Food Preservation

Topics: Food preservation, Food, Pickling Pages: 5 (1894 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Familiarise yourself with the reasons behind selecting any particular method of food preservation. Your choice of food preservation will depend on weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of each method. You should consider the following factors when deciding on which method to use: Space: The amount of space you have will definitely impact on your choice of preservation. Someone living in a farmhouse can probably store dozens of preserved fruits in jars, whereas someone living in an apartment is unlikely to have the space to spare for rows of preserved plums. Climate: The climate can aid or hinder different storage methods. What might store beautifully through a Canadian winter may well rot during an Australian one. Available equipment: Some preserving methods require specialised equipment that you may not have access to, or that you may be unwilling to use. For example, not everybody enjoys the sterilization process required to preserve fruit in jars and not everyone can build a smokehouse. Cost: Naturally, the costs involved in preserving your food should be weighed against the cost of purchasing the food from a local market, supermarket or other source. In addition, there may be costs in using up storage space, costs in purchasing equipment etc. Care should be given, however, to include the benefits of enjoyment from preserving one's own food, as well as the health, environmental and nutrient benefits that might arise from preserving homegrown produce, costs that are very hard to quantify and should weigh heavily in your decision-making. Nature of the food: Be realistic about the ability of the food to be preserved. Some food will not tolerate any form of preserving and needs to be eaten fresh. This means that you need to do your research. Also, some foods change during the preserving process and become less palatable or even take on characteristics that are less health-giving. For example, use of nitrites to preserve meat can turn healthy meat into a potentially carcinogenic product. Hygiene and safety: Your ability to maintain a high level of hygiene and safety during the preservation process is important. If you cannot meet basic standards, it is best to not attempt a particular preservation method and to either substitute for a safer method or choose to not preserve the food. Other issues: Perhaps there are health issues involved in preserving. For example, some people are unable to tolerate preservatives used to create dry fruit. Whilst it is possible to dry them organically, they will discolour and this may not be to the liking of some consumers.

There are numerous ways to preserve food, many of which have been used for centuries and some, like refrigeration generated by electricity, that are very recent.

Be aware of the different ways of preserving food. There are many possible ways to preserve food and each one has different considerations. As discussed in the previous step, it is important to assess each of the possible preservation methods that you might be considering using against the factors that are outlined above. Drying. Drying is an ancient technique of food preservation and works well for many food types. It is an inexpensive method of food preservation, as you rely on the sun or an oven. Dried foods are compact and easily stored or carried. The greatest disadvantages of drying food include loss of colour, loss of flavour and loss of vitamins. Some of these losses can be mitigated by not drying the food too long. Salting: Salt is another ancient method of preservation. Salt can be used as part of the drying process. Salt increases the storage time of some foods such as fish and it enhances the flavour of dried foodstuffs. The use of a salt water brine is another common method of preservation and it has the benefit of stopping the growth of harmful organisms. Whilst it is possible to wash off excess brine or salt from salted food,...

References: Leistner I (2000) "Basic aspects of food preservation by hurdle technology
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