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Ancient Food Storage

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Ancient food storage is not something that most people know much about. Mainly because these days, we can reach into the fridge and pull out a snack without a second thought. We’re able to store fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and even meat for a long time by putting it in the freezer or refrigerator.

But have you ever wondered what people used to do before we had the luxury of electricity to help us preserve our edible goods? The other day when the power went out during a storm, I started to wonder about ancient food storage methods.

The power wasn’t out for long, so I didn’t need to worry about food spoiling, but what if I’d been without electricity for hours, days, or weeks? I realized that I didn’t have many ideas for food storage if such an event were to occur. I wasn’t very knowledgeable about safe food storage, so I decided to do a little research on the Internet.

Ancient Food Storage

I discovered that safe food storage is possible even without fridges and freezers. In the late 1800s, for example, people would typically store their food in a root cellar. Cellars were the coolest part of the house, so food would keep for longer down there.

Different foods require different conditions for safe storage, but most foods tend to fare best in cool, dry places. Foods like bread, for instance, were often wrapped in cloth, placed in containers, or stored on racks that hung from the ceiling. This helped to keep rodents and other pests away.

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Additionally, special containers called “crocks” were manufactured in North America as early as the 1700s. They were made from baked clay, and were used for long-term food storage. These crocks were especially useful for storing salted meat as described below.

Meat products, were prepared in such a way that they would keep for a relatively long period of time. Smokehouses were common, and used to preserve smoked bacon and hams, as well as smoked venison and smoked turkey. Other meats were preserved by layering the meat with salt in crocks. Jerking was also another ancient food storage method of preserving meat.

Lastly, ice boxes were extremely popular back before fridges and freezers existed. An icebox is exactly what it sounds like – a box or container that you fill with ice, and then store your food in. The ice was usually cut in blocks from a frozen lake or pond during the winter and stored in underground caverns and covered with straw.

None of these methods of ancient food storage sound as convenient or effective as a refrigerator, but back then it was better than nothing! In the event of a survival situation it’s possible that knowing some of these methods could mean a real difference to one’s ability to survive hunger.

Mountain House Freeze-Dried Foods are the best long-term food storage foods. 20 year shelf life!
Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food

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