Historical Food Preservation Methods
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Historical Food Preservation Methods

This is a discussion on Historical Food Preservation Methods within the Garden, Canning, Long Term Food Storage forums, part of the Survival Food Procurement category; I often wonder what would happen in SHTF, with loss of power and in my case, city water supply and/or living off the grid and ...

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Thread: Historical Food Preservation Methods

  1. #1
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    Historical Food Preservation Methods

    I often wonder what would happen in SHTF, with loss of power and in my case, city water supply and/or living off the grid and how to keep food fresh or even edible beyond a few days. Sure I dehydrate, freeze and can a lot of our food, but if the processes to do so weren't available.....what's the alternative?? I look at history and how previous generations survived and their processes of keeping foods for long periods of time.

    1. Salting---can be used for vegetables and meats/fish/etc.....basically layering plain or pickling salt (not iodized or other treatment) with foods in a glass or plastic vessel. Do NOT use metal. The salt 'dehydrates' the foods by extracting the moisture thereby allowing a long storage time. Salted foods would need soaked in water with several changes to get all the salt out of it so it would be palatable to eat.

    2. Curing and/or smoking---still smoking for preservation would include high salt content...….anyone remember having to soak a ham before eating it? Several years ago I had read about a specific type of ham (in the South) that was salted/cured & smoked by the time of a daughters baby baptism, and kept for her until she married which in those days would be around 12 to 14 years...but I can't find anything about it on the web to share and don't remember the book from which I read it, soooo just sayin

    3. Lard or fat----keeping meat in fat or lard is pouring the melted fat over the meat till completely covered (probably pre-cooked, but not sure?) and keeping it in a cool place so the fat hardens and seals around it. It keeps out bugs, bacteria and oxygen from getting to the meat.

    4. Sulphuring----During WWII in UK (possibly before that and elsewhere) a Sulphur candle was lit, then covered with a jar till the flame went out and smoke fumes filled the jar, then pop in fruits that would oxidize or turn brown, like apples as in this video....then put in a low oven to dry. The process in the video starts around 4:15 mark



    (this video series is interesting and sometimes informative of life during the war, including food rationing and before much of modern conveniences …..but do understand that 'sulphur' may be illegal nowdays)

    5. Egg preservation with either 'waterglass' or lime water as mentioned in another thread...….also understand that eggs will keep for a very long time (months) anyway if properly stored...and that doesn't necessarily mean in the fridge. The US is about the only country that does, most others keep them at room temp 65-70 degrees. Homegrown eggs should not be washed as they have a 'bloom' that protects the porous egg naturally. If yours have poop or other debris, wipe with a dry paper towel or something if you can, wet if you have to but use it first. Store bought eggs have had a chemical wash and that protective bloom has been removed.

    Here is a great article from MEN that had tested several egg preservation methods...up to 7 months

    https://www.motherearthnews.com/real...s-zmaz77ndzgoe

    6. Sugaring---sugar is another method of preservation, probably most widely used for jams & jellies

    7, Wax/paraffin---another method used for jams & jellies atleast and may or may not have been used for other foods, IDK. Basically cover exposed foods with a layer of wax & let cool to harden. Remove the wax when you use it and it can be melted down & reused.


    This is another good source of historical food preservation methods (and other ways of life in the 1600, 1700, 1800's) from a re-enactors perspective

    https://www.youtube.com/user/jastownsendandson/videos

  2. #2
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    I'll add:

    1) pickling/fermenting.

    You need salt to ferment things like cabbage to make kraut. And salt/vinegar to pickle. Easy to make apple cider vinegar from apples.

    2) Root cellar. I still have edible potatoes from 2018

    3) Ice/milk house, almost a root cellar. Grandparents had a spring that ran through milk house 24/7. Not ice cold (except winter) but a trough you could keep things cool. They also harvested ice from the farm pond (ice was a commodity in the 1800s). Ice blocks were stored under sawdust in the milkhouse.

    4) The ice box. Pre-electric refrigerator

    Stooges video below:

    JustAnotherNut likes this.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Trapper View Post
    I'll add:

    1) pickling/fermenting.

    You need salt to ferment things like cabbage to make kraut. And salt/vinegar to pickle. Easy to make apple cider vinegar from apples.

    2) Root cellar. I still have edible potatoes from 2018

    3) Ice/milk house, almost a root cellar. Grandparents had a spring that ran through milk house 24/7. Not ice cold (except winter) but a trough you could keep things cool. They also harvested ice from the farm pond (ice was a commodity in the 1800s). Ice blocks were stored under sawdust in the milkhouse.

