So Much Knowledge Lost

Hey Everyone,

So I catch myself thinking sometimes “Well I’ll have to buy this plastic thing, there is no other alternative” or “I guess I’ll have to buy these expensive petroleum based products because it’s the only safe way to do it”.

Is that really true?

For Example:

How did they wax cheese before petroleum (paraffin) based waxes? And how can a petroleum based product be good to smother all over your food?

How did they freeze things before plastic and not have them get freezer burnt? Ice boxes and winter have been around longer than plastic.

How did they seal roofs before rubber liners? I imagine it was some kind of pine tar or something.

How is it possible that hybridized plants, whose seeds are sterile, contain as much nutrition as an heirloom plant? The sprouting process of the seed is the most nutritious part, so if they can’t sprout or are sterile, how can they be the better choice? Quality over quantity.

Everyone is so terrified not to use plastic, because it’s “unsafe” to do otherwise. Funny how they people who get to determine safety are making money off the products that are deemed “safe”. For example, BBQ sauce has been being made for a long time, a lot longer than plastic and pressure cookers, but somehow everyone online (and in books) is saying it’s unsafe and impossible to can BBQ sauce without a pressure cooker. I’m gonna call it right now, bullshit. It took me a bit of searching, but I found a recipe for it that uses a water canning bath. But that’s not really the issue. The issue is that my generation, even my parent’s generation, is so far removed from useful skills, that we have NO IDEA what we are doing. I’m attempting to pull all this old knowledge out of thin air, but I’m having a hard time. Thankfully I’ve been able to find some of it, but it seems really stupid and irresponsible of people to have let this knowledge disappear. I promise to do my best to preserve it if I find it, but I have to find it first.

If you know answers to the questions above or have some insight into old fashioned skills or knowledge, please share it. We all need to be able to do these things for ourselves. I, for one, cannot afford to pay everyone for everything, I have to be able to do some of it myself.

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. flatlinedgamer says:

    Beeswax and possibly tallow for cheese. As for the meat, salt curing, smoking, and drying are the easiest to find information on. It may be possible to can meat without a pressure canner, nut I’m not sure.

    1. It has to be possible, people have been doing it for a lot longer than pressure cookers. It’s just a matter of safety I imagine.

  2. dreamfarming says:

    There is this blogger/author named Susan. This is her blog She has much knowledge about all things food storage. You should contact her she might be able to answer some of your questions.

    1. Thanks! I’ll check it out!

  3. An Italian guy I know said he coats his cheese in olive oil and then covers thick with whatever spices he feels like. Wraps it in a cloth and hangs it. He is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to things like this. I’ll be running into him within a few weeks, I’ll ask for more specifics. He stores meat too.

    1. I would love to hear what he does!

  4. Grower says:

    Some of that “lost knowledge” apparently is that people occasionally died or were severely injured by improperly canned food. The ones making money on safe food are not the ones who have figured how to make it safe. Keep reading and don’t take dangerous chances.

    1. I’m going to keep researching, but I just can’t believe people were dying from cheese and canned sauce all the time. Thankfully we have much better medicine now.

      1. Grower says:

        With cheese there was probably more a problem of cheese mite infestation.

    2. And I don’t want you to think that I’m going to purposefully do something wrong, I just don’t believe there is only one way to do something. I also have a hard time trusting safety rules from a company that stands to gain from excluding other methods.

  5. Grower says:

    Here. There is a tested, safe boiling water bath barbecue sauce recipe in this book.

  6. cahall63 says:

    I couldn’t agree more Ben! I think we have lost a lot of wisdom in the name of progress.
    Are you familiar with the Foxfire Books? The books were compilations from the Foxfire magazine, which was actually published by a group of high school kids and their teacher, as a means of perserving that kind of knowledge.

    1. I’ll check it out, thanks!

  7. Jonnie says:

    My great-grandparents were fruitful and multiplied, by 12. They had 33 grandchildren, 36 great-grandchildren, of which I was the first, and before they passed, I had given them their first great-great-grandchildren. I am a mother of 3, grandmother of 6, and great- grandmother of 3,so far. They lived on a small farm, and preserved food by Sun drying, water bath canning, and pressure canning, and smoking. They lived in a house built during the civil war, as we’re all of the other buildings. Not one member of the family, ever suffered any ill effects from these practices. My great-grandmother made everything from scratch, using the food they preserved this way. Not only did it taste better, then anything you could get in the stores, it was healthier than any store bought foods. I used to love spending time at their farm, even with all of the work I had to do, because the food was real, and tasted better. We lived in the city, and bought food from the farmers market, cause it could be bought by the bushels, and canned at home. Which my mother, and her sisters did. If you haven’t had smoked cheese, you haven’t had cheese, and homemade sauerkraut is the best. Fermentation of veggies, and pickled foods of all kinds, make preserving food a breeze. I never saw plastic in their home, at any time. Both Ball, and Kerr, put out recipe books, to help you out, and get hold of some of really old cookbooks, for some more suggestions, and instructions. Although the really old ones don’t have measurements, they say things like a pinch of this, a bigger of that, so you are really making it according to your taste. They did it all on a woodburning bookstore, where you learn to use your nose to feel when things are done.

  8. Jonnie says:

    Jigger, and wood burning cook stove. This dang spell check keeps changing my words, sorry.

  9. I finally ran into the guy who stores his cheese in the root cellar. Just let me warn you, there is a bit of a language barrier and he loves to talk. It was so hard to break in to ask questions. I tried my best. He told me that he found out from an older gentleman and does it this way now: Kind of like how they keep feta. He puts his milder cheese in a container, stabs it with a knife on both sides, coats it in olive oil, covers it almost to the top with red wine (his homemade wine) and the top part that is exposed he drizzles olive oil and cracked black pepper. Every week or two he turns the cheese and repeats the process. As for the meats, his are either smoked or dried. So no handy hints there. I also heard people used beeswax back in the day for cheese.

    I did come across this site which has some information:

    I don’t know how safe any of it is, just covering my butt, you know all the legal junk.
    Best of luck, it looks like you guys are having a great year!

    1. I forgot to mention he covers the container in cheese cloth but said you can put a lid on if you are worried and critters.

    2. Thank you! That’s awesome! I’ll check out the site and look through everything!

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