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  • Introduction
  • Control of microbial contamination
  • Enzymatic reactions
  • Autoxidation
  • Maillard reaction
  • Light-induced reactions
  • Refrigeration
  • The freezing process
  • Industrial freezers
  • Quality of frozen foods
  • Presterilization procedures
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  • Quality of canned foods
  • Pasteurization
  • Commercial sterility
  • Packaging aseptically processed products
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  • Concentration of moist foods
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  • Pickled meat
  • Deterioration of fermented and pickled products
  • Organic chemical preservatives
  • Inorganic chemical preservatives
  • Positive effects
  • Negative effects
  • Safety concerns

Learn about food preservation and the various methods to preserve foodstuffs

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  • Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations - General procedures for fruit and vegetable preservation
  • Table Of Contents

autoxidation

food preservation , any of a number of methods by which food is kept from spoilage after harvest or slaughter. Such practices date to prehistoric times. Among the oldest methods of preservation are drying, refrigeration , and fermentation . Modern methods include canning , pasteurization , freezing , irradiation, and the addition of chemicals. Advances in packaging materials have played an important role in modern food preservation.

Spoilage mechanisms

expiration dates

Food spoilage may be defined as any change that renders food unfit for human consumption . These changes may be caused by various factors, including contamination by microorganisms, infestation by insects, or degradation by endogenous enzymes (those present naturally in the food). In addition, physical and chemical changes, such as the tearing of plant or animal tissues or the oxidation of certain constituents of food, may promote food spoilage. Foods obtained from plant or animal sources begin to spoil soon after harvest or slaughter. The enzymes contained in the cells of plant and animal tissues may be released as a result of any mechanical damage inflicted during postharvest handling. These enzymes begin to break down the cellular material. The chemical reactions catalyzed by the enzymes result in the degradation of food quality, such as the development of off-flavours, the deterioration of texture, and the loss of nutrients. The typical microorganisms that cause food spoilage are bacteria (e.g., Lactobacillus ), yeasts (e.g., Saccharomyces ), and molds (e.g., Rhizopus ).

Microbial contamination

How smart tags can indicate food spoilage

Bacteria and fungi (yeasts and molds) are the principal types of microorganisms that cause food spoilage and food-borne illnesses. Foods may be contaminated by microorganisms at any time during harvest, storage, processing, distribution, handling, or preparation. The primary sources of microbial contamination are soil, air, animal feed , animal hides and intestines, plant surfaces, sewage, and food processing machinery or utensils.

Bacteria are unicellular organisms that have a simple internal structure compared with the cells of other organisms. The increase in the number of bacteria in a population is commonly referred to as bacterial growth by microbiologists. This growth is the result of the division of one bacterial cell into two identical bacterial cells, a process called binary fission . Under optimal growth conditions, a bacterial cell may divide approximately every 20 minutes. Thus, a single cell can produce almost 70 billion cells in 12 hours. The factors that influence the growth of bacteria include nutrient availability, moisture, pH, oxygen levels, and the presence or absence of inhibiting substances (e.g., antibiotics).

Close-up of limes. (citrus fruit; food)

The nutritional requirements of most bacteria are chemical elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen , phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, and iron. The bacteria obtain these elements by utilizing gases in the atmosphere and by metabolizing certain food constituents such as carbohydrates and proteins.

Temperature and pH play a significant role in controlling the growth rates of bacteria. Bacteria may be classified into three groups based on their temperature requirement for optimal growth: thermophiles (55–75 °C, or 130–170 °F), mesophiles (20–45 °C, or 70–115 °F), or psychrotrophs (10–20 °C, or 50–70 °F). In addition, most bacteria grow best in a neutral environment (pH equal to 7).

Bacteria also require a certain amount of available water for their growth. The availability of water is expressed as water activity and is defined by the ratio of the vapour pressure of water in the food to the vapour pressure of pure water at a specific temperature. Therefore, the water activity of any food product is always a value between 0 and 1, with 0 representing an absence of water and 1 representing pure water. Most bacteria do not grow in foods with a water activity below 0.91, although some halophilic bacteria (those able to tolerate high salt concentrations) can grow in foods with a water activity lower than 0.75. Growth may be controlled by lowering the water activity—either by adding solutes such as sugar , glycerol, and salt or by removing water through dehydration.

The oxygen requirements for optimal growth vary considerably for different bacteria. Some bacteria require the presence of free oxygen for growth and are called obligate aerobes , whereas other bacteria are poisoned by the presence of oxygen and are called obligate anaerobes . Facultative anaerobes are bacteria that can grow in both the presence or absence of oxygen. In addition to oxygen concentration, the oxygen reduction potential of the growth medium influences bacterial growth. The oxygen reduction potential is a relative measure of the oxidizing or reducing capacity of the growth medium.

When bacteria contaminate a food substrate, it takes some time before they start growing. This lag phase is the period when the bacteria are adjusting to the environment. Following the lag phase is the log phase , in which population grows in a logarithmic fashion. As the population grows, the bacteria consume available nutrients and produce waste products. When the nutrient supply is depleted, the growth rate enters a stationary phase in which the number of viable bacteria cells remains the same. During the stationary phase, the rate of bacterial cell growth is equal to the rate of bacterial cell death. When the rate of cell death becomes greater than the rate of cell growth, the population enters the decline phase.

A bacterial population is expressed either per gram or per square centimetre of surface area. Rarely does the total bacterial population exceed 10 10 cells per gram. A population of less than 10 6 cells per gram does not cause any noticeable spoilage except in raw milk. Populations of between 10 6 and 10 7 cells per gram cause spoilage in some foods; for example, they can generate off-odours in vacuum-packaged meats. Populations of between 10 7 and 10 8 cells per gram produce off-odours in meats and some vegetables. At levels above 5 × 10 7 cells per gram, most foods exhibit some form of spoilage.

When the conditions for bacterial cell growth are unfavourable (e.g., low or high temperatures or low moisture content), several species of bacteria can produce resistant cells called endospores . Endospores are highly resistant to heat, chemicals, desiccation (drying out), and ultraviolet light . The endospores may remain dormant for long periods of time. When conditions become favourable for growth (e.g., thawing of meats), the endospores germinate and produce viable cells that can begin exponential growth.

Food Preservation Methods and Their Classification Essay

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Perishable food products can be preserved for a long time by applying a preservation method to them. Boiling fruits and berries with honey or sugars, urinating, pickling, pickling, and other methods have been used by people for a long time. Food preservation has become ecologically important with difficult economic times, including the COVID-19 pandemic (Sridhar et al. 1715). Various methods of influencing microorganisms have been widely studied and have found practical use, making it possible to preserve food products without spoilage for a long time. There are several classifications of food preservation based on microbiological and spoilage mechanisms, on which it is possible to describe the main methods of preserving products.

The first group includes storage methods based on the basic principle: they aim at maintaining life processes at a reduced level but with the preservation of natural immunity. This principle is based on the storage of fresh fruits and vegetables and live fish storage (Sridhar et al. 1718). In the second group are storage methods based on the principle of abiosis, which aims to destroy microbes in the product. These include pasteurization, sterilization, the use of antiseptics, antibiotics, and sonication.

Storage methods based on the principle of anabiosis aim to suspend the vital activity of microbes in products. At the same time, such conditions are created under which microorganisms can remain alive but not viable. These include: creating low temperatures, removing water from the product – drying, creating a high osmotic pressure with salt sugar, increasing acidity, and creating anaerobic conditions (Sridhar et al. 1719). Finally, storage methods based on the principle of cenoanabiosis are aimed at using antagonistic relationships between microorganisms that make up the microflora of the product. At the same time, conditions are created for the development of microorganisms, which change the properties of the product in the course of their life activity to improve its nutritional and taste qualities. The waste products of these microorganisms inhibit the development of spoilage pathogens (Sridhar et al. 1726). The pickling of fruits and vegetables in fermented milk products is based on this principle.

However, more innovative approaches are available today since the ones listed above have been known to history for a long time. Ultrasonic technology and ozone treatment are applied to products sensitive to heat. Even nanotechnology for food preservation is also being considered (Sridhar et al. 1726). Nanoparticles are used as antimicrobial agents or in the fight against foodborne pathogens. Ultrasound, in turn, increases the efficiency of proteins, reduces aging time, and is used for sterilization and pasteurization (Sridhar et al., 1723). Moreover, an impulsive electric field is one of the newest methods of processing products. Typically, it is applied in drying, using less time to process products (Sridhar et al. 1727). Unlike thermal drying, this method is less energy-intensive but requires more control.

In addition to classifying methods according to microbiological mechanisms of action on products for their preservation, several other classifications are also distinguished in the food industry. First, each product is evaluated by its spoilage mechanism; secondly, conservation is limited to technologies related to the processing of products and their packaging. Spoilage is a natural process for foods and can be measured by the rate of spoilage and its mechanism. There are perishables, semi-perishables, and non-perishables. The first group, as a rule, includes products of animal origin – meat, eggs, dairy products, and the last – nuts, beans, oils, and flour.

The spoilage mechanism includes physical effects, microbiological and chemical, which trigger the corresponding processes in the product, reducing its edibility. These mechanisms often work simultaneously, not excluding each other. Moisture content, crystallization, and temperature are the main mechanisms influencing the product (Amit et al. 10). Microbiological processes include the appearance of microorganisms and the environment in which they are convenient to multiply: such processes are usually referred to as fermentation. Chemicals include proteolysis, putrefaction, oxidation, and rancidity (Amit et al. 11). Each of the spoilage mechanisms can be stopped or suspended by various conservation methods.

As a rule, the fight is against physical mechanisms, so this group has the most significant number of possible preservation methods. Pasteurization, drying, and many others – most of them have already been listed above. Biological intervention highlights only the process of fermentation; strictly speaking, fermentation is fermentation. In other words, the decomposition processes of organic substances with a lack of oxygen, which usually occur in living organisms, are natural, and the problem in preserving the product is only the need to ensure the correct course of this process (Amit et al. 12). Chemical methods involve control of the pH group and conservation. For example, canning with ethyl alcohol is used to produce semi-finished fruit juices. At an ethyl alcohol concentration of 12-16%, development is delayed, and at 18%, the vital activity of the microflora is suppressed. However, the most common application of chemical preservation methods is the packaging approach (Geueke and Muncke 491). Each material requires special processing due to the uniqueness of its properties in order to meet the requirements of sanitary safety a result.

Therefore, the preservation of products is becoming increasingly important in the world. The studied classifications suggest a division according to microbiological processes and spoilage mechanisms. Both classifications offer solutions that have been used for many centuries and are innovative and relevant today. Attention is paid not only to the processing of products but also to packaging. In the future, it may be possible to extend the shelf life of perishable goods and look for more environmentally friendly and less resource-intensive processing options such as nanotechnology and ultrasound.

Works Cited

Amit, Sadat Kamal, et al. “A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing.” Agriculture & Food Security , vol. 6, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1-22.

Geueke, Birgit, Ksenia Groh, and Jane Muncke. “Food packaging in the circular economy: Overview of chemical safety aspects for commonly used materials.” Journal of Cleaner Production , vol. 193, 2018, pp. 491-505.

Sridhar, Adithya, et al. “Food preservation techniques and nanotechnology for the increased shelf life of fruits, vegetables, beverages and spices: a review.” Environmental Chemistry Letters , vol. 19, no. 2, 2021, pp. 1715-1735.

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  • Traditional vs Modern Techniques of Food Preservation: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Traditional vs Modern Techniques of Food Preservation: Understanding the Pros and Cons

Food preservation is an age-old practice aimed at preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms and the spoilage of food. Throughout the years, various techniques of food preservation have been developed, ranging from traditional techniques to modern methods. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between traditional and modern food preservation methods, exploring their pros and cons and how they impact the taste, nutrition, and safety of food.

Traditional Techniques of Food Preservation

techniques of food preservation

Traditional food preservation techniques are methods that have been passed down from generations and have been used for centuries. These methods include:

  • Salting: This method involves preserving food by exposing it to salt, which helps to draw out moisture and inhibit the growth of bacteria. This is a common method of preserving meat and fish.
  • Drying : Drying is another ancient method of food preservation that involves removing moisture from food by exposing it to sun, wind, or heat. This method is commonly used for fruits, vegetables, and grains.
  • Smoking: Smoking involves exposing food to smoke from burning wood or other materials. The smoke imparts flavor and helps to preserve the food by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.
  • Pickling: Pickling involves preserving food in vinegar or a salt-water solution. The acidic environment created by the vinegar helps to preserve the food and also adds flavor.
  • Fermentation: Fermentation is a traditional food preservation method that involves exposing food to bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms. The microorganisms consume the sugars in the food and produce lactic acid, which helps to preserve the food and also imparts a tangy flavor.

Pros of Traditional Food Preservation Techniques

  • Tasty: Traditional food preservation methods often add unique and delicious flavors to food, making it taste even better.
  • Cost-Effective: Traditional food preservation methods are often less expensive than modern methods, as they make use of readily available materials like salt, vinegar, and sunlight.
  • No Chemicals: Traditional food preservation methods do not involve the use of chemicals, which is a big advantage for those who are looking for chemical-free food options.

Cons of Traditional Food Preservation Techniques

  • Incomplete Preservation: Traditional methods may not be as effective at preserving food as modern methods, as they do not provide complete protection against the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Time-Consuming: Traditional food preservation methods can be time-consuming, as they often involve lengthy preparation and waiting times.
  • Nutritional Loss: Traditional food preservation methods can lead to some loss of nutrients, as the food is exposed to salt, vinegar, and heat, which can break down certain vitamins and minerals.

Modern Food Preservation Techniques

Modern food preservation techniques are methods that have been developed using scientific knowledge and technology. These methods include:

  • Canning: Canning involves sealing food in airtight containers, typically made of glass or metal, and then heating the containers to kill off harmful bacteria and microorganisms.
  • Freezing: Freezing is a popular modern food preservation method that involves storing food at extremely low temperatures, typically below 0°F. This helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, allowing food to be stored for extended periods of time.
  • Irradiation: Irradiation is a newer method of food preservation that involves exposing food to ionizing radiation. This helps to kill off harmful bacteria and microorganisms, allowing food to be stored for longer periods of time.
  • Vacuum Packaging: Vacuum packaging involves removing the air from food packaging, creating a vacuum-sealed environment that helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms.

Pros of Modern Food Preservation Techniques

  • Effective Preservation: Modern food preservation methods are much more effective at preserving food than traditional methods, as they provide complete protection against the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Convenient: Modern food preservation methods are often more convenient than traditional methods, as they do not require lengthy preparation or waiting times.
  • Longer Shelf Life: Modern food preservation methods allow food to be stored for much longer periods of time, without losing its quality and taste.

Cons of Modern Food Preservation Techniques

  • Expensive: Modern food preservation methods can be more expensive than traditional methods, as they often involve the use of specialized equipment and technology.
  • Chemical Use: Some modern food preservation methods involve the use of chemicals, which may not be ideal for those who are looking for chemical-free food options.
  • Loss of Flavor: Modern food preservation methods can sometimes lead to a loss of flavor, as the food is not exposed to the natural processes that impart flavor, like smoking and fermentation.

Final Thoughts

Both traditional and modern food preservation methods have their pros and cons, and the best method for preserving food will depend on individual needs and preferences. Traditional methods provide unique and delicious flavors, while modern methods provide effective preservation and longer shelf life. Ultimately, the decision on which method to use will depend on the importance of factors such as taste, nutrition, cost, and convenience.

Keywords: Food preservation, traditional techniques, modern techniques, salting, drying, smoking, pickling, fermentation, canning, freezing, irradiation, vacuum packaging, techniques of food preservation, list of techniques of food preservation, techniques of food preservation list, types of techniques of food preservation, list of types of techniques of food preservation, types of food preservation, traditional types of food preservation, modern types of food preservation, list of modern types of food preservation, list of traditional types of food preservation

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Food Preservation: Definition, Importance, and Methods

Food Preservation : Food provides energy to all of us. Food that is unhealthy or spoiled is the leading cause of disease in humans. This is referred to as food poisoning. To avoid this, food must be preserved in a variety of ways. Continue reading to learn about food preservation and the various methods of food preservation.

Food preservation is one method of protecting food from microbial growth. We store and protect the food after it is made by covering the rice and curry with lids to keep flies and other insects away. We are thus protecting it from any infection caused by them. This is a temporary condition. Food preservation, on the other hand, is done to keep food fresh for a longer period of time.

What is Food Preservation?

Food can undergo spoilage due to various factors, including contamination by microorganisms, infestation by insects, degradation by endogenous enzymes (those present naturally in the food) physical and chemical changes, such as the tearing of plant or animal tissues or the oxidation of certain constituents of food, may promote food spoilage that renders food unfit for human consumption. Therefore, foods are required to be preserved to stop or slow down food spoilage and longer food storage.

Food Preservation

What is Food Spoilage?

Foods can be of plant or animal origin and it contains moisture, protein, lipid, carbohydrate, minerals, and other organic substances which are consumed for nutritional purposes. Food spoilage is simply defined as the original nutritional value, texture, flavour, odour or colour of the food that is damaged or changed so that the food becomes harmful to people and unsuitable to eat. The major bacteria related to food poisoning are Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, and Listeria monocytogenes.

