello, or other mushrooms) in fun and flavorful marinades. Or you can make veggie chips by seasoning thinly sliced rounds of zucchini, cucumber, or beets. You can even dehydrate soups for easier storage and weight reduction, which is what my godfather is doing with my dehydrator as I write this (he’s going on a long backpacking trip).


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What to do with mountains and mountains of rainbow chard? I just couldn’t resist them at $1/bunch!


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That’s what!


Really, there are so many cool things you can do with a dehydrator. Like for example, that homemade smoothie-boosting green powder up there ^^! (recipe here) I didn’t ever realize how much I’d love my dehydrator until I got one, and now I just can’t imagine living without it! But, moving on . . .


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Fermenting

Of course! You all know how much I adore my fermented foods. I’ve even written entire love letters to them, and I credit them with changing my health forever. Probiotics are powerfully nutritive, but they’re also great preservatives! Once fermented, your veggies will last for years (literally) in the fridge.

I’ve posted a number of fermented vegetable recipes here on the blog, like:
How To Make Sauerkraut
How To Make Fermented Pickles
DIY Homemade Sriracha Sauce
How To Make Kimchi

And I know, fermenting seems scary. It’s really not. I really promise. Ferments are totally safe – so much safer than, say, canning, because the same bacteria that make them so good for us, also keep away the bad bacteria that can hurt us. Fermented foods – again, unlike canned foods – will always tell you if they’ve gone off. They’ll smell rotten or look scuzzy. And if they don’t, you can rest assured that they’re safe to eat.

So maybe this year try out a little fermenting? If it’ll help put your nerves at ease, you should buy the fermentation bible. That’s what I did so many years ago, and I read that thing cover to cover, and I’ve never looked back!


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Homemade fermented hot sauce. I am so making a batch this year, with the jalapenos I’m growing.

So now I’m dying to hear from you – what are your favorite food preservation methods?? And please – share recipes!

  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    I need to start fermenting my own foods! I make kombucha, but that’s about it. I need to start making pickles and sauerkraut!!

  • Rachel from The Vegan Mishmash

    Green smoothie powder! That’s genius!!! How much do you normally put into a smoothie?

  • FoodFeud

    Yeah, wow to the green powder. Incredible. I love pickling things, but I never have the patience for dehydrating. How do you keep yr kale chips from getting soggy in the jar? Or from eating them all at once????

  • Jacques

    Love your ideas Sayward! I am definitely going to try the Sriracha, that looks amazing! Keep up the great work.

  • Sarah C.

    How long do you expect that jar of kale chips to last (I don’t mean as in, you’re going to eat them all immediately, which is what I would do, but in terms of shelf-life)? I started my first liquor infusions today – basil and mint, though the mint had so many poor ants on it that got washed off in the sink it can’t really be called vegan! Can’t wait to try them out in a week – in some one of these great drink recipes you’re posting (which I LOVE, by the way). Thanks!

  • http://howtofeedawookie.blogspot.com/ WookieWifey

    Ok, so here’s my problem: I know the benefits of fermented foods, but I don’t like them. I can handle yogurt MAYBE twice a week, but anything beyond that – sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi – I just don’t care for…Any foods you can recommend for those of us who don’t like the fermenty taste, but are trying desperately to eat better and still want the benefits?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    You really should! it’s so easy and adds all that umami goodness. It’s cucumber/pickle season right now!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, depending on what else is going in there to mask the flavor. That stuff is soooo concentrated though, you don’t need much. ;-)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I feel like they don’t get soggy? I dehydrate them for a reeeeeally long time and I keep the lid on tight. They last for weeks to months like that. Unless of course I eat them all, which yes, is definitely a whole other issue!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The sriracha is the BEST ever.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The kale chips will last 4-6 weeks or maybe longer, though I’ve never let them go that long because obviously, yummy,

    Yay for infusions! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!!!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hmm, have you tried some of the commercial beverages? Like the flavored kombuchas or the Kevita stuff? There’s a couple different kombucha or water kefir or rejuvelac based drinks out there right now, they might do it for you?

    You can also use fermented foods as a component IN things. Like, sometimes I blend some sauerkraut into a raw dipping sauce (like my tahini sauce). it adds the probiotics and a wonderful umami flavor, but doesn’t overwhelm.

    Also, fermented nut cheeses. Seriously – life changing.

  • http://howtofeedawookie.blogspot.com/ WookieWifey

    I like the idea of sauerkraut in dipping sauces and I’ll definitely try the kombucha, there’s a discount store here that has it occasionally for 2/$1 (yay discount stores), so next time I see it I’ll pick it up.

    Would adore trying the fermented nut cheeses, but I can’t find them anywhere around here! DAMN YOU, STORES IN SMALL, COWBOY-LADEN CITIES! GAH!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh girl, you gotta make your own! It’s SO easy! Maybe I’ll post a recipe soon . . .

  • http://howtofeedawookie.blogspot.com/ WookieWifey

    Would adore that!


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