How Do You Preserve Your Food?
Or Maybe You Don’t
I freeze things.
I bought a small chest freezer at the beginning of COVID and devised a 90-day food plan centered around a dozen favorite go-to meals. Every couple of months I restock. Dry goods are kept in two different cabinets, and I try to rotate the oldest boxes and bags to the front and use them first.
I’ve pretty well mastered the 90-day food plan, but now, I want to extend it to a 365-day food plan.
Of course, I’ll continue to freeze food, mostly store-bought items. I’ve frozen tomatoes on a good year. I’ve been raising tomatoes for a long time. Some years, if I get a bumper crop, I freeze tomatoes for soups and sauces. I only raise cherry and pear tomatoes. They’re small and fit easily in a plastic freezer bag.
I’ve dried herbs on occasion as well.
Largely, however, my focus has been on buying in bulk and then storing in the freezer or cabinets. But I’ve decided to try something new. New for me, that is. Something that I’m told will extend the shelf life of my dry goods and my frozen foods.
I’m shopping for a vacuum sealer machine for food storage. It’s the next step in my endeavors to become more self-reliant.
I didn’t know a lot about these useful tools until a friend of mine showed me hers. She lives alone. Eating solo requires dividing a lot of food that she buys into smaller portions and then finding a way to store them, preferably for as long as possible.
Even dry goods have a shelf life.
The lovely thing about a vacuum packaging machine is that it seals the food in an airtight bag. Once the packages are sealed, they take up less room in the freezer or on the shelves.
You can label them if you want.
My friend vacuum packages wild grains of all kinds as well as cereals. She goes to local markets and purchases green beans in large quantities and freezes them in vacuum sealed bags. She’s a vegetarian, but when I buy meat at the grocery store, I notice how thin the wrap is and how much space the meat takes up in my freezer. You can divide it into several servings and vacuum seal the individual bags.
It’ll keep much longer and take up less space.
I’m all about making one-pot meals stretch into three meals if possible. This, too, can be accomplished with the vacuum sealer, even chili or soups. Plastic containers really crowd a refrigerator.
There’s only one major drawback that I can see to using this device to preserve food and that is the bags are made of plastic.
Lord knows we have enough plastic already in the world. However, the bags can be reused several times but eventually they will go in the trash. That was a significant enough problem to encourage me to engage in a little more research. Lo and behold, I came across a machine that vacuum seals jars. So now I am thinking that’s the direction I might go at least for some of the things that I would like to preserve for a longer shelf-life.
One of my favorite topics to write about is self-reliance.
I’m not a prepper per se. I’m more of a back-to-earther hippie. I enjoy nature, problem solving, and preparedness. I’m always trying to add to my “wilderness” skill set. I hate to waste food.
Most of all, I don’t like feeling helpless or totally dependent on the system to take care of me.
I’m still trying to decide which model to order. Any suggestions from readers would be most appreciated.
How do you preserve food for a longer shelf-life?
Teresa is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.