Preservation: What is your favorite method?

Dani Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

Mine is dehydrating and fermenting. I like canning too especially for the things that can not be saved any other way and some of the recipes that can be accomplished (my version of fast food), however, I find the added heat and humidity intolerable. I cheat when I can as some things can be tossed in the freezer and then preserved in the fall when I have more time and while I'm playing my favorite game of how long can I wait before I turn the heat on.

I use just dry air for a lot of things unless our humidity level is too high, sometimes I do both just to make sure they are safe to seal up. My favorite thing to dry is veggie chips, zucchini, eggplant and kale are the easiest. If I toss in a silica packet they're still crunchy after 3 months, they may last longer but not in this house. Last year I dehydrated the end of the year tomatoes but the flavor seems to only be suitable for BBQ sauce, still a win.

I started fermenting about 4 years ago and my only regret is not starting sooner. I love pickles and sauerkraut and fermented is beyond superior to pickled with vinegar. Now I experiment with different blends and try all sorts of things. This year I'm trying beet ribs, I use the leaves and roots and after reading an article that the French ferment chard ribs and knowing they're in the same family... As the season progresses I will also attempt salsa. Slow fermenting is better and I just learned that keeping the jars on a slab of marble can cool them considerably so that's my next experiment.


  • valizona
    valizona Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    I agree! Fermenting is an excellent method of preservation. It is especially worth keeping in mind for produce that is still usable, but would otherwise go to waste. Last year's home-made batch of strawberry vinegar comes to mind. We had a bunch of leftover berries last spring after freezing, baking, and eating the rest. The remaining berries were bruised, a little mushy, and tasted slightly fizzy. They had begun to ferment on their own, and at first glance would have been destined for the compost pile. Reluctant to waste any of their natural sweetness, we cut off the unusable parts and tossed the rest in a jar with some water and sugar, encouraging the wild yeasts to do their work. A few weeks later, we had a light, fruity vinegar that is amazing in salad dressing.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I like and use all those methods as well. As to a favorite? I don't have one although for most any given plant I will have a way I like it best lol. Some great ideas here, I will have to try them!

  • Megan Venturella
    Megan Venturella Posts: 678 ✭✭✭✭

    Same here!! Ferments are much easier to do in small batches than something like canning. It's really dry where I live, so dehydrating is a no-brainer for fruit. I've never done much with dehydrated vegetables, but I'm experimenting with it right now. I've got a pot in the solar oven with beans and dehydrated vegetables. I'm hoping it turns into something delicious by dinnertime!

    @Dani Do you remember where you read about the fermented Swiss chard? I'd love to read that. I have a Korean recipe for pickled mustard greens, but I think I used the wrong variety when I tried it. Live and learn!

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 643 admin

    @Dani I love fermenting especially Sauerkraut 😁

    But I most just freeze what I have.

    And zuccini chips will not store for 3 month. Definitely not. They are gone within the day.

  • chimboodle04
    chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    I have to say it is hard to pick just one :) We dehydrate, can, freeze, cure, and ferment - and now that I am thinking about it, it really depends on the food item as to my preference. For example, tomatoes I prefer to can because I can turn them into all sorts of goodies to have ready and on hand to use in the winter. For corn and green beans, we like freezing instead. Cabbage is a no-brainer ferment for us, as well as a good portion of our cucumbers... I will admit, opening up the pantry and seeing a variety of foods preserved in a variety of ways gets my heart fluttering lol!

  • mcarryon
    mcarryon Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    I love fermenting. I have been making a lot of hot sauces and pickles. I grow Carolina Reapers, so I have been experimenting with sauces that have heat, but not so much that you can't eat them!

  • llvonn
    llvonn Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    At the moment I only have my fruit trees so I bottle the peaches. I like to use a sweet wine like a Muscato, a pinot gris or riesling as the liquid. It's not as cloyingly sweet as sugar syrup and doesn't strip the flavour like water.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭


  • Leediafastje
    Leediafastje Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    I also love to can @COWLOVINGIRL But, my favorite is air drying (I must be either extremely patient or crazy).

    Thank you for the bottling information @llvonn QUESTION: Once your peaches are covered in liquid do you apply any heat or will they last in the pantry for a season just as they are?

