This is your ultimate guide to preserving milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. We'll cover the different options for preserving these products as well as safety concerns and guidelines to follow. Plus which is the best option, based on the end product and how you plan on eating it!
This is the Pioneering Today Podcast, episode #314! For this episode, I'm taking a deep look into our home food preservation and learning ways to improve or go deeper into my skills.
We grow 60-70% of our own fruits and vegetables on our homestead (grab my free charts to help you know how much food to grow per person per year here), and that includes preserving that food to use throughout the whole year in ways that work for our family and our food preferences.
We also raise 99% of our own meat each year. The 1% we purchase comes in items like the little bit of bacon I buy when ours runs out, a few packages of skinless, boneless chicken breasts I need for specific recipes, and the occasional chicken wings!
Because of this, we're very reliant on the deep freezer, the regular freezer, or canning to ensure we don't run out of food before the preserving season the following year.
I recently received a freeze dryer and have been testing out more methods of food preservation, most specifically in regards to preserving eggs, meat, and dairy products.
If you find yourself needing to find better methods for preserving these foods, today's podcast is for you as I'm going to take a deep dive into the various preservation methods, and which methods I think are best for each category.
Which Preservation Method is Best?
I always like to tell people, before they decide on a specific preservation method, to test a small batch first. There's nothing worse than spending your hard-earned time on a method that gives unfavorable results or a product that you're not excited about using.
Here are the basic forms of preservation:
- Canning (Water Bath)
- Pressure Canning
- Fermenting or Culturing
- Freeze Drying (which I'm just getting started with myself)
I also recommend thinking about the way your family uses each product on a regular basis. Do you like drinking fresh milk or having milk for your coffee or breakfast? Then perhaps freezing or freeze-drying milk is the best option (although for flavor and texture, I'd recommend freeze-drying).
Do you mainly enjoy fresh eggs fried up in a pan? Then using cold storage to keep your eggs fresh for a few months might work well, or perhaps you'd like to try the limed egg solution to keep them fresh for up to a year.
However, if you just need eggs for scrambling or to bake with, then freeze-dried eggs taste and store the best.
Whenever you're deciding on a preservation method, it's always important to consider how you'll use the end product. Because, as I've said before, there's nothing worse than spending your own time to preserve food that no one likes or uses, only to toss it in the trash the following year.
Because I will be discussing freeze-drying throughout this post, and because it's a newer method of food preservation for most, let's chat about what freeze-drying is and how it works!
What is Freeze-Drying?
The way freeze-drying works is it uses a technique called sublimation. First, the food is frozen all the way down to -40 degrees F. At this temperature, all the moisture that's in that food gets frozen in a vaporized form, then the vacuum mechanism kicks in and sucks all that moisture out. After that, it actually uses the same method as dehydrating to finish the freeze-drying process.
The end result is a product that retains over 97% of the vitamins and minerals of the fresh product and is shelf-stable for up to 20 years.
In my bit of experimentation, many methods of food preservation such as canning or dehydrating actually change the flavor of the food, which some people don't enjoy. Freeze-dried food is very crunchy, almost like a chip and I personally think the flavors are intensified over the fresh food itself. I also love that freeze-dried food maintains the shape and size of the fresh food. So for us, freeze-drying has been a pleasant surprise.
Now let's get into the different kinds of preservation methods for meat, eggs, and dairy…
When we're preserving our meat in either a pressure canner, dehydrator, or freezer dryer, it's usually with lean cuts of meat. The reason for this is that fat goes rancid much faster than the actual meat. Fat can also inhibit sealing when pressure canning so it's usually removed from things like homemade and home-canned broth.
You can freeze meat items with the fat, however, most of us are limited to a certain amount of freezer space. We have to save our freezer space for the 1/2 cow we get each year (read here for our favorite cuts of meat to get), the 25 chickens we butcher, the crab we catch ourselves for the year, and the whole pig we butcher every other year!
So freezing extra food, whether it's cheese, eggs, or even milk, it's just not the priority over our year's worth of meat!
