The pioneers knew more than a few tricks to preserve food for the long-term. Any form of food preservation was designed to kill and inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungus and other micro-organisms. It also was designed to prevent the oxidation of fats which could lead to rancidity.
Our pioneer ancestors needed to master these skills for two reasons:
1. The seasons. Summer and fall were times of plenty, but winter and early spring were not. The ability to preserve food to over-winter in many environments was vital to survival.
2. Long journeys. They were traveling across open prairies in a wagon train, traveling on sailing ships to distant shores, traversing mountains with little or no vegetation or wildlife. Long journeys required stores of food that would keep well and not cause sickness due to foodborne illnesses.
Plan Ahead – or Else
You may have heard of the Donner Party. They were pioneers traveling to California who were trapped in the Rocky Mountains during relentless blizzards and cold temperatures. Many slowly starved to death while others resorted to cannibalism. That’s poor planning.
We’re not going to cover the obvious, like canning in mason jars (our pioneer ancestors didn’t have a lot of access to glass or finely crafted metal lids).