The spread of coronavirus is at the front of everyone’s mind these days, vegan or not. Fortunately, for those who are stressed about going to the grocery store frequently or have fresh food they need to store for an indefinite amount of time, there are several different ways to do that safely in your home. Preserving fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and more, is a great way to add variety to your coronavirus-restricted diet and give yourself peace of mind.
COVID: Long-Term Vegan Food Storage
No matter what method you use, there are a few key points to remember. First, you’ll want to use produce that is as fresh and unblemished as possible. Second, it is important to label each bag, jar, or container with what the contents are and what date they were preserved so you can eat things in the order they were preserved.
And of course, make sure that at every step you are practicing safe food handling practices. That includes washing every piece of food, washing your hands with soap (especially after coming home from the grocery store and possible exposure to coronavirus), and making sure that fresh food isn’t sitting out in the open for long periods of time exposed to heat or insects.
Freezing is a great way to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables, keeping them at-the-ready for use in smoothies, soups, and more. When freezing fresh vegetables, the blanch-and-shock method is recommended. This means boiling them briefly, then plunging them into cold water. Freezing fruit is a little trickier, and the recommended method varies depending on the fruit. For fruits like apples and nectarines, freezing works best when the fruit is treated with vitamin C first. You can freeze berries by first spreading them out on a tray where they have room to breathe and putting them in the freezer briefly. Once they’ve started the freezing process, you can then bunch them together in bags without fear that they’ll smash together.
Drying is slightly more complicated than freezing, but it can be a great way to preserve food like herbs and fruit. For herbs, usually the easiest method is giving them a short bake in the oven. For those who don’t own dehydrators, you can still dry fruits at home using air or sun drying methods.
This does technically involve live organisms, but they’re the microscopic kind that most vegans are comfortable with! There are a variety of fermented foods that you can try out making in your own home, such as kimchi or sauerkraut. If you’re feeling adventurous and have access to a starter culture, kombucha is also a fun one to try.
This is the tried-and-true method used by generations, but it can potentially be the most dangerous. It is extremely important to make sure that you follow proper cleaning procedures at every step: particularly sanitation of the jars. Canning is easily the most versatile of these food preservation methods. You can preserve fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and things like soups, salsa, jams, and jellies.
Whatever method you choose, rest assured: there are ways to preserve vegan food. There’s no better time to start learning than now!