Furthermore, if you lose power, you'd better have a generator as a backup so you don't lose all that food!
So what other methods of preserving meat will allow us to free up some freezer space?
Pressure Canning Meat
You can safely can meat using a pressure canner. If you're in the Home Canning With Confidence Course, you know I have lessons that I've walked you through on how to pressure can your meat. You can pressure can all kinds of meat such as bone-in poultry, cubed beef, ground beef, and even sausage to name a few.
Cured meat is an incredible option if you're willing to read up on the best practices to follow. I have a post on how to dry cure meats you can read here.
I've also salt-cured ham in the past and that turns out incredibly good. These are longer processes, but they're fantastic options.
If you're using a regular dehydrator, most of the meat still has a relatively short shelf-life, and it's best if refrigerated for long-term storage.
When freeze-drying meat you can store your meat at room temperature for up to 20 years! Now, I'm not guessing most of us will actually need to store our meat that long, but if you needed to, ya could!
The tip for freeze-drying meat is to freeze dry it fully cooked. That way, when you reconstitute it, it's fully cooked and ready to eat.
The nice thing with freeze-dried meat is that you can't add too much water back to it. It will only take up as much water as is needed to be back to its normal consistency.
This is something that can't be safely done in a regular dehydrator.
For a more in-depth look at eggs, especially long-term preservation methods, check out the podcast I did on storing and preserving eggs with Lisa Steele (episode #310).
But to recap, you can store unwashed eggs that still have the bloom on them in the refrigerator for months with no issues!
You can freeze eggs by whipping the egg yolk and white together, then freezing. Frozen eggs are great for baking or using in recipes, but not necessarily to eat as scrambled eggs.
Limed eggs are a great option for storing eggs for up to a year or more, however, this requires you to have a space where you can store them in a large 5-gallon bucket (or multiple buckets depending on how many eggs you'll need for the year).
I haven't gone this route because I don't have the extra space where the temperatures stay at a constant temperature year-round unless I keep them in the middle of my living space!
You can dehydrate eggs in their cooked form. But I've found they don't taste that great, and the fact that they have to first be cooked limits their use for baking in the future.
My new favorite method for preserving eggs for long-term storage that are both able to be cooked and eaten “fresh”, or used in baking.
I can preserve 54 eggs in each freeze-dried batch which takes about one day. My hens are getting older so the above two 1-quart jars were 36 eggs. When we're discussing the amount of space our preserved food takes up, this is by far the smallest amount of space (especially when you consider that's 3 dozen eggs!).
The taste of freeze-dried eggs is also phenomenal. I did a blind taste test with my daughter and they won out over all the rest! Check out How to Preserve Eggs with a Freeze Dryer for Long Term Food Storage
Since we are recently new dairy cow owners, it's especially important to learn how to preserve the abundance she provides.
The first way you preserve your milk is by refrigeration. This is how the majority of us keep our milk lasting weeks instead of days.
In the Pioneer days and for centuries before this, the best way to preserve milk was to ferment it.
This is a fantastic method that actually improves the health benefits in the milk and fills the end product with beneficial bacteria!
I have a traditionally prepared buttermilk recipe on the blog and a homemade yogurt recipe as well. But fermenting or culturing your milk will preserve it for varying amounts of time, depending on the product you turn it into.
Milk can be preserved longest as a hard cheese. You can also make cottage cheese, feta cheese, cream cheese, etc. I love soft cheeses but they just don't last as long as hard cheeses.
Having a variety of methods to preserve your milk is best so you can keep it year long. But you still need an area of your home where you can keep the cheeses at a cool temperature.
You can freeze milk for long-term storage, but I've found that after a few months in the freezer the texture changes, and it becomes a bit grainy once defrosted as those fat globules don't redistribute well into the milk.
With my Harvest Right freeze-dryer, I'll be freeze-drying our own milk and coffee for instant homemade versions.
Where to Get a Freeze Dryer
If you're interested in buying a home freeze dryer, check out Harvest Right! I have the medium-sized unit.
