food preservation

Topics: Vinegar, Acetic acid, Ethanol Pages: 20 (3864 words) Published: April 28, 2014


Vinegar is one of several fermented foods prepared and used by early man; and like others, wine, beer, bread, and certain foods from milk, its discovery predates the earliest historical records. The word “vinegar” is derived from two French words, “vin” and “aigre” meaning sour wine, but the term is now applied to the product of the acetous fermentation of ethanol from a number of sources. (ConnerHubert, 1976). Vinegar has played an important but little-emphasized role as a food adjunct in man's development of his civilization. Production methods and improvements developed slowly and empirically for centuries, and only in the last few years have they benefited from the application of the scientific method. Vinegar was prepared by the Babylonians from the juice or sap of the date palm, from date wine and raisin wine, and from beer. Vinegar was used by the Babylonians in cooking, along with spices, to enhance what at times undoubtedly was a monotonous diet. Cheaper automated fermented and a workable automated continuous process for vinegar are likely developments in the future.


Vinegar's history is widespread and diverse. Vinegar may have infact been discovered entirely by accident. Over the ages ancient civilizations have used vinegar for preserving, and medicinal purposes amongst other things. Peoples from many lands of the world have used vinegar in many different ways, for thousands of years. Around 5000 BC the Babylonians were using the fruit of the date palm to make wine and vinegar to be used as food and a preservative or pickling agent. Vinegar has been revered throughout the ages. There are many Biblical references in both the Old and New Testaments that reveal the use of vinegar as a beverage, likely diluted and sweetened. (MooreMelodie, 2010). Vinegar became one of our first medicines around 400 BC. Hippocrates, a Greek physician and writer, known as the father of medicine, extolled vinegar's therapeutic qualities. He prescribed drinking vinegar to his patients for many ailments. There are other historical reports about vinegar. Albucases in 1100 made the statement that colorless vinegar must be distilled over a low fire. Basilius Venlentinus, a monk, in the fifteenth century found that by distilling weak vinegar, a stronger product could be obtained. Perhaps some of the success of the Roman Empire can be attributed to vinegar. During the expansion of the Roman Empire, Roman soldiers were known to drink posca, made from diluted vinegar, said to help whilst soldiers were on the battlefield. The Middle East saw developments in alchemy, the alchemist Jabir Ibn Haiyan discovered acetic acid by distilling vinegar. Chemist Stahl in the first half of eighteenth century discovered the sour principle of vinegar was acetic acid. In 1790, Loewitz, reported that running weak acetic acid over charcoal would strengthen it. The first complete analysis of acetic acid was made by Berzelios in 1814. Dobereiner proved that alcohol was oxidized at the expense of oxygen and produced acetic acid and water. In 1823 Schutzenbach introduced the quick process of manufacturing vinegar based on Dobereiner’s theory of formation of acetic acid from alcohol (Kehrer 1921).


Vinegar is a food product made all over the world from many different carbohydrate sources where alcohol fermentation has been performed. Some of them are more commonly used, such as apple cider and grapes, while others such as coconut water, dates, kiwifruit are used in specific regions of the world. Vinegar is used not only in food preparation but also as a cleaning agent due to its acidic nature and strong antibacterial properties. It can be used to lower the glycemic index of foods if consumed together with them. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of fatal ischemic heart disease when consumed frequently with oil in salad dressings. According to AC...
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