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Storing Foods, Part 1 (what and how)

In planning what foods to store, you also need to consider how to store them. When you harvest or buy fresh produce from a farmer's market, you need to consider how to keep them:

Canning: There are several different methods of canning: pressure, water-bath, etc. This takes special equipment, and know-how. It's definitely worth it, to have the mason jars lined up on your pantry shelves, brilliantly showing contents like jewels: peaches, strawberry jam, pickled cucumbers and beets, string beans, beef stew, and much more.

Dehydrating: This is such an easy method, but it is easier with an actual dehydrator. There are ways of building your own, or using the car in the hot summer, and more. Dehydrating fruit and vegetables takes out the water, which reduces bacteria development. Dried food takes up much less space, and, when stored correctly, can last quite a while. Just remember that you need to drink plenty of liquids when eating dried foods - can cause constipation. Either rehydrate before eating, or drink water while.

Sealing Machines: A sealing machine is a good idea, for freezing foods, storing dehydrated foods, and to keep bugs and moisture out in general. There are several brands (like Seal-a-Meal), and some work better than others. It's a must for your storage preparations, if you can afford it. We requested and received one and extra bags for our wedding.

Storage Buckets/Icing Buckets: Some foods come already stored in sealed buckets, but there are alternatives. We searched for icing buckets! We checked several bakeries, and finally found a local grocery store that has at least one empty bucket a day. We take it home, clean it out (lots of elbow grease), and fill it with small bags of rice and beans, pasta, spices, and almost anything that can fit. We add a couple of bay leaves (bugs don't like them) and dessicant packs (takes out any moisture). Then placed the top back on, sealed with sealing wax, labeled with contents and expiration dates. They stack nicely.

Purchased/as is: Stored in #10 cans: We buy supplies like Meals Ready To Eat (MREs) and storage pails and #10 tin cans. These provide things from beans to salt to sour cream powder to wheat berries (to grind for wheat flour) to dried fruit & veggies, and much more. When storing these, be sure to store several can openers and bucket openers!

We'll go into more depth about these methods within this blog. Meanwhile, how do YOU store your foods?

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