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Canning is the process of heating the product at a specified temperature for a

specific length of time (pasteurizing), and then vacuum sealing the pasteurized food in
special glass jars designed for this purpose. It can be used with most foods, including
fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, and some prepared foods. Canning requires the
purchase of reusable canning jars and rings, one-time use sealing lids, and some practice
to learn the necessary and detailed steps.
2. Freezing is the process of chilling foods to at least 0°F. It can be used with all
foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, grains, nuts, dairy, eggs, and prepared
foods. True freezing is not possible in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator where
the temperature is typically much warmer, between 10°F to 32°F. Freezing is easy to do,
if you can afford to buy and operate the relatively expensive appliance.
3. Drying is the process of dehydrating foods until there is not enough moisture to
support microbial activity. It can be used with most foods, including fruits, vegetables,
meats, seafood, grains, legumes, and nuts. There are several different techniques, some
are relatively easy to do and require no special equipment.
4. Fermenting is the process of encouraging the growth of “good bugs” to inhibit
the “bad bugs” that can spoil food. It can be used with many types of foods, including
fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, grains, legumes, dairy, and eggs to produce a wide
range of products such as wine (from grapes), sauerkraut (cabbage), cured sausage
(meat), and yogurt (milk). Many fermented products can be produced without any special
equipment. The method for each type of product is relatively easy, but requires attention
to detail.
5. Pickling is the process of soaking food in a solution containing salt, acid, or
alcohol. It can be used with most foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood,
legumes, and eggs. Most methods require no special equipment. However, pickled foods
can be unsafe if prepared carelessly or stored at room temperature. Pickling is often
combined with another method, such as fermenting, canning, or just refrigerating.
6. Dry salting is either a fermenting or pickling technique used for meat, fish, and
vegetables. A low salt concentration (2½% to 5% weight of the salt per weight of the
food), promotes fermentation, while a high salt concentration (20% to 25% salt), prevents
microbial growth and preserves the food in a more or less fresh, although salty state.
Many people familiar with the technique consider salted vegetables such as green beans
to be far superior in taste and texture than canned or frozen beans. This old-fashioned
method was promoted in the early twentieth century as an alternative to canning, in order
to conserve glass, tin, and fuel in time of war.
7. Curing is similar to pickling, and uses salt, acid, and/or nitrites. It is used for
meat and fish. Simple, modern curing methods often reduce the amount of salt and
nitrites, which may require that you refrigerate or freeze the final product. Shelf-stable
products require the use of adequate amounts of nitrites and a complex drying process
using special equipment and exacting technique. Some curing methods also employ a
secondary process such as fermenting, smoking, or sealing.
8. Smoking is a complementary process to curing that improves flavor and
appearance, and can also act as a drying agent. Smoked meats are less likely to turn
rancid or grow mold than unsmoked meats.
9. Sealing is a process of covering food to keep out air, which delays (but does not
stop) the activity of spoilage organisms. It is used primarily as a complementary process
to other methods such as drying or freezing. Both fat sealing and vacuum sealing methods
are relatively easy. Vacuum sealing a relatively inexpensive small appliance.
10. Cellaring is the process of storing foods in a temperature-, humidity-, and light-
controlled environment. It can be used with many foods, especially vegetables, grains,
and nuts, as well as fermented foods and dry-cured meats. There are many different
methods for cellaring food, all of which are relatively easy to do. Some require simple,
inexpensive equipment you may already own. No matter where you live, whether in an
apartment or on a farm, you can use the concept of cellaring to some degree.