What do you usually do when you have leftovers? I’m guessing the answer is throw them in the fridge — that’s what my course of action has always been.
But there was a time when refrigerators did not exist in every family home, and our grandparents and great-grandparents had to get creative with the way they preserved their edible treats.
It’s not like everyone just let food go to waste before the home fridge came into existence in 1913: Food preservation has basically been around since the beginning of mankind.
However, you wouldn’t know that today because it’s rare that anyone uses these traditional methods, such as a backyard root cellar!
We rounded up some old-school ways to preserve foods like our grandmas did in the past, before the convenient appliances we have today came into existence. We bet you’ll be dying to try some of these!
Did we miss any of the methods your own family used, or still uses today? Let us know in the comments below, and please SHARE with your friends and family on Facebook!
Thumbnail sources: Flickr / Dennis Yang, Wikimedia Commons 1, 2
A well-known method that is still sometimes used today, pickling is the act of soaking foods in a boiled vinegar mix, whether it’s for a few hours or for several days. The chemical reactions between the food and the liquid help extend it’s life expectancy. And when it comes to our grandmas preserving veggies this way, there was no limit on which garden greens to use.
2. Using A Root Cellar
This was basically grandma’s first version of the refrigerator — minus the electricity. These below-ground mini caves kept food cool and preserved in a totally natural way!
This is the proper way to preserve jellies and jams, hence it being in the name. The boiled substance goes right into clean jars, which are then sealed shut. Using this method consistently, Grandma would have enough jams and jellies to last a lifetime.
4. Freezing In Iceboxes
And then there’s grandma’s version of the freezer, which was literally a box underneath a block of ice. First introduced to the world in the early 19th century, this way of preserving foods required ice deliveries when the old one melted.
What is jugging, you ask? It’s the process of preserving meat in a stew form inside a jug (hence the name), with some gravy and red wine for additional flavor! This traditional way of preserving meat was used even well before grandma’s time in the early 19th century.
6. Dry Salting
This way of keeping food fresh is very similar to traditional pickling, but instead of using a vinegar base, salt is used. Grandmas all around used this as a great way to ferment those garden-grown fruits and vegetables.
This is a very similar concept to dry salting, but instead, it sues a bunch of sweetness to do the trick. And the fact that grandmas used sugar should be no surprise — after all, what grandma doesn’t love a sweet treat!
This is often associated with preserving all sorts of meat — basically lathering the raw goods with a salt mixture, cooling it for a week or so, then rolling it up with a tight cheesecloth. Not only does this make the meat last longer, it also enhances the flavor and color!
Instead of wrapping up the cured meat right away, you can smoke it for extra flavor and life — then wrap it up accordingly. This is the way grandmas would preserve ribs, briskets, and other meats, according to wikiHow.
Also known as the “dehydrating” process, drying basically removes enough moisture so that mold, bacteria, and yeast do not grow on food, according to the University of Minnesota. Grandma did this through two natural means: drying and sun drying.
Did we miss any methods that your own grandma used? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to SHARE with your friends and family on Facebook!