Biology: 9 Effective Food Preservation Techniques



Food spoilage and wastage are caused by various factors. Notable among them, however, is the moisture content of the foods which facilitates the growth of spoilage micro-organisms like fungi (found in bread) and bacteria. This, notwithstanding, food can be preserved, still.

Below are nine effective food preservation techniques that have been put to use for many decades or even hundreds of years:

1. Drying
This preservation technique reduces the water content of food, thereby preventing the enzymes in the food from acting on the food. It also prevents most microorganisms from growing on food. Cereals like rice, oats, and barley are preserved using this technique.

2. Refrigeration
Pathological microbes and other microorganisms find it difficult to act on food in a cold environment below 5oC (40°F). This is particularly true for meat and fish, which is why raw meat can stay in a refrigerator for over 2 weeks without getting spoilt. Essentially, refrigeration slows down the reproduction rate of the organisms in the meat.

3. Pasteurization
Milk is prevented from turning sour by pasteurizing them. Pasteurization involves heating to a certain degree (72°C) and cooling rapidly. This process destroys most of the microorganisms in the milk.

4. Canning
In this food preservation technique, the air is removed and the food is stored in air-tight containers. After that, the cans are subjected to high temperatures for a certain period.

5. Salting
This preservation method is a well-known food preservation technique. It is one of the earliest methods of food preservation. Fishermen apply salt to preserve their catch. Meat is also preserved with salt. Salt kills microorganisms in food.

6. Chemical Preservation
Chemicals like Sodium Benzoate, Nitrites, Sulfites, Vinegar, and syrup are added to food to either slow down the growth of microorganisms or to destroy them completely.

7. Smoking
Smoking removes the water content of food and makes it difficult for microorganisms to survive in the food

8. Irradiation
This technique is used to sterilize food and prolong its durability, it kills micro-organisms and parasites in food.

9. Fermentation
Food substances containing poisonous ingredients are first subjected to this process to remove the poisonous substance before preservation. Tobacco, tea leaves, certain fruits, and vegetables are preserved using this technique.

Note that while the above-mentioned methods are the most common, there are several other food preservation methods utilized in different parts of the world, today.

Which food preservation technique do you use? Why do you use it? Kindly let us know in the comments section below

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