SUSTAINABLE FARMING AND FOOD SYSTEMS CAPSTONE PROJECT – JAMES
Long Term Storage Methods: The Production of Value-Added Foods
Have you ever had an occasion where you watched your mother or grandmother using long term storage methods to store food from the garden, but never learned how to do it for yourself?
Maybe you already use Long term storage methods for foods and have recipes that were childhood favorites, or were enjoyed by others, and wondered what it would take to make those recipes into a value-added food that could be sold at market?
What is Value-added you ask? Simply it is the process of taking a raw commodity and changing its form to produce a high quality end product.
Food preservation is one of the oldest sciences used by human beings the methods include: drying, smoking, fermentation, pickling, jams and jellies, canning and freezing to name the most common methods. Food preservation has been part of every culture at nearly every stage, and has lent itself to a vast number foods that we consume today. For many years now, food preservation was becoming a lost art. But do not fret, home food preservation is making a comeback!
Many long term storage methods can be done very easily with low or no cost for the produce. Buy in bulk from a farmer, Start from seeds or glean where you are able to get produce inexpensively. The knowledge that locally grown food can that can be preserved and made into a value-added product, right from a home kitchen, with the right materials and methods, or a commercial kitchen, with the proper license is exciting.
The practicality of creating value-added products from local sources, will not only save money, but would enable the producer the chance to control the ingredients being put into a food product. Food preservation is a fun and easy way to get the family, friends or classmates together to create some great food items.
The preservation of local produce can put food that is inexpensive or that would most likely go to waste in the hands those who have a need.
- They can be personally used, *sold for profit or donated if that agency will accept them.
- There is cost savings
- Food waste elimination potential makes the preservation of foods a worthy choice.
*With a NYS 20-C Food Establishment License and a proper label.
Give a food preservation method a try! You do not necessarily need everything, you can borrow from friends and neighbors when it comes to having the right equipment.
The safest bet is to follow trusted recipes. Highly acidic foods, such as fruit and pickles, are safe to can in a boiling water bath. Low acid foods, such as green beans, carrots and spinach, or neutral foods, such as peas and corn, MUST be processed in a pressure canner or you run the risk of botulism poisoning.
Here is a simple recipe and the materials you will need for water bath canning.
Applesauce – 8 pounds Tart cooking apples, quartered (Tart or Sweet apple, for sweet apples you can use less or no sugar)
2 cups water
10 inches of Stick cinnamon or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
¾ to 1 ¼ cup sugar
20 quart Stainless Steel Water bath canning pot
12-15 quart pot for cooking
Canning magnet (any sanitized magnet works and can be attached to the tongs, this is for getting your lids and rings out of the canning bath)
Wide mouth funnel
Canning lids and rings
Pot holders (for handling hot jars)
Board or towel (to set finished jars on for filling and cooling)
Process: Peel and core the apples for the apple sauce, place in the cooking pot with the water to cook down. This process should take about 25-35 minutes for cooking, keep covered for the minimum time. After cooking is completed, a potato masher or a food mill works great to get the texture desired. Add the sugar ¾ to 1 ¼ cup (to taste) cinnamon is optional. The jars, either Pint or Quart size, that are to be used should be prepared by boiling the jars and lids in the water once the bath canning pot is at a rolling boil, boil for 15 minutes to sanitize them they will then be processed according to the Food Preservations guideline for applesauce in table 1. Pull them out of the canning bath to cool. This will take several hours and the lids will seal, created by the vacuum from cooling.
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Applesauce in a boiling-water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Quart Size||0 – 1,000 ft||1,001 – 3,000 ft||3,001 – 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Source: “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.