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Refrigeration is a process in which work is done to move heat from one location to another. The work of heat transport is traditionally driven by mechanical work, but can also be driven by heat, magnetism, electricity, laser, or other means. Refrigeration has many applications, including, but not limited to: household refrigerators, industrial freezers, cryogenics, and air conditioning. Heat pumps may use the heat output of the refrigeration process, and also may be designed to be reversible, but are otherwise similar to refrigeration units.
The use of ice to refrigerate and thus preserve food goes back to prehistoric times. Through the ages, the seasonal harvesting of snow and ice was a regular practice of most of the ancient cultures: Chinese, Greeks, Romans, Persians. Ice and snow were stored in caves or dugouts lined with straw or other insulating materials. The Persians stored ice in a pit called a yakhchal. Rationing of the ice allowed the preservation of foods over the warm periods. This practice worked well through the centuries, with icehouses remaining in use into the 20th century.
In the 16th century, the discovery of chemical refrigeration was one of the first steps
Home canning or bottling, also known colloquially as putting up or processing, is the process of preserving foods, in particular, fruits, vegetables, and meats, by packing them into glass jars and then heating the jars to kill the organisms that would create spoilage.
In North America, home canning is usually done in Mason jars, which have thicker walls than single-use commercial glass jars. Unless the food being preserved has a high acid (pH
Pickling, also known as brining or corning, is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar (acetic acid). The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste. In South Asia, edible oils are used as the pickling medium with vinegar.
Another distinguishing characteristic is a pH less than 4.6, which is sufficient to kill most bacteria. Pickling can preserve perishable foods for months. Antimicrobial herbs and spices, such as mustard seed, garlic, cinnamon or cloves, are often added. If the food contains sufficient moisture, a pickling brine may be produced simply by adding dry salt. For example, sauerkraut and Korean kimchi are produced by salting the vegetables to draw out excess water. Natural fermentation at room temperature, by lactic acid bacteria, produces the required acidity. Other pickles are made by placing vegetables in vinegar. Unlike the canning process, pickling (which includes fermentation) does not require that the food be completely sterile before it is sealed. The acidity or salinity of the solution, the temperature
Pascalization, bridgmanization, or high pressure processing (HPP), is a method of preserving and sterilizing food, in which a product is processed under very high pressure, leading to the inactivation of certain microorganisms and enzymes in the food. The technique was named after Blaise Pascal, a French scientist of the 17th century whose work included detailing the effects of pressure on fluids. During pascalization, more than 50,000 pounds per square inch (340 MPa) may be applied for around fifteen minutes, leading to the inactivation of yeast, mold, and bacteria. Pascalization is also known as bridgmanization, named for physicist Percy Williams Bridgman.
Pascalization stops chemical activity caused by microorganisms that play a role in the deterioration of foods. The treatment occurs at low temperatures and does not include the use of food additives. From 1990, some juices, jellies, and jams have been preserved using pascalization in Japan. The technique is now used there to preserve fish and meats, salad dressing, rice cakes, and yogurts. An early use of pascalization in the United States was to treat guacamole. It did not change the guacamole's taste, texture, or color, but
Curing refers to various food preservation and flavoring processes, especially of meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, nitrates, nitrite or sugar. Many curing processes also involve smoking, the process of flavoring, or cooking. The use of food dehydration was the earliest form of food curing.
Food curing dates back to ancient times, both in the form of smoked meat and as salt-cured meat. The Plains Indians used to hang their meat at the top of their teepees to increase the amount of smoke coming into contact with the food. It was discovered in the 1800s that salt mixed with nitrates (saltpeter) would color meats red, rather than grey, and consumers at that time then strongly preferred the red-colored meat.
Table salt (sodium chloride) is the primary ingredient used in meat curing. Removal of water and addition of salt to meat creates a solute-rich environment where osmotic pressure draws water out of microorganisms, retarding their growth. Doing this requires a concentration of salt of nearly 20%. In addition, salt causes the soluble meat proteins to come to the surface of the meat particles within sausages. These proteins coagulate when the sausage is heated,
Drying is a method of food preservation that works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Open air drying using sun and wind has been practiced since ancient times to preserve food. A solar or electric food dehydrator can greatly speed the drying process and ensure more-consistent results. Water is usually removed by evaporation (air drying, sun drying, smoking or wind drying) but, in the case of freeze-drying, food is first frozen and then the water is removed by sublimation. Bacteria, yeasts and molds need the water in the food to grow, and drying effectively prevents them from surviving in the food.
