In this article, I list several methods of food preservation for National Preparedness Month ideas to boost our preparedness and fill gaps.
Most preppers consider every month our preparedness month. Still, I like having National Preparedness Month as a reminder to the rest of the world that preparedness is a good idea.
For long-time preppers, National Preparedness Month can be a time to hit it hard and boost our prepping, try a new method of preserving, or add new items to our regular preps.
In other words, National Preparedness Month is a fun time.
National Preparedness Month Ideas – Add A New Method Of Food Preservation
There are so many different methods of food preserving that most of us pick a few and stick with them. Sometimes it’s fun to try something new. I bet you’ve been looking at something already.
I’ll list a handful of different methods of food preservation below. Many other methods are available, so perhaps you’re ready to add a new skill to your food preservation arsenal.
Canning is a favorite of many preppers, including myself. I started water bath canning and quickly moved into pressure canning. However, It took me a couple of years to gain the confidence to begin pressure-canning meats.
I realized waiting that long was crazy because canning meats was easier than a lot of what I had been canning. There’s much less prep work than canning tomatoes or tomato sauce, especially for cold-pack canning.
Today, I have two water bath canners and three pressure canners. After a few years, I finally invested in an All American 25qt Pressure Cooker/Canner(Aff) (The 925).
Expanding your canning methods could be a nice change if you’re not already doing so.
- pressure canning
- water bath canning
- hot pack
- cold pack
- canning meats
- dry canning
Dehydrating foods was one of the first methods of preserving foods I tried. There were a lot of limitations, but dehydrating helped move my pantry forward in a significant way. Today, I have a couple of different food dehydrators, including a nice 9-tray Excalibur(Aff).
It took me several years to look at freezing food as a prepping tool. Like many preppers, I assumed frozen food’s shelf life and the need for continuous electricity were too limited.
Today, I have two dedicated freezers (I had three at one time), not including the freezer sections of our two refrigerators.
Running a freezer offers a lot of freedom and convenience. They are great for bulk purchases, especially meats, and I’ll often toss things into the freezer to prepare using another method later.
A freezer with some space is convenient for placing food trays for flash freezing or freezing large bags of rice to kill off any creepy crawlies.
Freezer space can speed up the process if you want to get into freeze-drying. I freeze everything on the trays before they go into the freeze dryer, and I also try to get ahead of the next batch, storing it in the freezer.
Is another freezer something you’ve been planning? Remember when it could take months to find one?
Bulk Dry Goods – Vacuum Packing & Mylar
Another favorite among preppers for bulk dry foods. We vacuum pack large amounts of beans, white rice, wheatberries, oats, etc. Other bulk food items can be preserved in mylar or air-tight containers without being vacuum packed, such as salt, sugar, granola, etc.
I use vacuum sealing using oxygen absorbers and/or vacuum sealer in mylar bags stored inside buckets or totes. I also seal dry goods inside canning jars with O2 absorbers, such as freeze-dried foods.
Pickling is so easy. I started pickling when I realized how many cucumbers my garden was producing. I’m not a huge fan of cucumbers, but when they’re pickled? Oh yeah.
I’ve pickled beets, asparagus, eggs, green beans, onion, carrots, garlic, and my all-time favorite – Jalapeño. All from my garden. And you can pickle a lot more.
Most would agree that fermentation is one of the healthiest methods of food preservation we can learn. It’s also simple and inexpensive.
When I first thought of fermentation, I thought sauerkraut and kimchi. I don’t care much for either of those, so I avoided fermenting altogether except for making apple cider vinegar.
Then I started making kombucha. That made me want to do more fermentation. Now, I have fermented garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapeños, and beets. There are so many recipes out there that the possibilities could keep you busy for years.
I’ve only been freeze-drying for a year, but what a game-changer. I currently have five large trays of breakfast hash (egg, potatoes, onion, and peppers).
Freeze drying is a significant investment, and you want to be sure you want to do it before jumping in. It does take a little work, and it can take a long time to return your investment. Some people sell freeze-dried products to help with the cost issue.
Freeze drying can do what a dehydrator can, but with a much longer shelf life. You can freeze dry many things you shouldn’t home can, such as dairy products and those baskets of zucchini you keep trying to give away every year.
You can freeze dry prepared meals as well. Off the top of my head, we have freeze-dried spaghetti with meatballs, sweetish meatballs, homemade beef stew, tuna casserole, lasagna, chicken noodle soup, goulash, and more.
Curing meat is what inspired this article. I’m considering taking a course I found online and jumping into it.
Since I haven’t used salting or curing for food preservation (yet), I only have a little to add. It’s a little more involved than I thought. There’s a lot to learn.
Years ago, as an over-the-road truck driver, I’d often buy cured ham off the shelf when I was down south because it lasted without refrigeration. I had a small refrigerator in the bunk, but room was always an issue. I was amazed at how sliced meat could last without refrigeration, and I have always had it in the back of my mind to try it.
Another thing I want to try. I’ve wanted to make vanilla extract because the real thing is so expensive. Preserving fruit in alcohol is something else that sounds fun.
Wrapping Up National Preparedness Month Ideas – Add A New Method Of Food Preservation
There are other methods of food preservation. Things like drying/smoking, sugaring, waxing, root cellar, olive oil immersion, and many more I’ll probably never know about.
You can add jerky, hardtack, pemmican, and biltong to your National Preparedness Month ideas. Don’t forget to build on to your water reserves.
Wouldn’t it be great if every month was National Preparedness Month? It can be in our world, right? Have some fun this month.