Define Food Preservation – Reasons for Food Spoilage

1. Growth of microorganisms like bacteria, fungus etc., or insects. 2. Autolysis : Enzymes are proteins found in all plants and animals. 3. Oxidation by air causes rancidity or colour changes. 4. The changes occurred due to physical (freezing, burning, drying), chemical, biological and environmental factors. 5. Spoilage causes changes in organoleptic quality (smell, touch, taste, sight), nutritional value, and food safety.

Principle of Food Preservation

1. To prevent and remove microbial contamination. 2. To inhibit microbial growth. 3. To kill contaminating pathogens. 4. To minimize food spoilage, food infection and food poisoning.

What are the Methods of Food Preservation?

1. Drying : It is the ancient practice of food preservation. This methodology decreases water activity that stops bacterial growth. Drying decreases weight, so foods can be carried easily from one place to another. Sun and wind square measure each used for drying as well as advanced applications like bed dryers, fluidized bed dryers,ze-drying, shelf dryers, spray drying and commercial food dehydrators and household ovens. Meat and fruits like apples, apricots and grapes square measure some samples of drying with this methodology.

Drying

2. Freezing :zing is the method of keeping ready-made foodstuff in cold storage. Sweet potatoes can be stored in pitch black or unlightened rooms; however sweet potato preparations need to be frozen.

Freezing

3. Smoking: Smoking is the procedure that cooks, flavours and preserves food exposing it to the smoke from burning wood. Smoke is antimicrobial and inhibitor, and most frequently, meats and fish square measure smoke-cured. Numerous ways of smoking a square measure used to like hot smoking, cold smoking, smoke preparation and smoke baking. Smoking as a preservative enhances the danger of cancer.

Smoking

Fig: Smoking

4. Vacuum Packing: A vacuum by creating baggage and bottles airtight. Since there’s no chemical element within the created vacuum microorganism dies. They are sometimes used for dry fruit.

5. Salting and Pickling: Seasoning, collectively called natural process, removes wet from foods like meat. Pickling suggests that protective food in brine (salt solution) or marinating in vinegar (acetic acid) and in Asia, oil is employed to preserve foods. Salt kills and inhibits the expansion of microorganisms at \({\rm{20 \% }}\) of concentration. There are different techniques of picklings, like chemical pickling and fermentation pickling. In industrial pickles, sodium benzoate or EDTA is added to increase shelf life or extend the time period.

Salting and Pickling

Fig: Salting and Pickling

6. Sugar : Sugar is used in syrup form to protect fruits or in the crystallized form; if the substance to be preserved or protected is cooked in the sugar till crystallization takes place like candied peel and ginger. Another use is for glazed fruit that gets a superficial coating of sugar syrup. Sugar is additionally used with alcohol to preserve luxury foods like fruit in strong drinks like brandy.

Sugar

7. Canning and bottling: During this methodology, the waterproofing broiled food in sterile bottles and cans. The instrumentality is cooked, and this kills or weakens microorganisms. Foods are cooked for numerous lengths of time. Once the will or bottle is opened, the food is once more in danger of spoilage.

8. Jellying : It is the strategy of protective food by preparation in an exceedingly material that solidifies to make a gel. Fruits are typically preserved as jelly, preserves or fruit preserves, and therefore the gelling agent is cellulose that’s naturally found in fruit. Sugar is also added.

9. Radiations : Ultraviolet radiation is high for decreasing surface contamination on various foods. This short-wavelength light has been used in the cold storage units of meat processing plants. Ionizing radiations such as gamma rays can be used to preserve certain types of vegetables, fruits, and spices, according to state and U.S. federal regulations.

10. Lyophilization: Freeze-drying is also known as lyophilization. It is an important method of storing biological, pharmaceutical and foods. The basic methodology of lyophilization is to remove the water or wet content from the foodstuff.

11. Sterilization: Sterilization is of various types such as steam sterilization, flash sterilization, low-temperature sterilization, etc. Sterilization is a simple process that removes all the bacteria, fungi, yeasts, moulds, etc., from contamination and allows storage of food at ambient temperature, thus increasing the shelf life of food.

12. Pasteurization: Pasteurization is a simple and mild heat treatment given for various packaged and non-packaged foods (such as milk and fruit juice) that kill most microorganisms. For example, milk under \(63\) degrees C, for \(30\) minutes. The pasteurized products are cooled after the heat treatment.

What is the Importance of Food Preservation?

1. Food preservation decreases food wastage and saves food from throwing into the wet waste. 2. It increases the storage period of food. 3. It makes it possible for us to get fruits and vegetables even in off-seasons. Nowadays, we get cauliflower, capsicum and apples throughout the year. 4. It makes it possible for us to get perishable food such as fruits and vegetables from far-off places. Apples of Kashmir and oranges of Nagpur are available in Delhi as well. 5. Food preservation prevents the food from being spoiled by the action of enzymes and microbial pathogens. 6. Food preservation retains the quality of food- colour, texture, flavour and nutritional value.

Food Preservation – Summary

We should always consume fresh food with no added preservatives to maintain good health. Few foods require food preservation like potato chips, and rice chips which are preserved by using old techniques like sun drying, preserving food using castor oils, etc.

Preservation by low-temperature techniques is superior to other methods of long term preservation because it is more effective in retaining the flavour, colour and nutritive value of food and moderately effective for the preservation of texture. It is comparatively a less time-consuming preservation method. There are other methods of preservation that involve advanced scientific techniques which can preserve food for longer periods.

FAQs on Food Preservation

Here we have provided frequently asked questions on Food Preservation:

Q.1. What is food preservation? Ans: Food preservation is the process of treating food to stop or slow down spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value.

Q.2. What are the 5 methods of food preservation? Ans: 1. Drying 2.zing 3. Smoking 4. Canning 5. Salting and Pickling

Q.3. What are the advantages of food preservation? Ans: 1. It decreases food wastage and saves the food for future use. 2. It increases the storage period of food. 3. It makes it possible for us to get fruits and vegetables even in off-seasons. Nowadays, we get cauliflower, capsicum and apples throughout the year.

Q.4. What are the natural food preservatives? Ans: Drying the food items under the sun, storing the foods in clay pots, preserving food using castor oil, etc., are few natural food preservatives.

Q.5. What foods have no preservatives? Ans: Fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, chicken, eggs, etc., do not have preservatives.

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  • Cooking School
  • Cooking Techniques & Tips
  • Food Preservation & Pickling
  • Food Preservation Basics

Common Methods of Food Preservation

Armstrong Studios / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Chilling and Freezing

Dehydrating.

Food, by nature, is perishable. Without intervention, food falls victim to the forces of nature, namely bacteria, yeast, and fungus, and begins to degrade. The effects of food spoilage are not only unappetizing, but the agents of spoilage can also cause foodborne illnesses or even death.

For thousands of years, humans have been using various methods to prolong the freshness and safety of their food to stabilize their food supply. While some of these methods are relatively new, many of them date back to ancient times. We may have refined the processes and come to better understand the mechanisms, but the basic concepts remain the same today. Here are a few of the most common ways to preserve food.

Bacteria and yeast grow best at specific temperatures, usually between 40 F to 140 F. By lowering the temperature below 40 F their metabolic and reproductive action is significantly slowed. While this may not kill the bacteria and yeast, it does slow the spoilage process. Although freezing food has been used in colder climates for hundreds of years, the expansion of electricity and home appliances in the early and mid-20th century greatly expanded the use of freezing as a food preservation method.

Canning preserves food by removing the oxygen needed for most microorganisms to grow. Since some organisms can flourish in the absence of oxygen, canning is usually combined with a second factor that inhibits microbial growth, like acid or salt (usually in the form of a brine). Canning became a popular method of food preservation with the industrial revolution and is still quite popular today.

Most microorganisms also require moisture to grow, so removing the moisture from food is a very effective method of preservation. The key to dehydration is to complete the process faster than the spoilage occurs. Evaporation is usually quickened with the addition of moderate heat, sometimes provided by natural sunlight. The bonus of sunlight is ultra violate rays, which also serve to kill microbes. Modern methods of dehydration use circulating air that is heated just enough to promote dehydration without "cooking" the food. Dehydration is the method of food preservation used for meat jerky, dried fruit or fruit leathers, and herbs.

Fermenting is another ancient technique of food preservation that has remained popular to this day. The popularity is most likely attributed to the unique flavor that is accrued through fermentation. Fermentation itself is a form of food spoilage, but when the microorganisms are tightly controlled, it can produce desirable effects and provide safeguards against harmful organisms. The bacteria or yeast used in the fermentation process produce acid as a byproduct, which acts to prevent other, potentially harmful bacteria from thriving.

As a bonus, many of the organisms used to ferment foods are also healthy additions to the natural flora of the human gastrointestinal tract. Both sauerkraut and kimchi are examples of the use of fermentation to preserve cabbage.

Salting preserves food by removing the moisture and creating an environment unsuitable for microbial growth. Very few bacteria grow in high salt solutions, so simply adding a very high amount of salt can be an effective method of preservation. Salting is one of the oldest known methods of food preservation. Natural sea salts abundant in the Mediterranean region were readily available in ancient times and were used to preserve meat, fish, vegetables, and even some fruit .

The amount of salt alone needed to preserve food is extremely high and therefore can be unpalatable. Therefore, salt is often used in combination with another method, like dehydration or an acidic solution, to preserve food. Examples of salt-preserved foods include hard salamis, bacon, salt pork, smoked fish, anchovies, olives, pickles, and preserved lemons.

Clemson Cooperative Extension. Why foods need to be preserved .

  • American Cooking Basics
  • Food Storage
  • Open access
  • Published: 21 November 2017

A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing

  • Sadat Kamal Amit 1   na1 ,
  • Md. Mezbah Uddin 1   na1 ,
  • Rizwanur Rahman 1 ,
  • S. M. Rezwanul Islam 1 &
  • Mohidus Samad Khan 1  

Agriculture & Food Security volume  6 , Article number:  51 ( 2017 ) Cite this article

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Food preservation involves different food processing steps to maintain food quality at a desired level so that maximum benefits and nutrition values can be achieved. Food preservation methods include growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and distribution of foods. The key objectives of food preservation are to overcome inappropriate planning in agriculture, to produce value-added products, and to provide variation in diet. Food spoilage could be caused by a wide range of chemical and biochemical reactions. To impede chemical and microbial deterioration of foods, conventional and primitive techniques of preserving foods like drying, chilling, freezing, and pasteurization have been fostered. In recent years, the techniques to combat these spoilages are becoming sophisticated and have gradually altered to a highly interdisciplinary science. Highly advanced technologies like irradiation, high-pressure technology, and hurdle technology are used to preserve food items. This review article presents and discusses the mechanisms, application conditions, and advantages and disadvantages of different food preservation techniques. This article also presents different food categories and elucidates different physical, chemical, and microbial factors responsible for food spoilage. Furthermore, the market economy of preserved and processed foods has been analyzed in this article.

Foods are organic substances which are consumed for nutritional purposes. Foods are plant or animal origin and contain moisture, protein, lipid, carbohydrate, minerals, and other organic substances. Foods undergo spoilage due to microbial, chemical, or physical actions. Nutritional values, color, texture, and edibility of foods are susceptible to spoilage [ 1 ]. Therefore, foods are required to be preserved to retain their quality for longer period of time. Food preservation is defined as the processes or techniques undertaken in order to maintain internal and external factors which may cause food spoilage. The principal objective of food preservation is to increase its shelf life retaining original nutritional values, color, texture, and flavor.

The history of ‘Food Preservation’ dates back to ancient civilization when the primitive troupe first felt the necessity for preserving food after hunting a big animal, which could not be able to eat at a time. Knowing the techniques of preserving foods was the first and most important step toward establishing civilization. Different cultures at different times and locations used almost the similar basic techniques to preserve food items [ 2 ].

Conventional food preservation techniques like drying, freezing, chilling, pasteurization, and chemical preservation are being used comprehensively throughout the world. Scientific advancements and progresses are contributing to the evolution of existing technologies and innovation of the new ones, such as irradiation, high-pressure technology, and hurdle technology [ 3 , 4 , 5 ]. The processing of food preservation has become highly interdisciplinary since it includes stages related to growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and distribution of foods. Therefore, an integrated approach would be useful to preserve food items during food production and processing stages.

At present, the global market of the processed food items is about 7 trillion dollars, which is gradually growing with time [ 6 ]. Rapid globalization and industrialization are the major contributing factors for the progress of food processing industries in different countries. An analysis of the UNIDO Industrial Statistics Database (2005) shows that food processing in developing countries is an auspicious component of the manufacturing sector, and the contribution of food processing industries to the national GDP increases with country’s national income [ 7 , 8 ].

This review paper presents the classification of food items and discusses different physical, chemical, and biological factors of food spoilage. The basics and advancements of different trivial and modern food preservation techniques, which are attributed to impede food spoilage and to yield longer shelf life, are discussed here along with their mechanisms, application conditions, advantages, and disadvantages. This article also reports the global market trend of preserved and processed food. Figure  1 summarizes a flow diagram showing various categories of foods, components of food spoilage mechanisms, food preserving and processing methods, and global market analysis of preserved foods. This review offers the researchers, technologists, and industry managements a comprehensive understanding that could be highly useful to develop effective and integrated food preservative methods and to ensure food safety.

Summary of the review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing

Classification of foods

Foods can be broadly classified according to the shelf life, functions and nutrient value, and processing mechanisms (Fig. 2 ). Different categories of foods are summarized in Table  1 and briefly discussed in the following sections.

Classification of food, recreated from references [ 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 ]

Food categories based on shelf life

Food spoilage is a natural process; through this process, food gradually loses its color, texture, flavor, nutritional qualities, and edibility. Consumption of spoiled food can lead to illness and in the extreme situation to death [ 9 ]. Considering the self life, food items can be classified as perishable, semi-perishable, and non-perishable [ 10 ].

Perishable Foods that have shelf life ranging from several days to about three weeks are known as perishable. Milk and dairy products, meats, poultry, eggs, and seafood are the examples of perishable food items. If special preservation techniques are not apprehended, food items could be spoiled straight away [ 10 ].

Semi-perishable Different food items can be preserved for long time (about six months) under proper storage conditions. These foods are known as semi-perishable. Vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and potatoes are few examples of semi-perishable food items.

Non-perishable Natural and processed foods that have indefinite shelf life are called non-perishable food items. These foods can be stored for several years or longer. Dry beans, nuts, flour, sugar, canned fruits, mayonnaise, and peanut butter are few examples of non-perishable foods.

Food categories based on functions and nutrients

According to the functions to human body, food items can be categorized as: (a) body building and repairing foods, (b) energy-giving foods, (c) regulatory foods, and (d) protective foods. Depending on the nutrition value, food items can be classified as: (a) carbohydrate-rich foods, (b) protein-rich foods, (c) fat-rich foods, and (d) vitamin- and mineral-rich foods. Table  1 presents different food items according to their functions and nutrients.

Food categories based on extent and purpose of processing

Different food processing techniques are used by the food industries to turn fresh foods into food products. Foods can be classified into three major groups based on the extent and purpose of food processing [ 14 ]: (a) unprocessed or minimally processed foods, (b) processed culinary or food industry ingredients, and (c) ultra-processed food products. Classification of foods based on extent and purpose of processing is presented in Table  2 .

Food spoilage: mechanism

Food spoilage is the process in which food edibility reduces. Food spoilage is related to food safety [ 9 ]. The primitive stage of food spoilage can be detected by color, smell, flavor, texture, or food. Different physical, microbial, or chemical actions can cause food spoilage. These mechanisms are not necessarily mutually exclusive since spoilage caused by one mechanism can stimulate another. Temperature, pH, air, nutrients, and presence of different chemicals are the major factors for food spoilage [ 9 ]. Different factors that affect food spoilage are presented in Fig.  3 and briefly discussed in the following sections.

Key physical, microbial, and chemical factors affecting food spoilage [ 9 ]

Physical spoilage

Food spoilage due to physical changes or instability is defined as physical spoilage. Moisture loss or gain, moisture migration between different components, and physical separation of components or ingredients are the examples of physical spoilage [ 9 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 , 24 ]. The key factors affecting physical spoilage are moisture content, temperature, glass transient temperature, crystal growth, and crystallization.

Moisture content

A frequent cause of degradation of food products is the change in their water content. It may occur in the form of water loss, water gain, or migration of water [ 25 ]. Moisture transfer in food is directly related to the water activity ( a w ) of food item [ 9 , 26 ]. Water activity ( a w ) is a thermodynamic property which is expressed as the ratio of the vapor pressure of water in a system to the vapor pressure of pure water at the same temperature [ 15 , 27 ]. Equilibrium relative humidity at the same temperature may also be used in lieu of pure water vapor pressure. Water activity in food products reduces with temperature. In general, water activity of foods at normal temperature is 1.0, whereas at −20 and −40 °C temperatures the water activities are 0.82 and 0.68, respectively [ 16 , 17 , 21 ].

