Preserve food without refrigeration

Saturday June 26 2010



Photo BY ISMAIL KEZAALA

Photo BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

Before the advent of fridges at home, food storage and preservation was not a problem. But we have kind of forgotten this invaluable knowledge writes Sarah Achen Kibisi

There are times when you buy lots of vegetables and other perishables but don’t know how to preserve them as they might end up rotting because you had a power cut off for say two days. It can be a challenge for women but many have their own ways of preserving food and other vegetables.

Whichever way you choose to preserve a certain item depends on the type of perishable. Ms Beatrice Watega, a fruit and vegetable vendor from Nakasero market, says that perishables can be preserved using the storage method. Mr. Charles Oramba, another vendor at St. Balikuddembe market, who has been in the business for more than six years, says that there are different ways one can preserve food stuffs without refrigerating. He cautions customers from being lazy when they buy in bulk and to clean them up before storage.

Storage
Trimming and drying the unwanted part of the vegetables before keeping them is an effective way of keeping your vegetables. Although vegetables don’t have a long span, for onions, they can last for two weeks provided they are kept in an open place.
Watega says that selling fruits and vegetables is a challenge because sometimes you don’t sell everything. She advises her customers to always store as one of the most effective methods.

Oramba notes that damaged fruits should not be kept with the good ones because they spoil others. If you happen to buy ripe vegetables ensure they are eaten but not kept. For vegetables like nakati, dodo or any other greens, they tend to be soiled, so you can consider freshening by placing them in a bucket for water. You can also soak Soaking can go for fruits and vegetables like carrots and tomatoes.

Drying
Many fruits and vegetables which cannot be stored may be readily preserved by drying. Drying is one of the most effective means of food preservation because dried foods can be held indefinitely, as long as they are kept dry. You don’t have to worry about buying vegetables in large quantity because you can clean them and then cut them into small pieces to dry. Dried items can be kept for as long as you will need them because they will not get spoilt like tomatoes or some fruits.

Smoking
Smoking meat or drying it may sound obvious but it’s one way that many people have managed to enjoy meat and preserve it. If you have been eating a lot of fresh meat, remember that you can also smoke it. Smoked meat or fish can be delicious because then you will get a different taste from the usual fresh meat. The process is hectic but you will leave your family craving for it. And it can stay without getting spoilt for a few days.

Boiling
For perishables like tomatoes, you can boil them for 10 minutes, keep them in a container and allow it to cool. This you can be able to use the next day.

Store onions on the cold floor,
Roots crops like cassava or sweet potatoes can also be preserved while stored on a cold floor. If you buy them in bulk, prepare some space in the house where they can get enough aeration. This will prevent it from going bad.
Avoid leaving your fruits and vegetables in a polythene bag over night. You can keep them in a basket and you will find them fresh.

Preserve your fruits or greens in a tin with water
This can be done especially when preserving fruits and vegetables through filling a can or tin full of water. The types of fruits or vegetable that can stay longer in the water are mushrooms, peas, tomatoes and fresh or dry beans.

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