Food preservation is defined as the processes applied to food after harvest to prevent post harvest spoilage and lengthen shelf life (SGHN). Food can be preserved by avoiding or removing factors that lead to spoilage. Methods like conservation, fermentation, canning, cooking, drying, pickling and freezing are how food can be preserved. Processing is the primary method of making food safe for consumption.
Processing techniques are used to make better quality products, increase shelf life, and prevent contaminants contamination. Some of these processes are irradiation, pasteurization, chemical preservatives, etc. Applying heat or cold by various means is a common food processing technique.
Food Preservation is any process including but not limited to canning, freezing, dehydration, and fermentation help provide safer, more readily available food. Food preservation means keeping the food safe for human consumption and free from contaminants. Preservation of food help in enhancing its quality and shelf life and prevent waste of agricultural produce & food.
Freezing has been a standard method of food preservation for centuries. The idea of preserving food in ice or snow is as old as civilization itself and probably even older. Ice was used to keep some foods for winter consumption, but it remained expensive until the 19th century to buy ice on a commercial scale. This meant that ice was reserved for the very wealthy.
Short-term food preservation involves less elaborate methods, such as refrigeration, drying, salting, smoking, and pickling. Food can be preserved by using irradiation to kill insects and other animals in or on it. Food enzymes are deactivated by raising the acidity (pH) of the food by heating or reducing the water content, for example.
Foods that lack moisture and oxygen will not decay because microorganisms require them to reproduce. Food can be dried through hot air; this produces dehydrated foods such as powdered milk. Salting, using either dry salt or brine (i.e., water with salt), causes proteins in the food to denature. Sugar is added to improve taste and preservation, which gives us sweet foods such as jams.
Smoking of food preserves it by adding phenols which keep bacteria from forming on the meat. Food sterilization is a method that uses heat or chemicals to kill all microorganisms in food. Two standard sterilization methods are applying heat and chemicals such as sodium benzoate. Both ways can kill all types of microorganisms in food, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds. Bacteria and fungi spoil food by consuming its nutrients andspreading throughout.
Preserving food through canning involves heating the food to the temperature that destroys or inhibits the growth of microorganisms, then sealing it into an airtight jar before storing it in a cool place. The process works because microorganisms do not grow below pH 4.6. Most bacteria, yeasts, and molds need oxygen to survive, so the absence of air in a jar allows anaerobic microorganisms (which can tolerate low oxygen levels). Food spoilage is reduced by cutting off its oxygen supply and acidity (pH). The pH inside a jar of canned food remains around 4.6 or less. Isolating food from the air slows the natural process of decomposition.
Enzymes in fruit and vegetables that cause them to ripen also cause spoilage. The enzymes act inside a can, even when stored at freezing temperatures. They slowly digest the food’s nutrients and produce unpleasant flavors and aromas. After a can has been opened, its contents should be used as quickly as possible or transferred to an airtight container and should be stored in the refrigerator.
Irradiation of food is a process that exposes it to ionizing radiation sufficient to kill bacteria and other microorganisms present within it. The effects of irradiating food have been studied since 1905 by numerousscientists, and since 1947 it has been regulated by agencies such as the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The first commercially successful irradiation of food was in 1951 about frozen chicken on ships going to Europe. The first food product irradiated for sterilization and insect disinfestation by an industrial plant in the United States was spices.
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