Temperature

The effect of temperature is the most significant factor in the case of fruit and vegetable spoilage. There is an optimum temperature range for slow ripening and to maximize post-harvest life. Slow ripening also requires an optimum relative humidity along with optimum air movement around fruit and vegetable. Apparently, these optimum conditions are called modified atmospheres (MA). Temperature usually besets the metabolism of the commodities and contemporarily alters the rate of attaining desired MA [ 17 ]. Low temperature can also have a negative effect on foods that are susceptible to freeze damage. At a lower temperature, when food products become partially frozen, breakage in cells occurs which damages the product. Most tropical fruits and vegetables are sensitive to chilling injury. This generally occurs before the food product starts to freeze at a temperature in between 5 °C and 15 °C [ 9 ].

Glass transition temperature

Glass transition temperature ( T g ) effects the shelf life of food products. Solids in food items may exist in a crystalline state or in an amorphous metastable state. This phenomenon depends on the composition of solids, temperature, and relative humidity [ 18 ]. The amorphous matrix may exist either as a very viscous glass or as a more liquid-like rubber [ 19 ]. At glass transition temperature, changes occur from the glassy state to rubbery state. This is a second-order phase transition process, which is temperature specific for each food. The physical stability of foods is related to the glass transition temperature. Glass transition temperature ( T g ) depends strongly on concentration of water and other plasticizers [ 22 ]. When dry food products are kept in highly humid conditions, the state of food products changes due to glass transition phenomena [ 9 ].

Crystal growth and crystallization

Freezing can also contribute to food degradation. Foods, which undergo slow freezing or multiple freeze, suffer severely due to crystal growth. They are subject to large extracellular ice growth. Rapid freezing forms ice within food cells, and these foods are more stable than slow freezing processed foods [ 23 ]. To minimize large ice crystal growth, emulsifiers and other water binding agents can be added during freezing cycles [ 20 ].

Foods with high sugar content can undergo sugar crystallization either by moisture accumulation or by increasing temperature. As a consequence, sugar comes to the surface from inside, and a gray or white appearance is noticed. Staling of sugar cookies, graininess in candies, and ice creams are the results of sugar crystallization [ 9 ]. Sugar crystallization can be delayed by the addition of fructose or starch. Moreover, above the respective glass transition temperature, time plays a crucial role in sugar crystallization process of food items [ 24 ].

Microbial spoilage

Microbial spoilage is a common source of food spoilage, which occurs due to the action of microorganisms. It is also the most common cause of foodborne diseases. Perishable foods are often attacked by different microorganisms. The growth of most microorganisms can be prevented or lingered by adjusting storage temperature, reducing water activity, lowering pH, using preservatives, and using proper packaging [ 28 ].

Microorganisms involved in food spoilage

Microorganisms involved in food spoilage can be divided into three major categories, which are molds, yeasts, and bacteria. Table  3 presents the active conditions of different microorganisms that affect foods.

Factors affecting microbial spoilage

There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that can affect microbial spoilage in foods [ 29 ]. The intrinsic properties of foods determine the expected shelf life or perishability of foods and also affect the type and rate of microbial spoilage. Endogenous enzymes, substrates, sensitivity of light, and oxygen are the primary intrinsic properties associated with food spoilage [ 33 ]. To control food quality and safety, these properties can be controlled during food product formulation [ 10 ]. Intrinsic factors of food spoilage include pH, water activity, nutrient content, and oxidation–reduction potential [ 9 , 10 , 29 ]. Extrinsic factors of food spoilage include relative humidity, temperature, presence, and activities of other microbes [ 9 , 29 ].

Chemical spoilage

Chemical and biochemical reactions occur naturally in foods and lead to unpleasant sensory results in food products. Fresh foods may undergo elementary quality changes caused by: (a) microbial growth and metabolism which results in pH changes, (b) toxic compounds, and/or (c) the oxidation of lipids and pigments in fat which results in undesirable flavors and discoloration [ 33 , 34 ]. Chemical spoilage is interrelated with microbial actions. However, oxidation phenomena are purely chemical in nature and also dependent on temperature variations [ 33 ].

In presence of oxygen, amino acids convert into organic acid and ammonia. This is the elementary spoilage reaction in refrigerated fresh meat and fish [ 29 ].

The term ‘rancidification’ is used to denominate lipids oxidation through which unsaturated fats (lipids) undergo reaction with oxygen [ 35 ]. The consequences in food items are color alteration, off-flavor, and toxic substances formation [ 9 ]. Rancidification can be catalyzed by the presence of metal oxides and exposure to light increases the reaction rate. After this reaction, carbonyl compounds, responsible for rancid taste of foods, are produced [ 35 ]. Figure  4 presents auto-oxidation of fatty acids (RH).

Auto-oxidation of fatty acids (RH) [ 35 ]

Proteolysis

Proteolysis, a ubiquitous and irreversible posttranslational modification, involves limited and highly specific hydrolysis of peptide and iso-peptide bonds of a protein. The entire phenomena require the presence of miscellaneous protease enzymes [ 36 ]. Different specialized proteases play a key role in various regulatory processes. Moreover, highly specific proteolytic events are associated with normal and pathological conditions [ 37 ]. Foods containing nitrogen compounds frequently incur this reaction. Proteins, after being incurred through proteolysis, eventually get converted into small-sized amino acids. The following reaction presents proteolysis mechanism:

Many of these peptides have stiff taste which can be bitter or sweet [ 35 ]. Table  4 presents the taste of various amino acids [ 38 ].

Putrefaction

Putrefaction refers to the series of anaerobic reactions through which amino acids detour to a mixture of amines, organic acids, and stiff-smelling sulfur compounds, such as mercaptans and hydrogen sulfide. This is a biochemical phenomenon as the presence of bacteria is exigent all through the process. Along with amino acids, indole, phenols, and ammonia are also formed due to protein putrefaction [ 39 ]. Most of these chemicals have displeasing odor. Putrefaction is quite common in meats and other protein-rich foods at temperatures greater than 15 °C. This elevated temperature facilitates microbial activities [ 35 , 39 ].

Maillard reaction

Non-enzymatic browning, which is also known also as Maillard reaction, is another primary cause of food spoilage. This reaction occurs in the amino group of proteins, or the amino acids present in foods. Color darkening, reducing proteins solubility, developing bitter flavors, and reducing nutritional availability of certain amino acids are the common outcomes of Maillard reaction. This reaction occurs during the storing of dry milk, dry whole eggs, and breakfast cereals [ 40 ].

Pectin hydrolysis

Pectins are complex mixtures of polysaccharides that make up almost one-third of the cell wall of dicotyledonous and some monocotyledonous plants [ 41 , 42 ]. Indigenous pectinases are synthesized or activated during ripening of fruits and cause pectin hydrolysis which softens the structure of food. Damages of fruits and vegetables by mechanical means may also activate pectinases and initiate microbial attack [ 35 ]. Pectin substances may also be de-esterified by the action of pectin methyl esterase. This esterification process is initiated in situ on damaged tissues, firm fruits, and vegetables by strengthening the cell walls and enhancing intercellular cohesion via a mechanism involving calcium. Metal ions catalyze the decomposition of heat-labile fruit pigments, which consist of pectin ingredients. This process causes the color change in fruit jams or jellies [ 42 ]. Therefore, jams and jellies are preserved in glass containers rather than metallic jars.

Hydrolytic rancidity

Hydrolytic rancidity causes lipid degradation by the action of lipolytic enzymes. In this reaction, free fatty acids are cleaved off triglyceride molecules in the presence of water. These free fatty acids have rancid flavors or odor [ 9 ]. The released volatile fatty acids have a stiff malodor and taste; therefore, hydrolytic rancidity is extremely noticeable in fats, such as butter [ 43 ].

Food preserving and processing methods

Food preservation refers to the process or technique undertaken in order to avoid spoilage and to increase shelf life of food [ 44 , 45 ]. Different preservation and processing techniques are presented in Fig.  5 [ 46 , 47 , 48 ].

Classification of food preservation and processing methods, recreated from references [ 46 , 47 , 48 ]

Physical processing

Drying or dehydration is the process of removing water from a solid or liquid food by means of evaporation. The purpose of drying is to obtain a solid product with sufficiently low water content. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation [ 49 ]. Water is the prerequisite for the microorganisms and enzymes to activate food spoilage mechanisms. In this method, the moisture content is lowered to the point where the activities of these microorganisms are inhibited [ 29 , 50 ]. Most microorganisms can grow at water activity above 0.95. Bacteria are inactive at water activity below 0.9. Most of the microorganisms cannot grow at water activity below 0.88 [ 51 , 52 ].

Drying has numerous advantages. It reduces weight and volume of foods, facilitates foods storage, packaging, and transportation, and also provides different flavors and smells. With all these benefits, drying is apparently the cheapest method of food preservation [ 53 ]. However, this process also has limitations. In some cases, significant loss of flavor and aroma has been observed after drying. Some functional compounds like vitamin C, thiamin, protein, and lipid are also lost because of drying [ 54 , 55 , 56 ].

Classification of drying Drying can be classified into three major groups: convective, conductive, and radiative. Convective drying is the most popular method to obtain over 90% dehydrated foods. Depending on the mode of operation, dryers can be classified as batch or continuous. For smaller-scale operations and short residence times, batch dryers are preferred. Continuous method of drying is preferential when long periodic operations are required and drying cost is needed to curtail [ 57 ].

Drying of different foods Food items, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and fishes, are processed by drying. Instant coffee and tea are also produced by spray drying or freeze drying [ 58 , 59 ]. Processing temperature and drying time of different food items are presented in Table  5 .

Pasteurization Pasteurization is a physical preservation technique in which food is heated up to a specific temperature to destroy spoilage-causing microorganisms and enzymes [ 64 , 65 ]. Almost all the pathogenic bacteria, yeasts, and molds are destroyed by this process. As a result, the shelf life of food increases [ 66 , 67 ]. This process was named after the French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), who experimented with this process in 1862. He used this process to treat wine and beer [ 68 ]. Table  6 presents the applications of pasteurization process to preserve different food items.

Pasteurization techniques The efficiency of pasteurization depends on the temperature–time combination. This combination is mostly based on the thermal death-time studies of heat-resisting microorganisms [ 55 ]. On the basis of temperature and heat exposure, pasteurization can be categorized as vat (batch), high temperature short time (HTST), and ultra-high temperature (UHT); HTST and UHT are continuous processes [ 16 , 69 ]. Vat pasteurizer is suitable for small plants having the capacity of 100–500 gallons [ 56 ]. Vat pasteurization requires constant supervision to prevent overheating, over holding, or burning [ 44 ]. High-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurization is a continuous process pasteurizer equipped with sophisticated control system, pump, flow diversion devices or valves, and heat exchanger equipment [ 56 ]. HTST pasteurization is also known as ‘flash pasteurization’ [ 56 , 70 ]. Vat and HTST pasteurization perishes pathogenic microorganisms effectively. However, to inactivate thermo-resisting spores ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurization is more effective than VAT and HTST [ 55 ]. During heat treatment of food items, minimal physical, chemical, or biological changes take place [ 71 ]. After heating is done, the products are aseptically packaged in sterile containers [ 46 ]. UHT pasteurized products have a longer shelf life than other pasteurized products. Table  7 presents the comparisons between the three pasteurization methods.

High heat of pasteurization process may damage some vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bacteria during pasteurization. At pasteurization temperature, Vitamin C is reduced by 20 per cent, soluble calcium and phosphorus are reduced by 5 per cent, and thiamin and vitamin B12 are reduced by 10 per cent. In fruit juices, pasteurization causes reduction in vitamin C, ascorbic acid, and carotene. However, these losses can be considered minor from nutritional point of view [ 44 , 72 ].

Thermal sterilization

Thermal sterilization is a heat treatment process that completely destroys all the viable microorganisms (yeasts, molds, vegetative bacteria, and spore formers) resulting in a longer period of shelf life [ 44 ]. Retorting and aseptic processing are two categories of thermal sterilization [ 44 , 73 ]. Thermal sterilization is different from pasteurization. Comparison of different criteria between pasteurization and sterilization is given in Table  8 .

Retorting is defined as the packaging of food in a container followed by sterilization [ 73 ]. Foods with pH above 4.5 require more than 100 °C as sterilization temperature. The attainment of such temperature can be possible in batch or continuous retorts. Batch retorts are gradually being superseded by continuous systems [ 75 ]. Hydrostatic retorts and rotary cookers are the most common continuous systems used in food industries [ 76 ]. Table  9 presents different criteria of batch and continuous retorts.

Aseptic packaging

Aseptic packaging involves placing commercially sterilized food in a sterilized package which is then subsequently sealed in an aseptic environment [ 79 ]. Conventional aseptic packaging utilizes paper and plastic materials. Sterilization can be achieved either by heat treatment, by chemical treatment, or by attributing both of them [ 79 ]. Aseptic packaging is highly used to preserve juices, dairy products, tomato paste, and fruit slices [ 75 ]. It can increase the shelf life of food items to a large extent; as an example, UHT pasteurization process can extend the shelf life of liquid milk from 19 to 90 days, whereas combined UHT processing and aseptic packaging extend shelf life to six months or more. Packages used for aseptic processing are produced from plastics having relative softening temperature. Moreover, aseptic filling can accept a wide range of packaging materials including: (a) metal cans sterilized by superheated steam, (b) paper, foil, and plastic laminates sterilized by hot hydrogen peroxide, and (c) a variety of plastic and metal containers sterilized by high-pressure steam [ 80 ]. Wide variation of packages thus enhances proficiency of aseptic packaging and diminishes cost.

The direct approach of aseptic packaging comprises of steam injunction and steam infusion. On the other hand, indirect approach of aseptic packaging includes exchanging heat through plate heat exchanger, scrapped surface heat exchanger, and tubular heat exchanger [ 81 ]. Steam injection is one of the fastest methods of heating and often removes volatile substances from some food products. On the contrary, steam infusion offers higher control over processing conditions than steam injection and minimizes the risk of overheating products. Steam infusion is suitable to treat viscous foods [ 81 ]. Tubular heat exchangers are adopted for operations at higher pressures and flow rates. These exchangers are not very flexible to withstand production capacity alteration, and their use is only limited to low viscous foods. Plate exchangers, on the other hand, overcome these problems. However, frequent cleaning and sterilizing requirements have made this exchanger less popular in food industries [ 81 ].

Freezing slows down the physiochemical and biochemical reactions by forming ice from water below freezing temperature and thus inhibits the growth of deteriorative and pathogenic microorganisms in foods [ 82 , 83 ]. It reduces the amount of liquid water in the food items and diminishes water activity [ 84 ]. Heat transfer during freezing of a food item involves a complex situation of simultaneous phase transition and alteration of thermal properties [ 85 ]. Nucleation and growth are two basic sequential processes of freezing. Nucleation means the formation of ice crystal, which is followed by ‘growth’ process that indicates the subsequent increase in crystal size [ 58 ].

Freezing time Freezing time is defined as the time required to lower the initial temperature of a product to a given temperature at its thermal center. In general, slow freezing of food tissues results in the formation of larger ice crystals in the extracellular spaces, while rapid freezing produces small ice crystals distributed throughout the tissue [ 85 ]. The International Institute of Refrigeration (1986) defines various factors of freezing time in relation to the food products and freezing equipment. Dimensions and shapes of the product, initial and final temperature, temperature of refrigerating medium, surface heat transfer coefficient of the product, and change in enthalpy and thermal conductivity of the product are the most important factors among them [ 16 ].

Individual quick freezing Individual quick freezing (IQF) generally relates to quick freezing of solid foods like green peas, cut beans, cauliflower pieces, shrimps, meat chunks, and fish. On the other hand, freezing related to liquid, pulpy or semiliquid products, like fruit juices, mango pulps, and papaya pulps is known as quick freezing. The ice crystals formed by quick freezing are much smaller and therefore cause less damage to cell structure or texture of the food. Shorter freezing period impedes the diffusion of salts and prevents decomposition of foods during freezing. IQF also allows higher capacity for commercial freezing plants with the resultant cost reduction. However, higher investment is required to set up a quick freezing plant [ 86 ]. Different quick freezing techniques, such as contact plate freezing, air-blast freezing, and cryogenic freezing, are used to process food items. The comparison between different quick freezing techniques for fishery products is presented in Table  10 .

In chilling process, the temperature of foods is maintained between −1 and 8 °C. Chilling process reduces the initial temperature of the products and maintains the final temperature of products for a prolonged period of time [ 88 ]. It is used to reduce the rate of biochemical and microbiological changes and also to extend shelf life of fresh and processed foods [ 89 ]. In practice, freezing process is often referred to chilling, when cooling is conducted at <15 °C [ 90 ]. Partial freezing is applied to extend the shelf life of fresh food items in modern food industries. This process reduces ice formation in foods, known as super chilling [ 91 ].

Chilling can be done by using various equipments, such as continuous air cooler, ice bank cooler, plate heat exchanger, jacketed heat exchanger, ice implementation system, vacuum attribution system, and cryogenic chamber [ 92 ]. Chilling rate is mainly dependent on thermal conductivity, initial temperature of foods, density, moisture content, presence or absence of a lid on the food storage vessel, presence of plastic bags as food packaging equipment, and the size as well as weight of food units [ 93 ]. Table  11 describes various methods for chilling solid and liquid food items.

