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10 Tips for Food Preservation

August 1, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Atlanta 0 Comments

10 Tips for Food Preservation

If you’re lucky, patient, and good, this summer’s garden may yield a great bounty this year. You’re probably already picking some peppers and early tomatoes and cucumbers – nothing you can’t handle by making a quick salad or crudité plate for dinner. But eventually, you’ll be faced with a few bushels of produce that you will harvest faster than you can eat. That’s where preservation and canning come in.

Food preservation is one of the oldest culinary techniques that dates back thousands of years and appears in the food history of cultures all across the globe.

We’ve put together this list of 10 tips to help you get the most flavor and enjoyment out of your food preservation efforts:

  1. Preserving foods in jars in a water bath means that you can shelve them and avoid the expense and hassle of freezing and unfreezing them. Just pull a jar, break the seal, and enjoy.
  2. Safe food preservation begins with proper food safety and sanitation. Boil your jars and lids, wash all the produce, and disinfect all work surfaces. We want to preserve delicious summer foods and not a potential food-borne illness.
  3. Do your homework. There are many variables to proper food preservation. The USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation provide excellent safety and how-to guidelines. Jar and equipment manufacturers like Ball also have excellent resources for old pros and newbies alike. The Ball Blue Book may just be the best reference available.
  4. Beginners should stick to easier items like tomatoes and various fruits for jams, jellies, and butters. Most fruits can even be cold packed, the easiest canning method. Is there a better Georgia culinary treat in the winter than fresh peaches?
  5. If you’re a true novice and want to avoid any cooking or boiling, freezing is the easiest method. Be sure to use thick freezer bags or heavy, freezer-safe plastic containers. Improperly stored frozen foods can become freezer burned or absorb flavors from other foods in the freezer. Be sure you have the room. A secondary chest freezer is an excellentstorehouse for frozen foods.
  6. Follow any instructions to the letter. Don’t change amounts of food water or cooking or immersion times. Canning is not an improvisational activity. Straying from instructions can lead to poor results or even illness.
  7. Squeeze or vacuum the air out of freezer containers. Air is the enemy in the freezer. Oxidation can change the flavor of your food and lead to freezer burn.
  8. Use quality materials. Be sure jars have no cracks or chips, and test lids for both roundness and flatness. A good seal is the most important part of canning. Without one, you’re wasting your time and food.
  9. Drying foods like meats and fruits is an ancient and flavorful means of preservation. You can purchase dehydrators, use your oven, or simply place foods in the sun to achieve your desired dryness. Dried fruits contain all the nutrients of their non-dried counterparts but are much easier to store and carry with you.
  10. Whether you are freezing, canning, or drying, you must be sure to cut your foods into uniform pieces. The uniform size will mean consistent cooking and absorption or vinegars and other flavors. Otherwise, small piece cook too much and big pieces don’t cook enough. Uniform size ensures the best results from your efforts.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta.Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in the Atlanta, Georgia area. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Atlanta for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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