Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The False Idea on Freezer Food, The Food Storage Basic's Part 1

People love to get great deals on food that comes on sale, fruits, vegetables and meat alike. It is almost a no brainer when it comes to food cost and sales.

Long ago the process to keep food was less healthy and affordable than today. From Vinegar, Oils, Dehydrating, Smoking and Salt Curing, these methods were used and passed down for hundreds of years. Today, in places you might visit, cured meats and sausage hang. When you walk into these places two things happen, your repelled or your mouth begins to water.

While in Italy, I walked into a meat store while passing through a small town. Off the beaten path, I knew I was in a place that not very many visitors came by and it was a place of locals only. The pungent smells hit me first, it was kinda different, then I started to smell the layers of different smoked and cured meats.

Dust laid on some of the meats as if they were just left there, unsellable for what ever reason. My education told me they were longer term curing meats and might be ready now for the harvest. The woman, having a brown stained dress on, a thick cotton, came up and started to greet me. I said hello and passed by her to look and ask her about some Pepperoni I spotted.

She made her way back to the counter where a drawer was, she pushed it in and walked to a cabinet and opened it to reveal walls of hanging cured meats. Some had been sliced on a few times, some new, some whole. I even spotted some cheese and fish.

The reason I tell you this story is so that you understand that meats can be stored and cured, even today it is still used. However, it has to be done right.

For now I want to cover a few basic things, long term and short term food storage for the average person or some one who is just starting out at food storage. The one book I found useful in understanding long term or alternative preserving is this book.

Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

Second, I want to get your ear on something that is misleading and although generally not a common case, but is for preppers, homesteaders, gardeners and folks who just want to plan cheaper meals it is a great concern. Salt cured meat and freezing.

After reading a article in Meats published by Hobby, it was brought out that meats like sausage, bacon and other salted meats will go rancid and decay after awhile. Before this article, it never occurred to me that  meat would go bad, even if vac packed and handled properly. The Author of the article went on to explain, and then all sorts of light bulbs started going off.... 

As I read, it dawned on me, about the funny taste my own sausage had after 7 months in the freezer. I had not eaten much of it, the tainted meat, but enough to know it wasn't right so I stopped eating it. Then I started to ponder the salt content and how that would stop the meat from freezing solid, like a rock or really hard. I went down and grabbed a slab of my own bacon from the freezer, not that bacon sits very long around here. But I did a flex test on a package. I had preserved it correctly, I was confident in my workmanship and knowledge of processing the bacon. 

So I let a few packages of that old sausage in the freezer and tested it several ways including cooking it and smelling it against the same recipe but fresher, 3 months fresher. I also did a package push test on the meat, while still vac packed. I found that the sausage that was older, the outside of the meat, although just a thin layer, pushed around easier than the fresh sausage which didn't have a layer to push around. 

I cover this issue more in depth in one of my Food Storage Workshops on-line. I mention this today because so many people are starting to buy bulk and perhaps not think of this or not rotating their freezer stock often enough. 

Be sure to check out Part 2 in this mini series, The Food Storage Basic's. I will be covering Dehydrating methods, processes and debunking some of those myths and wives tales. You will learn long term and short term approaches. I will toss in a few good long term recipes to boot...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the help, may try to preserve my own meats soon.