Verse of the Week – Galatians 5:26
Hey, pioneers and welcome to episode number 314. On today's episode, this is going to be your guide to preserving milk, cheese, eggs, and meat. Specifically, we are going to be talking about safety, about different options, ones that require extra equipment or equipment that you probably wouldn't normally have in your home, but then also ways that you can do it with equipment that most of us already have in our home, and also, how to decide which is the best option based upon the end product and the way that you plan on eating and consuming it. So a jam packed episode that I am thrilled to be talking with you today about.
Welcome to the Pioneering Today podcast. My name is Melissa K. Norris. I'm your host. I'm a fifth generation homesteader, bestselling author of four books, including The Family Garden Plan. I have helped thousands of people to live a homegrown and handmade life using simple, modern homesteading for a healthful and self-sufficient life, and I am thrilled that you are here and I hope to be able to help you as well. So for today's episode, I have really been looking at our home food preservation and in all aspects of our life, it's my goal to improve or to increase what I'm doing a little bit every single year. And you will find that as a theme running throughout every single thing that I do. And we have gotten down preserving produce, so vegetables and fruit, very, very well. We grow over about... Well, I would say about 60 to 70% of our own fruits and vegetables here on our homestead, and that includes preserving them to use them throughout the whole rest of the year.
And we're also very self-sufficient with our meat. We raise, I say a hundred percent, but truthfully it's about 99.9% because occasionally, I will buy extra bacon. There is only so much bacon on a pig when you butcher them and every now and then, I also will purchase some boneless, skinless chicken breasts because we raise and butcher our chickens whole, and I usually will roast the chickens full so that I can then save the carcass to use for making all of my bone broth. But every now and then, we like to have some extra wings on hand. My son loves homemade buffalo wings, or like I said, I like to have some skinless boneless chicken breasts for a couple of different recipes. So I say about 99% of the meat that we consume here on our homestead, we have raised, processed, and preserved from our own land.
However, with the meat, we're reliant upon either the freezer, the deep freezer or canning. So we're going to start this episode talking about meat because that's something that a lot of folks are looking at ways of what's going to be the best way to preserve it? So when you're looking at your meat, you can safely can meat using a pressure canner. Now, if you are in the Home Canning with Confidence, my full canning course or Pioneer Today Academy, which that course can be purchased independently or it's also a part of the academy, then you know I have lessons that I've walked you through on how to can your meat. You can do bone in with poultry, you can do ground beef, you can do sausage. When you're canning though, and this is almost universally true for anything except the freezer, is when we are preserving our meat, either in a canner and or in a dehydrating and even a freeze drying type thing, it's mainly lean cuts of meat.
And the reason for that is because you can do a certain amount of sausage and different recipes, but then you're usually cooking that and then draining the fat off before you are canning it, and when it comes to dehydrating, we are removing the fatty parts from the meat and even with freeze-drying, it still needs to be the lean cuts of the meat. And that's because fat will go rancid much faster than the actual meat. And it can also... Fat can inhibit with canning, can inhibit sealing, just different issues that it's there. Now freezing, of course, we can freeze meat, we can freeze just fat, but then we're dependent upon having enough deep freezer space, and as you get... A deep freezer is only going to hold so much meat. So we have a chest freezer that will hold about a half of a cow for us and then also some salmon fillets, as well as our crab. We actually go crabbing with our little ski boat in the bay and get crab for a year and we will freeze that in our freezers.
And then I have another chest freezer because when you're butchering 25 whole chickens at one time, you need to have the freezer space. So I have an upright freezer in the house that we keep our chickens in, obviously the whole butchered chickens, otherwise, that sounded weird. And then when we butchered our pig and we kept a whole pig, well, you guessed it, I needed another chest freezer. If my husband gets a deer this year and we are hoping to maybe bring on turkeys, looking at all of this stuff, I'm like, "I am not adding in another freezer. I am not having more than three freezers." One, it's just too much. We don't have the space for it and I don't have a garage. I literally have no more space to put any type of chest freezer whatsoever, and then when the power goes out, we do have a generator in order to keep the freezers going. And some of our chest freezers are out in our pump house. So if it's really cold out in the middle of winter and the power goes out, it's really no big deal.