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    I also like drying and fermenting. I really enjoy experimenting with different vegetable and herb combinations.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,395 admin

    @llvonn Brilliant! I have made brandied fruit before but never would have thought to use wine. I rarely use any sugar in my canning, mostly straight water or just slightly sweetened. So this is a great option! Looking forward to trying it.

  • Nicoleburba
    Nicoleburba Posts: 58 ✭✭✭

    I like fermenting cabbage to make sauerkraut and fermenting cucumbers to make pickles the way I wan t it - without sugar or vinegar. But mostly, almost everyday I freeze something: berries, sprouts, vegetables so they do not go bad and I can use them later.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

    I love to freeze foods but dehydrating may be one of the only choices I have this year. I like specific things in my smoothies and do not have enough room in my apartment for an extra freezer.

  • KimWilson
    KimWilson Posts: 197 ✭✭✭

    I have done water bath canning since I was a young child helping my parents. Several years ago, my mother-in-law was kind enough to teach me pressure canning. To me, home canned green beans simply taste superior (by far) to any on the market. Then, there was also the meat that we learned to can. My parents canned meat, but the experience of canning skinless, boneless chicken or ham simply chunked off the bone is a far sight easier than canning meat starting with a live animal. We canned chicken, pork, beef, ground beef, and even meatballs and such. I love pressure canning. This year I would also love to do some bottled dried beans, spaghetti sauce, stew, and other such dishes.

  • Dani
    Dani Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    @Megan Venturella you made me have to think pretty hard here jogging my memory lol. Turns out it was a book called Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning the whole book is about traditional techniques used for centuries. It's a pretty cool read and I learned quit a bit but be forewarned some of the methods made me say Nope and move on as the safety seems risky at the least.

    @valizona that is so cool. I get a strange sense of satisfaction when I use something that others would consider garbage :)

    @KimWilson I will be forever grateful to my stepdad for teaching me how to can, that was 20 years ago. I agree with you on the meat much easier when its in manageable chunks. We slaughtered a few pigs this year and nice cuts went in the freezer to be turned into meals and canned in the winter. I've never tried meatballs I'm gonna add that to my list, in my house sloppy joes are a must.

  • ieducate2008
    ieducate2008 Posts: 40 ✭✭✭

    I love dehydrating all my food. It makes it so easy to add nutritious food to smoothies, egg dishes, casseroles, pizza, meatloaf, etc. I have a lot of fruit trees that I use my dehydrator for. Also, swiss chard is fantastic dehydrated. Tomorrow, I'll be picking some of my mint and dehydrating it. It's sooooo fun!

  • dalans
    dalans Posts: 35 ✭✭✭

    I remember many years standing by my Mom putting up garden goodies. I think I was about 5 when I started helping. We pressure canned and froze the items. It wasn't until I was on my own when I started dehydrating. I haven't tried fermented. As to what method I like the best, I can't say that I have a favorite. It depends on the item I'm preserving and the supplies I have.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    Woah it sounds like fermenting is popular in this crowd! I have never tried but it’s on my list for the summer. I know I love fermented foods!

    I just started canning two weeks ago and have canned over 100 jars of 14 different “items”. My hubs says I’m obsessed. Lol

    i can’t say I have a favorite yet. Dehydrating is proving to be a challenge for me. I do herbs fine but getting the right consistency with fruit is another story. We have to use an electric dehydrator as we live in a cold damp environment. We have only had a handful of sporadic days at 61 degrees so far this year. And since my property is surrounded by old growth I would have to choose between growing cucumbers or have a sun dehydrator, that’s how few pockets of sun I have....unless the neighbors would be ok if I put one right in the middle of the street which gets the most sun for the longest ...I have envied this space before lol

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    I have to say it depends on what the material is...

    Meat dehydration or smoking, fish is my favorite to smoke for preservation

    Veggies pickling/fermenting

    Fruits canning

    I also enjoy making fruit pies or meat/veggie pot pies and freezing to have oven ready in the winter time.

  • Paradox
    Paradox Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    I love freeze drying!

    I also can, dehydrate and freeze. Not a lot of fermenting. but my fave is Freeze Drying for color, nutrition and longevity.