Posted By on November 23, 2013

Chemical structure of butylated hydroxyanisole...

Chemical structure of butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditional preservative of storing maize

Traditional preservative of storing maize (Photo credit: IITA Image Library)

Processed foods are not for everyone to consume. On the package of any processed foods in fine prints all ingredients are posted, and it is up to the consumer to find out if any ingredient is harmful upon consumption. Many people skip the most important part of the label on processed foods which break down the container or package preservative items.

Food preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteriafungi (such as yeasts), and other micro-organisms(although some methods work by introducing benign bacteria or fungi to the food), as well as retarding the oxidation of fatsthat cause rancidity. Food preservation can also include processes that inhibit visual deterioration, such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut, which can occur during food preparation.

Many processes designed to preserve food will involve a number of food preservation methods. Preserving fruit by turning it into jam, for example, involves boiling (to reduce the fruit’s moisture content and to kill bacteria, yeasts, etc.), sugaring (to prevent their re-growth) and sealing within an airtight jar (to prevent recontamination). There are many traditional methods of preserving food that limit the energy inputs and reduce carbon footprint.

Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavour is an important aspect of food preservation, although, historically, some methods drastically altered the character of the food being preserved. In many cases these changes have come to be seen as desirable qualities – cheese, yoghurt and pickled onions being common examples.

Here one of the ways to food preservation, it is called using artificial food additives.  Preservative food additives can be antimicrobial, which inhibit the growth of bacteria or fungi, including mold, or antioxidant; such as oxygen absorbers, which inhibit the oxidation of food constituents. Common antimicrobial preservatives includecalcium propionatesodium nitratesodium nitritesulfites (sulfur dioxidesodium bisulfitepotassium hydrogen sulfite, etc.) and disodium EDTAAntioxidants include BHA and BHT. Other preservatives include formaldehyde (usually in solution),glutaraldehyde (kills insects), ethanol, and methylchloroisothiazolinone.

Other ways to food preservations is by smoking shell seafood, and by  pickling

Pickling is a method of preserving food in an edible anti-microbial liquid. Pickling can be broadly categorized into two categories: chemical pickling and fermentation pickling.

In chemical pickling, the food is placed in an edible liquid that inhibits or kills bacteria and other micro-organisms. Typical pickling agents include brine (high in salt), vinegaralcohol, and vegetable oil, especially olive oil but also many other oils. Many chemical pickling processes also involve heating or boiling so that the food being preserved becomes saturated with the pickling agent. Common chemically pickled foods include cucumberspepperscorned beefherring, and eggs, as well as mixed vegetables such as piccalilli.

In fermentation pickling, the food itself produces the preservation agent, typically by a process that produces lactic acid. Fermented pickles include sauerkrautnukazukekimchisurströmming, and curtido. Some pickled cucumbers are also fermented.


Preservative (Photo credit: Jonnybee)


Pickle shelf

Pickle shelf (Photo credit: Meer)

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