They'll just stay frozen because it's beneath freezing already outside. However, we lose power really frequently here. That's something that you want to be aware of if you're relying on the deep freezer or the freezer as your form of food preservation, is you better have a generator on hand or the means to be able to preserve it using another method like canning. But if the power is out, you may have a hard time operating your canner if all you have is an electric stove, and to be able to process and can up a full freezer's worth of meat, you're going to need to have a lot of jars and lids on hand. So my goal is to look at other ways that we can preserve some of our food beyond the freezer, because I'm simply going to be running out of space and I don't want to be 100% reliant on it. So with the meat, we can safely pressure can it. Obviously we can use a deep freezer. You can also dehydrate lean cuts of meat.
But if you're using a regular dehydrator, so one that just uses heat, a lot of the meat that you dehydrate has a very short shelf, stable life, just at room temperature. When you make homemade jerky, you still technically after you dehydrate it, are supposed to put it in their refrigerator to store it. And then if you're going backpacking or something, you would take it with you and you would have it out, but technically for long-term storage, it's supposed to be still stored in the refrigerator. You can also do salt curing methods with your meat that can allow it to stay at certain temperatures and that if you have a root cellar or another area like that, that is still somewhat of cold storage even though it's not a deep freezer, now this is with cured meats that I'm talking about, not just your regular fresh meat, then those would perhaps be some options. Aside from pressure canning, there's very few ways that we can preserve our meat at home safely that is going to make a truly shelf stable product outside of the refrigerator.
However, enter in the freeze dryer. Now today's podcast episode is sponsored by Harvest Right, which is the only maker in the U.S. of the home freeze dryer models. I got mine and have had it up and running for a month now and I have to honestly tell you I am a little bit in love with this machine. I really wasn't sure how I would like it, if I really thought that it would be worth the cost. Now full disclosure, Harvest Right sent me buy freeze dryer. I did not pay for it. I had been looking at them, but I just hadn't pulled the trigger yet because I wasn't sure if I would use it enough and if I would really like it and I would like the texture of the food, how we would like it, that I just hadn't pulled the trigger. And then they contacted me and offered to send me one in exchange for my honest review. And I'm like, "Okay, let's give this a whirl and really see what I think about this thing." And I can honestly tell you that I really do love it.
It is becoming a game changer here on the homestead specifically for foods that there really aren't any other safe or shelf stable ways to preserve them and meat being one of those. So you can freeze dry meat, both raw or cooked in the freeze dryer, and that it is 100% shelf stable. Now for emergency type situations or backpacking or that type of a thing, then you want to freeze dry it already cooked because that way when you rehydrate it and go to eat it, it's already cooked. You're just having to heat it up if you don't want to eat it cold and you add enough moisture that it will then reconstitute and you're able to consume it. And the cool thing about freeze dried meat... Now this is not true of vegetables and fruit and we're going to be talking about some other things that you can freeze dry. It is true with meat, you can't over rehydrate it. So what that means is the meat is only going to...
After it's went through the freeze dried state, it's only going to reabsorb the correct amount of moisture or the moisture content that it had before you freeze dried it. So you will get the exact or very similar, same texture as far as water content-wise, when you reconstitute it and eat it. We actually have a friend who has had his freeze dryer for a number of years and he is just thrilled that I finally got one so that we could start swapping recipes and ideas. And he did up some chicken fajita meat, cooked and gave us that and it was so good. We never did get around to rehydrating it because we would just eat it as a snack in it's completely freeze dried state. It was very, very good.