Many different foods are prepared by dehydration. Good examples are meat such as prosciutto (a.k.a. Parma ham), bresaola, and beef jerky. Dried and salted reindeer meat is a traditional Sami food. First the meat is soaked / pickled in saltwater for a couple of days to guarantee the conservation of the meat. Then the meat is dried in the sun in spring when the air temperature is below zero. The dried meat can be further processed to make soup.
Fruits change character completely when dried: the plum becomes a prune, the grape a raisin; figs and
Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering plant materials, most often wood. Meats and fish are the most common smoked foods, though cheeses, vegetables, and ingredients used to make beverages such as whisky, smoked beer, and lapsang souchong tea are also smoked.
In Europe, alder is the traditional smoking wood, but oak is more often used now, and beech to a lesser extent. In North America, hickory, mesquite, oak, pecan, alder, maple, and fruit-tree woods, such as apple, cherry, and plum, are commonly used for smoking. Other fuels besides wood can also be employed, sometimes with the addition of flavoring ingredients. Chinese tea-smoking uses a mixture of uncooked rice, sugar, and tea, heated at the base of a wok. Some North American ham and bacon makers smoke their products over burning corncobs. Peat is burned to dry and smoke the barley malt used to make whisky and some beers. In New Zealand, sawdust from the native manuka (tea tree) is commonly used for hot smoking fish. In Iceland, dried sheep dung is used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton, and whale.
Historically, farms in the Western world included a
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as long as 30 years in an edible state. In 1795 the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food. Nicolas Appert suggested canning and the process was first proven in 1806 in test with the French navy and the prize awarded in 1809 or 1810. The packaging prevents microorganisms from entering and proliferating inside.
To prevent the food from being spoiled before and during containment, a number of methods are used: pasteurisation, boiling (and other applications of high temperature over a period of time), refrigeration, freezing, drying, vacuum treatment, antimicrobial agents that are natural to the recipe of the foods being preserved, a sufficient dose of ionizing radiation, submersion in a strong saline solution, acid, base, osmotically extreme (for example very sugary) or other microbially-challenging environments.
Other than sterilization, no
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol. The science of fermentation is also known as, zymology or zymurgy.
Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desirable, and the process is used to produce alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. Fermentation also is employed in the leavening of bread (CO2 produced by yeast activity); in preservation techniques to produce lactic acid in sour foods such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, kimchi, and yogurt; and in pickling of foods with vinegar (acetic acid).
Natural fermentation precedes human history. Since ancient times, however, humans have been controlling the fermentation process. The earliest evidence of winemaking dates from eight thousand years ago, in Georgia, in the Caucasus area. Seven-thousand-year-old jars containing the remains of wine have been excavated in the Zagros Mountains in Iran, which are now on display at the University of Pennsylvania. There is strong
Irradiation is the process by which an object is exposed to radiation. The exposure can originate from various sources, including natural sources. Most frequently the term refers to ionizing radiation, and to a level of radiation that will serve a specific purpose, rather than radiation exposure to normal levels of background radiation. The term irradiation usually excludes the exposure to non-ionizing radiation, such as microwaves from cellular phones or electromagnetic waves emitted by radio and TV receivers and power supplies.
If administered at appropriate levels, all of these forms of radiation can be used to sterilize objects, a technique used in the production of medical instruments and disposables, such as syringes as well as in the disinfestation and sterilization of food. Small doses of ionizing radiation (electron beam processing, X-rays and gamma rays) may be used to kill bacteria in food, or other organic material, including blood. Irradiation also includes (by the principle) microwave heating. Food irradiation, while effective, is seldom used due to public relations problems.
It is also used in Diagnostic Imaging, cancer therapy and blood transfusion.
Jugging is the process of stewing whole animals, mainly game or fish, for an extended period in a tightly covered container such as a casserole or an earthenware jug.
In French, such a stew of a game animal thickened with the animal's blood is known as a civet.
One common traditional dish that involves jugging is Jugged Hare (known as civet de lièvre in France), which is a whole hare, cut into pieces, marinated and cooked with red wine and juniper berries in a tall jug that stands in a pan of water. It is traditionally served with the hare's blood (or the blood is added right at the very end of the cooking process) and port wine.
