6 Methods of Food Preservation

What is Food Preservation?

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Food is a form of energy and in its natural form it's perishable. To prevent food from spoiling a method called food preservation is used. Different food will need different preservation techniques used to deter microbial growth.

The Importance of Preserving Food

Preservation methods will keep bacteria from growing which can cause food to spoil. The preservation ensures it's safe to consume the food and it remains satisfying as well. After food is processed it's preserved through various techniques to increase the shelf life of the food products during food storage.

3 reasons why food preservation is important-

  1. Minimize bacterial impact - Pathogens like E.coli or Salmonella are bacteria that can cause food to spoil and lead to food borne illnesses. Preserving food inhibits the conditions that bacteria need in order to grow such as warmth and moisture.
  2. Maintain quality - Because food is perishable the quality can go down fast. Food preservation keeps food at top quality by retaining the taste and appearance. It also retains the nutritional value of some foods.
  3. Reduce cost - When food goes bad too soon and gets thrown out it can waste money. Different preservation methods can retain food products like meat or fruit and vegetables past their expiration dates while still remaining safe to eat.
Some food preservation methods like home canning can be done at home. But make sure these home preservation methods are done precisely to maintain food safety.

Best Methods of Food Preservation

The choices in food preservation methods are extensive. Even just to extend the shelf life of food products there are many options for both home food preservation and in the commercial food industry.

Refrigeration, pressure canning, freezing, and vacuum packaging can all keep fermented foods from showing up where they're not wanted. Trial and error over the years has developed many ways to ensure food safety through preservation methods. Food experts continue to develop new ways of preserving food.

6 Ways of Preserving Food

With the advent of technology, modern methods of food preservation were developed. Chemicals and other natural substances were used for preservation. These substances are known as preservatives. Let us discuss some of the methods of preservation in detail.

  1. Chemical -Using salt to preserve food is called "salting." It helps keep fruits, meat and fish sustainable for long periods of time. Other chemicals used for food preservation include vinegar, oils, and sodium benzoate.
  2. Sugar - Sugar works as an absorbent to pull moisture content out of foods which limits the growth of microbes. It is commonly used for jellies and jams as a preservative.
  3. Smoking - Smoking foods creates a nice flavor and it also prevents food spoilage by reducing dehydration in fish or meat. The anti-microbial compounds in wood smoke react with the animal fats to slow the rancidification.
  4. Canning - Many fruits, fish and meat can be preserved through canning. This process is where the food products are sealed within an airtight container at very high temperatures.
  5. Dehydration - Removing water from food through dehydration methods is one of the simplest forms of preserving food.
  6. Boiling and refrigeration - Hot and cold methods can kill microbial growth on food products. If food is boiled microorganisms can't live in the extreme temperature. Likewise, very cold temperatures also inhibit microbe growth on food. Pasteurization is a method developed by Louis Pasteur in the early days for milk food safety and it is still widely used.

Food Preservation Conclusion

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  • The preservation of food minimizes pathogenic bacteria; keeps food at high quality; and reduces costs for both home consumers and in commercial industries.
  • Food preservation methods include smoking, canning, chemical, and sugar to name a few. Each food source will have its own unique preservation method used.
  • Techniques for food preservation began in ancient times using fermentation, drying, and more.
  • Louis Pasteur used food science to create the technique of pasteurization to make milk safe to drink. It is still used as a food preservation method to this day.

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