Preservation

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Preservation of dumpstered and wild foraged food is important.

Dumpster diving or wild foraging sometimes results in large quantities of food being retrieved/collected, so unless you're hosting freegan dinners or have many mouths to feed, learning some basic food preservation methods can save food from getting old quickly (and keep your home smell-free as well).

Fruits and berries

  • Surplus citrus fruits (e.g. oranges, lemons, mandarins, etc.) can be peeled and put in a freezer. They'll be ready for blending or juicing when you take them out and defrost.
  • Bananas can also be peeled and put to freeze. If you blend them already frozen you can easily make delicious vegan ice-cream. Defrosted bananas are good for making smoothies with other fruits. And don't forget thawed bananas can be used in banana bread or as an egg substitute when baking.
  • Keeping bananas fresh? It's easy!
  • Surplus fruit (and many vegetables) can also be dried: in winter, use oven; in summer, a variety of methods for drying fruits in the sun can be used.
  • You can easily make jam or marmalade out of most fruits, especially good are berries. You need about 500g of sugar for 600g of fruits. Just blend the fruits and cook them with half of the sugar for a few minutes, add the rest of the sugar and cook until thick enough. Fill your jam immediately in a clean glass jar, close it tightly, and leave upside-down to cool, as this helps the jar to seal.
  • Large quantities of many fruits (and some vegetables), can be made into wines, or if small quantities are found regularly, they can be frozen and stored until enough is available. Recipes are widely available online, and equipment can be bought at homebrew shops, online, or often found on Freecycle.
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Vegetables

  • Carrots, cauliflowers, beetroots and so on can be preserved as pickles.
  • Cabbage can be preserved by making sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lacto-fermentation that is analogous to how traditional (not heat-treated) pickled cucumbers are made. Fully-cured sauerkraut keeps for several months in an airtight container stored at or below 15 °C (59 °F). Neither refrigeration nor pasteurization is required, although these treatments may prolong storage life. Sour berries such as cranberry, or bits of finely chopped vegetables and fruit, such as carrots or apples, may be added prior to fermenting to enhance flavour. Beets also may be added to give the cabbage a red color.
  • Most vegetables can be blanched and frozen. To blanch something, chop into uniform pieces, dunk in boiling water for thirty seconds to a minute (depending on the density and size of the food--so, longer for root vegetables, less for tomatoes), and then dunk in ice water to stop the cooking. Freeze.
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Bread

  • The easiest is to freeze bread to prevent it from molding. Bread will still become stale while frozen, but can be "freshened" by spritizing it with water and putting it in a dehydrator or oven (on it's lowest settings) for a short time. Stale bread can still be used to make stuffing, bread crumbs, etc.

Eggs

  • Eggs can be preserved by various methods, including freezing the pulp
  • You can either dehydrate them after frying, or (for better results) can scramble them and "cook" them in the dehydrator. They'll never have the same consistancy as store-bought dehydrated eggs, and they can't be used as the "stick-it-together" ingredient in cooking and baking, but they're still not bad. They can also be compressed together into breakfast bars.

See also