Advantages and disadvantages of chilling Chilling storage is extensively used for its effective short-term preservation competency. Chilling retards the growth of microorganisms and prevents post-harvest metabolic activities of intact plant tissues and post-slaughter metabolic activities of animal tissues. It also impedes deteriorative chemical reactions, which include enzyme-catalyzed oxidative browning, oxidation of lipids, and chemical changes associated with color degradation. It also slows down autolysis of fish, causes loss of nutritive value of foods, and finally bares moisture loss [ 90 ]. Chilling is high capital intensive since this process requires specialized equipment and structural modifications. Chilling may reduce crispiness of selected food items [ 95 ]. Chilling process also dehydrates unwrapped food surfaces, which is a major limitation of chilling process [ 96 ].

Irradiation

Irradiation is a physical process in which substance undergoes a definite dose of ionizing radiation (IR) [ 97 ]. IR can be natural and artificial. Natural IR generally includes X-rays, gamma rays, and high-energy ultraviolet (UV) radiation; artificially generated IR is accelerated electrons and induced secondary radiation [ 98 , 99 ]. IR is used in 40 different countries on more than 60 different foods [ 97 ]. The effects of IR include: (a) disinfestation of grains, fruits, and vegetables, (b) improvement in the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by inhibiting sprouting or by altering their rate of maturation and senescence, and (c) improvement in shelf life of foods by the inactivation of spoilage organisms and improvement in the safety of foods by inactivating foodborne pathogens [ 100 , 101 ]. Different factors of food irradiation techniques are listed in Table  12 .

Regulatory limits of irradiation The IR dose delivered to foods is measured in kilo grays (kGy). 1 gray is equivalent to ionizing energy dose absorbed by 1 kg of irradiated material. IR regulatory limits are set by the legislative bodies. Depending on the regulatory authority, these limits may be expressed as minimum dose, maximum dose, or approved dose range [ 98 ]. Table  13 presents different regulatory limits for food irradiation applications.

Effects of Irradiation The nutritional parameters, such as lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and most vitamins, remain unaffected by IR even at high doses [ 102 ]. At a high dose, IR may cause the loss of some micronutrients, most notably vitamins A, B1, C, and E. According to FDA, IR has effects on food nutritive value that is similar to those of conventional food processing techniques [ 102 ].

High-pressure food preservation

High hydrostatic pressure or ultra-high pressure processing (HPP) technology involves pressure attribution up to 900 MPa to kill microorganisms in foods. This process also inactivates spoilage of foods, delays the onset of chemical and enzymatic deteriorative processes, and retains the important physical and physiochemical characteristics of foods. HHP has the potential to serve as an important preservation method without degrading vitamins, flavors, and color molecules during the process [ 58 , 103 , 104 ]. Freshness and improved taste with high nutritional value are the peerless characteristics of HPP technology. This process is also environmental friendly, since energy consumption is very low and minimal effluents are required to discharge [ 105 , 106 ]. The major drawback of this technology is the high capital cost. In addition, limited information and skepticism about this technology also limit the wide application of HPP processes [ 58 , 78 , 105 ].

Mechanism and working principle HP process follows Le Chatelier’s principle and isostatic principle [ 58 ]. According to Le Chatelier’s principle, biochemical and physicochemical phenomena in equilibrium are accompanied by the change in volume and hence influenced by pressure. Regardless of the shape, size, or geometry of the products, the isostatic principle relies on the instant and uniform pressure transmittance throughout food systems [ 58 ]. HP processes affect all reactions and structural changes where a change in volume is involved. The combined effect of breaking down and permeabilization of cell membrane kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Vegetative cells are inactivated at 3000 bar pressure (approximate) at ambient temperature, while spore inactivation requires much higher pressure in combination with the temperature rise to 60 °C to 70 °C. Moisture level is extremely important in this context since little effect is noticeable below 40% moisture content [ 81 ]. Container processing and bulk processing are two methods of preserving foods under high pressure. Table  14 presents the advantages and limitations of in-container and bulk processing of foods under high pressure.

Pulsed electric field

Pulsed electric field (PEF) food processing is defined as a technique in which food is placed between two electrodes and exposed to a pulsed high voltage field (20–40 kV/cm). Generally, the PEF treatment time is less than one second [ 84 ]. Low processing temperature and short residence time of this process allow a highly effective inactivation of microorganisms [ 107 ]. PEF processing is much effective to destroy gram-negative bacteria than gram-positive bacteria. Vegetative cells are much sensitive than spores to this process. All cell deaths occur due to the disruption of cell membrane function and electroporation [ 29 ]. PEF technology retains taste, flavor, and color of the foods. Furthermore, this technique is not toxic [ 108 ]. However, this process has no impact on enzymes and spores. It is also not suitable for conductive materials and only effective to treat liquid foods. This process is energy extensive and may possess environmental risks [ 72 , 109 ].

Preservation of liquid foods Nonthermal food preservation processes, such as HPP and PEF, are reported to be more effective than thermal processing [ 110 , 111 , 112 ]. Microbial inactivation achieved by PEF mainly depends on electric field strength (20–40 kV/cm) and number of pulses produced during processing [ 112 ]. It has been found that most of the spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms are sensitive to PEF. However, it is noted that treatment of plant or animal cells require a high field strength and higher energy input, which increases the processing cost. In addition, this kind of field strength may destroy the structure of solid food. Therefore, PEF is more favorable to preserve liquid foods. Microbial inactivation by PEF has been found effective for fruit or vegetable juices, milk, liquid egg, and nutrient broth [ 107 ].

Processing parameters Different types of foods are processed using PEF process. Processing parameters of different PEF-treated foods are listed in Table  15 .

Biological process: fermentation

Fermentation method uses microorganisms to preserve food. This method involves decomposition of carbohydrates with the action of microorganisms and/or the enzymes [ 113 ]. Bacteria, yeasts, and molds are the most common groups of microorganisms involved in fermentation of a wide range of food items, such as dairy products, cereal-based foods, and meat products [ 114 , 115 ]. Fermentation enhances nutritional value, healthfulness, and digestibility of foods. This is a healthy alternative of many toxic chemical preservatives [ 116 ].

Classification of fermentation Fermentation can be spontaneous or induced. There are different types of fermentation used in food processing. Mechanisms of different food fermentation techniques are briefly discussed below:

Alcohol fermentation is the result of yeast action on the simple sugar called ‘hexose’ converting this into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The quality of fermented products depends on the presence of alcohol. In this process, air is excluded from the product to avoid the action of aerobic microorganisms, such as the acetobacter. This process ensures the longer shelf life of the products. The following equation illustrates alcohol fermentation by conversion of hexose [ 117 ]

Vinegar fermentation takes place after alcohol fermentation. Acetobacter converts alcohol to acetic acid in the presence of excess oxygen [ 114 , 118 ]. Under this method, food products are preserved as pickles, relishes, etc. [ 104 ]. Vinegar fermentation results in acetic acid and water by oxidation of alcohol [ 114 ]

Lactic acid fermentation takes place due to the presence of two types of bacteria: homofermenters and heterofermenters. Homofermenters produce mainly lactic acid, via the glycolytic (Embden–Meyerhof pathway). Heterofermenters produce lactic acid plus appreciable amounts of ethanol, acetate, and carbon dioxide, via the 6-phosphogluconate/phosphoketolase pathway [ 114 ].

Homolactic fermentation—The fermentation of 1 mol of glucose yields two moles of lactic acid

Heterolactic fermentation—The fermentation of 1 mol of glucose yields 1 mol each of lactic acid, ethanol, and carbon dioxide [ 114 ]

In the fermentation process, different kinds of microorganisms are used exclusively to produce flavor in foods, which are presented in Table  16 [ 113 ].

Chemical processes

Food preservation using chemical reagents is one of the ancient and traditional methods [ 119 ]. Effectiveness of this method depends on the concentration and selectivity of the chemical reagents, spoilage-causing organisms, and the physical and chemical characteristics of food items [ 120 ]. The global consumption and application of food additives and preservatives are extending. At present (2012 data), North America dominated the food preservative market followed by Asia–Pacific. It is expected that the food preservative market will reach to a volume of $2.7 billion by the end of 2018 [ 121 ]. However, using chemical reagents as food additives and preservatives is a sensitive issue because of health concerns [ 122 ]. In different countries, the applications chemical preservatives and food additives are monitored and regulated by different acts, rules, and government authorities [ 119 , 123 , 124 ].

Chemical preservatives

Preservatives are defined as the substances capable of inhibiting, retarding, or arresting the growth of microorganisms or any other deterioration resulting from their presence [ 125 ]. Food preservatives extend the shelf life of certain food products. Preservatives retard degradation caused by microorganisms and therefore maintain the color, texture, and flavor of the food item [ 125 ].

Food preservatives can be classified as natural and artificial. Animals, plants, and microorganisms contain various chemicals which have potential to preserve foods. They also function as antioxidants, flavorings, and antibacterial agents [ 126 ]. Table  17 presents different natural reagents with their functions as food preservatives. Artificial preservatives are produced industrially. These can be classified as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antienzymatic [ 127 ]. The classification of artificial preservatives used in food industry is presented in Table  18 .

Food additives

The key objectives to use food additives are to improve and maintain nutritional value, to enhance quality, to reduce wastage, to enhance customer acceptability, to make food more readily available, and to facilitate processing food items [ 131 ]. Food additives can be either natural or synthetic chemical substances that are used intentionally during processing, packaging, or storage of foods to bring desired changes in food characteristics. Food additives can be divided into two major groups: intentional and incidental. Among these two, intentional additives are strictly controlled by government authority [ 131 ]. According to the National Academy of Sciences (1973), additives are prohibited to disguise faulty process, to hide spoilage, damage, or other inferiority, and apparently to deceive consumer. Moreover, if additives cause substantial reduction in nutrition, then their uses are also unaffiliated [ 131 ]. Table  19 presents different types of food additives with their possible applications.

Possible health effects of food additives and preservatives

Chemical food additives and preservatives are mostly considered safe, but several of them have negative and potentially life-threatening side effects. For example, nitrates, upon ingestion, are converted to nitrites that can react with hemoglobin to produce met-hemoglobin (aka: met-hemoglobin), a substance that can cause loss of consciousness and death, especially in infants. Different artificial food colorings, such as tartrazine, allura red, ponceau, and benzoate preservatives, have adverse effects on the behavior of infants; these additives are credited as the cause of the hyperactive behaviors of infants [ 133 ]. Preservatives also have intolerances among people who have asthma. Sulfites (including sodium bisulfite, sodium meta-bisulfite, and potassium bisulfite) found in wine, beer, and dried fruits are known to trigger asthmatic syndromes and cause migraines in people who are sensitive to them. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are also classified as ‘probable carcinogenic elements’ to humans by International Agency for Research of Cancer (IARC) [ 134 ]. Nitrites and benzoates may have adverse effects on pregnant women. Sodium nitrite intake lowers hemoglobin and hematocrit values of pregnant women. Both benzoate and nitrite induce decrease in serum bilirubin and increase in serum urea. Consequently, the mean weight and length of the fetus get lowered [ 135 ]. Nitrites, after ingestion, get converted into nitrosamines, which could be harmful to a fetus [ 136 ]. Table  20 discusses the excerpts of negative effects of harmful food preservatives.

Analysis of market economy of preserved foods: global perspective

Food processing industries hold a dominating position in global economy. The processed food market is undergoing constant growth due to technological advancements, increasing demand, and the taste and behavioral pattern of consumers. Both developed and developing countries are opting new food processing and distribution methods responding to this progress [ 142 , 143 , 144 ].

The global fruit and vegetable processing industry is expected to grow at an accelerated pace in the upcoming years. Domestic demand for industry products is expected to grow particularly strong, specifically in developing economies, such as China and India. On the other hand, demand in developed economies (such as the USA) is expected to decline at a marginal rate as consumers increasingly replace their consumption of processed fruits and vegetables with fresh produce. Trade in processed fruit and vegetable products is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.3% in the next five years (2016–2021); the overall industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.0% (2016–2021) [ 145 ]. Figure  6 represents the present and future trend of vegetable and fruit processing industries in the world.

Present and future trend of vegetable and fruit processing industries [ 145 ]

The developing world produces majority of the world’s fresh fruits and vegetables [ 145 ]. According to data sourced from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, China produces about half of the world’s vegetables and one-third of the world’s fruits [ 142 , 145 ]. The production of processed fruits and vegetables occurs in all regions of the globe. However, high-tech, large-scale fruit and vegetable processing operations are concentrated primarily in Europe and Asia [ 145 ]. Table  21 represents the contribution of different regions in global processed fruit and vegetable production. Many leading fresh product producing countries often import fresh products from separate countries to meet the demand of their food processing industries. Production in developing nations is also growing to meet the demand of growing population. As a result, the number of industry enterprises and workers are forecast to grow at annualized rates of 2.2 and 1.6%, respectively, till 2017 [ 145 , 146 ]. After 2019–2020, a decline in the growth of global vegetable and food processing industries is anticipated (Fig.  6 ) because of the following possible reasons [ 118 , 145 , 146 ]:

Global vegetable and food processing industries are expected to face fierce competition from substitute foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables;

Technological change will be relatively minimal and focused on improving processing efficiency; and

Industry product categories will be well defined with relatively minimal product innovation.

The chilled food market has been showing an upward trend throughout the world, and it reached to a size of 57 billion kilograms in 2015 worth of 11.4 billion euros [ 108 ]. Chilled food products include chilled fish/seafood, chilled pizza, chilled ready meals, chilled fresh pasta, sandwiches, salads, chilled meat products, and deli food which includes cured, fermented, and cooked meals [ 147 ]. The UK chilled food market had a growth rate of 3.6% in 2014 and expected to grow more than 15% over the next five years [ 148 ]. The US frozen food market revenue is expected to reach 70 billion USD by the end of 2024 [ 106 ].

Milk and alcoholic beverages mostly constitute pasteurized food market [ 149 ]. Presently, almost all the countries consume pasteurized liquid milk. Pasteurized milk constitutes 70% of global liquid milk market [ 150 ].

The world beverage market is expected to have an annual growth rate of 1.5% in 2015 [ 151 ]. In USA, the total beverage industry was more than USD $1.2 trillion [ 152 ]. Asia’s beverage market is expected to experience unprecedented growth as well by taking two-thirds of global incremental consumption by 2021. China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam are among the key growing markets, and in a whole Asia is predicted to take 47.2% share of global beverage market in 2021 [ 153 ].

USA and Europe hold the major share in sterilized food market. However, the Asian market is also expected to show satisfactory growth in the upcoming years. The global sterilization market was valued at $3.1 billion in 2012 and is forecast to reach $4.2 billion by 2017 at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1% [ 154 ].

One of the major revolutionary inventions of human civilization was acquiring the knowledge to preserve foods as it was the precondition to man to settle down in one place and to develop a society. However, increasing shelf lives of food items without compromising original food properties is still critical and challenging. Food is an organic perishable substance, which is susceptible to spoilage due to microbial, chemical, or physical activities. Different traditional techniques, such as drying, chilling, freezing, and fermentation, had been evolved in the past to preserve foods and to maintain their nutrition value and texture. With time and growing demands, preservation techniques have been improved and modernized. Irradiation, high-pressure food preservation, and pulsed electric field effect are the latest innovations used to increase shelf life of foods. Different chemical reagents have also been introduced as food additives and preservatives. However, there are growing concerns of using chemical additives and preservatives in food items because of possible health hazards.

To meet the growing demand of consumers, food preservation and processing sector has been expanding in a rapid manner. To ensure food safety and long shelf life of foods, it is important to understand food spoilage mechanisms and food preservation techniques. This review has compiled and discussed different food categories, different food spoilage mechanisms, and mechanisms and applications of traditional and advanced food preservation techniques. This article will be useful for the professionals and researchers working on food processing and food safety to develop effective and integrated methods to preserve foods.

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SKA and MMU carried out a major part of the literature review and drafted the manuscript. RR and SMRI carried out literature review for selected sections and helped to revise the manuscript. MSK conceived the study, supervised the research project, coauthored and supervised manuscript preparation, and helped to finalize the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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This research was supported by BCEF Academic Research Fund and CASR Research Fund, BUET. The research and manuscript are free of conflict of interest.

Sadat Kamal Amit and Md. Mezbah Uddin are equally first author.

