Navigate to chapter
► Chapter One: Importance of Food Preservation and Storage
► Chapter Two: Other Methods of Food Preservation
► Chapter Three: All About Canning
► Chapter Four: Canning Techniques
► Chapter Five: Pros and Cons of Canning and Consuming Canned Foods
► Chapter Six: Possible Issues with Canned Foods: Causes and Solutions
► Chapter Seven: Simple Home Canning Recipes
Chapter One: Importance of Food Preservation and Storage
Whether used at home or for commercial purposes, food preservation comprises of various processes that are utilized to prepare food to be stored long-term. Why should you preserve food? All kinds of food start to spoil immediately after being slaughtered or harvested. The deterioration is a result of different microorganisms or chemical changes, hence preservation is necessary to slow down or prevent the spoilage so that food will be safe to eat in the future.
Importance of Food Preservation
Here are the three basic reasons why food must be preserved:
To curtail pathogenic bacteria. Different microorganisms such as salmonella, E. coli, fungi, and other pathogenic bacteria cause food spoilage. These microorganisms multiply on food because of moisture, warmth and time. When food is properly stored using preservation methods, the growth of bacteria is inhibited. Additionally, the oxidation of fats is delayed through preservation methods.
To maintain the best quality of food. Spoilage causes food to lose its quality, and while mild deterioration does not always make food dangerous to eat, it certainly can affect the appearance, texture and taste of the food. The nutritional value of the food can also be lost. Food preservation techniques help keep the quality and nutritional content of food.
To save money. Whether you’re at home or you have a food business, waste of food is a waste of money. At home, you should only buy what you need and not more than you can use. It is usually cheaper to buy in bulk and people just don’t have time to go to the grocery often they need food so it is necessary for them to stock up.
If you need to buy more than what you can readily use, then you should learn safe food preservation techniques so that you won’t have to throw spoiled fruit, vegetables, meat and other food products. This will save you a lot of money. Studies show that in the United States alone, 40% of food is wasted. That’s almost half. Can you imagine that other places in the world don’t even have food and it is being wasted in other parts of the same world because people don’t appreciate it or don’t know how to properly store it? Think of all the $$$ wasted. It is time to cut back on waste of food and money.
It is good to learn food preservation techniques not only to save money and to ensure the safety and quality of your food items, but also to gain sense of satisfaction when you apply said methods. Knowing that you were able to preserve and store food items properly and safely will give also you a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
This book aims to help you understand the best practices of preserving and storing food as well as risks concerning food hygiene. When you gain understanding, you will be empowered to put this knowledge to practice which will not only benefit you but others as well.
Common Methods of Food Preservation
There are many methods of preserving and storing food from simple practices of chilling to complex techniques like canning. There is a wide range of creative options that are available for you to use at home or for commercial purposes. When you learn and practice the best food preservation methods, you will reduce waste, enjoy the quality of your food better, and even increase your profit (if you are selling food).
Following are brief descriptions of the most common food presentation methods known to man:
The oldest method of food preservation, drying has been done in the Middle Eastern and Asian regions since 12000 BC! Water is removed from food through different methods of evaporation such as sun drying, air drying, wind drying and smoking. Because food is dehydrated, there is no chance for yeasts, mod, bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive.
Today, there are more modern means of drying such as freeze-drying through the use of commercial food dehydrators, as well as the use of household ovens, drum dryers, shelf dryers, and bed dryers. Spray drying, infrared radiation drying, combined thermal hybrid drying and microwave-vacuum drying are also used for commercial purposes. The processes are usually faster than traditional evaporation methods.
Different kinds of foods can be preserved through dehydration or drying such as meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. Dried meat and dried fish have been around for centuries enjoyed both as traditional food and delicacy. Fruits that are dried have sweeter tastes and longer shelf-life. But they often change their form and can be used differently. For instance, grapes become raisins and plums become prunes. Other fruits can be used in recipes, rehydrated or eaten as they are dried, such as dates and figs. Onion, garlic and edible mushrooms are often dried to be utilized as seasonings. Other vegetables that are dried are used as food by hunters, military men and backpackers.
In the past, chilling was a luxury. Throughout olden times, different civilizations have used snow or ice to preserve food. Not every household had a refrigerator nor access to ice. Ice was even shipped all over the world so people could use it to chill their food and make it last.
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