Food Preservation


This topic gives an overview of; 

  • Food Preservation 
  • Chemical Methods of Preservation 
  • Storage and Packing

Food Preservation

In Chapter 1, we have learnt about the methods used to preserve and store food grains. How do we preserve cooked food at home? You know that bread left unused under moist conditions is attacked by fungus. Microorganisms spoil our food. Spoiled food emits bad smell and has a bad taste and changed colour. Is spoiling of food a chemical reaction?

Paheli bought some mangoes but she could not eat them for a few days. Later she found that they were spoilt and rotten. But she knows that the mango pickle her grandmother makes does not spoil for a long time. She is confused.

Let us study the common methods to preserve food in our homes. We have to prevent it from the attack of microorganisms.

Chemical Method

Salts and edible oils are the common chemicals generally used to check the growth of microorganisms. Therefore they are called preservatives. We add salt or acid preservatives to pickles to prevent the attack of microbes. Sodium benzoate and sodium metabisulphite are common preservatives. These are also used in the jams and squashes to check their spoilage.

Preservation by Common Salt

Common salt has been used to preserve meat and fish for ages. Meat and fish are covered with dry salt to check the growth of bacteria. Salting is also used to preserve amla, raw mangoes, tamarind, etc.

Preservation by Sugar

Jams, jellies and squashes are preserved by sugar. Sugar reduces the moisture content which inhibits the growth of bacteria which spoil food.

Preservation by Oil and Vinegar

Use of oil and vinegar prevents spoilage of pickles because bacteria cannot live in such an environment. Vegetables, fruits, fish and meat are often preserved by this method.

Heat and Cold Treatments

You must have observed your mother boiling milk before it is stored or used. Boiling kills many microorganisms.Similarly, we keep our food in the refrigerator. Low temperature inhibits the growth of microbes

Pasteurized milk can be consumed without boiling as it is free from harmful microbes. The milk is heated to about 700C for 15 to 30 seconds and then suddenly chilled and stored. By doing so, it prevents the growth of microbes. This process was discovered by Louis Pasteur. It is called pasteurization.

Storage and Packing

These days dry fruits and even vegetables are sold in sealed air tight packets to prevent the attack of microbes.

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