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Amit, S.K., Uddin, M.M., Rahman, R. et al. A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and processing. Agric & Food Secur 6 , 51 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40066-017-0130-8

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methods of food preservation essay

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Throughout the history of mankind science has searched into the realms of the unknown. Along with it bringing new discoveries, allowing for our lives to become healthier, more efficient, safer, and at the same time, possibly more dangerous. Among the forces driving scientists into these many experiments, is the desire to preserve the one fuel that keeps our lives going; FOOD. As early as the beginning of the 19th century, major breakthroughs in food preservation had begun. Soldiers and seamen, fighting in Napoleons army were living off of salt-preserved meats. These poorly cured foods provided minimal nutritional value, and frequent outbreaks of scurvy were developing. It was Napoleon who began the search for a better mechanism of food preservation, and it was he who offered 12,000-franc pieces to the person who devised a safe and dependable food-preservation process. The winner was a French chemist named Nicolas Appert. He observed that food heated in sealed containers was preserved as long as the container remained unopened or the seal did not leak. This became the turning point in food preservation history. Fifty years following the discovery by Nicolas Appert, another breakthrough had developed. Another Frenchman, named Louis Pasteur, noted the relationship between microorganisms and food spoilage. This breakthrough increased the dependability of the food canning process. As the years passed new techniques assuring food preservation would come and go, opening new doors to further research. FOOD PROCESSING Farmers grow fruits and vegetables and fatten livestock. The fruits and vegetables are harvested, and the livestock is slaughtered for food. What happens between the time food leaves the farm and the time it is eaten at the table? Like all living things, the plants and animals that become food contain tiny organisms called microorganisms. Living, healthy plants and animals automatically control most of these microorganisms. But when the plants and animals are killed, the organisms yeast, mold, and bacteria begin to multiply, causing the food to lose flavor and change in color and texture. Just as important, food loses the nutrients that are necessary to build and replenish human bodies. All these changes in the food are what people refer to as food spoilage. To keep the food from spoiling, usually in only a few days, it is preserved. Many kinds of agents are potentially destructive to the healthful characteristics of fresh foods. Microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, rapidly spoil food. Enzymes which are present in all raw food, promote degradation and chemical changes affecting especially texture and flavor. Atmospheric oxygen may react with food constituents, causing rancidity or color changes. Equally as harmful are infestations by insects and rodents, which account for tremendous losses in food stocks. There is no single method of food preservation that provides protection against all hazards for an unlimited period of time. Canned food stored in Antarctica near the South Pole, for example, remained edible after 50 years of storage, but such long-term preservation cannot be duplicated in the hot climate of the Tropics. Raw fruits and vegetables and uncooked meat are preserved by cold storage or refrigeration. The cold temperature inside the cold-storage compartment or refrigerator slows down the microorganisms and delays deterioration. But cold storage and refrigeration will preserve raw foods for a few weeks at most. If foods are to be preserved for longer periods, they must undergo special treatments such as freezing or heating. The science of preserving foods for more than a few days is called food processing. Human beings have always taken some measures to preserve food. Ancient people learned to leave meat and fruits and vegetables in the sun and wind to remove moisture. Since microorganisms need water to grow, drying the food slows the rate at which it spoils. Today food processors provide a diet richer and more varied than ever before by using six major methods. They are canning, drying or dehydration, freezing, freeze-drying, fermentation or pickling, and irradiation. Canning The process of canning is sometimes called sterilization because the heat treatment of the food eliminates all microorganisms that can spoil the food and those that are harmful to humans, including directly pathogenic bacteria and those that produce lethal toxins. Most commercial canning operations are based on the principle that bacteria destruction increases tenfold for each 10° C increase in temperature. Food exposed to high temperatures for only minutes or seconds retains more of its natural flavor. In the Flash 18 process, a continuous system, the food is flash-sterilized in a pressurized chamber to prevent the superheated food from boiling while it is placed in containers. Further sterilizing is not required. Freezing Although prehistoric humans stored meat in ice caves, the food-freezing industry is more recent in origin than the canning industry. The freezing process was used commercially for the first time in 1842, but large-scale food preservation by freezing began in the late 19th century with the advent of mechanical refrigeration. Freezing preserves food by preventing microorganisms from multiplying. Because the process does not kill all types of bacteria, however, those that survive reanimate in thawing food and often grow more rapidly than before freezing. Enzymes in the frozen state remain active, although at a reduced rate. Vegetables are blanched or heated in preparation for freezing to ensure enzyme inactivity and thus to avoid degradation of flavor. Blanching has also been proposed for fish, in order to kill cold-adapted bacteria on their outer surface. In the freezing of meats various methods are used depending on the type of meat and the cut. Pork is frozen soon after butchering, but beef is hung in a cooler for several days to tenderize the meat before freezing. Frozen foods have the advantage of resembling the fresh product more closely than the same food preserved by other techniques. Frozen foods also undergo some changes, however. Freezing causes the water in food to expand and tends to disrupt the cell structure by forming ice crystals. In quick-freezing the ice crystals are smaller, producing less cell damage than in the slowly frozen product. The quality of the product, however, may depend more on the rapidity with which the food is prepared and stored in the freezer than on the rate at which it is frozen. Some solid foods that are frozen slowly, such as fish, may, upon thawing, show a loss of liquid called drip; some liquid foods that are frozen slowly, such as egg yolk, may become coagulated. Because of the high cost of refrigeration, frozen food is comparatively expensive to produce and distribute. High quality is a required feature of frozen food to justify the added cost in the market.This method of preservation is the one most widely used for a great variety of foods. Drying and Dehydration Although both these terms are applied to the removal of water from food, to the food technologist drying refers to drying by natural means, such as spreading fruit on racks in the sun, and dehydration designates drying by artificial means, such as a blast of hot air. In freeze-drying a high vacuum is maintained in a special cabinet containing frozen food until most of the moisture has sublimed. Removal of water offers excellent protection against the most common causes of food spoilage. Microorganisms cannot grow in a water-free environment, enzyme activity is absent, and most chemical reactions are greatly retarded. This last characteristic makes dehydration preferable to canning if the product is to be stored at a high temperature. In order to achieve such protection, practically all the water must be removed. The food then must be packaged in a moisture-proof container to prevent it from absorbing water from the air. Vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and some other foods, the moisture content of which averages as high as 80 percent, may be dried to one-fifth of the original weight and about one-half of the original volume. The disadvantages of this method of preservation include the time and labor involved in rehydrating the food before eating. Further because it absorbs only about two-thirds of its original water content, the dried product tends to have a texture that is tough and chewy. Drying was used by prehistoric humans to preserve many foods. Large quantities of fruits such as figs have been dried from ancient times to the present day. In the case of meat and fish, other preservation methods, such as smoking or salting, which yielded a palatable product, were generally preferred. Commercial dehydration of vegetables was initiated in the United States during the American Civil War but, as a result of the poor quality of the product, the industry declined sharply after the war. This cycle was repeated with subsequent wars, but after World War II the dehydration industry thrived. This industry is confined largely to the production of a few dried foods, however, such as milk, soup, eggs, yeast, and powdered coffee, which are particularly suited to the dehydration method. Present-day dehydration techniques include the application of a stream of warm air to vegetables. Protein foods such as meat are of good quality only if freeze-dried. Liquid food is dehydrated usually by spraying it as fine droplets into a chamber of hot air, or occasionally by pouring it over a drum internally heated by steam. Freeze-drying A processing method that uses a combination of freezing and dehydration is called freeze-drying. Foods that already have been frozen are placed in a vacuum-tight enclosure and dehydrated under vacuum conditions with careful application of heat. Normally ice melts and becomes water when heat is applied. If more heat is applied, it turns to steam. But in freeze-drying, the ice turns directly to vapor, and there is little chance that microorganisms will grow. Freeze-dried foods, like those that are dehydrated, are light and require little space for storage and transportation. They do not need to be refrigerated, but they must be reconstituted with water before they are ready to consume. Irradiation As early as 1895, a major breakthrough in the world of science had arisen; the discovery of the X-ray by German physicist Wilhelm von Roetengen. This technological advancement, along with the soon to be discovered concept of radioactivity by French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel, became the focus of attention for many scientifically based studies. Of most importance, to the field of food preservation, these two discoveries began the now controversial process of food irradiation. Food irradiation employs an energy form termed ionizing radiation. In short, this process exposes food particles to alpha, beta and/or gamma rays. The rays cause whatever material they strike to produce electrically charged particles called ions. Ionizing radiation provides many attributes to treating foods. It has the ability to penetrate deeply into a food interacting with its atoms and molecules, and causing some chemical and biological effects that could possibly decrease its rate of decay. It also has the ability to sanitize foods by destroying contaminants such as bacteria, yeasts, molds, parasites and insects.Irradiation delays ripening of fruits and vegetables; inhibits sprouting in bulbs and tubers; disinfests grain, cereal products, fresh and dried fruits, and vegetables of insects; and destroys bacteria in fresh meats. The irradiation of fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, and pork was approved in 1986. In 1990 the FDA approved irradiation of poultry to control salmonella and other disease-causing microorganisms. Irradiated foods were used by U.S. astronauts and by Soviet cosmonauts. Public concern over the safety of irradiation, however, has limited its full-scale use. It is still off to a slow start, with only one food irradiation plant open in Mulberry, Florida, but it is seemingly catching the eyes of the producers and the consumers throughout the world. Miscellaneous Methods Other methods or a combination of methods may be used to preserve foods. Salting of fish and pork has long been practiced, using either dry salt or brine. Salt enters the tissue and, in effect binds the water, thus inhibiting the bacteria that cause spoilage. Another widely used method is smoking, which frequently is applied to preserve fish, ham, and sausage. The smoke is obtained by burning hickory or a similar wood under low draft. In this case some preservative action is provided by such chemicals in the smoke as formaldehyde and creosote, and by the dehydration that occurs in the smokehouse. Smoking usually is intended to flavor the product as well as to preserve it. Sugar, a major ingredient of jams and jellies, is another preservative agent. For effective preservation the total sugar content should make up at least 65 percent of the weight of the final product. Sugar, which acts in much the same way as salt, inhibits bacterial growth after the product has been heated. Because of its high acidity, vinegar (acetic acid) acts as a preservative. Fermentation caused by certain bacteria, which produce lactic acid, is the basis of preservation in sauerkraut and fermented sausage. Sodium benzoate, restricted to concentrations of not more than 0.1 percent, is used in fruit products to protect against yeasts and molds. Sulfur dioxide, another chemical preservative permitted in most states, helps to retain the color of dehydrated foods. Calcium propionate may be added to baked goods to inhibit mold. Packaging The packaging of processed foods is just as important as the process itself. If foods are not packaged in containers that protect them from air and moisture, they are subject to spoilage. Packaging materials must therefore be strong enough to withstand the heat and cold of processing and the wear and tear of handling and transportation. From the time the canning process was developed in the early 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, cans and glass containers were the only packages used. The first cans were crude containers having a hole in the top through which the food was inserted. The holes were then sealed with hot metal. All cans were made by hand from sheets of metal cut to specific sizes. In about 1900 the sanitary can was invented. In this process, machines form cans with airtight seams. A processor buys cans with one end open and seals them after filling. Some cans are made of steel coated with tin and are often glazed on the inside to prevent discoloration. Some are made of aluminum. Frozen foods are packaged in containers made of layers of fiberboard and plastic or of strong plastic called polyethylene. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are packed in glass, fiberboard, or cans. Research The research activities of processed food scientists are numerous and varied. New packaging materials, the nutritional content of processed foods, new processing techniques, more efficient use of energy and water, the habits and desires of today’s consumer, more efficient equipment, and transportation and warehousing innovations are some of the subjects being studied. The challenge of the food researcher is to discover better and more efficient ways to process, transport, and store food. Processed foods have changed the world. In developed countries they are part of almost everyone’s diet. The United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom all produce large quantities of processed foods, which they sell domestically and abroad. In the United States in the early 1980s, annual production of fruit was 1.8 billion kilograms canned, 1.4 billion kilograms frozen, and 1.1 billion kilograms in fruit juice; production of vegetables was 1.4 billion kilograms canned and 3.2 billion kilograms frozen. From the modest canning industries in 1813 to the sophisticated food processing plants of today, food processors have provided the world with more healthful diets, food combinations never before possible, and a convenience unimagined 200 years ago. We as consumers can only imagine what further achievements will be made in the field of food preservation. But one thing is for certain; it is all for the general good of mankind…to reduce starvation levels globally and insure the availability of nutritive foods to all. It is through this way that man survives…and fits in Darwin’s hypothesis of the survival of the fittest. For it is only the fit who will prevail in the end.

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Food Preservation: Methods and Their Importance

Food is an essential life requirement related to every function our body performs. It is a source of nutritional components like vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and antioxidants which benefit our health in every possible aspect.

Further processing of foods helps to increase their shelf-life, prevent the growth of microorganisms, and preserve the food’s nutritional value, known as food preservation. The procedure includes altering atmospheric conditions, enzymatic reactions, chemical treatment, and food moisture.  

Table of Contents

Methods of Food Preservation

Preservation by drying, dehydration, and fermentation is the oldest method, and cold treatment, heat treatment, blanching, irradiation, and canning are the modern methods.

Drying Methods

Dehydration method, food preservation by fermentation, preservation by cold treatment.

Food preservation by cold treatment includes chilling, freezing, and refrigeration.

Chilling is the preservation method where storage of meals occurs in lower temperature, above its freezing point but below atmospheric temperature. The chilling temperature is −1℃ to +8℃, depending upon the variety of food. Chilling helps to preserve salads, pizza, seafood, and dairy products.

Food Preservation by Heat Treatment

Preservation by blanching, preservation by irradiation.

Food irradiation is a treatment method that exposes the food to ionizing radicals (x-ray, gamma ray, and electron beam). It helps to reduce the harmful bacteria and parasites which can cause spoilage. Beef, pork, poultry, lettuce, eggs, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, and spices are approved for irradiation by FDA. 

Food Preservation by Canning

Importance of food preservation, drawbacks of food preservation.

Diksha Koirala is a recent graduate student in Food Technology. She developed an interest in the relationship between microorganisms and the environment and their impact on the food and food industries. She is sharing her knowledge here to make the world understand microorganisms and the role it plays in our daily life.

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Methods of Food Preservation

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Food preservation is the treatment of food to prolong the time for which they can be kept before spoilage. (Found in on line at Wikipedia) There is several ways to preserve food some of the ways are salting, pickling and fermenting, but there are more that the three I mentioned. Let’s take a look at some of the other ways to keep food.Drying In ancient times the sun and wind would have naturally dried foods.

Scientist has discovered that the Middle East and oriental cultures actively dried foods as early as 12,000 B.C. in the hot sun. Vegetables and fruits were also dried from the earliest times.

The Romans were fond of any dried fruit they could make. In the Middle Ages the Romans built “still houses “and were created to dry fruits, vegetables and herbs in areas that did not have enough strong sunlight for drying. A fire was used to create the heat needed to dry foods and in some cases smoking them as well. The still house is one of the first known smoke houses. This type of house was used for cold smoking and hot smoking. FreezingFreezing was an obvious preservation method to the appropriate climates.

Any geographic area that had freezing temperatures for even part of a year made use of the temperature to preserve foods. Less than freezing temperatures were used to prolong storage times. Cellars, caves and cool streams were put to good use for that purpose. In America estates had icehouses built to store ice and food on ice. Soon the “icehouse” became an “icebox”.

In the 1800’s mechanical refrigeration was invented and was quickly put to use. Also in the late 1800’s Clarence Birdseye discovered that quick freezing at very low temperatures made for better tasting meats and vegetables. After some time he perfected his “quick freeze” process and revolutionized this method of food preservation. (Brian A. Nummer, Ph.

D. National Center for Home Food Preservation May 2002).Salt-Preserving In England or Europe during the Tudor days Salt was fairly expensive, and salt was only used on meats high in fat to be preserved. The origins of salt-preserving food can be traced back to at least Ancient Egypt, where they used salt as part of the embalming process, as well as in food preservations. After the spread of Christianity salt-preserving fish became very useful, since fresh fish was the main meal for the 40 days of Lent it was often very difficult to come by for many people. Herring was the most common fish to be salted.

It was essential that the herring be preserved quickly since its high concentration of oil tended to turn rancid within a day after the catch. (http://tudorhistory.org/topics/food/preserve.html).The one thing that I have noticed is no matter the method of preservation it all leads back to Egypt, Rome, and the Asian cultures.

In closing the ancient cultures were responsible for the many variations of the way we cook and keep our foods today.

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Food Preservation Methods - Food Poisoning

What is food preservation.

Food preservation is the procedure by which food is treated and handled to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.

Preservation usually involves preventing bacteria, fungi (such as yeasts), and other microorganisms from developing, as well as retarding the oxidation of rancid-causing fats.

Importance of Food Preservation

Food preservation stops the growth of microorganisms (such as yeasts) or other microorganisms (although some methods work by presenting benign bacteria or fungi into the food), and slows the oxidation of rancid-causing fats.

Food preservation gives the food more variety. For example, if fresh peas are unavailable during the hot summer months, canned or dehydrated peas might be substituted.

Food preservation extends food's shelf-life. Pineapples, cherries, and other fruits and vegetables can be preserved for lengthy periods of time using various ways.

Food preservation expands the supply of food.

Food preservation cuts down on food waste. Excess foods that would have been wasted otherwise are processed and preserved, adding to existing supply and reducing food waste.

Food preservation helps to reduce dietary deficiencies. Preserved foods help to add variety to the diet. For example, due to arid soil conditions in several Middle Eastern nations, no vegetables are grown. This shortfall is compensated for by importing fresh and preserved fruits and vegetables.

Methods of Preservation 

A number of food preservation techniques can be used which can either prevent, delay, or otherwise reduce food spoilage altogether. Preservatives can extend the shelf life of food and can last as long as it can be grown, stored, marketed, and kept in the home of the customer for a reasonable period of time.

