For the last few years, my wife and I have been learning various ways to preserve foods for storage. The following is a list of the most practical methods that we have found.
1, Freezing, as long as you have electric power or it is winter in one of the northern states, this is a great way to preserve food. The downside of course is that if the power goes out or the weather changes, you need a backup plan to preserve that freezer full of food you have stored.
2, Wet pack canning, a method to preserve food that most of our grandmother used. It is fairly easy and can be used for most fruits, vegetables or meats. It does require some specialized equipment such as a water bath canner or a pressure canner if you intend to preserve meat.
Home canned foods will keep for years and can be very tasty. You just have to be careful to protect the glass jars from breakage and to have extra lids or the Tattler reusable ones on hand.
3, Dry pack canning, this can be used for most whole grains, white rice, legumes, salt and sugar. The products can be sealed in metal cans with oxygen absorbers, or sealed in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. It is advisable to store the Mylar bags in plastic buckets to protect them from damage or rodents. Do not use oxygen absorbers for salt or sugar.
4, Dehydrating, we have used both electric dehydrators and the sun with good success. After experimenting with several different brands, our favorite eclectic one is the Excalibur. Simple drying racks placed in the sun have worked well for all many types of fruit and vegetables. If you intend to keep the food for long term, dry it until it is brittle and breaks when bent.
We have dried foods that are several years old and are still good. Sometimes with fruits like figs, we have packed them in sugar and they are delicious.
5, Brining and fermenting, this is one of my favorite methods to preserve food. I ferment vegetables and make sauerkraut all the time in crocks of different types. My favorite type is a harsch crock; they have a gutter for water around the top and the lid seals the food in.
The food can be stored in the crock or wet pack canned. My wife often cans the sauerkraut and other vegetables in a water bath canner. This way they will store for years.
6, Vacuum packing with a food saver is useful for herbs, spices and similar foods. This is not a real long-term storage solution, but it will keep the foods fresher and extend their storage life. You have to periodically check the lids they will occasionally come loose.
These are all methods that we use on a regular basis and can recommend. As with anything there is a learning curve and if you intent to use these methods after TEOTWAWKI, you had better start learning now. Get good instruction books like the Ball Blue Book, So Easy to Preserve, or the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.
I understand there are methods to preserve foods we have not discussed today like root cellars, smoking and others. Some of these we plan to learn in the future and as we do, we will post blogs on them. If you search our site, you will find many previous blogs on the methods that we discussed today.