You fill a basket with berries at the local U-Pick farm. You get (some of) them home, popping a few in your mouth when no one is looking. What’s left got popped into the dehydrator then mixed in homemade granola. You vacuum sealed it for freshness and shoved it into the back of your pantry..until winter.
One bite, and your cerebral light bulb pings on.
You supported your local farmer. You ate seasonally. You contributed to your own personal food storage. It was absolutely to-die-for delicious! You lowered your dependence upon refrigeration, electricity, food miles, and the grocery store. And it was a healthy choice!
Food Storage Supports Natural Food Cycles
You will find in-season foods to be more flavorful and more nutritious. Seasonal eating is encouraged by major health organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and the American Heart Association because you focus more on fruits and vegetables as the centerpiece of a delicious meal.
If you buy local, in-season foods with the plan to preserve, you will get a natural fill of the foods before the farmers are even done with their crops of it. You can dehydrate, can, or ferment the rest to perk up a cold winter’s day!
You will have a shelf full of foods grown well without all of the chemicals. When you buy large amounts of in-season food, you support the natural food cycles, the local farmer, and a healthy diet. You will fill your shelves with healthy alternatives that contrast sharply with the convenience foods found in a grocery store.
Less refrigeration & electricity
When you pay for the electricity of your deep freeze, it’s like your food is paying rent. A freezer makes sense for most of us but there are traditional food preservation methods that open a whole world of flavor to your table.
Canning, dehydrating, and fermenting also mean that you don’t need to have that deep freeze anymore. Dehydrated carrots can now replace the frozen ones at your house. Although we have added a freezer to our home again, we had years’ worth of food storage without one. Foods preserved by other methods hold more nutritional value, are simple to use in the kitchen, and lower your overall cost of that food.
Local foods and lower food miles
Did you know that white sugar in your house could have traveled as far as 10,000 miles to get to you? The local honey from the farmer’s market travel 28 miles to land on your table.
Fresh produce usually travels between 1,300-2,000 miles to get to the consumer in the United States. Additional pollution, additional food waste, and additional food processing are the result. The further and longer your food travels, the more likely it has been irradiated.
Lower Grocery Store Consumerism
The less in my pantry, the more I shop. The more I shop, the more I buy.
The more I buy, the more I spend, the more I eat, and more of what I eat is nasty.
You will find that home processed foods are more filling; they are real foods with greater nutritional density. Less food will satisfy. You will find that homemade snacks from your own pantry are so delicious that you won’t ever want to go back to some of the flavorless snacks from the store.
We haven’t even talked about what you save financially when making your own snacks and foods at home!
Reasons for Food Storage
People ask me if I do food storage because I’m preparedness-minded or if it’s for my health and I say…yes!
There is an interesting overlap between those who choose traditional food because they see the ethical and healthful benefits of it, and those who choose traditional food because they see a preparedness aspect. We all meld into one like-minded conscientious group of consumers concerned about the future.
Some people are concerned about natural disaster, politics, or national/global economics. Some choose to support ethical farming practices and local foods. Some are waging war against autoimmune diseases, allergy lists, or a medical diagnosis. No matter why you choose to read Food Renegade, you might want to take another look at food storage as a way to eat ethically, eat healthfully, and to be prepared!
If you want to learn more about where to start with traditional foods and food storage, Chaya is offering three months of educational support through the Pantry Provision e-Course, and she would love to help you establish and meet your goals.
Sheri Ann Richerson says
Great post – and very thought provoking. I can, dehydrate, ferment and freeze food. I choose to do the first three before the last because when the electricity goes out I don’t lose my food or have to get in a rush to clean out the freezer and try to preserve it. Thanks for sharing!
Yes! I love having a stock of canned food… it makes dinner so much easier when I can open I can of beef stew and heat!!
Will Henss says
Thank you Chaya for posting this. Storing foods through the methods you listed is an effective way to preserved the foods’ life longer. It is also a way to save money through cutting electricity bill. I hope more people will realize the benefits of food preservation. I will sure to check Food Renegade for more tips!
Can you please provide more information about this statement: “Foods preserved by other methods hold more nutritional value, are simple to use in the kitchen, and lower your overall cost of that food.” I’ve heard the opposite; that freezing is the best way to preserve nutrients, and canning one of the worst.
Monica, certainly! First of all, freezing is–as a general statement–better at holding nutritional value than canning. You are right, if the food was grown properly and preserved immediately. Home-canned foods are quite healthy by eliminating BPA and the preservatives that the store-bought counterparts contain, but the food deterioration takes place in approximately a 2 year time frame with home canning. Freezing is a bit slower, but deterioration occurs just the same. It also varies a bit by food, and also depends upon your packaging. Canning, though it may seem “traditional” to us, was really “new” to our great grandparents. Dehydrating is without question the best method of food preservation for retaining nutrients. Very little is lost. The second traditional method–much better than freezing as well–is fermenting!
Kay Kasser says
I love what you do and what you stand for! Thank you for your bold no nonsense style!
I would like to start dehydrating. What process or equipment do you recommend for a novice?