Methods Of Preserving Food

Drying This is the oldest method of food preservation. Use it if you have access to gentle heat, with free circulation of air: in an airing cupboard or Aga stove. You may dry fruit in an oven, but it is expensive in fuel,

Apple and pear rings, plums and mushrooms dry well. Dip in salt water and spread out on a cake rack or sew on a string, with space between.

Salting There are many ways of salting meat, fish and vegetables. Check your recipe and remember that salting at home does not ensure long-term preservation, although it adds flavour when the food is cooked.

Storing Apples, pears and root vegetables can be stored over winter. Keep them in a cool, dry, dark place.

Smoking To preserve meat or fish by smoking requires pre-salting, drying in a cool place, with a regulated temperature, and then smoking in a cold smoker. This is not practicable to attempt at home, unless you have ideal conditions and a fair amount of experience.

The flavour of smoked food can be achieved at home though, using a hot smoker. There are several different makes on the market and the process is not difficult. The smoking kits come complete with instructions and recipes and everything that you will need apart from methylated spirits. The kits are very compact too.

Many different foods can be hot smoked. Remember, you are not preserving the food, simply cooking it and adding flavour. Fish, meat sausages, bacon, ham, poultry, cheese and some vegetables can be hot smoked.

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