Preservatives are one of the most effective ways to prevent foods from bacterial growth, and hence it stops spoiling of food items. Some preservatives are natural and chemical, and they are used to maintain the colour and texture of fruits and make them healthy.
Some fruits or vegetables will not be available in some seasons. But sometimes those fruits are available in the off-season. Here comes the role of food preservatives. Food preservation is crucial in improving the nutritional content as well. This article explains in detail the preservation, uses of preservatives and their benefits.
Methods of Food Preservation- Naturally and chemically
There are several methods for preserving food items from spoilage and bacterial growth. Here are some techniques explained.
This is one of the standard preservation techniques. Refrigeration helps to get rid of enzyme action and hence slow down bacteria growth.
This is one of the ancient methods used in olden times. This method reduces the excess water content in the food. The presence of water may spoil the food by the action of bacteria. Hence, drying is one effective natural remedy.
Addition of salt
Salting is also one of the very well-known methods of food preservation, and it removes the moisture from the meat and inhibits the enzyme action. This mixing of salt has both benefits, and it enhances the taste as well as prevents spoilage.
In fruits like apples, peaches sugar is used in the form of a syrup which is a very effective preservation method. After cooking the preserved material with sugar at the crystallization point, it is stored dry.
It is a very familiar method for all as we use pickles in our daily life. There is a vast range of pickles, which is an antimicrobial fluid. This process is fermentation. The main ingredient that we use in a pickle is vinegar and salt.
Canning and bottling
By using heat, food items are packed in a sealed container. This process is canning and works in the principle of sterilization. Food will be heated at a specific temperature and then packed in a sealed container that does not allow moisture to enter. Mainly fruits, vegetables, and meats are canned or bottled in the same way.
This method is applied only for milk. The pasteurisation process is that the milk will be heated at a particular temperature and allowed to cool immediately, and it is then filled in sterilized bottles with sealing.
Chemical substances like sodium benzoate are widely used for preserving food items. By the time, it should not be harmful to human beings either. So in our country, chemical preservatives are permitted to be used. For food items like juice, squashes, benzoate is used as the preservative as it is soluble in water and hence mixes easily.
Another chemical is sodium meta sulphite, which is used for colourless foods like fruits.
Some food items may spoil when they come in contact with oxygen. The anti-oxidants are the substances that help in preventing the food items from the reaction of oxygen. Synthetic as well as natural antioxidants are available, like vitamin E and C.
Preservation is essential for making the food more nutritional and preventing the growth of bacteria. The use of natural preservatives rather than chemical preservatives will be more beneficial for the future also. Therefore the ultimate goal of food preservation is to inhibit the spoilage of foods.