Preserving Foods Is an Art and a Science


Jars of Preserved Vegetables

So, shopping the periphery of the grocery store, and at the farmer's market is old hat these days, and meal planning is a regular part of the week.  But what does one do with leftover vegetables, and what to do when one's favorites aren't in season anymore? 

Food preservation is a complex topic.  Food can be canned, frozen, sugared, pickled, dried, salted, and fermented, and each of these processes are arts in their own right.  A little bit of each of these methods makes for an incredibly varied diet, and the results in flavor, color, and texture far outstrip what is available in just fresh foods. 

Many of the foods are those that are commonplace, and little considered.  Soy sauce for instance, is a fermented product, although pasteurization removes its probiotic potential.  Corned beef, when made at home, is a completely different dish than what is available in the supermarket, and its salt cured process is not the least bit difficult.  Spices are used to perfume the meat, and so it is layered with flavor.  Pickling is easy, and can hold fresh flavors and crisp textures that are lost in mass production.

Fermentation is a vast subject, and many different dairy products and vegetables can undergo fermentation right on the kitchen counter.  One of the simplest vegetable fermentations is sauerkraut.  Fermentation is a very customizable process, and as they ferment, they become stronger, more sour, and often more flavorful.  Even waste such as the peels of fresh pineapple can be used to make a refreshing probiotic beverage.  Fermented pineapple peel results in a beverage known as Tepache.   

Getting started on food preservation is actually a simple thing, as simple as finding a recipe that sounds divine, and trying it out.  Food preservation is an art, as well as a science, and there is always factors that change what the end result might be.  

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