Anyone into prepping, canning, preserving food and stuff?


Veek M

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So i'm looking for like minded people who are interested in such things so as to swap ideas and research. There's a lot of complicated mumbo-jumbo floating around and I thought it would help to clarify it. I had made this post on my research into preserving food and I'll replicate it here with any new data I gather: https://www.indiaforums.com/forum/topic/5156853

Please post cheap sources/bulk sellers of stuff.. zip-lock bags, iron powder, 20L cans.

Anyway, so I've been learning a bit about preserving food. Still very much a newbie but my purpose is to find people interested in similar things. +there's a lot of misinformation on the net started by American preppers who do really complicated things like 'Mylar' bags and vacuum pumps - most of it is fairly ridiculous (imho)!
I was so wrong that I added this in: https://www.pnnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-26070.pdf
though I'm not sure 'Mylar' is the solution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_activity

Basically the idea is to remove
1. Oxygen - to kill insects, larvae
2. Remove moisture - to stop fungal growth

Sources of oxygen are external. Source of moisture are internal - via food and external.

So,
1.20L cannister
2. Small zip-lock bags.
3. Iron Powder and salt mixed and spread out flat in a small paper wrapper/envelope.
4. Dry foods

So put the dry-food in a zip-lock bag, put the envelope in it, put the zip lock in a 20L can - then pack it all with salt with a few more envelopes thrown in.

The scientific idea is that salt is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture seeping in - we can always heat it and dry it every few months. Salt+Iron powder absorbs oxygen and rusts.

(to dry wet foods you need a dehydrator but I've not actually got there yet) (hope you find this useful - let me know what you learn/try out please)


A note of caution: don't blame me if you die of botulism - why do you think i'm posting anyhow :)
 
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Engineer.AI

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While this might seem farfetched, there is definitely some need to exercise cautionary approach. Medicines for example, are bound to experience a sharp fall in supply. So are imported goods. OP has listed his requirements and how he's planning on storing them. Instead of treating him poorly, it bears understanding his rationale on this.
~Engineer.AI
 

Veek M

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I have a few minor ailments so to speak and I haven't stocked up on medication THOUGH I'VE ALWAYS wanted to buy in bulk. So my post is purely related to cooking: It's not meant to panic people into buying crud that WILL SPOIL. +there is a LOT OF MISINFORMATION on the net!

Take for example vacuum packing food.. a lot of yanks BUY 'FoodSaver' machines and then seal everything to the point of being ridiculous! Take a look at this guy for example:
Towards the end he's vac-sealed every little item.


Or consider canning: most people buy 'Ball' Mason Jars 60/70mm and a separate pipe+seal like mechanism to vacuum seal jars. Then they invest in a pressure canner and start canning food - all this is super expensive and unavailable in India. I did some thinking and though canning is useful and cookers are kind of available as autoclaves - I'm not quite sure this is necessary. The purpose of canning is to kill C.Botulinum spores commonly found in food - they grow in an anaerobic environment - no/low oxygen. It's quite an intricate process and a lot depends on the cooker maintaining pressure according to 'recipes' found in the 'Ball Blue Book'

So part of my reason for posting is to divide the work and hope more gets done: especially if you live in Bangalore.
There are simple things we could try at low cost: eg, drying food
It requires a heater and some carpentry.

I was hoping that if we could swap info on sources of wire mesh and price info - perhaps we could reduce the work involved - sourcing material is a big task! For example, should I buy a 600INR dryer on flipkart that's about 1000W OR buy the filament and build from scratch - much cheaper but requires much more knowledge on control circuits for heating filaments. https://www.reddit.com/r/ECE/comments/auirfe
Or just help with solving theoretical questions like: when should someone can food and when should someone vacuum store them after dehydrating, because vacuum storing food ought to stimulate growth of bacteria? (just found the answer https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_46_01.html)
 
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chiron

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Dehydrators are great. Too bad there aren't good choices in the market compared to western countries and most options are overpriced on flipkart etc. It is interesting how stuff like wet grinders are so cheap in India. Dehydrators would be great for a whole bunch of tropical dry fruits and stuff like gambooge. Dehydrated jackfruit would also be great and they seem to be a health food fad these days for people trying to control sugar and carb intake.
 
