I always considered preserving food to mean a physical way of drying, bottling, fermenting or freezing in such a way it extended the life of the produce. There are other non traditional (and even more traditional) ways of preserving than just these. Both long term and short term storage methods.
Perhaps one of the oldest preserving methods was packing root vegetables in sand – carrots, parsnips, swedes, etc. have all been stored successfully this way. Other methods include storing between layers of straw or chaff.
In the following Interview with Bridget White we discuss the technology required for fermenting common home grown fruits and vegetables and the overall health benefits.
[Eric] When considering fermentation for preserving garden produce what technology (preparation, bottle type, work space conditions etc) are required for an effective ferment?
[Bridget] An oxygen free environment is best in which you submerge produce under a salt brine with a one way seal or value such as a swing top jar or lid with a airlock.
[Eric] What foods are best fermented (root vegetables, leafy vegetables, fruit etc.) – does the process for fermenting differ for different parts of the plant – root, leaf etc.
[Bridget] All will ferment, I wouldn’t say some are best thou some may taste better to different people. The only difference is fermentation time and whether a wild or cultured process is best and this depends on produce quality.
[Eric] Are there any foods that are usually not suited to fermenting?
[Bridget] Not really, thou some like banana don’t turn out well, but technically can be fermented.
[Eric] If all goes to plan how long will a ferment last – give an example if you can (carrot, cabbage etc) ?
[Bridget] At least 1 month but often more. This applies to all fermented produce for example.
[Eric] Would you consider fermentation an effective and appropriate technology for food preservation compared with other preserving techniques (freezing, etc.)?
[Bridget] Well that depends on many things. Yes i would but the process will change the food so if thats not desired then no i wouldn’t.
[Eric] What are the benefits compared to other preservation options?
[Bridget] A source of probiotics, healthy bacteria and yeasts, nutrition enhancement of foods, predigestion of foods, Gut health and healing, Immune restoration, detox, skin condition improvement and potential healing, brain, memory, mental illness conditions improvement and healing, weight correction, more energy, delicious flavours unfound elsewhere and lastly food preservation.
(an interview with Bridget White, BA, Holistic Health Coach – www.facebook.com/Wild4Wellness )