Buying food in bulk is a great way to save money and stop worrying about an empty fridge. Restaurant sized packaging can be intimidating, but with some forward thinking and recycled containers you can easily store large quantities properly and for longer.
So what do you do when you have too many cucumbers or your flat of strawberries are starting to turn the corner? Cooks have been turning fruit into jam, pickling vegetables, curing meat, and using other food preservation techniques for centuries.
Here are some pro ways to stretch your bulk food purchases and keep food fresh far beyond its original expiration date.
Jams, Jellies, and Marmalade
Seasonal fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. With the spread of Covid-19 and stay at home orders, it’s become more crucial than ever to maintain good nutrition. This includes ensuring an adequate intake of vegetables and fruit.
To preserve them longer, turn your ripe fruits and vegetables into jams, jellies and marmalades. Store in mason glass jars or home canning and jarring kits that are sealed and kept in the fridge. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh tomato sauce for your pasta or peach jam in your hand pies for months ahead.
Homemade, cool, briny pickles are the simplest and most delicious way to preserve a variety of vegetables for weeks, sometimes even months.
Almost any vegetable can be pickled. Cut carrots and cucumbers into spears or keep them whole and thinly slice summer squash or ginger. Anything from pitted cherries to cabbage to turnips would make for a brilliant summer snack.
A good, classic brine has the proper ratio of vinegar (1 cup), salt (2 Tbsp), sugar (2Tbsp), and water (2 cups). To make things more interesting, try a mixture of vinegars and spices.
The most crucial part of pickling is using super-fresh vegetables. Download the Cheetah app to order the freshest ingredients.
Salted, Cured, and Potted
From duck confit to homemade bacon to gravlax, this is a serious way of preserving meats and fish. Coming from a long-standing tradition of curing, salting and potting foods, these dishes best fit those who love to cook and have the patience for making something special.
Some of these methods are surprisingly easy and require only the most common kitchen ingredients. All you need is some ordinary pantry staples like salt, sugar, pepper, dried herbs, and spices and properly sealed jars.
Syrups and Liqueurs
Housemade syrups and liqueurs made from the glut of fresh fruit will elevate your private cocktail parties and favorite desserts. Again, seasonal fruits and flowers are essential to making these sinful pleasures, as are sugar, vanilla extract, and spices. But they can be family-friendly too. Consider a Greek sour cherry syrup over ice cream or homemade lemonade for the kids. Ice cold peach schnapps after a summer BBQ dinner will really beat the heat.
Probably not the preferred cooking method for the novice cook, but certainly one of the most flavorful and fantastic ways to extend the life of your meats and preserve them for later meals. Hot smoked salmon will keep for weeks, but make sure to portion, label, and store safely.
Have a few too many sausages? Hot smoke these over hardwood, cool, and store safely. Slice thin, and serve cold on your next meat and cheese plate. Really all you need for these recipes are just good ingredients and time. You’ll need a charcoal grill, cold smoking pan and smoker.
To help you make your bulk food purchase last longer, we also have a stock of restaurant-grade kitchen supplies, including everything you need for smoking, curing, and otherwise preserving all those large quantities. Download the app to start saving!