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Veek M

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Dehydrators are great. Too bad there aren't good choices in the market compared to western countries Dehydrated jackfruit would also be great
Oo good idea on the jackfruit - yes but I was thinking of buying one of these
https://www.amazon.in/TOSIBA-ROOM-HEATER-1000-WATT-MARK/
only 550/ EXCEPT that it uses radiation and not convection to heat SO IT WON'T work. Then it's a matter of just building an enclosure :p Anyhow so the element to use is quite puzzling to determine.. electricity is also quite expensive (fan heaters) and gas is cheaper so.. However googling 'gas heater' gave me 'quartz' heaters disguised as Gas by flipkart. Maybe I should just buy a small table fan and use an array of bunsen burners or 4 burner stove with a steel grill/plate

I found this interesting https://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/kmo42 heat pumps but..
 

blr_p

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only 550/ EXCEPT that it uses radiation and not convection to heat SO IT WON'T work. Then it's a matter of just building an enclosure :p
Why not use a normal oven ? people make jerky in it
 

Veek M

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I guess you could - I don't have much experience with baking. Veggies will get cooked vs dried.. Thing is I like gardening and though my garden is pathetic right now, storing produce is part of the big picture.. +prepping's more my thing though I wouldn't mind learning baking.. it's a bit complicated.. types of flour and kneading and starter.. sourcing material's hard for me
 

chiron

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I think the easiest choice is to get one of those $40 dehydrators online.
 

blr_p

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Something like this then


Given the possibility of power cuts a model that can resume where it left off on power return would be better than one that started off from scratch or does that matter ?
Post automatically merged:

There are simple things we could try at low cost: eg, drying food
It requires a heater and some carpentry.

I was hoping that if we could swap info on sources of wire mesh and price info - perhaps we could reduce the work involved - sourcing material is a big task! For example, should I buy a 600INR dryer on flipkart that's about 1000W OR buy the filament and build from scratch - much cheaper but requires much more knowledge on control circuits for heating filaments.
Just at the start of this video i already see the first design problem with the above models ? is it though

She likes HER dehydrator because the air blows ACROSS the food as opposed to the model posted above does it from the bottom. Meaning you have to take care to leave gaps in the tray otherwise the drying will be incomplete in higher trays. It also means you are limited to maybe 50-60% of the space per drying shelf which reduces the total quantity you can dry in one go.
 
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chiron

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Yeah, but they seem to be really overpriced in India because it is not a common appliance, another example would be masticating juicers. But I guess it is better than getting something from China and taking couple of months to ship, especially if it turns out to be a dud. I wanted to get this for my mother but the 120v thing made me reconsider; https://www.amazon.ca/Excalibur-2400-4-Tray-Economy-Dehydrator/dp/B0047WOWHE/
 

blr_p

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Many ideas with solar. Needs space though and enough sun


Very simple but its exposing to direct sun which kills the nutrients so fail


Little more compact but also exposes food to the light


This is better as the food is in the shade. Takes two days to dry


Food processing basics from the FAO
Post automatically merged:

Yeah, but they seem to be really overpriced in India because it is not a common appliance, another example would be masticating juicers. But I guess it is better than getting something from China and taking couple of months to ship, especially if it turns out to be a dud. I wanted to get this for my mother but the 120v thing made me reconsider; https://www.amazon.ca/Excalibur-2400-4-Tray-Economy-Dehydrator/dp/B0047WOWHE/
UK then ? no voltage hassle

 
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Veek M

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regarding canning, one can also store food in "mylar" bags which are basically just ESD bags for storing food. The datasheets for various types of ESD bags can be found on Digikey a very reputable distributor of electronic components. Why a special bag - because water vapor/moisture can diffuse into/through plastics so plastic film used to make bags have a WVTR diffusion value in gms/square meter|inch/day. The bags are pretty expensive in India because it's imported- USD 1-4 depending on the size.

What I find frustrating is that by buying these bags and paying x4 the price we basically ruin our currency and it's all for nothing because the bags are consumed/use when you heal seal the lid-top using a clothes-iron. The food if properly dried and stored with an oxygen absorber will keep for 6months to 3 years depending on Relative Humidity and temperature (cool and dry is best). Basically the bags retain the dryness of the stored food: this prevents growth of Botulism-bacteria which produces extremly toxic proteins to humans in the absence of oxygen and presence of some moisture.

However since it's a protein, pressure cooking for 5 minutes at 85C will denature the protein molecules and destroy the toxin so.. I guess any dry bag will do..
 

chiron

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Solar dehydrators don't feel like it is worth the effort considering that we have to protect it from bugs and sunlight can turn into rain in the hills quite quickly half the year. Enough space to just sun it outdoors on the terrace but that takes a lot of effort.
 

Veek M

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regarding sunning on the terrace.. you can sun it for a day or two but at night moisture from the air will enter the food unless you pack it up, probably while the sun is still pretty hot - so it's time consuming. (but for a beginner like me - probably the best bet)