Now, like I said, a lot of people prefer to freeze dry their meat already cooked because then when they go to consume it, they can just eat it as it is, which is dry and crunchy and whatever flavor, however, they flavored it and marinated it, et cetera, beforehand, and in an emergency, all they would need to do, they could add water to it, if you wanted to get it, but with a soup or something like that, so that it would be texturerized but you could also just eat it as it is freeze dried. Now, if it's raw meat and you're freeze drying it, it is a hundred percent shelf stable, but you cannot consume it raw and it's freeze dried meat. You would need to reconstitute it and then cook it because the freeze drying doesn't kill bacteria, but it just puts it in a state where it's not growing and the food isn't perishing, but when you go to consume it, if it was raw meat, just like we wouldn't eat raw meat, you're not going to eat raw freeze dried meat either. You still need to be cooking it after the fact.
So just a little bit of distinction there. But freeze drying meat definitely ups the game because with regular dehydrating, you shouldn't be dehydrating raw meat to begin with, but you can with a freeze dryer. And a lot of people have been asking me what is the difference between dehydrating and freeze-drying? We're going to be talking about freeze-drying more as we get into eggs and milk and cheese. So the way that freeze drying is different is it uses a technique called sublimation or sublimation. You take the food and it goes into the freeze dryer and the first thing it does is it freezes it. It takes it down to negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and then all of the moisture that is in there gets frozen, right? Goes into a vaporized form and then the vacuum pump kicks in and it sucks the moisture out of the chamber that's in the air. Then it dehydrates it. So it does still use the heat form of dehydration later, but what's really interesting is it is not the same texture or even a flavor that you're used to if you're used to just a regular dehydrated food.
The food is very crunchy. It has amazing airy punch to it. Most dehydrated food is very chewy. The fruit is chewy, banana chips are chewy. I love dehydrated cherries, but they're chewy. Raisins, you get where I'm going with that. Freeze dried food is very, very crunchy almost like a chip. It is delicious. And the freeze dried fruit even has different flavor, which sounds weird. It still tastes like... A raspberry tastes like a raspberry, strawberry tastes like a strawberry, but it almost, I don't want to say really intensifies the sweetness, but a little bit. It's hard to explain. It still looks fresh though. So it retains the color of the food, it's bright, it almost looks fresh and it's not shriveled up. We're used to seeing raisins, they're all shriveled up. The freeze dried food doesn't shrivel up like that, but it's extremely lightweight and it's really odd the first time you take a bite of it because your brain is looking at this and it's like, "This is a fresh looking raspberry." Color-wise, all of that, it looks like a fresh raspberry, but when you bite into it, it's this crunchy, dry fruit.
And it's funny because your taste buds and your eyes are like, "Oh, mixed messages." It's really, really good though. So I am highly loving my freeze dryer and the versatility that it's allowing me to do with a lot of foods that I haven't been able to really preserve at home before, or the only way I've been able to preserve them is just using the deep freezer and I'm trying to get away from using the deep freezer as we're putting up more and more food. I don't want to keep relying on them or putting more and more food into the deep freezer where I have to get another one. So when it comes to our eggs, there's a couple different options. Well, actually there's more than a couple, but there are options to preserving eggs at home. You can listen into the episode that I did with Lisa Steel, where we talked more about different methods for egg preservation, which was episode number 310, but I'll do a quick recap here.
So when it comes to preserving your eggs, and this is talking about eggs that you're getting from your backyard chickens that have not been washed and are clean, meaning they still have the bloom on them. So that the egg shell still has the natural seal when it comes out of the chicken. If you've washed it, you've removed the bloom and then the eggshells are actually porous and bacteria can get in and they'll begin to break down faster, which is what you have with store bought eggs. So farm fresh eggs that have the bloom still on, have not been washed, will store in the fridge for months just fine. If you need to go beyond those months in the fridge, then your options are going to be deep freezing them or freezing those eggs. We talk about the way to do that. You have to whip them and combine the yolk with the white in order for them to then thaw and be a semi-normal consistency. They're great for baking.
