A slight contamination in any process of the food chain can cause illnesses. Methods like food processing, storage and preservation can, therefore, be judiciously enforced to stop food-borne illness epidermic.
Food preservation is defined as the process taken on account of preventing the possibility of food-borne illnesses, and as a matter of course, stop spoilage while maintaining food’s nutritional value.
Why do we Preserve Food?
Some foods are perishable in nature. However, when food is preserved, the chances of spoilage are reduced. The reason for preservation is mainly to restrain microbial growth on food. It helps to prolong the time pending which food is nutritionally safe to eat.
A place like Africa provides so many food crops year in, year out. Challenges faced with processing and preservation often cause lots of harvest losses later. It is calculated that about 50 percent of perishable farm produce gets ruined before getting to the markets. Food preservation can exceptionally boost a nation’s economy and produce more earnings for the farmers.
Simple Methods of Food Preservation
1. Heating :
People in an attempt to live healthier lives are usually urged to build up intakes of fruit and veggies. At the same time, the water content of most fruit and vegetables are naturally high, making them vulnerable to microorganisms.
Heating is far-off the commonest method of food preservation. This is because poisonous microorganisms are killed at temperatures close to the boiling point.
Most of the time, the temperature of food is impractical to determine. Therefore, a visual inspection can be applied such as changes in colour seen in red meat to brown when cooked.
2. Drying :
This is a simple, homely method of dehydrating food. This process aids the water removal required for microbial growth. Oven drying and using electric dehydrators are modern ways of drying foods.
However, the sun is an important entity in Africa, and it is also important in food preservation. Food crops, especially grains are spread out in the sun after harvested. These sun-dried foodstuffs can last long without infested with microorganisms.
3. Cooling/Freezing :
Freezing is used to alter microbial activities and thus, maintain the duration of fresh, unprocessed foods.
- Temperatures from -1°C to +1°C preserves fresh fish and meat.
- Temperatures from 0°C to +5°C preserves: Pasteurized milk, yogurt, fresh soup, etc
- Temperatures from 0°C to 8°C preserves fully-cooked meats, fruits, and veggies.
Food safety remains a critical factor in the achievement of good health. The inclusion of knowledge of food preservation will certainly help reduce food insecurity and illnesses caused by consuming microorganism-infested foods.
This article was written by Yusuf Shuqrah Oluwadamilola, for healthomy.com