With summer produce season coming to a close, and with a hint of pumpkin spice in the air, it means it’s time to put up your produce and prepare for the winter.
Preserving food has been around since humans could hunt. Back then, meat products were the main preserved food type and people had to get creative with how they preserved food due to no modern refrigeration. Traditional methods of salting and drying meat products are still used today, although they have been modernized somewhat.
Food preservation seems to be a popular activity again today as people are starting to take a greater interest in procuring and preserving their own food. Not only does growing and preserving your own food make you feel good about providing for yourself, it can save you money as well. Here are five food preservation methods you can use to save money and make your food last longer.
Though these are only preserved as long as your freezer is plugged in, they are a great way to save on meals. By buying meat and produce in bulk when it’s on sale and in season, you can save money and create a bunch of freezer meals.
Spending one afternoon to put together meals and freeze batches, you’ll save time shopping, planning meals and cooking later on. Plus if you grow your own produce, you can use it in your freezer meals and make it last longer.
It’s not hard to make dried food and it’s not just limited to things like jerky. Dried fruit and fruit leathers are a great way to use up extra produce. Plus they are a tasty and healthy snack!
You can purchase a decent dehydrator for a fairly low price, or you can use your oven. Buying dried fruit and jerky is expensive per pound. By doing it yourself you can save money and control every ingredient that goes into it.
Canning is a method of putting produce or meat into a jar and killing bacteria through either a water bath or pressure. If you cook at home a lot, stocking up on the basics like tomatoes, salsa and vegetables can get expensive. Growing your own has some costs up front, but can save you money in the long run.
Be sure to follow directions and don’t eat anything, especially meat, that didn’t seal in the process. Botulinum toxin is not something to mess around with.
Though more popular in Asian cuisine, this way of preserving food is making its rounds. Pickles are one of the most popular fermented foods. Fermenting doesn’t have to be a large, time consuming project. Fermentation could be as quick as making some refrigerator pickles. If you like your food pickled, this is another way to save you money by stocking up on items in your pantry.
Brewing your own beer, wine, cider and more, is a great way to save money on buying alcohol. But this can become an expensive process. You can start off with a kit with the basic necessities, or you can expand and grow your home brew into a rather large (and expensive) process.
As with anything, if you get bitten by the preserving bug, it can become an expensive hobby. But if you can find gently used equipment for sale or borrow and share with your friends, preserving food can be a fun and money saving hobby.
Do you use any of these food preservation methods? Have you saved any money with any of these tactics?
Photo courtesy of: condesign