In 2014, a study by Martindale, W concluded that household food waste could be reduced by up to 47% just by using frozen food rather than fresh food. This is just one of the many ways that different methods of food preservation help improve lives. Over the years, humans have advanced their food technology and consumption habits. Today, ‘fresh’ doesn’t always mean a fresh hunt or direct-from-farm produce. Plenty of food preservation methods help extend food’s usefulness and maintain its freshness. This increases food safety and allows us to enjoy a year-round supply of fresh food no matter the season.
Read on to learn why you should preserve food, how food gets spoiled, and the different methods you could use to store food safely.
Why Should Food be Properly Preserved?
According to the UN, at least 25000 people and 10000 children die daily due to lack of food. As one of the basic necessities of life, there’s no stressing enough about how vital food is. Therefore, we need plenty of food to survive and save lives. But how do we achieve that, taking the perishable nature of food? The answer is proper food preservation methods.
With proper mechanisms, we can prevent food spoilage before consumption, reducing waste and boosting food security.
What Causes Food Spoilage?
If not well-stored, food falls prey to forces of nature, including light, humidity, bacteria, yeast, oxygen, fungus, and heat, which slowly eat it up, degrading its quality and safety.
5 Most Common Methods of Food Preservation
Below are the top 5 most recognized food preserving methods to lengthen your food’s shelf life.
Pickling and Salting
Pickling and salting are methods of food preservation that have been practiced for thousands of years. Pickling dates back to the 2030 BCE when native Indians used it to preserve cucumbers. Salting originated around 6000 BC. Both methods prevent food spoilage by inhibiting bacterial and other microorganisms’ activities.
Also known as curing, salting absorbs moisture from food, discouraging bacteria growth. It’s mainly used to preserve vegetables (corn, beans, cabbages, etc.), fruits (apples, pears, etc.), fish, butter, meat, cheese, and bread products.
Pickling involves the creation of an acidic environment that kills bacteria. You can combine common salt and water (brine) to form lactic acid or a solution of vinegar (acetic acid), spices, and oil. Pickling, also known as corning, is used to preserve fruits and vegetables.
Freezing is one of the most common methods of preserving food. It involves lowering temperatures which slow molecules’ movement, inhibiting microorganisms’ activities. The early man used to freeze food using the natural cold or on ice. The Chinese in 1000 BC upgraded to ice cellars. In 1924, Clarence Birdseye invented the quick freezing method used to make frozen food even today.
Most food can be frozen except leafy greens, cooked starchy food, cream-based, mayo-based, and high water content food. Examples of food that can be frozen include strawberries, whole eggs, meat, milk, and more.
Freeze-drying is also known as lyophilization. It’s one of the most superior and healthy food preserving methods, removing up to 99% water from food. Freeze-drying is a three-step process involving freezing, high-pressure vacuum drying, and secondary drying. First, the food temperature is lowered below freezing point, followed by high-pressure vacuuming that sucks moisture from it. The vapor is then converted to ice through sublimation for easy removal. Finally, the temperature is gradually increased to extract all the remaining moisture without deforming the food. It’s then preserved for future rehydration and use.
Unlike freezing alone, free-drying removes moisture from food, eliminating any potential for bacteria and other microorganisms growth. This increases the shelf life of your food.
As one of the finest methods of food storage, freeze-drying has a wide range of applications, from pharmaceuticals and biotech to the food processing industry. Empire Freezing & Drying is one of the leading companies offering freeze-drying solutions at a budget-friendly cost. We’ve years of experience freeze-drying various products using the industry’s best practices. They are licensed, insured, and bonded.
Examples of food that can be freeze-dried include sauces, strawberries & other fruits, coffee, vegetables, juice, dairy products, meat, and more.
There are two types of canning: Pressure Canning and Water Bath Canning. The latter was invented by Nicholas Appert, a French cook, in the 1800s. Water bath canning involves putting food in a can and placing it in a boiling water bath to produce high heat that kills microorganisms. Heating removes all air from the can so that a vacuum seal may form when cooling. This type of canning is ideal for high-acid food, including vinegar, pickled veggies, fruits and fruit juices, and chutneys. Pressure canning requires special equipment to heat the cans at 240°F and seal the lids with high pressure. This method is perfect for low-acid food, including meat, soups, seafood, dairy products, and legumes.
Pasteurization is a food preservation method that involves applying heat on packed and unpacked food and beverages to terminate pathogens that spoils them. This heat treatment requires average temperatures of not more than 100°C.
Commonly pasteurized products include fruits, vegetables, dairy, eggs, juices, syrups, beer, wines, and water.
In efforts to increase the shelf life of food and other products, various food preservation methods have been devised. They range from basic pickling and salting to complex freeze-drying. Different methods of food storage meet your needs uniquely. They have different standards and requirements, but the end game is preventing food spoilage and waste.
If you’re looking for a reliable large-scale method of preserving your food, pharmaceuticals, biotech products, raw materials, or other items, consider freeze-drying. It’s the most promising method to preserve products for long periods and expect to get them in their original fresh, healthy and physical state.
Hire us today to freeze-dry your products at an affordable price. Call us at 973-649-9800 or email email@example.com to get a free quote!
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