Up for Business: Preserving Food the Healthy Way

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In the first few months of the pandemic, when people were uncertain how long the situation would last, people flocked to groceries and hoarded canned food. People have gotten used to industrially processed foods to prepare for emergencies.

However, there are healthier alternatives to make food last longer. Back when there were no refrigerators, coolers, and freezers, people had to develop different ways to keep food for a longer time, especially since production had been seasonal.

The market is ripe right now for this kind of product, with people concerned about their health and at the same time looking for food they could store longer. The good thing is that these could be easily prepared in your kitchen. With the current situation, people are more interested in ordering their food than finding a restaurant to dine in. For now, all you need then is a good marketing plan and a reliable courier service. You can think of opening a store later on depending on how the market responds to your products.

Pickling

Pickling refers to the process of immersing food in an acid or salt solution. The most common pickled products are cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, and radishes. But interestingly, you could also pickle cherries, blueberries, papaya, grapes, and other fruits. Some even pickle fish, meat, and eggs. Pickled fruits and vegetables can be stored for five to six months.

A famous dish from Korea made from pickling and fermenting is Kimchi. Kimchi is usually fermented for three to four days. The old method of doing this had been to bury it in the ground, but the process can be done in a place with controlled temperatures. Although people are more familiar with spicy and slightly sour kimchi, some recipes make it less spicy but saltier. Aside from being a traditional side dish, it is also used as an ingredient in some Korean recipes. Health-conscious individuals love this dish as it is loaded with probiotics and helps lower cholesterol levels. It also has a good impact on the hair and skin.

Drying or Dehydrating

If you would buy a dehydrator, this process should be easy and takes only eight to twelve hours. However, if you don’t, you could still dry your crops via solar heat. You need to set up trays in your drying chamber, an enclosed space that would directly be exposed to the sun. The drying chamber itself is usually composed of a glass roof, constructed with vents at the topmost part covered by a ridge cap. The sides could be lined with shutters or are left open. This would help air circulate freely and would stop moisture buildup from the drying process.

In some countries, grains such as corn and rice, and coffee beans are spread out on a plastic sheet spread across a concrete expanse.

Curing

grilled meat

Curing is the process of adding salt, and on occasions, nitrate to meat. It makes its storage life longer as water is drawn out of the meat and makes it more resistant to spoiling.

Potassium nitrate could affect your health if it’s consumed in large amounts. It affects the blood’s function of carrying oxygen and can lead to headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and methemoglobinemia. It can be fatal if around 30 to 35 grams are ingested in a dose. Consumed sparingly, however, it could be taken in by the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had disallowed the use of nitrate for cooked meats and has only allowed the use of small amounts for cured uncooked products. In the old ways of curing, salt had been enough. This tradition lives on in the curing of the famous prosciutto di Parma and other Spanish hams.

Smoking

As it suggests, meat is exposed to smoke to make it last longer. In most smoking techniques, wood is used. The type of wood varies as the smell of the smoke produced by the wood would affect the meat’s taste. There is also a unique method of smoking in Chinese cuisine. They have what is called tea smoking. Tea leaves and rice are put into a foil and heated in a wok. The food that will be cooked is put over it. Chicken and seafood are the ones most suitable for tea smoking.

These processes had formerly been popular. However, with the advent of technology and the rise of several large-scale food processing plants, people slowly forgot these and relied on the supermarket. Take this chance to relearn these traditions and turn them into a profitable venture.

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