Preserving or producing nutritional value, texture and flavour is an important aspect of food storage methods, although some methods have drastically altered the character of the preserved foods. These changes have now been seen in many cases as desirable qualities, such as cheese, yogurt, and pickled onions.

Any change that renders food unfit for human consumption is considered food spoilage. Contamination by microbes, insect infestation, or breakdown by endogenous enzymes is all possible causes of these alterations (those present naturally in the food). Food spoilage can also be accelerated by physical and chemical changes, such as the tearing of plant or animal tissues or the oxidation of certain food constituents. Foods derived from plants or animals deteriorate quickly once they are harvested or slaughtered. Any mechanical injury induced during postharvest processing may cause the enzymes stored in the cells of plant and animal tissues to be released. The cellular substance is broken down by these enzymes. Food quality is degraded as a result of the chemical processes catalysed by enzymes, such as the production of off-flavours, texture deterioration, and nutrient loss.

Food preservation is a term that refers to a variety of techniques for keeping food from spoiling after it has been harvested or slaughtered. Such customs can be traced back to primordial times. Food preservation is the procedure by which food is treated and handled to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.

Drying, refrigeration, and fermentation are some of the oldest methods of preservation. Canning, pasteurisation, freezing, irradiation, and chemical addition are all examples of modern processes. Modern food preservation has benefited greatly from advancements in packaging materials.

Drying is one of the most ancient techniques of food preservation which reduces water activity enough to prevent bacterial growth.

Refrigeration

Refrigeration preserves food by slowing down microorganism growth and reproduction and the action of enzymes that cause food to rot.

It is also one of the most frequently used processes for preserving a wide range of foods, including prepared foods that in their unprepared state would not require freezing.

The salting or curing process removes moisture from the meat through an osmosis process. Meat is salted or cured with sugar, or a combination of the two. Nitrates and nitrites are also widely used to treat meat, leading to the distinctive pink colour and inhibiting Clostridium botulinum.

Crystallisation

Sugar is used to maintain fruits, either in fruit syrup such as apples, peaches, apricots, or in a crystallised form where the preserved material is cooked in sugar to the point of crystallisation and the resulting product is then stored in a dry place.

This method is used for citrus (candied peel), angelica, and ginger skins. An alteration of this process creates glacé fruit, such as glacé cherries, in which the fruit is preserved in sugar but then extracted from the syrup and sold, preserving the fruit sugar content and superficial syrup coating.

The use of sugar in brandy or other spirits is often combined with alcohol for preserving luxury products such as fruit. These should not be confused with spirits that are aromatised with fruit such as cherry brandy.

Smoking is used to prolong the shelf-life of perishable food. This effect is achieved through the exposure of the food from burning plant materials such as wood to smoke. The meats and fish that have undergone curing are most commonly subjected to this method of food preservation.

Also smoked are fruits and vegetables such as paprika, cheeses, spices, and ingredients for making drinks such as malt and tea leaves, but mostly for cooking or flavouring. It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation which probably emerged after cooking with fire evolved.

Additives to the preservative foods can be antimicrobial. These inhibit bacterial or fungal growth, including mould or antioxidants, such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food components. 

Preservatives

Adding preservatives is the chemical method of food preservation. Conventional antimicrobial preservatives include calcium propionate, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, sulphites (sulphur dioxide potassium hydrogen sulfite, sodium bisulfite, etc.), and disodium EDTA. BHA and BHT are antioxidants. 

Pickling is a food preservation method used in an edible antimicrobial liquid. Pickling can be broadly divided into two categories: chemical pickling and pickling by fermentation.

Canning includes cooking food, sealing it in sterile canisters or pots, and boiling the containers as a method of sterilisation to destroy or weaken any remaining bacteria. Foods have varying degrees of natural spoilage protection and may require the final step in a pressure cooker. 

No preservatives are added to High-acid fruits like strawberries and only a short boiling period, while marginal fruits such as tomatoes require longer boiling and the addition of other acidic components. Feeding stuffs with low acidity, such as vegetables and meats, require canning pressure.

Food preserved through canning or bottling is at immediate risk of spoilage after opening the can or bottle.

Pasteurisation

It is defined as heat treatment of food material at 72°C for 15 seconds, 63°C for 30 minutes, or 90°C for 0.5 seconds, followed by quick cooling to 7°C. High-temperature-short-time (HTST) treatments are favoured over low-temperature-long-time (LTLT) treatments because they cause less damage to the nutrient composition and sensory properties of meals.

Sterilisation

Microbes are completely eliminated during sterilisation. Fruits and acidic vegetables, such as tomatoes, can be sterilised at 100°C for 30 minutes; however, non-acidic veggies must be sterilised at 116°C for 30 minutes.

Many food products can have their shelf-life extended by storing them at 4°C or below. Fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, and meats are all commonly refrigerated foods. However, some items, such as tropical fruits (bananas, for example), are destroyed by low temperatures. Freezing is an excellent way to preserve the nutritional value of foods. It's done at a temperature of –18°C to –4°C. The majority of juices are kept by freezing.

Chemicals used

Sulphur dioxide is a bleaching and antioxidant agent. Sulphite, bi-sulphite, and metabisulphite are some of the salts that are employed. The permissible level in fruit juices, including RTS and nectar, is 100 parts per million; however, it is 350 parts per million in squash, crush, and cordial. Sulphur dioxide keeps beverages' original colour for a longer time than benzoic acid.

Benzoic acid, in the form of sodium benzoate, is allowed up to 100 parts per million in RT5 and nectar, and 600 parts per million in squash, crush, and cordial.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the process of removing moisture from food materials in order to preserve them. The temperature of dehydration starts at 43°C and gradually rises to 60–66°C (for vegetables) and 66–71°C (for meat) (for fruits).

For vegetables, the moisture content in dried products should not exceed 6–8 percent, and for fruits, 10–20 percent.

Sweating is a process that is used to equalise the moisture content of preserved materials by storing them in bins or boxes.

Sulphuring is a method of preventing discoloration by fuming food materials (especially potato slices) with sulphur dioxide.

Freeze-drying is accomplished by using high vacuum conditions that allow for precise temperature and pressure.

Other types of preservation may Include irradiation, jellying, jugging, processing of pulsed electric fields, modified atmosphere, ground burial, biopreservation, and high pressure.

FAQs on Food Preservation Methods - Food Poisoning

1. What are the 5 Methods of Food Preservation?

These are 5 Types of Food Preservation Methods:

Fermenting. 

2. What is the Meaning of Food Preservation?

Food preservation is the method of food treatment and managing to stop or slow down food spoilage, quality loss, edibility or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.

3. What are the Objectives of Food Preservation?

Food preservation stops the growth of microorganisms (such as yeasts) or other microorganisms (although some methods work by presenting benign bacteria or fungi into the food) and slows the oxidation of rancid-causing fats.

4. Describe the carbonation method of food preservation.

The technique of dissolving enough carbon dioxide in water or beverages to limit microbial activity is known as carbonation. Microbial activity (molds, including yeast) can be completely inactivated by combining 14.6ga  CO 2 per liter of juice or beverage.

5. Why do we need to preserve food?

Preservation of food is required, so there is a reduction in the amount of food being wasted on a daily basis. The microbial actions on the food make it rich in essential vitamins and act as a probiotic.

6. What is the meaning of food preservation?

Food preservation is the method of food treatment and managing to stop or slow down food spoilage, quality loss, edibility, or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage.

Biology • Class 12

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Food Storage and Preservation: Why it Matters and How to Do it Properly

methods of food preservation essay

According to the late comedian, George Carlin, the worst thing that can happen when you’re cleaning out the refrigerator is coming across something that you can’t identify: “Could be meat, could be cake. I’ve never seen anything like it. It looks like meat-cake.” Nobody likes throwing away food. Whether you tossed it into your fridge and forgot about it, or bought a fruit or vegetable on a whim and didn’t get around to preparing it before it went rotten, wasting food feels bad. The good news is that there are many ways to preserve and store produce that increase shelf life and increase the likelihood that you’ll use it. Not only that, but food storage done properly is good for your wallet, saves you time, and can even add flavor and nutritional value to your food.

When you think of storing food for later, what comes to mind? Do you imagine wrapping up some leftovers, putting them in the fridge, and calling it a day? If you’re a more advanced practitioner of the art of food storage, you might fill your crisper drawer with veggies and keep a few fruits on the counter to ripen. But what else should you know about how to preserve and store food, and why does it even matter?

Why Proper Food Storage Matters

Food storage and preservation: How to store food properly

Here are some of the benefits when you get good at storing food:

  • You reduce food waste , which saves money and is better for the environment.
  • Fruits and vegetables will stay fresh longer.
  • You can buy things in bulk or in season, which will save money. And you can use them over a longer period of time without rushing, which can reduce stress.
  • You can treat yourself with fruits and veggies at all times of the year.
  • Old-time methods of food storage can make for a fun hobby! Or a creative new way to eat your fruits and veggies.
  • You can eat well during a power outage or while camping, as many food storage techniques don’t require electricity.
  • One traditional method of food preservation, fermenting , can add beneficial microbes to your diet.

Convinced? Let’s get started!

Three Types of Food

All food can be classified into one of three groups, which require different storage methods.

1. Perishable Foods

These include many raw fruits and vegetables as well as, for those who eat them, meat, dairy, and eggs . All cooked foods are considered perishable foods. To store these foods for any length of time, perishable foods need to be held at refrigerator or freezer temperatures. If refrigerated, many perishable foods should be used within 3-7 days (less for many animal products).

2. Semi-perishable Foods

Food that’s semi-perishable — depending on how they’re stored and handled — can go bad quickly, or can have an extended shelf life. Flour, grain products, dried fruits, and dry mixes are considered semi-perishable. If optimally stored and handled, like in a clean, vacuum-sealed bag, semi-perishable foods may remain unspoiled for six months to a year. Frozen, some can last even longer.

3. Staple, or Non-perishable Foods

Dried beans , spices , and canned goods are all non-perishable foods. They won’t spoil unless they’re handled carelessly. However, even if they’re stored under ideal conditions, they can start to lose quality over extended periods of time.

Factors That Affect Food Storage Life 

For perishable and semi-perishable foods, the general rule of thumb is that if you can’t use it promptly, it needs to be stored or preserved.

Here are the main factors that will impact a food’s shelf life during storage:

  • The food itself (for example, strawberries can degrade in as little as a day, while potatoes can last for months when properly stored).
  • The freshness and ripeness of the food when you obtain it. This depends in part on where it was grown and how long it spent in transit. Even if you just bought it from a grocery store, it may have been just very recently harvested… or not.
  • The length of time and the temperature at which it was held before you bought it.
  • The temperature of your food storage areas, whether it’s the refrigerator, freezer, countertop, pantry, or basement.
  • The humidity level in your food storage areas (which can vary greatly depending on the location in your house and what region you live in)
  • The type of storage container or packaging the food is stored in, such as glass, plastic , foil, or cloth.

The Pros and Cons of 6 Ways to Store Food

methods of food preservation essay

There are numerous ways to store food, each with their own benefits and downsides. Here are some things to consider, depending on which method you’re using.

Canning can be a cost-effective way to preserve the quality of food at home. Commonly canned foods include applesauce, vegetables, jams and jellies , and baby purees.

The basic steps for proper canning include thoroughly washing the fresh produce you’ll be using, peeling and hot packing if needed, adding acids like lemon juice or vinegar if the food isn’t already sufficiently acidic, and using self-sealing containers with lids. Canning jars are then processed by boiling water (for acidic fruits and vegetables) or using a pressure canner (for low-acid fruits and vegetables) for the appropriate amount of time. This helps prevent bacterial growth and kill any pathogens to ensure safety.

Home canning can lead to significant financial savings, and it gives you no risk of BPA contamination, as you will use glass mason jars in place of plastic or BPA-lined commercial cans.

Canned foods also keep their nutritional value longer, though some losses do occur. Approximately 30-50% of vitamins A, C, thiamin, and riboflavin are lost during the heating process, with an additional 5-20% loss of these per year. Less sensitive vitamins remain intact over time and are found in only slightly lower amounts than in fresh food. Vegetables can be pretty hardy if handled and canned quickly and can maintain much of their nutrition. And you don’t necessarily need to do anything with canned foods before eating — you can just enjoy them right out of the container.

Risks & Downsides of Canning

There are also some risks to consider with canning. Home canning requires a sterile environment to prevent contamination. Canned foods also need to be stored at the right temperatures — with air-tight lids — to prevent pathogens like botulism. In other words, don’t rely solely on the instructions in this article. Follow these USDA guidelines and pay attention to cleanliness, timing, and temperature to ensure you’re preserving food and not armies of harmful microbes.

There are a couple of potential downsides to canning as well. Aside from losing some of their flavor and nutrients over the years, additionally, canned preserves, jams, and jellies often use a lot of added sugar in their preservation process, which presents some health concerns.

It’s important to be aware that mold can grow on canned foods, especially on the surfaces of high sugar foods like jams and jellies. Mold can produce toxic compounds called mycotoxins, which may be carcinogenic . Luckily, mold is often colorful and easy to see on canned food surfaces. You can prevent mold through proper heat processing and air-tight sealing practices. It’s a good idea to test the seals of your canning jars before putting them away for storage in the cupboard or garage.

2. Freezing

A great option for preserving most foods. You can freeze soups, baby purees, oats, and coffee grounds to veggie burger patties, chopped fruit, and blanched vegetables.

A properly maintained freezer will store food for long periods, after which you can safely thaw (either in the fridge or by setting in cold water only) and cook it as desired. Nutritionally, foods that you prepare at home and then freeze are almost always better for you than frozen meals you’d find at the grocery store.

Freezing comes with minimal risks, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Everything in the freezer is subject to freezer burn , which happens when air comes in contact with the surface of the food, and it can look like grayish-brown spots. This doesn’t make the food unsafe to eat, but it does make it dry in certain areas. You can cut these areas off when you thaw the food. And while some foods taste very similar after freezing, others go through significant and sometimes not altogether pleasant changes in texture.

And as much as we’d like them to, frozen foods don’t have an infinite shelf life . Foods such as soups and stews, vegetables, and fruits can spoil after a long enough time. To prevent storing foods in the back of your freezer and forgetting about them for three generations (“Hey, isn’t this a piece of grandma and grandpa’s wedding cake?”) and risking spoilage (which I’m guilty of!), write the date on the container in permanent marker and use or toss extremely old specimens on a regular basis. I’d recommend storing more recently frozen foods at the back and choosing to thaw and eat the older items first. This creates a natural rotation and cuts down on eventual food waste.

3. D rying or Dehydration

An excellent preservation method for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Drying food tends to increase its flavor, costs very little, and makes storage easier by reducing its size.

Food Storage and Preservation: Dehydrating food

How does it work? Dehydration removes water from fresh food, which prevents bacterial growth. The moisture content of home-dried food should be around 20% or less. You can do this by using a commercial dehydrator, hanging bunches of fresh herbs to dry (unless you live in a high humidity area), oven drying foods, or even using the sun to make your own solar food dryer. Before you dry certain fruits and vegetables, you may want to blanch them (dip them briefly in boiling water) to help preserve them.

However, dehydration does have some drawbacks. While many nutrients remain fairly stable during dehydration, vitamins A, C, and thiamin are sensitive to heat (if produce is blanched or heated in the oven) and air.

Also, electric dehydrators use a lot of energy, which you can avoid by using some of the other home drying methods when possible. Dehydrating food can also take a while — often over ten hours — so be sure you’re prepared to be patient and do some planning ahead if you pursue this method. And preparing foods for drying can take time, too. For example, slicing and coring fruits and spreading them out on a drying rack, all of which may need to be done manually.

4. Fermentation

Fermenting foods is a great way to boost your intake of healthy probiotics (good bacteria) that are great for your digestive system and immunity . Fermenting starts with lacto-fermentation, which is a bacterial process that preserves and boosts nutrients in food. The basic steps include chopping, grating, or otherwise preparing your raw food, deciding on the culture you’ll use (typically salt, whey, or a starter culture), preparing and adding brine, and placing everything in an air-tight container in a cold environment.

Fermentation does require some care, as food can go bad during this process if you’re not using fresh veggies or don’t use distilled or purified water. Fermenting also typically uses a lot of salt, as salt helps preserve food by drawing out its water content and preventing bacterial formation. This is a drawback for people. You may want to think of fresh sauerkraut, kimchi, and other salty fermented vegetables as the “salt source” for some meals.

A Note About Mold

How do you tell if fermented foods have gone bad? Often, a film may develop on the surface, but this may not necessarily be mold. Sometimes it’s actually a harmless yeast called kahm yeast . Other, sometimes fuzzy spots on your food that are pink, black, green, or red, are mold. This doesn’t mean the whole batch is garbage, though, as you can often remove the top layer and still safely consume what’s underneath the brine — if it smells and tastes okay. However, I always say, “When in doubt, throw it out.” (Or better yet, put it in the compost!)

