Process your own food to ensure its lasting goodness.
The world is an unpredictable place. There might come a time when regular shopping at the local grocery store could be interrupted by an unforeseen food shortage or other natural or man-made crisis occurs (again). All it takes is one hiccup in the supply chain to disrupt the normal flow of food and those who are unprepared will be in trouble when it comes to feeding their families.
One solution is to have plenty of food on hand in case such a scenario occurs, and this can be done partly by preserving fresh foods to make them last far longer than the norm.
Canning, food dehydration, vacuum sealing and other methods of food preservation can all extend the life of foods exponentially while keeping their flavors and nutrition intact.
To win this food storage battle, you need some tools of the trade. This group of food processing essentials can help you make today’s fresh food last well into the uncertain future.
Brød and Taylor Sahara Food Dehydrator
This uniquely designed food dehydrator features a plethora of benefits for food preservation and folds down to a compact size when it’s not in use. Use this space-saving wonder to extend the life of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, herbs and more, enabling you to have food on hand in case of a crisis or food shortage. Its seven-tray capacity allows for large amounts of food processing, while its powerful performance mechanics will ensure food preservation for years to come. It even makes healthy treats for your dog!
- Simple, slice-and-dry operation
- Quiet, highly efficient radial fan
- Washable and reusable air filter
- Produces long-shelf-life foods
- Includes seven silicone drying mats
FoodSaver 5800 Series 2-in-1 Automatic Bag-Making Vacuum Sealer
When it comes to “big and bold,” this vacuum sealer takes the prize. It features a simplified system that makes custom-sized bags so you can pack the perfect protein in the perfect-sized bag every time. Additionally, this unit enables you to marinate foods in minutes, instead of hours, via its “rapid marinate” mode. One press of a button is all it takes for you to vacuum seal your food to last up to five times longer than it otherwise would, while its “smart” indicator lights provide process status notifications.
- Air-tight vacuum seal system
- Automatic bag dispenser and rewinder
- One-touch marinate and vacuum modes
- Indicator lights for quick troubleshooting
- Dishwasher-safe drip tray
Food Saver Game Saver Wingman Plus
This is the ultimate fisherman’s or hunter’s sidekick when it comes to preserving their harvest. Its power and performance allow you to process a vast amount of protein, keeping it sealed and preserved for the long haul. Its sleek and compact design goes just about anywhere and can continually seal up to 60 bags—up to 180 pounds of game at one sitting. Included with the Wingman are two sizes of heat-seal rolls, two bag sizes and an accessory hose.
- Compact size for manual use
- Removable, dishwasher-safe drip tray
- Moist/dry food settings for optimal sealing
- Ideal for hunters and fishermen
- 5-year limited warranty
Food Saver FM2000 Vacuum Sealer System
If large-scale processing isn’t needed but you still need a vacuum sealer to preserve your food, this model fits the bill. The FM2000 features a powerful vacuum that allows you to preserve meat, vegetables, fish, chicken and other fresh foods up to five times longer than with regular packaging. Furthermore, freezer burn will be a thing of the past with the included heavy-duty bags. Save counter and cabinet space, as well as money, with this compact option.
- New technology minimizes material usage
- Helps prevent freezer burn
- Seals with regular and custom-sized bags
- Easy-lock latch secures bag for strongest vacuum seal
- Includes five bags, vacuum-seal roll and accessory hose
Lehman’s Fermented Vegetables
Fermenting is a great way to preserve vegetables, and this book will guide you on that journey. No matter if you’re a novice to the world of fermenting or a seasoned pro looking for new recipes, this book covers all the basics and expands on detailed processes for such items as golden beets, pickled green coriander, carrot kraut and many others. It’s written by fermenting experts Kirsten K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey, so you’ll have their expertise handy while you’re producing all your favorites in your own kitchen.
