Food preservation for Zero Waste
Imagine this: you purchased far too many peppers or you grew your own spinach, and it grew FAR better than you anticipated and you’re inundated, time on the food rot clock is ticking! What the heck are you going to do with all this food to ensure it isn’t wasted?
Luckily, it’s easy enough to preserve food for a later date, and you don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to do so.
Dry it out
Herbs are wonderful dried, and its pretty fool proof to do too. Air drying herbs works best with bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
Pick the herbs in the morning, remove dead leave and insects. Only wash them if you need to remove bugs or soil, otherwise, bundle them into a bunch of 5 or so and tie them together.
Pop something like a brown paper bag over them and hang them upside down in a dry airy room.
When dried, store as you normally would.
Other herbs not listed above can be dried in a dehydrator, which can either be powered via the mains or solar powered. A dehydrator can dry out other fruits and vegetables too.
If a dehydrator isn’t an option, then you could:
Fruits and vegetables with lower water contents can be chopped up to be stored (think peppers, bananas, courgettes) those with a higher amount of water contents or ones which could trap frozen water in them should be frozen whole (e.g. tomatoes) or blanched before freezing (e.g. broccoli, beans and cauliflower)
Freeze things flat, then store them in boxes, bags or whatever you can find!
Blanching simply means part cooking foods. There are a few ways to do this, so pick what works for you.
Get it into a pickle
You can put all those pretty jars you've collected to good use and show off the beautiful colours of various foods by pickling.
Pickling to preserve food uses salt water or vinegars and you can also flavor this with pepper corns, onions, chili and garlic. This guide covers the basics. Most fruits and vegetables can be pickled. This article covers some of the weirder combos.
Make a jam or preserve it
Again, you can do this with any kind of fruit and veg, and can have traditional combinations or weird and wonderful concoctions. Jams use squashed fruits or veg, whereas preserves are whole or large pieces. Here you can find lots of useful tips, including some recipes to get you started.
I also love to make a lazy (and lower sugar version) jam, which uses chia seeds to thicken. Its heaps quicker to make, but doesn’t last as long.
Give it away
Either in its natural form, or using one of the methods above, give away any produce you may not eat. Its an easy way to cut back on food waste, plus who doesn’t love free food?!
I preserve foods in all of these ways to cut food waste, save money and eat fresher food for longer. Let me know if you have any extra idea