Mold is actually fairly rare in fermented foods, and there are some ways to prevent it from developing. First, use the freshest produce you can, which in an ideal world would be organic from your own garden . Next, choose the appropriate cool temperature for fermentation, between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, using the right amount of salt — around 1-3 tablespoons per quart of water — can help prevent mold.

5. Pickling

Similar to fermentation, pickling can be done on more than just cucumbers. Have you ever had pickled green beans? Yum! Some other commonly pickled foods include beets , cauliflower, peppers, cabbage, and even fruits like lemon or mango.

Food storage and preservation: pickling

Pickling preserves food in a high-acid solution, either via a process of natural fermentation or by adding vinegar and salt (and sometimes sugar). It prevents spoilage and extends shelf life. Many combinations of pickled foods also look pretty and make great gifts!

Very few ingredients are needed for home pickling. Really all you need are the fruit or vegetable, a high-acid brine solution (water, vinegar, salt, and optional sugar), and an air-tight container.

6. Cold Storage

This is the most common way many of us store produce, whether in the refrigerator or in an underground root cellar if you’re lucky enough to have one of those. Cold storage produce , like apples, pears, root vegetables, celery, and cabbage can last up to several months if stored correctly.

It’s important to make sure you’re aware of and following ideal temperatures and conditions for food storage to get the best shelf life from them. Apples, for example, should ideally be stored at just above freezing, in a damp and breathable bag.

Even though it’s tempting to bring your fresh produce home and line it all up on the counter, it’s best not to store things closely together as this can cause them to spoil. Many fruits and vegetables, like apples, cantaloupe, blueberries, bananas, potatoes, and tomatoes give off ethylene gas , which makes things around them ripen and brown faster.

Different fruits and veggies need to be stored in particular ways to best preserve their freshness. Some produce like apricots, grapes, strawberries, green onions, and asparagus go in the fridge right away. Avocados , kiwi, peaches, and pears should ripen on the counter before you put them in the fridge. And never refrigerate pomegranates, mandarin oranges, ginger, and jicama , as they fare best at room temperature.

Other Things to Keep in Mind with Cold Storage

Maintaining the proper amount of moisture is also important to prevent drying out, wilting, or premature mold. Rather than storing produce right on the counter or shelf, it helps to store them in containers with holes to promote air circulation like baskets, mesh, or paper bags with holes punched in them.

If your fridge has a fan, as most do, it can dry foods out. The produce drawer is typically protected from this effect. Foods stored loose in the fridge, outside of the produce drawer, will dry out if not kept in a bag, container, or otherwise protected from the fan’s drying effect.

Choosing good-looking produce at the store also helps prevent early spoilage. If you’re not going to eat them immediately, don’t buy avocados that are already mushy or bananas that are already spotting. Check your produce to make sure it’s not badly bruised, discolored, punctured or otherwise damaged.

It’s also important to wait to wash produce until you’re ready to preserve, cook, or eat it, as pre-washing it can actually lead to mold formation during storage. Lastly, if you’re growing your own food, make sure you know when it’s at its prime, so you don’t harvest it too early or too late.

Recipes to Try

If you’re new to some of these food preservation methods and interested in giving some of them a shot, here are a couple of great recipes using the techniques above.

Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is an awesome fermented dish popular in Korea. This recipe uses purple cabbage instead of traditional green cabbage. Try this recipe to create a nutrient- and probiotic-rich end result. We love this recipe so much that you’ll find it in the Food Revolution Family Cookbook .

homemade kimchi in jar

Strawberry Chia Jam from Bakerita

This great homemade jam recipe requires only four ingredients (three if you exclude the maple syrup for an unsweetened version), and the process of heating, cooling, and canning to preserve the final product.

methods of food preservation essay

Dill Pickles from The Kitchn

These quick, garlicky dill pickles take 20 minutes to make. And you can adjust this easy recipe to pickle other vegetables too.

methods of food preservation essay

Try New Ways of Preserving Your Food

Nobody likes coming home or opening their fridge to find that the produce they just bought is already going bad or, even worse, no longer edible. If you never want to examine a plate of “meat-cake,” or if you’re looking for new ways to increase the shelf life of fruits and vegetables you enjoy, give some of these food preservation methods a shot. You might just find that knowing how to preserve food helps you save time, money, and reduce waste… and allow you to enjoy a newfound kitchen hobby in the process!

Tell us in the comments:

  • Have you ever faced food storage challenges?
  • What ways do you store or preserve your food?
  • Now that you’ve read this article, will you try a new way of food storage or food preservation?
  • 5 healthy & sustainable food storage alternatives to plastic

methods of food preservation essay

Ocean Robbins

CEO, Food Revolution Network

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5 Ancient Food Preservation Techniques That Are Still Used Today 

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Food preservation has played a significant role in human evolution throughout history. Various civilisations have employed numerous methods. Let's explore the fundamentals and examine the types of food preservation that humans have historically embraced. 

5 Ancient Food Preservation Techniques That Are Still Used Today

The adage 'Time is the best teacher' finds surprising relevance in the realm of food preservation. While the concept has always existed, it takes something extraordinary to open our eyes to the greatness of simple things, particularly when it comes to preserving food. Often, we associate food with instant servings or items meant for immediate consumption. But take a moment to consider the naturally preserved items in your kitchen that last longer than the typical perishables. Without hesitation, pickles come to mind, an inseparable part of Indian culinary traditions.

Video Credits: Hebbars Kitchen/ Hebbars Kitchen

Throughout history, humans, much like ants, have possessed the instinct to stockpile and preserve. Food preservation has played an integral role in human survival, with the need to extend the shelf life of perishable items serving as a coping mechanism for crisis management. Across various cultures, races, economic statuses, and geographical backgrounds, people have embraced innovative methods to preserve food, leading to diverse culinary traditions. While technology has undoubtedly aided in preventing spoilage and extending shelf life, let's explore some of the oldest and most modern methods employed in food preservation.

Drying has long been a significant aspect of Indian culinary arts. Since ancient times, sun drying has been a practical method involving curing food with salt and exposing it to the sun to remove moisture, preventing spoilage. In Indian culture, drying, especially with rice vathals (rice papads), dried fish, and meat, has been a common practice. This dehydrating method effectively controls the growth of microorganisms and includes sun-drying, freeze-drying, and air-drying.

methods of food preservation essay

Salting is another important step in the food preservation timeline. This method draws moisture from food, creating an inhospitable environment for bacteria and microorganisms to thrive. Salting is closely associated with pickling, where treating food with coarse salt is a widespread practice worldwide. While fish and meat are typically brined for less than 24 hours, vegetables, fruits, and cheeses undergo longer brining, known as pickling.

Fermentation

One of the oldest preservation techniques, fermentation fosters the growth of beneficial microorganisms. This process transforms sugars and starches into alcohol or organic acids anaerobically, releasing energy and enhancing the taste of foods. In India, notable fermented foods include idli, dosa, dhokla, and various pickles such as mango pickles, lime pickles, and mixed vegetable pickles.

Also Read: 8 Natural Methods Of Food Preservation During Winter

This modern method is a process where the food is sealed in an airtight container and heated to a specified temperature. High heat destroys microorganisms, and inactive enzymes preserve the quality and safety of the food. This method is commonly used for jams, jellies, pickles, fruit butter, etc., significantly extending the shelf life from 1 to 5 years.

Freezing is another modern preservation process that reduces microbial activity at lower temperatures, maintaining the quality of food and extending shelf life. Solidifying food by exposing it to temperatures below its freezing point ensures freshness and safety. This method is particularly valuable for enjoying out-of-season fruits throughout the year, such as frozen blueberries and strawberries.

methods of food preservation essay

These techniques stand as a testament to the evolutionary journey humans have undertaken in the basics of preserving food. Food plays a crucial role in shaping culinary traditions, and these preservation methods contribute to ensuring safety without compromising taste, flavour, or quality—rather, they may even enhance them.

methods of food preservation essay

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methods of food preservation essay

Food Preservation: Freezing Basics

methods of food preservation essay

Freezing is the easiest, most convenient, and least time-consuming method of preserving foods. Most foods freeze well—with the exception of produce with a high water content, cream-based items, and cooked starchy foods such as cooked noodles and rice. 

All fresh produce contains enzymes, compounds that help the plant ripen and mature. During freezing, enzyme action is slowed but not stopped. If not inactivated, these enzymes can cause color and flavor changes and loss of nutrients during freezer storage. Also, freezing stops, but does not destroy, the microorganisms that cause spoilage or illness.  

Inactivation of Enzymes in Vegetables

Contrary to some publications or folklore, blanching is essential for obtaining top quality frozen vegetables. Blanching vegetables before freezing inactivates the enzymes. During blanching, the vegetable is exposed to boiling water or steam for a brief period. The vegetable is then rapidly cooled in cold water (60 degrees Fahrenheit or below) for the same amount of time to prevent cooking. 

Blanching also helps destroy microorganisms on the surface of the vegetables. When blanched, vegetables such as broccoli and spinach become more compact. Following the recommended times for blanching each vegetable is important. Over-blanching results in a cooked product and loss of flavor, color and nutrients. Under-blanching stimulates enzyme activity and is worse than no blanching at all.

The use of microwave ovens for blanching has become popular. However, microwave blanching is not recommended as it produces uneven results because of varied heat patterns within a microwave oven and from one microwave oven to another. Microwave blanching requires working with only small quantities at a time; there is no time saved when working with large quantities of vegetables.

Prevention of Color Changes in Fruit

Enzymes in fruits can cause browning and loss of Vitamin C. Fruits are not usually blanched. Instead, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is used to control enzymes in frozen fruits. Commercial mixtures of ascorbic acid are available for home use. Citric acid or lemon juice also may be used to prevent darkening of fruits, but they are not as effective as ascorbic acid. Packing fruit in sugar or sugar syrup will also control browning, but not as effectively as ascorbic acid.

Prevention of Off Flavors

Another type of change that can occur in frozen products is the development of rancid off flavors. This occurs when fat, such as in meat, is exposed to air over a period of time. It can be controlled by using a storage method that does not allow air to reach the product. Therefore, it is always advisable to remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag or container to reduce the amount of air in contact with the product being frozen.

Freezer Storage

To maintain top quality, store frozen fruits and vegetables at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The only way to be sure your freezer is at the right temperature is to use a freezer thermometer. Storing frozen foods at temperatures higher than 0 degrees Fahrenheit increases the rate of deterioration and shortens the shelf life of foods. Fluctuating freezer temperatures can cause the ice in the foods to thaw slightly and then refreeze. Every time this happens, the smaller ice crystals form larger ones, further damaging cells and creating a mushier product.

Moisture loss, or ice crystals evaporating from the surface of a product, produces freezer burn—a grainy, brownish spot where the tissues become dry and tough. Freezer-burned food is likely to develop off flavors, but it will not cause illness. Packaging in heavyweight, moisture-resistant materials will prevent freezer burn.

Containers for Freezing

Foods for the freezer should be packed properly to protect their flavor, color, moisture content, and nutritive value. Select packaging materials with these characteristics: 

• moisture and vapor resistant 

• durable and leak-proof 

• resistant to oil, grease and water

• not susceptible to becoming brittle and cracking at low temperatures

• able to protect foods from absorbing other flavors or odors

• easy to seal

• easy to label

Suitable packaging materials include rigid plastic containers with straight sides, glass jars made for freezing and canning, heavy-duty aluminum foil, moisture-vapor resistant bags, and freezer paper. Containers intended for short-term storage, such as bread wrap; cottage cheese, milk or ice cream cartons; regular aluminum foil; or waxed paper do not provide effective protection against flavor and moisture loss or freezer burn during long-term storage. Plastic containers designed for long-term freezer storage may or may not be suitable for direct use in a microwave oven.

Packaging Foods

Cool all foods and syrup before packing. Pack foods in quantities that are usable for a single meal.

Pack cold foods tightly into containers. Because most foods expand on freezing, allow ample headspace (space between food and closure). The amount of space needed will vary depending on the food and size of containers. When packing food in bags, press out excess air before sealing. Label and date each package. It is also helpful to list number of servings on the label.

For quick freezing, spread packages among already frozen foods. Leave a small space between packages and add only the amount of unfrozen food to the freezer that will freeze within 24 hours: about 2 to 3 pounds of food to each cubic foot of freezer capacity.

Freeze foods at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. To freeze foods rapidly, set the temperature control at  –10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower 24 hours in advance.
Keep a thermometer in the freezer to assure proper freezing temperatures are maintained.
Freeze foods immediately after they are packaged and sealed.
Do not overload your freezer with unfrozen food. Overloading slows down the freezing rate, and foods that freeze too slowly may lose quality.
Place packages in contact with refrigerated surfaces in the coldest part of the freezer.
Leave a little space between packages so air can circulate freely. Then, when the food is frozen, store the packages close together.

What to Do If Your Freezer Stops

Keep the freezer closed. If it looks like the freezer will be stopped for more than 24 hours, use dry ice (if you can get it) or move the food to another freezer.

•   So Easy to Preserve. (Sixth Ed.) (2014). Cooperative Extension Service. University of Georgia, College of Agriculture, Athens, Georgia.

•   National Center for Home Food Preservation

Information compiled by Ruth Anne Foote, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension. 

Revised by Pat Shenberger, Ashland County Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension. 

Updated by Barbara Rohrs, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Defiance County. 

Reviewed by Julie Shertzer, Ph.D., R.D., Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension. 

Reviewed by Christine Kendle, MS, RD, LD, Tuscarawas County Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences.

CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of this publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.

Copyright © 2016, The Ohio State University

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The diverse health preservation literature and ideas in the sanyuan canzan yanshou shu.

methods of food preservation essay

1. Introduction

2. diverse literature sources, 2.1. the cited documents of the sanyuan canzan yanshou shu, 2.2. the sanyuan canzan yanshou shu and the yangsheng leizuan, 2.2.1. chapters and entries, 2.2.2. specific content.

A: It is advisable to refrain from brushing teeth immediately upon waking, as this practice has been associated with potential dental instability, including the mobilization and loosening of tooth roots, which may culminate in toothache. Historically, the composition of toothbrush bristles, often made from horsehair, was implicated in the deterioration of dental health. The abrasive nature of horsehair bristles was believed to corrode the roots of the teeth, facilitating decay, which can be seen in residues of horsehair bristles found in extracted teeth. 早起不可用刷牙子,恐根浮兼牙疏,易損極,久之患牙疼。蓋刷牙子皆是馬尾為之,極有所損。今時出牙者,盡有馬尾灰,蓋馬尾能腐齒根。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 82 )
B: Upon waking, one should sit facing east and rub their hands together until they feel warm. Then, use the hands to rub from the forehead up to the crown of the head, completing twenty-nine full strokes. This practice is properly called preserving the Mud Ball. 6 早起向東坐,以兩手相摩令熱,以手摩額上至頂上,滿二九,正名曰存泥丸。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 82 )
C: At dawn, a traditional health practice begins with individuals massaging their ears fourteen times in an up-and-down motion. Subsequently, they pinch their nostrils closed, hold their breath, and with the right hand, pull the left ear from above, repeating this action fourteen times. This is followed by lifting the hair at the temples upward with both hands, which is said to enhance blood and energy circulation and prevent the graying of hair. The final step in this morning ritual is the dry bath, which involves rubbing the hands together until they become warm and then massaging the body up and down. This practice is reputed to alleviate a variety of health issues, including colds, seasonal disorders, fevers, and headaches. 清旦初起,以兩手叉兩耳,極上下之,二七止,令人不聾。次縮鼻閉氣,右手從頭上引左耳,二七止。次引兩發鬢,舉之,令人血氣流通,頭不白。又摩手令熱,以摩身體,從上至下,名幹浴,令人勝風寒,時氣,寒熱,頭疼,百病皆除之。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 82 )
D: When a person rises at dawn, they should always speak of good things, as heaven will then grant them blessings. 凡人旦起,常言善事,天與之福。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 82 )
Walking should not cause one to lose energy. Also, when walking or riding a horse, one should not look back, as this causes the spirit to leave. Whenever one intends to move about, always imagine the kuigang 7 above your head for good fortune in all directions. Speaking little while walking, which can prevent the dissipation of one’s spirit and the depletion of energy. Frequently grinding one’s teeth during nighttime walks, without a set number of times, can ward off malevolent spirits and prevent them from afflicting a person. For those fearful in their hearts during night walks or in profound sleep, envision the sun and the moon returning to the Mingtang, so all evil will extinguish itself within a moment, especially good for those living in the mountains. When returning home at night, writing the characters “I’m a ghost” on the palm of your hand with your middle finger of either the left or right hand, then clasping it tightly to dispel fear. 行不得令人失氣。又,行及乘馬,不用回顧,則神去。凡欲行來,常存魁罡在頭上,所向皆吉。行不多言,恐神散而損氣。夜行常琢齒,琢齒亦無限數也,煞鬼邪。鬼邪畏琢齒聲,是故不敢犯人。夜行及冥臥,心中恐者,存日月還入於明堂中,須臾百邪自滅,山居恒爾此為佳。夜歸,左手或右手,以中指書手心,作“我是鬼”三字,再握固,則不恐懼。 ( Li and Huang 2021, pp. 85–86 ; Zhou et al. 2018, p. 42 )
Semen euryales 8 enhance vitality, spirit, and determination, and sharpens hearing and vision. Consumed regularly, it can lighten the body, reduce hunger, and increase resistance to aging. When prepared as a powder, it serves as an excellent food, esteemed as a medicine for longevity. Besides, if fed to children, it can prevent growth, thus stalling aging. Consumed raw, it can provoke rheumatic and cold conditions. Excessive consumption is not beneficial for the spleen and stomach, as it can also be difficult to digest. 雞頭,益精氣志,令耳目聰明。久服,輕身,不饑,耐老。作粉食極妙,是長生之藥。與小兒食,不能長大,故駐年耳。生食,動風冷氣,多食,不益脾胃氣,兼難消化。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 162 ; Zhou et al. 2018, p. 168 )

3. Harmony as the Cornerstone of Health Preservation

3.1. the principle of not diminishing primordial pneuma.

