Waxing cheese, preserving eggs, and oven canning
There is a new TV show on NatGeo called Doomsday Preppers. It was stated that there are 750,000 homes off grid in the U.S. Amazing. Anyway I really would like to know what you think on the following: 1) Saw a lady covering cheese (store bought) with wax. It was red wax. She said she stored it at room temperature and it would age but not go bad in storage. What kind of wax and where would you get it?
2) She also bought eggs on sale, rubbed the outsides with mineral oil, put back in the carton and kept cool and dry for 9 to 12 months without refrigeration.
3) I read in one of last Fall’s Countryside magazine about oven canning. It was used for anything with no oil. Dry canning, essentially. I put up some flour and flake cereal. Your thoughts on this process?
J from Missouri
Yes, you can coat store bought cheeses with cheese wax (that red or black wax you saw). Cheese wax is more flexible than plain paraffin wax and won’t crack, letting in air and bacteria. Yes, this coated wax will stay okay for many months, but at room temperature, this cheese will get very sharp very quickly. And it won’t last as long as if it were stored in a very cool location. This is why, when we make homemade cheese, we store it in a dark, cool area to age. You can buy cheese wax at any cheese making supply company. I’ve used New England Cheesemaking Supply Co (www.cheesemaking.com) or (413) 397-2012 and Hoegger Supply Co. (www.hoeggergoatsupply.com) or (770) 461-6926.
Yes, eggs can be kept for a longer period of time than most folks realize. Rubbing mineral oil on the eggs seals the pores and does help them stay fresher for a lengthy time. But I’ve found that it seems to affect the flavor after long term storage. Untreated fresh eggs will keep for nearly 6 months if stored in refrigeration or in a very cool area. I used to do this in Montana, as our chickens would quit laying in the early winter and not start until spring. We were very remote and had few resources, so there was no light on in our coop during the winter. My eggs would keep, stored in a very cool pantry, over that time. I would lose a few, but it was well worth it to have eggs year around.
Yes, sealing jars in the oven will keep dry foods bug/moisture free. But the sheer amount of dry foods that we store makes “dry canning” or “oven canning” impractical. I’ve kept hundreds of pounds of dry foods ranging from pastas to flour, wheat, rice, sugar, rolled oats, beans, and much more, good and very usable by simply storing them in their store bags, in new garbage cans or in popcorn tins and gallon glass jars. Canning them is a lot more work and uses a lot of jars that could be used for something else. If I’m concerned about an insect problem, I just set the can outdoors during freezing weather for a week, then bring it back into the house to store. Smaller amounts can be put into a freezer, year around. Once frozen, no more bug hatch. It’s as simple as that. I sure don’t mind working, but I don’t work harder than I have to! — Jackie