- More than 120 recipes for fermented vegetables
- Easy-to-carry paperback edition
- Loaded with additional useful information
- Useful for producing krauts, pickles, chutneys, relishes and pastes
- Book size: 8×9 inches
Lehman’s Wooden Sauerkraut Stomper—Small
When making kraut, you need a stomper to get the fermentation process started, and this wooden tool does the trick. Use this manual tool to pound salted cabbage into smaller pickling crocks, and you’ll be on your way to great, tasty sauerkraut. It’s made by a local craftsman from sanded poplar and will last for years to come. Use a wood preserver on this stomper for longer life and to prevent splits or cracks.
- Comfortable, smooth handle
- Durable wood construction
- 16 inches long
- Weight: approximately 12 ounces
- Great for packing small crocks
Lehman’s Hausgemacht Fermenting Crock—1 Gallon
Featuring an old European design, this crock is designed to make kraut the best and safest way possible. It uses a built-in channel for water to produce a secure seal. As a result, natural carbon dioxide can bubble out and escape while keeping odors inside. Additionally, contaminants in the air, including mold and insects, can’t breach the container and spoil your contents. This item includes fitted ceramic weights to keep food submerged for optimal fermentation.
- Ideal size for beginners
- Holds 1 gallon
- Traditional brown glaze
- Food safe and lead free
- Exterior measures 10×6 inches
Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
This 37th edition is truly the ultimate guide to preserving food. Chock-full of valuable information, it features sections about canning, ingredient preparation, meal options, customizing flavors and more. Step-by-step photos take you though the processes so you’ll always be on track until you create the best-preserved food possible. This book includes hundreds of recipes, so you’ll always have a plethora of options at your fingertips.
- Includes more than 500 recipes
- Full color photos throughout
- Step-by-step format
- Easy-to-find groupings and organization within the book
Hi Mountain Seasonings Bacon Cure
Plenty of pork belly and nothing to do with it? Your problem is solved with this amazing, original cure that creates traditional bacon via its well-balanced recipe. Cure up to 25 pounds of pork with this package and enjoy bacon at your next breakfast (or anytime you crave bacon’s salty goodness). The special “formula” contains salt, brown sugar, sugar, maple syrup, sodium nitrite (0.7 percent), along with glycerin to prevent caking. Go big with that pig!
- Makes traditional bacon from pork belly
- Original blend recipe
- Bulk, 5-pound box
- Cures 25 pounds of meat
- No allergens
Hi Mountain Seasonings Jerky Cure & Seasoning
If you want to make jerky, you need a great recipe to start, and this kit can help. Consisting of one package of cure, one package of seasoning, a shaker bottle and detailed instructions, this product will transform your ground or muscle meat into long-lasting jerky for both everyday and emergency needs. Flavorful components of the recipe include salt, spices, garlic powder, soy sauce powder and others. Don’t assume that the meat is the most important aspect of jerky, because the spice mixture makes or breaks the taste—and this one doesn’t disappoint.
- Tasty, original recipe flavor
- Detailed instructions included
- Use with beef, wild game, poultry or fish
- Complete kit in one convenient package
- For up to 15 pounds of muscle meat or 10 pounds of ground meat
Hi Mountain Seasonings Big Shot Jerky & Sausage Gun
You’ll be well-armed when making jerky or sausage if you’re hefting this incredible meat-preserving gun. This tool of the jerky trade features three nozzles—flat, long and sausage stuffing—all of which produce the perfect meat snacks with every squeeze of the trigger. Furthermore, after the fun is done, the included barrel brush makes cleanup fast and efficient. It’s time to pull out the Big Shot Jerky & Sausage Gun for your next jerky-making session! Included seasonings process up to 10 pounds of ground meat.
- Extra-large-capacity barrel
- Easy-to-use operation
- Three interchangeable stainless steel nozzles
- Includes barrel-cleaning brush
- Packaged with jerky cure and seasoning
Hi Mountain Seasonings Original Summer Sausage Kit
This kit makes creating long-lasting summer sausage both fun and easy, because it contains all the necessary components in one complete package. This easy-to-store box contains two Hi Mountain cure packets, two seasoning packets, one pack of mahogany fibrous casings and detailed instructions for a do-it-yourself weekend of tasty sausage-making for the whole family. The well-balanced spice recipe and select ingredients ensure a delicious final product you can enjoy all summer long … and well beyond.
