Once your Survival Garden is healthy and thriving, you may wonder how to store fruits and vegetables from your harvest. The most common storage methods are freezing, canning, and dehydrating. Some vegetables will last quite a while in a root cellar if you have one. You can also brine some types of foods (think pickles) or pack some veggies in salt to preserve them.
Different fruits and vegetables store best in different ways. Learn about the foods you plant (or may purchase) so that you will know the best ways to grow, store, and prepare them.
Freezing is a quick and easy way how to store your fruits and vegetables. You need the space to do it, of course. Many people buy an upright or chest freezer for the express purpose of storing extra food. The drawback to this method of storage is that if power is lost, all your food could be lost as well.
Choose firm, ripe fruits and veggies, and freeze them as soon after harvesting as possible. Bags should be airtight to keep away freezer burn and should only be filled with about as much as you will use per meal or recipe. This reduces waste and helps speed thawing.
Some fruits and vegetables need to be blanched before freezing or they will thaw out soggy and limp. To blanch, plunge the produce into a large pot of boiling water for about a third the time you’d boil it normally to cook it. Then immediately transfer it to a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry and freeze.
Midea MRC070S0AWW Chest Freezer, 7.0 Cubic Feet
This product dimensions are an ample 32. 1″ X 21. 7″ X 33. 5″ and contains a hanging basket on the inside for added storage
It features an adjustable thermostat that can be adjusted from -12 to -28 Degrees. This will be great for storing your fruits and vegetables until you are ready to use them. Remember to label each package with the date you freeze them to be sure they are still fresh enough when you go to use them. This will also help you use the oldest dates first as you add new bags to your freezer.
FoodSaver VS0150 Sealer PowerVac Compact Vacuum Sealing Machine, Vertical Storage
This FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealer keeps food fresh in the freezer up to 5x longer compared to ordinary storage methods—and helps prevent freezer burn as well.
This space-saving unit stores vertically in the kitchen to save you valuable countertop space. Seals with 35 percentage less bag waste compared to previous FoodSaver models, so you can get the most out of your FoodSaver bags.
Equipped with 2 custom settings. Dry and Moist, to ensure an airtight seal is achieved regardless of the type of food. Built-in bag alignment drip tray ensures correct bag placement every time and is removable for easy cleanup, connect to a FoodSaver Hand Held Sealer (sold separately) to sous vide or preserve food stored in the fridge and pantry, compatible with all other FoodSaver bags, rolls, and accessories.
Canning is a method of preserving food where it is processed and sealed in an airtight container. In a home environment, we use glass jars for this. Fruits or vegetables are cooked in the jars at high temperatures, which stops spoilage by destroying contaminants and removes air from the jars. As the jars cool, a vacuum seal forms and the jars are sealed shut.
There are two methods of home canning: water bath and pressure canning. A water bath is easier and cheaper, but pressure canning is more versatile.
If you are a beginner to the world of canning, it is easy to learn. While canning seems a bit intimidating, people have been doing it for centuries, and you will find lots of resources to teach you and help you succeed. This is a handy book to have around Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
McSunley Medium Stainless Steel Prep N Cook Water Bath Canner, 21.5 quart
You’ll need a good pot for the water bath that will seal your lids tight enough for safely storing them for any period of time. If not done right, you’ll run the risk of bacteria and moldy-ridden food. I recommend this water bath canner as it heats well and comes with a glass lid.
And don’t forget to purchase the amount and size of jars ahead of time that you will need for your canning project. Ball Glass Mason Jar with Lid and Band, Regular Mouth, 12 Jars
All American 915 Canner Pressure Cooker, 15.5 qt
This durable 15.5 cooker/canner will fit up to 10 standard pint-sized jars or 7 standard quart-sized jars. It has an easy-to-read steam gauge and a tight-sealing fit with no gaskets to replace. When properly used, it should last you for many canning seasons to come.
Dehydrating, or drying, your food is easy. You can dry fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats with a food dehydrator, in the oven, or even in the sun. Dried foods usually last a long time. Just remember that you will have to rehydrate some things before they can be eaten.
NESCO Food and Jerky Dehydrator
This is a great dehydrator as it blows hot air down throughout the pressured chamber, causing each tray to dry quicker and more evenly. This makes it ideal as you don’t need to rotate the trays as you do in other dehydrators!
Every survivalist wants to have a large stockpile of food in case of an emergency. Learning how to prepare and store fruits and vegetables on your own is an important way to be self-sufficient. It will ensure a continuing source of food for you and your loved ones.