I have not found them to be overly pleasant for scrambled eggs because there's little chunks of the yolk I still find that doesn't want to cook up right. It's a little bit rubbery, but it works great for baked goods. Then you can also lime your eggs. So this is taking farm fresh unwashed, clean, they need to be cleaned. So if you have a muddy coop or a poopy coop or poopy nesting boxes, those are not the eggs that are going to be a candidate for liming, but you make a lime solution and then those eggs will store up to a year in proper storage. I don't really want to say I have an issue, but the only reason I have not went the lime route with the eggs is because I do not have any storage space. They need to go in a five-gallon bucket, it needs to be an area they're not going to be knocked into or spilt. We're talking about liquid. I literally have no spot in our home that I can put five gallon buckets filled with a lime solution and eggs at in order to store them.
We live in a really small manufactured home. There's literally no spot for me to put it. We don't have a garage, we don't have a basement, et cetera. So for me, I just don't have a spot where I can store eggs in a lime solution. So that has eliminated that possibility for us at this exact time. Now you can technically dehydrate eggs, but they have to be in their cooked form. And there's a lot of back and forth like, are they really that good? Then when you go and rehydrate them, you can't do them raw, which means that I can't use them for baking or cooking, and that's one of the main reasons that I want to be able to store my eggs is to use them for baking and cooking and just a delicious scrambled egg or an omelet or a quiche or something like that down the road. Enter in the freeze dryer. I love the texture of freeze dried eggs.
Now I have a video coming out very, very soon on YouTube, depending on when you were listening to this podcast episode when it releases, that shows how to use the freeze dryer and freeze dry your eggs, and then how they rehydrate and actually cook up. So I took eggs that I had in the deep freezer that I have freezed, which has been my method in the past, and then the new freeze dried eggs and okay, a little bit of a spoiler, the freeze dried eggs one, for me, hand down. I did have my daughter do a blind taste test to see if she could tell which was which and which one she preferred. So I won't spoil what her preference was, but mine was definitely the freeze dried. The other amazing thing is you guys, I did eight 18 eggs to a tray. Math on the fly is not my strong suit. So 18 times three, I did 54 eggs. After they were freeze dried, they went into two pot jars. Think about that volume shrunk down to storage space.
So if you don't have much storage space, my friend, the freeze dryer or dehydrating is definitely an amazing way to go. And now I have shelf stable eggs. One of the really cool things too about freeze-drying is freeze dried food, retains more of its nutrients than any other form of food preservation with possibly the exception of fermentation, when we're talking about vegetables and fruit, but most of us are not going to be trying to ferment our eggs and or our meat. That's mainly for produce. So it will also be shelf stable for years. Depending upon the conditions, up to 25 years is how long freeze dried food is good for. Now that's actually not my goal. My goal is to produce food enough that so we have enough for a year, maybe a couple of years to account for bad weather on certain crops, et cetera, but I want us to be constantly replenishing and eating what we're raising. My goal is to not have a stack pile for 25 years of food for someday.
I want us to be using our stuff. But I do think it's pretty cool that it has a longer shelf life because sometimes, you know how it goes. You get a bumper crop of something and you put a bunch of it up and a year goes by and you're like, "Oh man, we maybe ate a quarter of that or a third of that." When you've done a certain recipe, especially with canning and you look at the shelf and you're like, "Oh man, I canned that three years ago and we still have jars of it left." So the cool thing is with the freeze dried food, it will last for a very long time. So that covers the majority of the ways that we can preserve eggs at home, but there are some additional ways. I said go listen to episode 310 when you're done with this episode to get into that further. Now, milk. Let us talk about preserving milk. So the first way that we preserve milk is obviously to put it into the refrigerator. That's going to keep your milk for longer than if it is just left out at room temperature.
Then really traditionally the way in the past that milk was preserved would be to... First step is to ferment it. So fermenting dairy, I have how to make homemade traditionally cultured buttermilk. I'll also be having a yogurt thing coming out very soon, but it was to turn those into those cultured products, yogurt, kefir, kefir, however you prefer to pronounce that one, because that prolongs its shelf life. Again, those are then usually in cold storage in the fridge. They would have been outside if it was cold, depending up on the time of year, if they had a spring house, a root cellar, et cetera if we're talking pre refrigeration days, but that was a way that you would traditionally preserve the milk. You're turning it into a different form that then increases it's shelf life. Now beyond our fermented dairy or cultured dairy items, cheese. That is how milk was traditionally preserved, was putting it into cheese product, especially a hard cheese.