- Includes everything needed to make tasty summer sausage
- One kit seasons up to 30 pounds of meat
- Uses your favorite beef or pork meat
- Useful instructions included
- Makes batches as little as 3 pounds at a time
Hi Mountain Seasonings Jerky Cutting Board
Making jerky takes several stages, but when it’s time to tenderize, season and then cut the finished product, this all-in-one board can lend a helping hand. Constructed of durable metal and featuring practical ridges throughout, it keeps all the liquids away from the meat and allows you to concentrate on proper marinating and seasoning. The unit is reversible, so final cutting can be done cleanly. The included 13.5-inch knife fits snugly and safely within the “kit” when the work is done.
- Provides two cutting depths: 0.25 and 0.375 inch
- Textured surface grips and tenderizes meat
- Integrated, easy-to-carry handle
- Useful board back for flat-surface cutting
- Includes high-carbon, 420 stainless steel knife
Ball Pint Nesting Jars
Ball nesting jars offer the ideal way to store long-lasting jams, jelly, preserves, chutneys and more. Their reputation for keeping a strong seal over time is without question; no other jars are more reliable. They stack to save space in your cupboard and reduce the chance of breakage by falling off the shelf. When they’re not being used to make jams or jellies, they make great glassware for all types of beverages, candles, workshop bits and pieces, as well as lots of other uses.
- BPA-free jars are canning safe for all preserving needs
- Save 30 percent more space than traditional jars
- Nest and stack safely when stored
- Compatible with other widemouthed Ball products
- Dishwasher safe
MSRP $9.79 (4-pack)
Ball Citric Acid
A loaded garden with ripe tomatoes can be overwhelming, and you’d be hard-pressed to eat them all before they spoil. One solution is to can them, and that’s where this versatile, crystallized citric acid comes in handy. Use this acidic powder as a replacement for lemon juice when it’s time to prepare your abundant tomatoes for canning. A little goes a long way: This small jar can help you process nearly 20 gallons of tasty tomatoes. It’s also ideal for kosher-centric needs and can be added to a variety of dishes.
- Lowers pH without changing tomatoes’ flavor
- Use instead of lemon juice in most applications
- Will aid in canning up to 77 quarts of tomatoes
- Kosher certified
- Convenient shaker top
Mrs. Wages Pickling and Canning Salt
Just any, old salt won’t do if you want fantastic results when canning or pickling, so it’s time to turn to this specialized salt from Mrs. Wages. It doesn’t matter what you choose to preserve for later use, because you’ll enjoy tasty pickles, corn, tomatoes and more. This salt produces an ultra-clear brine that’s needed for even, tasty, canned goods and pickle products. Need a great recipe? No problem: This pouch boasts a “great taste, made easy” recipe, and it delivers big time!
- Produces sparkling-clear brine
- Specifically designed for canning
- Contains no iodine or other additives
- Weight: 3 pounds (net)
- Sole ingredient: high-purity salt
Golden Harvest Bands and Lids
Don’t underestimate the little things when you start canning, including quality bands and lids. Preserving cucumbers, carrots and onions and creating delicious jams and jellies both require a tight seal to preserve flavor and texture—and, more importantly, to keep contaminants outside the jar. This package of bands and lids from Golden Harvest sets you in the right direction to batches upon batches of quality preserved-food items.
- Essential components for canning
- Fits all regular mason jars
- High quality; keep a strong seal
- Package contains 12 regular bands and lids
Mrs. Wages One-Step Pickle—Kosher Dill
It really doesn’t get easier than this! Just pour the mixture of select pickling herbs over cucumbers or other vegetables and enjoy pickled specialties … with no cooking and essentially no work at all. This ready-made mix is ideal for urban gardeners with limited space and equipment but who still want to preserve fresh foods (or even for people just starting out in the world of pickling and preserving food). Simple directions are on the package, and there are multiple flavored mixtures are available.
- Includes one pouch
- Makes 1 pint of pickles
- Created from a special blend of pickling spices
- Kosher certified
- No artificial flavors
A version of this article first appeared in the October 2021 print issue of American Outdoor Guide.