Food preservation methods either aims to slow down the bacterial activity in food or completely eliminate the bacteria altogether. Food preservation aims to destroy the enzymes that may facilitate spoilage of the food.
Food preservation is a term used for the number of methods that aim to make food last for as long as possible. Many types of food undergo various changes after they are processed and prepared for consumption. Foods may contain bacteria and other microbes that may facilitate their spoilage. They contain certain enzymes that may help break them down over a period of time. Preserving food uses various methods that may help prevent this from happening.
The basic idea behind food preservation is based on two things the prevention of microbial activity in food and the breakdown of enzymes that may cause food spoilage. Food preservation methods either aims to slow down the bacterial activity in food or completely eliminate the bacteria altogether. Food preservation aims to destroy the enzymes that may facilitate spoilage of the food. Different methods are used to help prevent this.
Salting And Curing
Salting and curing is one of the common and probably one of the oldest methods of preserving food. Salting is an ancient food preservation practice wherein certain types of food, usually meat, are mixed with large amounts of salt. Salt works in two ways to preserve food. One, it helps draw out moisture from the food. Water content in meat is one reason why they easily spoil because of the bacteria that lives in them. Drawing moisture out through salting prevents this from happening. Salt acts as an antimicrobial agent that makes meat preserved in it an inhospitable environment for bacteria. Curing offers the same method of preserving meat. In this case substances other than salt are being used.
Pickling is another age old method of food preservation. In this case, food is preserved in an edible anti-microbial liquid. There are two types of pickling usually being used-chemical and fermentation pickling. Chemical pickling involves putting food in an edible liquid that inhibits and eliminates bacteria and other bacteria usually found in food. Examples of pickling agents used in this process include brine, vinegar, alcohol or vegetable oil.
In fermentation pickling, the food itself going through the fermentation process produces the pickling agent that preserves it. This process usually allows the production of lactic acid in food that aids in preserving it. Example of such a preservation method is one that is involved in making sauerkraut. Cucumbers that are chemically pickled sometimes also go through a period of fermentation.
Published in: Cooking