The dynamic interplay of yin and yang throughout the four seasons encapsulates a profound principle that underlies all existence, acting as a pivotal juncture between life and death. The wise approach is to nourish yang during the spring and summer, because these seasons characterized by growth, expansion, and warmth. Conversely, during the autumn and winter, when the world cools and contracts, it is prudent to nurture yin, supporting the body’s need for conservation and replenishment. To disregard this seasonal guidance by acting in opposition to these natural trends is to fundamentally undermine one’s health foundation and damage one’s essential vitality. 夫四時陰陽者,萬物之根本也。所以聖人春夏養陽,秋冬養陰,與萬物浮游於生長之門。逆其根則伐其本,壞其真矣。故陰陽四時者,萬物之終始,死生之本也。逆之則災害生,從之則苛疾不起,是謂得道。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 114 )

3.2. The Extension of Life through the Three Primes

In ancient times, when the sages made the Yi , they intended to follow the principles of nature and life. Therefore, they established the way of heaven as yin and yang, the way of earth as gentleness and firmness (gangrou 剛柔), and the way of man as benevolence and righteousness (renyi 仁義). Embracing the three powers and dividing them into two, hence the Book of Yi has six strokes to form a hexagram; distinguishing yin and yang, alternating between gentleness and firmness, hence the Book of Yi has six positions to form a chapter. 昔者聖人之作《易》也,將以順性命之理。是以立天之道曰陰與陽,立地之道曰柔與剛,立人之道曰仁與義。兼三才而兩之,故《易》六畫而成卦;分陰分陽,迭用柔剛,故《易》六位而成章。 ( Chen and Zhao 2020, p. 684 )
This text posits that while a lifespan of 180 years is divinely bestowed and represents the maximum given, the actual lifespan one achieves is determined by individual actions. The method to attain this full lifespan is exceedingly rare and is epitomized by the principle of Taiji, encapsulated in the Three-in-One diagram. This diagram features a circle on the outside and a square inside, composed of one Kun and one Qian. Longevity is found within this structure, arising naturally from these principles. 天地人三元,每元六十年。三六百八十,此壽得於天。天本全付與,於人或自偏。全之有其法,奈何世罕傳。函三為一圖,妙歎太極先。外圓而內方,一坤與一乾。定體凝坤象,妙用周乾圜。壽年在其間,得之本自然。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 260 )

3.3. The Prolonging Life through the Virtue of Yin

Heaven rewards good deeds and punishes evil deeds, and spirits reward goodness and punish evil. If one consciously does good deeds, aligning oneself with the Dao in tranquility and encountering blessings in action, then one’s life is in one’s own hands, not subject to the control of fate, and longevity and vitality are achieved without seeking them. 天道福善禍淫,神明賞善罰惡逆。人能刻意為善,靜與道合,動與福會,如此則我命在我,不為司殺所執,不求壽而自壽,不求生而自生。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 255 )
In cultivation, one should not be confined by wealth or poverty, nor should one exert undue effort. Instead, one should practice goodness in various situations, such as in dealing with fire and water, thieves and robbers, hunger and cold, illness and suffering, coercion and imprisonment, adversity and hardship, as well as in activities like flying, diving, moving, and planting. In all these situations, where there is effort, various forms of virtuous actions can accumulate limitlessly, and one will receive corresponding rewards. 凡可修者,不以富貴貧賤拘,亦不在勉強其所為,但於水火,盜賊,饑寒,疾苦,刑獄逼迫,逆旅狼狽,險陰艱難,至於飛,潛,動,植,於力到處,種種多行方便,則陰德無限量,而受報如之矣。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 256 )
In the past, a monk possessed six supernatural powers (shentong 神通) and dwelled in the wilderness with a novice monk. The monk knew that the novice monk would die in seven days, so he said: “Your parents missed you and wished for your temporary return. Come back in eight days.” The novice monk did return after eight days, which surprised the monk. Upon investigation, the novice monk on his way home shielded the anthill with his monk’s robe, allowing many ants to survive. As a result, the novice monk extended his lifespan by twelve years. 昔比丘得六神通,與一沙彌同處林野間,比丘知沙彌七日當死,因曰:“父母思汝可暫歸,八日複來。”沙彌八日果來,比丘怪之入三昧。察其事,乃沙彌於歸路中脫袈裟壅水,令不得入蟻穴,得延壽一紀。 ( Li and Huang 2021, pp. 255–56 )
Sun Shu’ao 孫叔敖 (前630年–前593), when he was young, saw a two-headed snake and, fearing that others might also see it, killed and buried it. His mother said: “I had heard that those with yin virtue would be blessed by heaven, and you would not die.” Later, he became the Prime Minister of Chu (chulingyin 楚令尹). 孫叔敖兒時見兩頭蛇,恐他人又見,殺而埋之,母曰:“吾聞有陰德者,天報之福,汝不死也。”後為楚令尹。 ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 256 )
Dou Yujun 竇禹鈞 (?–?) dreamed one night that his grandfather told him: “You were getting older without children, and your lifespan was not long. You should cultivate yin virtue early”. Yujun diligently practiced the virtue of yin thereafter without fatigue. Later, he dreamed of his grandfather again, who said: “Due to your yin virtue, heaven had extended your lifespan by three decades, granted you five children, and bestowed honor and prestige, allowing you to reside in a celestial abode.” 竇禹鈞夜夢祖父謂曰:“汝年過無子,又壽不永,當早修陰德。”禹鈞自是勤修陰德,行之罔倦。後又夢其祖父與曰:“天以汝陰德,故延壽三紀,賜五子,榮顯後,居洞天之位。” ( Li and Huang 2021, p. 256 )

4. Multifarious Circulating Editions

4.1. the yanshou canzan system, 4.2. the canzan yanshou system, 5. conclusions, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest.

1 when cataloging different versions and citing references, this paper consistently uses Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu in discussions.
2
3 ). Dr. Livia Kohn and Dr. Shoshin Sakade co-edited “Daoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques”, a collection of essays exploring Daoist meditation practices, featuring 11 contributions from prominent scholars in Japan, Europe, and the United States ( ). The anthology covers specific cultivation methods of various Daoist sects and Daoist philosophical perspectives. In Japan, Kando Honya specializes in the study of internal alchemy within the Quanzhen Dao during the Yuan dynasty ( ).
4 ( ). In 2006, Ge Jianmin 蓋建民 analyzed the Daoist three primes longevity health preservation concepts and their modern significance ( ). In the same year, Chen Qingyou 陳慶優 analyzed the textual structure and ideological sources of the Sanyuan Yanshou Canzan Shu ( ). In 2014, Wang Yi 王怡 analyzed the virtue cultivation methods in the Sanyuan Yanshou Canzan Shu ( ). In 2018, Chen Dongliang 陳東亮 and Chen Yang 陳陽 analyzed the Daoist health characteristics in the Sanyuan Yanshou Canzan Shu ( ). In 2022, Song Xin 宋鑫 and Jiang Weiyu 蔣維昱 explored the tri-element health preservation concepts in the Sanyuan Yanshou Canzan Shu ( ).
5 is divided into 651 sections. This division is based on the Wanli edition of the Hu family’s Wenhuitang 文會堂, with reference to the results of Huang Yongfeng’s “Sanyuan Canshan Yanshou Shu” Quanzhu 詮注. Among them, volume three is divided based on the types of food, while the rest are divided based on the citation of “the book says”, or “someone says”, or by paragraph. Due to Li Pengfei’s consolidation and integration of some documents, they were decomposed according to Yangsheng Leizuan, adding 157 cited documents.
6
7
8
9
10
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Number of CitationsVolume HeadVolume OneVolume TwoVolume ThreeVolume FourTotal
Divided by Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu57622631826651
Further Refined According to Yangsheng Leizuan57624445726808
Excerpted from Yangsheng Leizuan1171102781407
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Li, L.; Huang, Y. The Diverse Health Preservation Literature and Ideas in the Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu . Religions 2024 , 15 , 834. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070834

Li L, Huang Y. The Diverse Health Preservation Literature and Ideas in the Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu . Religions . 2024; 15(7):834. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070834

Li, Lu, and Yongfeng Huang. 2024. "The Diverse Health Preservation Literature and Ideas in the Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu " Religions 15, no. 7: 834. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15070834

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IMAGES

  1. Food science

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  2. Principles and Methods of Food Preservation

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  3. Food Preservation

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  4. Food Preservation Methods and Their Classification

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  5. SOLUTION: Methods of food preservation

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VIDEO

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  3. Canning Homemade Beef Stew #preparedness #prepping

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  5. Methods Of Food Preservation // Physical Methods //Chemical Methods

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COMMENTS

  1. Writing on Preservation and Distribution of Food Essay (Article)

    The food essay should tackle the problems associated with food, for example, food spoilage, the causes of these spoilages and their long term solutions. Such a food essay can help create awareness on the subject in the community. To address the several different methods used in food preservation in the food essay and the effects of preservation ...

  2. The Food Preservation Techniques

    The Food Preservation Techniques Essay. Food preservation techniques have evolved compared to procedures previous to the Industrial Revolution that were rather basic. Drying, freezing, pickling, fermenting, curing, and, as procedures progressed, canning was among the processes used, depending on the climate and location (Nummer, 2019).

  3. Food preservation

    An overview of food preservation. food preservation, any of a number of methods by which food is kept from spoilage after harvest or slaughter. Such practices date to prehistoric times. Among the oldest methods of preservation are drying, refrigeration, and fermentation. Modern methods include canning, pasteurization, freezing, irradiation, and ...

  4. Food Preservation Methods and Their Classification Essay

    Food Preservation Methods and Their Classification Essay. Perishable food products can be preserved for a long time by applying a preservation method to them. Boiling fruits and berries with honey or sugars, urinating, pickling, pickling, and other methods have been used by people for a long time. Food preservation has become ecologically ...

  5. Food preservation

    A food scientist is preparing a meal for astronauts in space.. Food preservation includes processes that make food more resistant to microorganism growth and slow the oxidation of fats.This slows down the decomposition and rancidification process. Food preservation may also include processes that inhibit visual deterioration, such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut ...

  6. Traditional vs Modern Techniques of Food Preservation: Understanding

    Food preservation is an age-old practice aimed at preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms and the spoilage of food. Throughout the years, various techniques of food preservation have been developed, ranging from traditional techniques to modern methods. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the differences between traditional and modern food preservation methods, exploring their ...

  7. Food Preservation

    A good preservation method is to slow down the spoilage agent without food damaging (Gokoglu, 2019). Therefore, it is important to determine the effect of food preservation on lipid component changes during the preservation process, which will guide the understanding of the preservation influences and the development of food preservation methods.

  8. Food Preservation: Methods, Applications, Benefits

    Food that is unhealthy or spoiled is the leading cause of disease in humans. This is referred to as food poisoning. To avoid this, food must be preserved in a variety of ways. Continue reading to learn about food preservation and the various methods of food preservation. Food preservation is one method of protecting food from microbial growth.

  9. Common Methods of Food Preservation

    Salting. Salting preserves food by removing the moisture and creating an environment unsuitable for microbial growth. Very few bacteria grow in high salt solutions, so simply adding a very high amount of salt can be an effective method of preservation. Salting is one of the oldest known methods of food preservation.

  10. 'Preserve or perish': food preservation practices in the early modern

    This essay will focus on early modern food preservation, approaching this concept from two angles: first, it recounts the reconstruction of recipes, in this case to preserve walnuts, in order to better appreciate the skills and 'tacit' knowledge required for preservation practices; and second, it offers a textual study of a series of recipe ...

  11. A review on mechanisms and commercial aspects of food preservation and

    Food preservation involves different food processing steps to maintain food quality at a desired level so that maximum benefits and nutrition values can be achieved. Food preservation methods include growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and distribution of foods. The key objectives of food preservation are to overcome inappropriate planning in agriculture, to produce value-added ...

  12. Food preservation

    Canned food stored in Antarctica near the South Pole, for example, remained edible after 50 years of storage, but such long-term preservation cannot be duplicated in the hot climate of the Tropics. Raw fruits and vegetables and uncooked meat are preserved by cold storage or refrigeration.

  13. Food Preservation: Methods and Their Importance

    Chilling helps to preserve salads, pizza, seafood, and dairy products. In freezing, the preservation of meals occurs by lowering its temperature below its freezing point. Freezing helps to preserve butter, ice cream, milk, nuts, and grains. Preservation by refrigeration is when the meal's temperature is maintained between 0℃ and 8℃.

  14. Methods of Food Preservation Free Essay Example from StudyTiger

    After some time he perfected his "quick freeze" process and revolutionized this method of food preservation. (Brian A. Nummer, Ph. D. National Center for Home Food Preservation May 2002).Salt-Preserving In England or Europe during the Tudor days Salt was fairly expensive, and salt was only used on meats high in fat to be preserved.

  15. (PDF) Methods of Food Preservation

    1. Methods of Food Preservation 15. today markedly influences the practices of marketing and food industry and sets. the economic climate in agro-food industry (Gould, 1995). Chilling is used to ...

  16. Food Preservation Methods

    Importance of Food Preservation. Food preservation stops the growth of microorganisms (such as yeasts) or other microorganisms (although some methods work by presenting benign bacteria or fungi into the food), and slows the oxidation of rancid-causing fats. Food preservation gives the food more variety.

  17. Food Preservation

    Food preservation is one of the methods to protect food from unwanted microbial growth. After the food is produced, we store and protect by covering the rice and curry with lids to keep away flies and other insects. By this, we are protecting it from any infection caused by them. This is a short-term condition.

  18. Food Storage & Preservation: How To Store Food Properly

    All cooked foods are considered perishable foods. To store these foods for any length of time, perishable foods need to be held at refrigerator or freezer temperatures. If refrigerated, many perishable foods should be used within 3-7 days (less for many animal products). 2. Semi-perishable Foods.

  19. PDF Food Preservation: Traditional and Modern Techniques

    Traditional methods for food preservation • Curing:The basic concept in curing of foods like meat, fishes and vegetables is to reduce the moisture contents by osmosis process. When moisture contents in any food are much low, there are much lesser chances of getting micro- bial infection and subsequently growth.

  20. 5 Ancient Food Preservation Techniques That Are Still Used Today

    Canning. This modern method is a process where the food is sealed in an airtight container and heated to a specified temperature. High heat destroys microorganisms, and inactive enzymes preserve the quality and safety of the food. This method is commonly used for jams, jellies, pickles, fruit butter, etc., significantly extending the shelf life ...

  21. Food Preservation: Freezing Basics

    Freezing is the easiest, most convenient, and least time-consuming method of preserving foods. Most foods freeze well—with the exception of produce with a high water content, cream-based items, and cooked starchy foods such as cooked noodles and rice. All fresh produce contains enzymes, compounds that help the plant ripen and mature. During freezing, enzyme action is slowed but not stopped ...

  22. Novel Food Preservation Methods and Their Applications

    Novel food preservation technologies are continuously demanding the development of more robust, efficient, sensitive, and cost-effective methods to guarantee the quality, safety, quality, and traceability during product shelf life, in agreement with consumer demands and legislation requirements. Consequently, the research about novel methods ...

  23. Methods of Food Preservation: Classification and Innovative

    Food Preservation Methods and Their Classi±cation Essay Perishable food products can be preserved for a long time by applying a preservation method to them. Boiling fruits and berries with honey or sugars, urinating, pickling, pickling, and other methods have been used by people for a long time. Food preservation has become ecologically important with difficult economic times, including the ...

  24. Pressure Shift Freezing: An Alternate Method of Freezing for Meat and

    1. Introduction. People have been preserving food for centuries to lengthen its shelf life [].Meat tenderness is an essential quality feature influencing customer happiness, repurchase intentions, and willingness to spend at higher rates [].The presence of higher moisture (60-70%) in fresh meat makes it vulnerable to microbial degradation and chemical effects, which can impact the meat's ...

  25. Religions

    The Sanyuan Canzan Yanshou Shu 三元參贊延壽書, compiled by Li Pengfei during the Yuan dynasty, is a comprehensive collection of the essence of earlier health preservation literature. Recently, the Jianwen first-year (1399) re-engraved edition by Liu Yuanran 劉淵然 (1351-1432) has emerged, which is currently housed in the Imperial Household Agency Library in Japan. It has challenged ...