Jugged Hare is described in the influential 18th century cookbook, The Art of Cookery by Hannah Glasse, with a recipe titled, "A Jugged Hare," that begins, "Cut it into little pieces, lard them here and there...." The recipe goes on to describe cooking the pieces of hare in water in a jug that is set within a bath of boiling water to cook for three hours. Beginning in the nineteenth century, Glasse has been widely credited with having started the recipe with the words "First, catch your hare," as in this citation. This attribution is apocryphal.
Vacuum packing or vacuum packaging is a method of packaging that removes air from the package prior to sealing. It can involve both rigid and flexible types of packaging. The intent is usually to remove oxygen from the container to extend the shelf life of foods and, with flexible package forms, to reduce the volume of the contents and package.
Vacuum packing reduces atmospheric oxygen, limiting the growth of aerobic bacteria or fungi, and preventing the evaporation of volatile components. It is also commonly used to store of dry foods over a long period of time, foods such as cereals, nuts, cured meats, cheese, smoked fish, coffee, and potato chips (crisps). On a more short term basis, vacuum packing can also be used to store fresh foods, such as vegetables, meats, and liquids, because they inhibit bacterial growth.
Vacuum packing greatly reduces the bulk of non-food items. For example, clothing and bedding can be stored in bags evacuated with a domestic vacuum cleaner or a dedicated vacuum sealer. This technique is sometimes used to compact household waste, for example where a charge is made for each full bag collected.
Vacuum packaging products using plastic bags, canisters,
Freezing or solidification is a phase transition in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point.
All known liquids, except liquid helium, freeze when the temperature is lowered enough. Liquid helium remains liquid at atmospheric pressure even at absolute zero, and can be solidified only under pressure. For most substances, the melting and freezing points are the same temperature; however, certain substances possess differing solid–liquid transition temperatures. For example, agar displays a hysteresis in its melting and freezing temperatures. It melts at 85 °C (185 °F) and solidifies from 31 °C to 40 °C (89.6 °F to 104 °F).
Most liquids freeze by crystallization, formation of crystalline solid from the uniform liquid. This is a first-order thermodynamic phase transition, which means that, as long as solid and liquid coexist, the equilibrium temperature of the system remains constant and equal to the melting point. Crystallization consists of two major events, nucleation and crystal growth. Nucleation is the step wherein the molecules start to gather into clusters, on the nanometer scale, arranging in a defined and periodic manner that
Fruit preserves are preparations of fruits, vegetables and sugar, often canned or sealed for long-term storage. The preparation of fruit preserves today often involves adding commercial or natural pectin as a gelling agent, although sugar or honey may be used, as well. Before World War II, fruit preserve recipes did not include pectin, and many artisan jams today are made without pectin. The ingredients used and how they are prepared determine the type of preserves; jams, jellies and marmalades are all examples of different styles of fruit preserves that vary based upon the ingredients used.
Many varieties of fruit preserves are made globally, including sweet fruit preserves, such as strawberry, as well as savoury preserves of culinary vegetables, such as tomatoes or squash. In North America, the plural form "preserves" is used to describe all types of jams and jellies. In British and Commonwealth English most fruit preserves are simply called jam, with the singular preserve being applied to high fruit content jam, often for marketing purposes. Additionally, the name of the type of fruit preserves will also vary depending on the regional variant of English being used.
A chutney is
Modified atmosphere is the practice of modifying the composition of the internal atmosphere of a package (commonly food packages, drugs, etc.) in order to improve the shelf life.
The modification process often tries to lower the amount of oxygen (O2), moving it from 20.9% to 0%, in order to slow down the growth of aerobic organisms and the speed of oxidation reactions. The removed oxygen can be replaced with nitrogen (N2), commonly acknowledged as an inert gas, or carbon dioxide (CO2), which can lower the pH or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Carbon monoxide can be used for keeping the red color of meat.
Re-balancing of gases inside the packaging can be achieved using active techniques such as gas flushing and compensated vacuum or passively by designing “breathable” films known as equilibrium modified atmosphere packaging (EMAP). Packets containing scavengers may be used.
Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CAS) was used already In the 1930s when ships transporting fruits had high levels of CO2 in their holding rooms, thus increasing the shelf-life of the product. In the 1970s MA packages reached the stores when bacon and fish were sold in retail packs in Mexico. Since then the