Food storage and preservation is almost as important as the food itself. That’s because we can’t use all the foods immediately we collect or harvest them. Therefore, we have to store them properly to prevent spoilage, and so they can be used at other times. We can’t exempt dairy from this need for appropriate preservation. Unlike in modern times, where we have refrigerators, there were no such means of storage in the earlier days.
Various Food and Dairy Preservation Methods
People always need food to survive, so they spent time thinking of and finding ways to store them. They needed to preserve farm produce in large quantities in preparation for seasons of drought or predicted famine. Also, when transporting food items or during a war, they had to avoid spoilage. Hence, there are numerous methods they used, including drying, salting, and smoking. We’ll discuss them subsequently.
The basis behind this method is to remove all or most of the moisture from the food item. People discovered that after a while, the food attracts bugs and start to smell. They didn’t know it back then, but moisture content allows bacterial growth. Hence, dehydrating things prevent the bacteria that would otherwise cause spoilage from growing on the produce.
They used drying to preserve various kinds of foods like grains, fish, meat, and even fruits. That was done by exposing them to the hot sun for days or weeks, depending on the moisture content. However, in colder regions, they had to improvise, so they made shelters for drying.
2. Dry Salting
The dry salting method involves the use of salt to preserve products. They applied it mostly for meat and fish and sometimes for vegetables. They would cut the meat into similar pieces and coat each one with dry salt. Then they stack the sections on each other in a container. The effectiveness of this method is because salt extracts moisture and kills bacteria.
Although milk can’t be salted because it will alter the desired taste, its products can. People believe that other dairy products like butter and cottage cheese can be salted conveniently. That may be where the idea of salted butter emanated. Salt adds taste to the product and can, therefore, enhance the flavor. It also provides essential minerals that you would otherwise not find in them.
Pickling is a variation of the salting method. Instead of using dry salt, the people soak the food items in a salt brine. The brine is a product of oversaturation or overconcentration of water with salt. However, they didn’t use it as much as dry salting. That’s because as it uses water, it’s less effective than the process that excludes moisture.
We use canning to preserve a broader range of food items than most of the other methods. It’s also a great tip for storing milk. You must ensure that the dairy jars used are clean, especially if they’re antiques to avoid microbial growth. Then they fill each jar to about three-quarters and place them in the canner to heat. Canned milk lasts for about two years, but you can’t use it to make yogurt or cheese.
Smoking is one of the earliest food preservation methods. The concept is similar to that of drying but uses fire instead. One thing that worried people when it comes to this was the amount of heat produced. Nowadays, you can even smoke during hot weather because there are fans. Therefore, you get to preserve your food while making your summer comfortable.
People used it commonly for meats and fish. They were dipped briefly in brine before hanging them over a fire, usually from burning wood. Smoked meats and fish have become a delicacy because of the flavor they gain from the process. They were the main things people used this method to preserve. However, we can also use it for dairy.
Smoking Dairy Products
According to studies carried out, smoking is one of the best ways to preserve food. That’s because wood smoke contains certain substances that prevent the growth of microorganisms. That poses as an added advantage to the unique taste it acquires. One of the most popular smoked dairy product is cheese. Apart from preserving it, smoking adds an extra layer of flavor to the cheese.
Due to the flavoring, people adapted it as more than just a preservation method. Various recipes call for smoked cheese as a primary ingredient. The equipment used in modern times is a smoker, which means anyone can carry out the process. You can do that using a perfect pellet smoker from ZGrills company that can also grill and bake.
Common varieties of cheeses they smoke include cheddar, provolone, bendal, and caramakase. However, people now smoke more types of cheeses and burn other things like almond shells intend of wood for the extra flavor. They could also apply this method for milk samples by using liquid smoke or storing in smoked containers.
Other Methods of Preserving Dairy Products
We know that milk is the first and most significant dairy product there is. Therefore, if we’re able to store it appropriately, there’d always be dairy supply. Some other ways people preserve it include condensation and pasteurization. People also believe that since milk products last longer than milk, one suitable preservation method would be to make cheese or butter.