Restaurants worldwide use various techniques to preserve food depending on factors like the ingredient, the climate, taste required, etc. Our ancestors have used various preservation techniques like canning, drying, pickling and many more, which are still being used in today’s modern world. Let’s have a sneak peek at the top 10 food preservation techniques ranging from ancient methods to the modern day of food preservation.
There are various ancient techniques which are still useful in today’s world. Food preservation of the olden times most commonly used salt, oil, sugar among many other basic ingredients for preservation. It is also quite often said that these methods preserve food longer in comparison to present-day techniques.
Drying- Drying is a technique carried from the ancient times till now and it involves removing the moisture from the food until there is no moisture enough to breed microbes. It is mostly done for preserving certain vegetables, fruits, meats and many more. It can be done in various methods ranging from simple to using heavy equipment.
Fermenting- This method involves producing ‘good bacteria’ to inhibit the ‘bad bacteria’ from breeding. Fermenting is usually done on fruits (like grapes to produce wine), meat (like cured sausage, dairy products (like producing yoghurt). Although the method seems easy, it involves paying attention at different levels for different products.
Pickling- Pickling involves soaking meat, vegetables, or fruits and the like in a solution made of oils, salt, acid etc. Pickling can be tedious as it involves making the solution in the right concentration as well as taking good care of the product once it’s pickled. This method is usually combined with other methods like fermenting, canning, or refrigerating as pickling alone may not work out.
Dry salting- This method involves covering food in a very high concentration of salt. This method is one of the earliest forms of food preservation and is also considered tastier and fresher when compared to canning. Salted vegetables and meat were highly used during the 20th
Cellaring- This method is also one of the earliest forms of preserving wherein the food is stored under specific conditions like high humidity and a light- controlled space. Many grains, nuts, vegetables etc. have been stored in this way across the world. It is also one of the easiest methods of preservation.
Although there are plenty of ancient techniques used in food preservation, hotels these days prefer the modern and easier techniques.
Refrigeration and freezing- This is the most commonly used among the top 10 food preservation techniques. Refrigeration helps in slowing down the process of bacterial breeding while freezing helps in completely cancelling the process. Almost all kinds of foods are frozen except fruits, unless for specific requirements or recipes.
Freeze drying- Freeze drying is much more intense than normal freezing and does not affect the taste as such. This technique helps in removing the moisture completely from the food by turning it into ice first and then into vapour. This is widely used in making instant coffee.
Carbonated water- This method is usually used for the preservation of carbonated drinks, as the name suggests. Carbonated water is nothing but carbon dioxide dissolved in water under pressure. The oxygen is completely eliminated from the water so that no microbial growth is encouraged.
Chemical food preservation- This is the most common method of food preservation and is also considered unhealthy to a certain extent. Even though, it is widely practised as it is much more economical and it also helps in preserving the food longer. Chemical preserves either eliminate or slow down bacterial activity or function as antioxidants.
Food irradiation- This is one of the latest methods of food preservation and it uses gamma radiation to kill bacteria. Food in packets is usually nuclear radiated and then sealed airtight. However, this method is not widely practised due to its expense.
Although new methods of preservation are coming up, very few countries have adopted it. India, in specific, still uses the conventional methods of preservation.