VITA stands for Volunteers In Technical Assistance.It is a private, U.S. nonprofit organization that supports people working on technical problems in developing countries. With information and other assistance, VITA helps individuals and groups select and implement technologies appropriate to their situations.
Today’s topic is safe food storage, and we will be offering listeners information about how to get a free booklet on this subject, entitled Understanding Home‑Scale Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables, Part I: Canning and Freezing. This is part of VITA’s continuing effort to provide an introduction to specific state‑of‑the‑art technologies of interest to people around the world. The booklets are intended to be used as guidelines to help people choose suitable technologies. And listeners are encouraged to contact VITA for further information and technical assistance. We will give the address later.
Here is Jane Kuczynski with a look at the best ways to store dairy products.
You work hard when you grow food and prepare it to eat. If you buy it, you realize how big a bite it takes out of your earnings. So you do not want to waste it. The VITA booklet we will be talking about today will give you some good tips for keeping food clean and safe in your home.
VITA’s Technical Adviser, Gary Garriott, emphasizes the importance of boiling the water you use to cook with or for the final washing of fruits and vegetables: “You want to be sure that only water that is pure enough to drink should be used for washing or cooking food. And, if you are in doubt about the purity of that water, it should be boiled for at least ten minutes or disinfected in some way.”
Different kinds of food need special care. Gary Garriott has some ideas about fresh milk: “There are a variety of ways to keep milk safe without refrigeration. One way is boil it because that will keep milk longer than milk that has been pasteurized, which is just heating milk. And, certainly, cream will also keep longer if it is boiled.
Then, if you do not have a refrigerator, there are ice chests possibly available or evaporative cooler systems, which have been described on previous VITA broadcasts, and there is even absorption refrigeration, which runs off of kerosene and not electricity.”
If the alternatives Gary mentioned are not available, store your milk or cream in coolest place you can find. And, remember, do not use unsafe milk for any purpose. As for eggs, the VITA booklet suggeststhat you sort eggs as soon as you get them from the poultry yard or market, cooking the cracked eggs for immediate use and throwing away any spoiled ones. Keep them in a covered container in a cool, dry, clean place. Gary Garriott has some good advice on storing eggs: “Do not wash the eggs unless you actually want to use them, eat them or sell them because washing removes the thin film that is on the shell that protects the egg. This films stops evaporation and the entrance of harmful bacteria as well as the absorption of odors.”
Next time, we will continue our discussion of food storage information about specific ways for keeping meat, fish, poultry and fresh fruits and vegetables safe to eat.
Meanwhile, scrub your shelves, cupboards and floors often. Paint or whitewash your shelves or line them with clean paper. Keeping your food storage area clean helps keep household pests away.
If you would like to get a free copy of VITA’s booklet, Understanding Home‑Scale Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables, Part I: Canning and Freezing, Please write to: VITA, Box 12438, Arlington, Virginia and the postal code is 22209.
All booklets are in English unless otherwise noted.