Looking for a way to prevent leftovers from spoiling? Or are you keen to create new culinary elements to play around with? These preservation methods will prevent your food from going off and preserve the nutrients, flavours, texture and appearance. The result? Less kitchen waste, more profit and last but not least: more creative and tasteful ingredients!
Conservation methods to play around with
Perfect for fruits, vegetables and even for cooked meats: dehydration is a powerful way to preserve food, enhance texture and produce intense flavours at the same time. The best way to control this process is by using a dehydrator. It’s a great method to make fancy-looking fruit leathers, serve delicious veggie chips or to prepare tasty strips of jerky. It may provide just the dash of intense flavour you need!
Pickling and experimentation go hand in hand. It’s easy to do and will drastically increase the shelf life of fresh products. There are tons of recipes available, from the popular Korean kimchi to Swedish herring. Whatever you pickle, you can use the result to counterbalance a fatty dish, or just as a great way to get your guests’ juices flowing!
Moroccan preserved lemon is a fantastic ingredient for boosting the margin on your mayonnaise! It adds depth and flavour, making it the perfect match for a salad or sweet potato fries.
- Salting, curing and brining
These preservation methods are similar to pickling and will naturally keep out most bacteria and fungi. While salting is done with salt only, a curing mixture can also include sugar, seasoning and curing salts. A brine is the ‘wet’ variety, with salts dissolved in water. Famous examples of this preservation method are Italian prosciutto di Parma and Scandinavian lutefisk. Honestly, the possibilities are endless, like salt-curing egg yolks for a lovely umami flavour and cheesy structure, or dry-curing olives, creating a very intense, somewhat bitter bite!
Sugaring is mostly used to preserve fruits, either in jars or in crystallised, glazed or candied form. Jam is made by adding sugar to boiled fruit, which creates a jelly-like texture, keeps the colour fresh, and prevents bacteria from growing. Ginger, cherries, and citrus peel are typically dried before they’re sugared to retain their texture and sweetness. When sugaring foods, never use too little sugar, as you don’t want mould to form.
Smoking is one of the oldest preservation methods. However, you can’t preserve and ingredient with smoke alone! Meats and fish need to be salted or brined before being smoked in a controlled environment at a low temperature. This is because these ingredients have to be dried out in order to extend the shelf life.
You can use smoke to enhance the flavour of just about anything. So, instead of smoking a brisket, try smoking cherries for a cocktail, or cold-smoke some mayonnaise to elevate your condiments.
Canning originates from France and stems from the practice of storing food in glass jars. To can food, the ingredients are heat-sterilised, before preserving them in an airtight container. Although they share the same origin story, canning is not to be confused with vacuum sealing in jars! To store low-acid foods, stock, stews, and soups for longer, they need to be pressure canned: it’s the only way to guarantee food safety, happy guests and a good reputation!
Preserving is a fun culinary experiment. It creates opportunities to boost your guest’s quality perception by offering many different types of preperation techniques but also beefs up your profits. And not only in your restaurant. How about selling branded sauces on your website? Or making the chutney from your signature dessert available for consumption at home? What’s stopping you? Stop those veggies from wilting and start making some sustainable and profitable culinary creations!