How to Preserve Food Without Refrigeration

You can learn how to preserve food without refrigeration by learning the basics of canning, drying, and root cellaring.

| July/August 1971

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    A root cellar needs to breath, and a ventilator is necessary. It should be 4 to 6 inches square, extend 3 or 4 feet above the dirt that covers the cellar and must have a rain cap. Plug the vent with rags or paper in extremely cold weather.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    HOW TO CAN STEP BY STEP: [1] Check jars for nicks, cracks and sharp edges. Check cans for corrosion and cracks in tin plating. Discard any defective containers. Use new lids and — for jars — good rubber seals. [2] Wash containers, covers and seals in hot, soapy water. Scald and leave in hot water until ready to use. [3] Select firm, fresh — but not overripe — produce. [4] Prepare fruits and vegetables according to appropriate hot-pack or cold-pack recipe.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    You can pick between many types of glass jars. Each has its own pros and cons.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    HOW TO CAN STEP BY STEP: [5] Pack food into jars or cans, leaving proper head space. Add liquid as called for in recipe. [6] Release air bubbles by running knife or spatula around inside of container. [7] Wipe top of jar and threads free of all pulp, seeds, grease, etc. [8] Place scalded lid on jar or can. Seal tin cans and tighten self-sealing jar tops as firmly as possible by hand. Do not use a wrench. Tighten screw-on caps firmly and back off one-quarter turn.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    Allow proper head space of 1 inch for corn, peas, lima beans and meat and ½ inch for all other home-canned products.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    HOW TO CAN STEP BY STEP: [9] Process containers in hot water bath or pressure cooker. Follow instructions of manufacturer. [10] Remove containers after processing required length of time. Set jars upright on folded towels. [11] Immediately tighten screw-on caps final quarter-turn. Other closures should already be tight. [12] Cool containers for 12 hours. Remove bands from self-sealing caps. Test seal by pressing cap. If top stays down, seal is good. Store.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
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    This cross-section of a self-sealing lid shows how a good rubber ring seals all around jar top, inside, outside and on top. There's no chance for air to get in.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS

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Believe it or not, it is possible to live without refrigeration. Long before the advent of home coolers and freezers, the problems of food storage and preservation had been solved, but this invaluable knowledge has been largely forgotten by our modern "quick and easy" society. Today, you can learn how to preserve food without refrigeration to save money and have delicious produce all year.

Yes, it certainly is both fast and easy to cram an armload of frozen supermarket food into the freezer or refrigerator. It's become so natural to do exactly that, in fact, that we now often completely overlook the home refrigeration unit's definite limitations.

For instance, it's impossible to store a year's supply of food in a refrigerator or freezer. If you raise all or most of what your family eats, then refrigeration is definitely not a practical means of preservation.

And did you realize that food frozen or refrigerated for longer than three months loses both its flavor and appearance and the greater portion of its nutritional value? Some edibles become positively revolting when frozen overlong.



Consider, also, what happens to a big freezer of frozen food during a major, lengthy power failure. It only takes about two days without electricity to turn a marvelous store of frozen victuals into a sodden, rotting mess.

There's a money angle to consider too. Operating expenses for a home refrigerating unit are nominal — probably not more than a couple of dollars a month — but that is still bread you could use elsewhere (like for a subscription to MOTHER). And think of all the nice, useful things you could buy with the money you'd get if you sold your refrigerator or freezer. Or — if the unit is too old or useless to sell — you can still make money with it by turning it on its back, filling it with dirt and table scraps and sprinkling in a handful of fat earthworms. Within a year, you'll be able to sell livestock from this worm farm to all the fishermen and organic gardeners in your neighborhood!

flenay
9/6/2017 3:18:21 PM

Love the article but can't see the chart. Could someone email it to me please, thank you! flenay45@gmail.com


flenay45
9/6/2017 3:18:20 PM

Love the article but unable to read the chart or find it anywhere else online. Can you email it to me please, thank you! flenay45@gmail.com


LindaBrown
8/4/2016 6:11:42 AM

My husband and I love to read your posts whenever we have a chance. They are informative and thorough. I liked your insights on food preservation. I myself have written a similar article on the topic. I would much appreciate your perspectives on that if your situation allows you to take a look at that. Best regards. http://www.thedehydratorreviews.com/history-of-food-preservation-drying-and-dehydrating-food/







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