Now I love soft cheese, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, oh man, love them, but they don't last as long as a hard cheese. Some Cheddars can be aged for up to two years. I'm sure that there's some cheeses that are aged even beyond that, but that is the way that cheese would be preserved or excuse me, milk would be preserved, was to put it into cheese. However, you still need to be putting that cheese and those fermented products, they still need for longterm storage to be in some type of cool environment. Now, some of those hard cheeses can be kept up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It's going to depend upon humidity and the cheese itself and how long is it at these temperatures, but typically between 35 degrees. You don't want it to freeze up to about 40 to 45 degrees, which is usually for most of us. 35 to 40 is what the temperature of your refrigerator is going to be. But that is really your traditional ways to store your milk or to preserve the milk. Now, nowadays, of course, we also have our deep freezer and you can deep freeze milk.
I will tell you it does change the texture once it begins to thaw, especially the higher the milk fat percentage is, whole milk, it's grainy when it thaws out. So it works fine for doing smoothies or baking, but just fresh drinking of the milk or that type of stuff, you're not going to be overly pleased. At least I haven't. It's not the same as fresh milk or milk that's just kept in the fridge. Now, if you are freezing it, remember it's liquid, it is going to expand. So if it's in a plastic container, still want to make sure you have some head space, like an inch. If it's in glass a lot more, be very careful, in your Mason jars, if you're freezing it in Mason jars, because it will expand and obviously glass, once it expands, it can crack it. So there's that. But you can technically, definitely freeze your milk. Now, many of us have probably purchased freeze dried milk at one point or a time or instant milk, et cetera. So with a home freeze dryer, you can actually freeze dry your milk and it reconstitutes up just lovely.
So I'm very excited to be practicing with freeze drying some of my milk. You can also freeze dry cheese and then you can eat it in its freeze dried state, or I've not tried rehydrating freeze dried cheese. So I will be trying that, and you also can freeze cheese. I have tried freezing blocks of cheese and once it thaws, it doesn't want to slice or shred, right? It's a bit crumbly for me. Now this was with Colby Jack, which is my family... It's one of our favorite cheeses. However, shredded or grated cheese freezes wonderfully well, and then you thaw and use it just as normal and it works really, really well. Soft cheeses for me, freeze very good. I freeze cream cheese all the time. I freeze ricotta, that all does really, really well for me. So I will freeze those and then thaw them out in the deep freezer, but as I said, I'm looking for ways to get away from relying on the deep freezer so much.
But yes, you can see that this is giving you different options in order to preserve these foods if you don't have a dairy cow or even if you do and then when the cow goes through its dry period, when you don't have it so that you have access to these foods. Now, deciding which is the best method, I always recommend that you test. Anytime it's new to you, test a small amount because you don't know if you're going to like it in that form, the way that it's preserved or not and you don't want to do the entire thing when you don't want to do all the work nor waste all of the food or a vast majority of it to only discover at the time of eating like, "Oh, I don't really like the texture, I don't like the taste of this, et cetera." Now I love the flavor and texture of canned meat. It's very tender, it's really quick and easy for me to prepare, however, I am not going to can up my steak. Now I will do...
Stew meat is great, ground meat is great, but my roasts, pot roast, steak, some of those prime cuts, backstrap when we're talking about venison, I'm not going to can those. Chicken breast is great canned up. We love to smoke salmon and then can. The smoked salmon texture-wise, that's phenomenal, but there are certain cuts that I don't want canned. I want to be able to grill them, or I want to be able to roast them like a whole chicken, for example, the pot roast, those types of things. So knowing texture, so for me, you can see those are the cuts. Ham, I'm not going to be... And you have to be careful when it comes to nitrates and some of those cured meats on whether or not you can can those. You can do small amounts of ham and small amounts of bacon in specific combination recipes, but not all by themselves. So you definitely have to take that into account. Even with canning and meats, not all forms of meat can be canned. That's what I'm trying to say. But how I decide like, "Oh, do I want this to be canned?
