Food is essential for survival. We all found out the hard way during a statewide lockdown, when people panicked and stocked up on necessities in preparation for the unknown. Food preservation isn’t something most people think about. We take it for granted because there are plenty of alternatives until a pandemic strikes. Food preservation has been practised for decades, but it is on the verge of becoming extinct in the modern era. It is a process that allows certain foods to have a longer shelf life by slowing deterioration, edibility, or nutritional content.Food preservation reduces the oxidation of rancid-causing lipids and inhibits the growth of yeast-like bacteria.
Here are five such techniques that you can use in your kitchen.
One of the oldest ways of food preservation is drying. It aids in the removal of liquid from the area in order to avoid bacterial growth. These dried foods are kept out of the water and in an airtight container. We’ve mostly encountered households in India that sundry their food. Papad, red chile, dry fruits, and potato chips are the most common examples.
Sooji/Rava is the only component in Kheer, Kichidi, Halwa, and Upma. Before preparing food, most Indian households prefer to roast the Sooji. This is done to extend the shelf life of the product and maintain it free of pests and worms. It is gathered in an airtight container and used once it has been roasted.
Drying has a subcategory called salting. This method is mostly used on meat and fish to remove any excess moisture or water. One example that is frequently mentioned is dry fish.
Fermentation is used in the preparation of a variety of Indian cuisines. Foods that we consume on a regular basis. Fermentation is a process that involves employing microorganisms such as yeasts or bacteria to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under specific conditions. Curd, sour cream, paneer, and cheese are all made with milk as one of the key ingredients.
Fermented foods include Idli, Dosa, and Dhokla, which are all common and staple foods. Lactobacillus fermented cereals are a type of cereal that helps to prevent mineral deficiencies. Fermented drinks such as Kombucha and Tepache are also well-known.
Canning is the process of boiling prepared food twice while it is stored in a can or container. This operates as a sterilising procedure, eradicating or weakening any remaining microorganisms. The disadvantage of canning is that the food is more likely to spoil once the lid is opened for eating. Although canned foods have a long shelf life, they must be consumed as soon as they are opened. Many Indian homes do not consume canned food. Because of the additional preservatives, which may be damaging to one’s health, it is avoided. Some canned foods include mushrooms, tuna, chickpeas, sweet corn, and cherry tomatoes.
Salt, vinegar, oil, or even acid are used to make pickles. In a very acidic environment, microbes cannot survive. Mangoes, cucumbers, and lemons are brined and salted before being transferred to a vinegar jar. Pickling increases the amount of vitamin B6 in the fruit or vegetable. More spices can be added during consumption, and the dish can be stored for years. In India, pickles are in high demand. Every state is claimed to have ten different pickle varieties. Mango and lemon pickles are two examples of regularly accessible pickles.
Freezing preserves the quality of agricultural products for a long time. Freezing is generally regarded as a better long-term preservation option for fruits and vegetables than canning or drying. Because the water content in frozen vegetables, fruits, or packaged food is frozen, it slows the process of deterioration and limits the growth of bacteria. The vitamin content is not lost after freezing.
Frozen food is slowly but steadily gaining market share in India. And production of the same is on the rise. From frozen vegetables to frozen meat to ready-to-eat momos, there’s something for everyone. However, not every Indian eats frozen food because the majority of them are heavy in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Some people also believe that after it’s frozen, it loses its nutritional value.
There are so many things that you can make and preserve at home. There are some of the Best Indian cuisine in Melbourne that serves you the best of food to satisfy your taste buds. So, try these cuisines and these preservatives at home.