Kayla Siefred from the Compost Education Centre talks about the benefits of preserving food amid COVID-19. (Black Press file photo)

Food preservation also a fun family activity amid COVID-19

Alternative methods could lengthen the life of your produce

As households stock up on food amid COVID-19 concerns the quality of fresh food may become hard to maintain. Zero Waste Emporium and the Compost Education Centre have some suggestions for households looking for alternatives to preserve food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paula McThee the co-owner of Zero Waste Emporium, a package free grocery store in Victoria, says there are many ways households can use natural products to preserve food for much longer than if it sits in the fridge. McThee suggests making large batches of food to freeze, that way meals with a high level of nutrients can be made in advance. McThee also says using a natural product such as bees wax wrap can keep produce moist in the fridge and last longer.

ALSO READ: Langford Costco limits number of shoppers in store at one time

Kayla Siefried, site manager and community education coordinator for Compost Education Centre, says there are alternative ways to preserve food that not only make it last longer, but also make the food more nutritious than fridge storage. Siefried learned canning and food preservation by helping her grandmother in the garden as a child accompanied with a bachelor of environmental studies at the University of Waterloo.

By preserving food through canning and dehydrating, Siefried says households can keep food fresh for up to a year. She suggests dehydrating produce such as herbs with a dehydrating machine or an oven.

ALSO READ: Amid COVID-19 panic, B.C. psychologist urges shoppers to not clear out grocery stores

To dehydrate at home, she says, place produce in the oven on the lowest heat with the oven door open. She says herbs can also be dried by placing them on a window screen. When dehydrating food at home, she says to be sure that all the moisture is out of the produce to prevent rotting. According the Siefried the Victoria Tool Library also has a dehydrator that residents can borrow.

There are two methods to canning, by a hot water bath and pressure canning. Siefried says canning by hot water bath is the most accessible way to start canning, but is intended for high acid food. She stresses that newcomers to this preservation technique should follow a recipe and proper jar cleaning procedures.

Although fermenting food does not give produce the longest shelf life, Siefried says fermentation maintains more of a nutritional benefit to produce as it actively breeds beneficial microbes in the process. The fermentation process allows natural bacteria to stay in the food during the process.

ALSO READ: Saanich grocers prepare staff for COVID-19

For households strapped for time, Siefried suggests blanching vegetables and freezing them in a tight plastic container or bag. According to her, blanching is a quick boil of the vegetables for two to three minutes. She says raw vegetables can also be frozen, but it may change the texture of the vegetable.

As shoppers panic to empty grocery store shelves, home food preservation can be a way to involve children and other members in your family in an activity that will benefit the entire household.

“In terms of longevity and nutrition these processes are better than just using the fridge,” Siefried says.

The Compost Education Centre is currently closed due to COVID-19, but online classes are still available. To find out more about upcoming classes visit compost.bc.ca.

sarah.schuchard@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook, or send a tweet to @sarah_schuchard
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusFood

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

New space secured for Sooke homeless

The shelter will be ready for residents on July 20

Wheels in motion for Victoria bike network extension

Oak Bay council seeks inclusion on Richardson bike lane

Saanich in driver’s seat for residential road speed reduction pilot project

District recruits 11 CRD municipalities to join pilot project to look at 40 km/h residential limit

Victoria baseball club opens Royal Athletic Park for public picnics

HarbourCats go ahead with annual sock toss for charity despite no games

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Most Read