Friday 27 February 2015

Five On Friday

Friday comes round really quick or so it seems, this week I thought I would share an overview of five different ways of preserving storing food the advantages and disadvantages, I use all five of these methods.

 we have three freezers and use them mainly for meat and fish, with a few home made ready meals, recently our two home reared pigs went into the freezers.
Freezing is a great way of preserving food and something most people can do, some foods have a short freezer life and you have to keep this mind also food can spoil with freezer burn if its not packaged correctly, its a brilliant for when you see reduced foods in the shops and can save you money. The disadvantage is, it costs money to run freezers so you are paying every day to keep your food preserved, also a prolonged power cut and it has all spoiled.

Drying food for storage is becoming more popular, its a brilliant way of preserving fruit and vegetables, even left overs and again you can take advantage of reduced prices and buying in bulk.
You need a dehydrator or you can use a cool oven, once dried it needs to be packaged in air tight packaging to stop it spoiling, dried foods last for years and once dehydrated keeping the food is costing anything and it takes up little space, the disadvantage is you have to rehydrate the food unless you are eating it as a snack so forward planning is needed, of course it easy to throw a few handfuls of vegetables into soups and stews, the other main drawback is you do need a dehydrator there are small ones on the market for about £30 but if you seriously want to store dried foods you need something more substantial and you are looking at about £200 they are the size of a microwave too, running costs are low about the same as a 60w light bulb.

Canning and Bottling
Canning isn't as popular in the UK as it is in other countries, I don't know why, basically its storing cooked food in jars under pressure creating a vacuum. Bottling is very similar but the foods are not done under pressure. Most foods can be canned meat fruit vegetables sauces soups even butter and milk. The disadvantage is you need a canner which is like a big pressure cooker 
No so easy to get in the UK you often have to buy them from abroad, you also need special jars and lids that will seal under pressure, but once canned the food is stored in the jars that are reusable but the seal lids cannot be re-used, you can get Tattler lids that are re-usable. It is a considered purchase going down the canning route but again the food does not cost anything to keep in its preserved state.

Smoking and Curing 

Dry or wet curing meat or fish is using a salt solution to extract the moisture from the meat, it will then be air dried, once cured meat will keep for a long time, recently I bought a smoking cabinet   to smoke cure some of our bacon, you can smoke cure using a BBQ, curing meat is something that anyone can easily to do at home there is plenty of info out there if any one wants easy instructions let me know, you don't need any specific equipment, disadvantages the food doesn't keep as long as other methods.

Pickling and Preserves

A favourite way of preserving by many and often first step into preserving, 
Jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys, sauces.
No special equipment is needed just a good strong saucepan and usual kitchen equipment, jars are easily collected, it takes patience to get a good set on jams and jellies and you need to allow yourself plenty of time to complete the process, preserves will keep for a good few years if stored correctly.
Sorry this post has been a bit of rush and I haven't gone into lots of detail, I will do with future posts as I am using the methods.
This morning we took Kara to the vet for her operation the biopsy results were not good so my thoughts are else were today, we will be picking her up later on this afternoon.

Thanks to Amy for organising the five of Friday and I hope you will have look to see what else is being posting about.


  1. Your post was very interesting Dawn, thank you for sharing and for taking part. I am so sorry to hear about Kara. I know that you will do your best for her and take care of her, but I am sorry that you are having this stress and upset. Hugs to you - and Kara. xx

  2. Sorry to hear about Kara, sending positive thoughts your way. I really do want to look into drying foods. This was a great post. Loved it

  3. Really good post and a good sum up of the different ways. I need to buy a bigger dehydrator and a pressure canner I think!

  4. Interesting post, thank you for sharing :) I hope you get some positive news about Kara

  5. Very interesting I love dehydrated apples, maybe I should do it myself?

  6. Great post, Dawn, really useful. Can I ask just to make sure, do I need to water bath my chutney recipe? It has mainly apples and tomatoes and some onions, as I know you have to pressure seal veg which I don't think I will be doing but very keen to bottle fruit sauces and do pickling. You used a water bath for tomato sauce but I checked and you can't water bath ratatouille which I love to make and want to hopefully keep a good stock of.x

    1. Chutney uses vinegar so should be just like doing a pickle, so need to water bath, :-)

    2. SorryDawn, the ratatouille part of the question would that be must use a pressure cooker?xx

    3. yes it would need pressure canning :-)


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