*Main article: Farming
All crops are harvested by hitting the plant, producing both food item and a seed when ripe (increased agriculture skill may produce additional seeds). Fruit trees and berry bushes are harvested by right-clicking. Right-click to harvest does not yield any seeds. The limitation of seeds was put in place to prevent early large scale farming. Additionally, harvesting grains (aside from maize) yields a grain item requiring refinement using a knife in the crafting grid to separate the straw from the grain, before it can be used. Also, seaweed in ocean tiles can be harvested for - you guessed it - seaweed, which can be consumed for nourishment in the vegetable category.
To make bread, you must first mill grains at a quern. The resulting flour must then be combined with a bucket of fresh water, yielding a dough. Combining with water gives the dough double the weight of the flour used. Bake the dough by placing it in a firepit, or a forge, and wait for the dough to pass "Very Hot" temperature (the heat bar on the dough will reach its maximum), and then collect the resulting bread in the output slot.
From version 79, cooking food (including meat, fruit and vegetables) requires you to monitor the heat of the food to prevent it from being burnt to ashes. Foods that reach "Very Hot" will burn up, and is indicated by a heat bar above it in the fire. When the heat bar is filled red, the food will burn and disappear. However, long before the food gets burnt you can choose how well done you want it cooked, from rare to well done or very light to very dark. This supposedly affects how well it tastes, depending on what your character prefers (it is unclear if this has any effect in the current version). Foods must cool down completely before they can be eaten.
Slaughtering an animal will often produce a large amount of meats, a hide and some bones (these can be used to tame wolves). These meats are not edible until cooked over a firepit or a forge. The amount of meat dropped when slaughtering an animal is determined by your butchery skill. At 0, you will get at most a couple of cuts. At higher skills, the amount of meat from a butchering an animal can easily take up a quarter of your inventory. Aside from storing all the meat, keeping it from all decaying also becomes a burden.
Terrafirmacraft also provides some foods from water sources. The first being calamari, which is acquired by killing squids. The second type is fish, which can be acquired with a fishing rod, or by diving into an ocean and looking for sea bass mobs swimming around, and then killing them. Fish provides very little food as protein, but will be enough to stave of hunger for a while. The last option is to harvest seaweed from the ocean floor, providing vegetable nourishment.
Harvesting crops will result in several food items of low weight, and will soon fill up your entire inventory. To allieviate this, food items of the same sort can be combined in the crafting grid, increasing the weight of a single food item. A maximum of 160 ounces of food can be contained in a single food item. Eating from these items reduces the weight about 3 ounces. Weight is indicated by the white bar on the item.
All food decays in TFC, and apart from milk, is visible as a green bar over the item, and as a percentage in the tooltip (Milk is registered as either Fresh, or Soured). The green bar represents the first 10% of decay, and will turn red when over 10%. Decay can be cut off the food item by using a knife with the food in the crafting grid, or by pressing "d" on a food item with decay if the player has a knife within their inventory. Milk and meals, however, cannot have their decay removed by crafting it with a knife.
The more decay accumulates, the faster it will accumulate. Thus, it takes a long time for foods to reach 2% decay, but thereafter it can swiftly reach 20% decay in a short time. Cooking or preserving food will reduce decay-rate.
Since version 79, food can also be preserved using brine, and smoke racks. Brine is made from 10% vinegar and 90% saltwater. Pickling food and then storing it in vinegar will prevent almost all decay.
Decay rates are different for different food items. Following is a list from fastest to slowest decay: Raw Meat & Cooked Eggs --> Fruit --> Whole Grains, Flour, Dough, Bread, Vegetables & Soybeans --> Cheese, Raw Eggs & Refined Grains (grains that have been separated from straw, but not milled or cooked).
Meals have been completely overhauled in version 79. They are made at preparation tables (right click any solid surface with a knife). Currently, only two meal types are available; sandwhiches and salads. Meals are a way to consume different food categories at the same time, and creating tasty food.
According to earlier developer posts, it is planned to add soups, stews and casseroles in later versions.
Version 78 Edit
!The following information concerns an earlier version of TFC and may be obsolete!
In v78, meals have had their potion effects (ie. speed, fire resistance) removed, and now require ingredients from at least two categories. The result will be a meal with a taste rating from 0% (terrible) to 100% (fantastic).
Meals can be prepared by using a knife on the top surface of a block while having a bowl in your inventory. The cooking screen shows you four slots to insert ingredients, 10oz, 4oz, 4oz, and 2oz. These indicate how much of that ingredient is used in the meal. A meal can thus at most contain 4 different ingredients, and each slot must contain an ingredient from a different category (except the two 4oz slots, which can contain the same category).
The recipes for each meal are specific to the world seed. A different world seed will not have the same recipes. Most combinations will have 0% taste, but will still provide the fill and nutrients from the base ingredients.
Meals with taste higher than 0% can be heated to provide a boost to its taste. As long as the meal is warm, there will be a boost, but don't heat above very hot since overheating will cause the food to evaporate (leaving an empty bowl).