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Food Preservation in Warm Climates

 
pioneer
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Location: Pretoria, South Africa
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In an attempt to work less hard, I am pondering the following:
Is it necessary to preserve food in warm climates.

Some background:
I live in a climate where food grows year round. There are maybe 2 months that are slightly uncomfortable (you might want to put on a jacket) but things still germinate. There are also very hot and often wet (but not really humid) summers.

It is rather easy to grow an abundance of food if you’re working with the natural patterns.

I preserve food because I have an excess of food from the garden, but I will also often sacrifice some of it as chop and drop or towards other animals in the system.

I guess I preserve food because it is a luxury to have a wide palette of flavors at your disposal for cooking with... but that is a luxury and bot a need.

I’ve started wondering what is the best way to preserve food? Maybe growing meat is a way of preserving vegetables? Maybe building soil is?

I’m very keen to build a solar dehydrator and will get onto that in the near future, just because if you look at calories vs space, dehydrating seems to tick more boxes and is also a little less labour intensive.

Also definitely considering that ‘meal in a can’ is a higher value item than preserving something that you would have to cook into another meal, cause that just sounds like going the work twice, and I’d like to spend my time on other things.

Here is a pic of a pickle that’s worth it- pickled peppers. They’re great stuffed with some danish feta, so this year they will be stuffed with danish feta prior to pickling as an experiment.
BA2BBD4E-DD70-4F36-A89F-DE354EE150BA.jpeg
Pickling peppers
Pickling peppers
A9E0208A-8DAC-43FF-9C57-23F6780F73B3.jpeg
Picking peppers
Picking peppers
 
pollinator
Posts: 858
Location: North Carolina zone 7
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My depth of knowledge here is shallow as I’m new to food preservation. I started using a cheap food dehydrator last fall and loved it. I began by drying seasoned tomatoes and marshmallow root and was thrilled with the results!
Also, is there food you can grow that doesn’t need preservation? In zone 7b I only harvest sun chokes and walking onions when I’m ready to eat.
7E13D526-6103-47FA-AF18-A9F57E6DD546.jpeg
Dehydrated tomatoes
Dehydrated tomatoes
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Oregon
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My climate is fairly mild, although not as warm as yours. But I share your sentiments regarding preservation. I very much like to have canned meals ready to go, usually this is in the form of canned meats, like tamale pork, or canned soups, like posole. But another way that I like to preserve things is fancy stuff to really up your cooking game, like compound butters, herb salts, salsas. My two favorite compound butters are sage and brown butter and dill lemon butter, both can turn simple vegetables into something amazing. Or I make peach salsa that I use with pork scallopini. The pork gets deglazed with the liquid in the jar, then topped with the rest of the salsa.

I've only managed to get chickens so far, but they are great for turning my food waste, and garden waste into eggs. Next will be goats.
 
Leigh Martin
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I’ve started growing a lot of ‘dry’ produce, like beans and corn and things that can be harvested at different phases of maturity, and crops that have a longer shelf life. And also that I can harvest and leave in a pile till I have time to get around to it.
AABA3C4D-DE39-4BA8-9663-C586AE879F89.jpeg
At some point beans will be shelled. Great activity during conversations
At some point beans will be shelled. Great activity during conversations
 
gardener
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I suspect my weather is probably pretty similar to yours, Leigh. I don't do much preserving, since I'm really limited to freezing (it's way too humid to dehydrate anything here, canning supplies are hard to get, and we mostly like fresh veg anyway), and most things are available to one extent or another most of the year. I do freeze mulberries and passionfruit, since their seasons are pretty limited, and I do occasionally like a berry pie out of season. Green beans I can stagger by planting scarlet runners in the cool season, and different types during the cold. My real limitation is pest/disease pressure, and I'm okay doing without for a few months til the next season starts.
The few preserves I do make are those I really like to eat and are abundant in their season. Mango pickle, sauerkraut, pickled daikon, etc. I clearly do it more out of taste than out of necessity!
 
master pollinator
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Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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If the world runs smoothly, it sounds like you don't need to preserve your food. But, the world has tended to go through upheaval quite regularly. Droughts and floods can make your growing season of no use. My Grandma lived through the Great Depression and would caution you to have 3 years' worth of food put back. I'm far from there but have some food that we rotate through. In your conditions, perhaps one years' worth of food would be plenty.
 
Leigh Martin
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:In your conditions, perhaps one years' worth of food would be plenty.



Thanks for this perspective. Had a good run at the start of this pandemic as it was quite exciting to test my systems.

It is probably a good backup to have to some extent. I do have an earth cellar, and dream of filling it up. I’m also doing a lot of charcuterie. That’s how I spend my winter months!
Spring and autumn are also great for koji experiments as I don’t need to build any kind of incubator, just put experiments in a box.
In the summers I like to hunt for mushrooms, and along the way learned about quite a few wild foods.

I’m keen to get into dehydrating for stocks and soups and such. Maybe do a couple of ‘just add water’ meals.

F7FA0499-FF69-4CB0-A289-9581FFC3C7DD.jpeg
Foraging mushrooms
Foraging mushrooms
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