Do I want this to be just frozen in the deep freezer? Is this something that I want to try freeze drying?" And taking into consideration the specific cut of meat. And then again with the eggs, I love a fried egg over-easy. One of my favorite ways to do it. Now, even with the freeze drying, my egg is still having the yolk incorporated with the white. So it's great for scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches and baking, but I'm not going to be able to make a fried egg. So I definitely got to make sure that I've got some of my good, fresh eggs that I'm going to be storing unwashed in the fridge and that route. Because I often will get asked, "Well, what is the absolute best?" And the moral of that story is there is no absolute best in my opinion. I think it is wise to have multiple ways to preserve food. I never want to be completely reliant on one method or another, and it depends on each specific food, the way that you want to be eating that, all of that.
So there's things that you just want to walk through in your mind how is it that I'm going to be using this? And planning out ahead of time, "Okay, I'm going to be able to use... With the cheese, if I'm going to be freezing it, that's pretty much shredded cheese, which is fine." I use shredded cheese on a lot of things, but it's probably not something that I'm going to try to be, "Oh, I guess you could use shredded cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich." I've never really done it with... I've always just done it with sliced, but you get my point. Think about what recipes and the way your family likes to eat certain food, and then if the way that you're preserving that is going to allow you to be able to use it in that same manner. Now, if you want to be checking out the freeze dryer, I will have links in today's blog post that has further links to going in more depth of ways that you can do these different types of food preservation. We've actually covered a ton.
So I will have some more links and resources and have it all in a written blog posts. You can catch that at melissaknorris.com/314, because this is episode number 314, but if you want to check out the home freeze dryers, I have the medium sized unit, you can do that at melissaknorris.com/freezedryer, melissaknorris.com/freezedryer and you can begin to look at the different units and accessories and find out more about them. I hope that you enjoyed today's episode and we are now moving on to our verse of the week. Today's verse of the week is from Galatians 5:26. This is the Amplified translation. "Let us not become vainglorious and self conceded, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another." This was a verse that was part of the sermon that my pastor preached this past Sunday, and I actually was reading ahead because he preached in Galatians 5, but he actually didn't go this far and it was talking about walking with the Holy Spirit and the signs, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is in the earlier part of these chapters.
But when I got to this, I had to really sit for a moment and think about that because there have been times where I have felt competitive and thinking about when we do challenge people or have I been provoking? I think sometimes we could fall into these behaviors and they're not intentional, or we don't realize that we're doing it intentionally. And then sometimes we are doing it intentionally if we're quite honest with ourselves, but oftentimes at least for myself, I haven't always realized that that's what I was doing or that was the underlying emotion that was perhaps driving something. I'm considering actually printing this verse out and putting it up where I will see it every day as a lens to evaluate my heart and where I'm at before going into certain situations where I know that this perhaps could be something that would arise and just to be able to recognize it, not only within myself, because I always think it's important to do self reflection first, but also then to see if that's something that is coming up consistently in maybe relationship with someone else or in certain circumstances.
And if that's the case, is there anything that I can do to try to change that? And if not, is then that a situation that I should continue to allow myself to be a part of? I think it's a good lens for us to be conscious of within ourselves first, but then also in interactions with other people, because obviously that is not a fruit of the Spirit. And I personally want to be walking within the fruits of the Holy Spirit, which is in chapter, excuse me, chapter 5:22 and 23. So being aware of when I see these behaviors or feelings arising in myself, girl, that's not walking in the fruit of the Holy Spirit and that's where you need to be walking. So it's a checkpoint, a mental checkpoint [inaudible 00:31:38] myself. So I hope that you found that helpful. Thank you so much for joining me on today's episode. I cannot wait to be back here with you next week. I have an incredible episode for you that are going to love. So for now, blessings and Mason jars, my friend.
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