    4) The ice box. Pre-electric refrigerator

    Stooges video below:

    Thanks, somehow I forgot about pickling and root cellaring, but there are other threads on those topics.

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  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAnotherNut View Post
    Thanks, somehow I forgot about pickling and root cellaring, but there are other threads on those topics.
    But did ya watch the stooges?

    That one is a classic!!!!

    BOOB tube did not have a link, unless you were extorted $$$$

    WTF? it don't work?.....

    try this!!!

    Last edited by Mad Trapper; 11-22-2019 at 05:37 PM.
    JustAnotherNut likes this.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Trapper View Post
    But did ya watch the stooges?

    That one is a classic!!!!

    BOOB tube did not have a link, unless you were extorted $$$$

    WTF? it don't work?.....

    try this!!!

    Well that's weird......about 2 minutes in and the video 'freezes the scene, but the audio still goes on. Anyway, yes I used to watch them & other golden oldies & loved them.

    And 'icing' is another way to keep foods....but that would depend on if you can find it during SHTF

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    double post
    Last edited by Mad Trapper; 11-23-2019 at 02:51 AM.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAnotherNut View Post
    Well that's weird......about 2 minutes in and the video 'freezes the scene, but the audio still goes on. Anyway, yes I used to watch them & other golden oldies & loved them.

    And 'icing' is another way to keep foods....but that would depend on if you can find it during SHTF
    I forgot to drain one of my 275-gal water totes. It froze solid. That is one big ice cube on a pallet if you can move it (farm tractor w/forks/loader).

    I don't what's up with Screw Tube? But that was a great 3 Stooges episode......

    LOL, if you freeze a 275-gal tote, it won't split
    Last edited by Mad Trapper; 11-23-2019 at 02:52 AM.

  9. #8
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    Fish can be dried without salting. Read the L + C journals. The Indians of the Columbia river put up thousands of pounds of salmon. Alaskans still do.

    Concerning fatted meat/fruit. Pemmican. You need rendered fat. A complete nutrition.

    You can jerk/smoke meat over a fire. Better salted. Again, consult L + C journals.

    L + C journals are free download, thousands of pages of reading.


    https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/


    Welcome to the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online. This website makes available the text of the celebrated Nebraska edition of the Lewis and Clark journals, edited by Gary E. Moulton. Moulton's edition—the most accurate and inclusive edition ever published—is one of the major scholarly achievements of the late twentieth century.

    The site features the full text—almost five thousand pages—of the journals. Also included are a gallery of images, important supplemental texts, and audio files of selected passages plus Native American perspectives. With a focus on full-text searchability and ease of navigation, the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online is intended to be both a useful tool for scholars and an engaging website for the general public.

    The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the University of Nebraska Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and University of Nebraska Press.
    JustAnotherNut likes this.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Trapper View Post
    Fish can be dried without salting. Read the L + C journals. The Indians of the Columbia river put up thousands of pounds of salmon. Alaskans still do.

    Concerning fatted meat/fruit. Pemmican. You need rendered fat. A complete nutrition.

    You can jerk/smoke meat over a fire. Better salted. Again, consult L + C journals.

    L + C journals are free download, thousands of pages of reading.


    https://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/


    Welcome to the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online. This website makes available the text of the celebrated Nebraska edition of the Lewis and Clark journals, edited by Gary E. Moulton. Moulton's edition—the most accurate and inclusive edition ever published—is one of the major scholarly achievements of the late twentieth century.

    The site features the full text—almost five thousand pages—of the journals. Also included are a gallery of images, important supplemental texts, and audio files of selected passages plus Native American perspectives. With a focus on full-text searchability and ease of navigation, the Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online is intended to be both a useful tool for scholars and an engaging website for the general public.

    The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Great Plains Studies, the University of Nebraska Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and University of Nebraska Press.
    Once upon a time I went to a party where the Natives smoked some salmon over an open fire. It was deeeelish. I wonder if it's possible to do with other meats as well??? Wouldn't hurt to try...

    (well dammit, can't get the picture to copy/paste here...grrrr)

  11. #10
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    Another method of preserving eggs is aged eggnog. We don't think of it as a preservation method because you can't scramble them up and fry them for breakfast when you went to use them, but the full nutrition of the egg is intact.



 

 
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