Preserving Produce without Heat

Preserved Meyer Lemons, La Provence

by Catherine Haug

One of the concerns about canning foods as a means of preservation is that the high heat renders the food no longer raw, rendering much, if not all, of the enzymes inactive, and some of the other nutrients hard to absorb. Another problem with using heat is that it consumes energy to produce the heat; energy that may not be available when you need it.

At our August gathering we learned about drying foods, which requires only low heat (about 95º F). But there are other low- or non-heat methods as well.

Check out The Oil Drum article: Preserving Produce without Heat by Jason Bradford, which discusses solar-dehydrating, lacto-fermentation, and preserving in olive oil. It also includes a link to information on building your own solar dryer.

And watch for notice of a future gathering on lacto-fermentation, the ancient method of using salt and/or sugar, and natural probiotic organisms to preserve vegetables and fruits. For example, olives, sauerkraut, pickles, dilly-beans, pickled beets, chutneys and katsups. (NOTE: Beer, wine, and cultured dairy products are also lacto-fermented, but may not be discussed at this future gathering.)

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