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Old 04-28-2013, 07:57 PM   #1
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Food Preservation

I know there is already section on gardening, with canning, drying, and such. But one of our new members, Burnt Toast, has raised a valid question that has no single answer. So, I'm starting this thread so that we can all share what we know, and maybe even ask questions and do research on the broad topic of food preservation, and how to re-heat it, or prepare it for consumption, with the end goal of food quality, and most of all, safety.

For instance, can you freeze gravy, and if so, what about roux based, or slurry based gravies and sauces? Will a frozen sauce break if it is frozen, then reheated.

What is freezer burn, and how can you avoid it?

How can you freeze fish, and should it be pre-cooked, or frozen in its raw state, or does it even matter?

What happens to most raw veggies if they are frozen, and why?

When we learn the answers to these kinds of questions, it makes it so much easier for us to manage and plan our schedules. So first, what are your questions? I will answer the questions that I have personal experience and solutions to answer. And as I only know some of the answers, and this is a public forum, I invite everyone to join in with their own knowledge and expertise.

I have one request; if you are answering a question, please make sure you know what you are talking about. Check professional articles, and get documented proof where required. Food safety is of the utmost importance.

This thread is now open.

I'll start with an easy one. When freezing fresh fish, clean it thouroughly, inside and out. Then place the fish, whole, fillets, or steaks, into a clean container, and fill with water to completely immerse the fish. Place the container into your freezer.

I have had fish stored by this method up to 9 months after it was frozen, and it was as fresh as the day we caught it. The water isolates the fish flesh from air, and prevents the migration of moisture out of the flesh. It also seals the fish from giving off any odors that might affect other foods in the freezer.

My Dad used half-gallon paper milk cartons, that he carefully cleaned. These made containers that were easily stacked, and stored in the deep-freezer. When he got in the mood for fish, he simply removed a container, and placed it in the fridge for a couple days. When the water was thawed, it was time to cook up the fish.

Tip from me to you.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North

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Old 04-29-2013, 07:45 AM   #2
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I've learned (the hard way), that if you use corn starch to thicken a gravy, it will break after freezing.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
I've learned (the hard way), that if you use corn starch to thicken a gravy, it will break after freezing.
I've found that if you have stock or broth enough to make more gravy than you need, it's best to use only that broth to make the amount of gravy desired, and freeze the remaining broth, rather than turning it into gravy and feezing. If you have a pressure canner, you can make gravy in advance, and can it. But then again, you can can the stock.

Preserving tip for today; Don't discard cooked meat bonesand the gristle and bits of meat still attached to them. Rather, place them in water to cover, with aromatics, and, simmer them while you go about your daily business. Check every hour or so, and replace the evaporated liquid. At the end of the day, Strain the resultant stock and portion out either by canning, or freezing.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:11 PM   #4
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I am certainly not a professional but I am picky about what I eat. I have been freezing roux based gravies for years with no problems. I typically freeze leftover gravy in ice cube trays and then store in ziplock bags. You can easily have individual servings anytime. I've always had good results with this method. I would prefer to make a fresh gravy each time but often I just need something quick to grab on my way out the door for lunch or a quick dinner for nights when kids have activities.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
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I did a presentation on preserving herbs for the Master Gardener class. All advice from master gardeners has to be based on university research.

A great way to preserve the fresh flavor of herbs is to freeze in water. Put 2 cups of soft herbs, like basil or cilantro, in a blender with 2 cups of water and puree. Place the puree in ice cube trays and freeze. Throw a cube into a sauce or soup for fresh herb flavor.

Do not try to make herbed oils at home. Adding herbs to oil creates the perfect environment for salmonella to grow. If you make a vinaigrette using fresh herbs, use it within a few days.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:32 PM   #6
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...Adding herbs to oil creates the perfect environment for salmonella to grow...

Actually, the main culprit is botulism not salmonella. That's a much more dangerous problem.

If you make a herb infused oil at home, you must keep it refrigerated and use it within 10 days.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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Actually, the main culprit is botulism not salmonella. That's a much more dangerous problem.

If you make a herb infused oil at home, you must keep it refrigerated and use it within 10 days.
The only way to keep botulism at bay is to add some acidic food like lemon or vinegar. It won't hold it off indefinitely, but will slow down its development for a wee bit longer than usual. For children and the elderly, botulism is a killer.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post

Actually, the main culprit is botulism not salmonella. That's a much more dangerous problem.

If you make a herb infused oil at home, you must keep it refrigerated and use it within 10 days.
Right. Dang, I always mix those up.
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