Food Preservation

Whether you’re harvesting plenty from your own garden or have an abundance from local growers, preserving perishable produce allows you to prevent food waste and enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables from the pantry year round. 

You can see all of my posts about food preservation here. Below, I’ll give you a little walk-through of some of the more popular types of food preservation and how to get started.

jar of canned applesauce with a spoon in it.

With food preservation comes some responsibility — it must be done safely. Don’t let that frighten you off, though! I’m a certified Master Food Preserver and all of the recipes you find on this site are made using safe and approved practices. If you can follow simple instructions, you can tackle any of these and fill your family’s pantry with wholesome food. 

Food Preservation Methods

Exactly which food preservation method you choose will depend on your food preferences and available equipment. Some require just a few ingredients and time, others require some special equipment. 

Fermentation

Requiring only fresh produce and salt, fermentation is probably one of the oldest methods of food preservation, and one of the easiest! Naturally fermented foods recipes are an excellent source of probiotics and promote a healthy digestive system. 

Dehydration

The process of removing moisture from fresh produce and meat (in the case of jerky) allows us to store it for longer periods of time. Dried apples, strawberries, and bananas are favorites here!

Pickling

Pickled foods are those that are preserved in vinegar, such as dill pickles, sweet pickles, and pickled onions. Pickles can be preserved using the water bath canning method or they can be stored in the refrigerator (thus the term refrigerator pickles).

Water Bath Canning

Making perishable foods shelf stable requires some processing. With water bath canning, jars of prepared foods like jam, jelly, pickles, and salsa are submerged in boiling water for a period of time. This process removes the oxygen from the jars, creates a seal, and allows you to store foods at room temperature.

Pressure Canning

This method of food preservation requires a special pressure canner. It’s the only way to safely preserve low acid foods like vegetables, meat, and fish. Filled jars are processed under pressure, raising the internal temperature higher than a boiling water bath can manage. This heat kills the botulism spores that can cause severe illness.

More Preservation Methods

The food preservation methods mentioned here are some of the most popular. There are others, such as salting foods, freeze drying, and freezing. You can read about those here, and find recipes, too.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa Kris Bordessa founded Attainable Sustainable as a resource for revitalizing vintage skills. Her book, Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living (National Geographic) offers a collection of projects and recipes to help readers who are working their way to a more fulfilling DIY lifestyle. She’s a certified Master Food Preserver and longtime gardener who loves to turn the harvest into pantry staples.