R Ranson wrote:Wax and fat sealing jars and pots pre-dates canning. Wax and fat 'breath' as in they allow the exchange of air between the food and the...um...air.
Perhaps the solution away from plastic and lids that we have to buy each time we can, is to move away from canning? It's just a thought, and it totally depends on your own situation and desires. Wild Fermentation by Katz is a good starting point for learning about traditional preservation techniques that actually work.
Ann Torrence wrote:Would I pack food with a fat seal? Probably something like goose rillettes, a centuries-old traditional French food, if I had a proper root cellar that mimicked what grand-mere had. I do not, so I don't. I would not in a million years put a layer of fat over a salsa and call it good, unless it were in the freezer. A chacun son goût, each to his own taste, as maman would say.
Kyrt Ryder wrote: lets not forget that hot peppers are themselves used as a preservative in many tropical environs.
If this is true, then why does only the top of a jar of tallow begin to go rancid? The deeper layers remain pristine over time.
Years ago, I knew an old Native American woman who said as a child their family would kill a pig in the fall, grind a lot into sausage, cook the sausage, pack it in a crock of some kind, pour the fat over the meat to cover it. Throughout the winter they pulled meat out of the crock. She told me she could remember sneaking sausage out to eat. It sounded like a fat sealed method of food preservation, and a high risk food at that.
R Ranson wrote:Interesting thing about Botulism - it dosen't like air.
I was planning to give the experiment its own thread when I start it.
R Ranson wrote:Please let us know how it goes.
That may be, though I suspect there won't be enough oxygen to support the growth of that mold under an inch of saturated fat.
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Not all experiments go as we expect. That's why I'm glad you are trying a very low risk food, if you do in fact decide to do it next summer. I was not thinking of fermentation to alcohol as a likely outcome. I was thinking you might find a nice blue green mold growing between the fat and the jelly/fruit.
Kathleen Scott wrote:I think it was called meat potting or potted meat. Usually done after butchering a hog.
Blog where they tried it. http://hillsidehomestead.com/2013/03/10/pork-preservation-success/
Packing meat in lard is a very old food preservation technique. This meat will stay good as long as they lard is cold and firm down in the cellar, i.e. probably till May
Dave Forrest wrote:@ Kyrt: If you're allergic to disposable canning lids, like I am, maybe French-style canning jars are your ticket? For example:
There are many manufacturers of this kind of canning jar in France I believe. Nice glass lids that get reused forever like your jars. You're supposed to get a new rubber seal every time though. Rumor has it that some people occasionally reuse the rubber seals without causing untimely deaths. In any case, not a problem for Permies, we alter the microclimate of our homesteads to be able to grow a rubber tree and we make our own rubber seals, problem solved.
Also thought I'd mention: The Chinese preserved eggs for centuries. They were black. Ash? Don't quite remember.
Here, (uncooked) cured meats are very much a local reality. And yes, even mild paprika is a very potent preservative, it revolutionized meat preservation in Spain when brought from the Americas. We also salt fish to preserve it. These preservation methods hinge on getting the water and excess humidity out and in the case of the meat, it's own fat is also said to help preserve but is not the only weapon in the arsenal, the spices (sometimes) and the salting and drying (always) are also key.
I don't foresee a good outcome to your salsa experiment, though, at least if we're thinking of the same kind of (raw, Mexican-style, fresh) salsa. Fresh vegetables are going to spoil, period. Something needs to be done. Canned salsa is cooked, nowhere as good as fresh. I supposed you could make a fermented salsa if you wanted, that might be OK with the right ingredients.
Spo you feel that it might be wise to close a lid above the fat to prevent drying of the fat? I could get behind that.
Regarding fat seals, coconut oil or tallow, if using as your only seal I might be concenrned about the fat contracting and coming away from the side of the jar over time with drying and temperature variations. I also wouldn't try to preserve anything that way that hadn't been thoroughly cooked.
Sometimes I really wish I knew Italian, Latin, Chinese and Greek. But I have other priorities lol.
But as always, a good culinary anthropologist could set us all straight -- people in different cultures have spent millenia solving problems like these in very innovative ways. We need to get our noses out of our 1950s industrial-prosperity-era cookbooks and education and take a look at what the rest of the world has been doing for ages and ages. Guaranteed they've already solved nearly all of our problems for us, and the solutions are sometimes really amazing! And delicious!