Refrigerator
Refrigerator

Food preservation

Many processes designed to preserve food involve more than one food preservation method. Preserving fruit by turning it into jam, for example, involves boiling (to reduce the fruitís moisture content and to kill bacteria, etc.), sugaring (to prevent their re-growth) and sealing within an airtight jar (to prevent recontamination). Some traditional methods of preserving food have been shown to have a lower energy input and carbon footprint, when compared to modern methods.
Cooling preserves food by slowing down the growth and reproduction of microorganisms and the action of enzymes that causes the food to rot. The introduction of commercial and domestic refrigerators drastically improved the diets of many in the Western world by allowing food such as fresh fruit, salads and dairy products to be stored safely for longer periods, particularly during warm weather.
The earliest cultures have used sugar as a preservative, and it was commonplace to store fruit in honey. Similar to pickled foods, sugar cane was brought to Europe through the trade routes. In northern climates without sufficient sun to dry foods, preserves are made by heating the fruit with sugar. "Sugar tends to draw water from the microbes (plasmolysis). This process leaves the microbial cells dehydrated, thus killing them. In this way, the food will remain safe from microbial spoilage." Sugar is used to preserve fruits, either in an antimicrobial syrup with fruit such as apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and plums, or in crystallized form where the preserved material is cooked in sugar to the point of crystallization and the resultant product is then stored dry. This method is used for the skins of citrus fruit (candied peel), angelica, and ginger. Also, sugaring can be used in the production of jam and jelly.
Foods have varying degrees of natural protection against spoilage and may require that the final step occur in a pressure cooker. High-acid fruits like strawberries require no preservatives to can and only a short boiling cycle, whereas marginal vegetables such as carrots require longer boiling and addition of other acidic elements. Low-acid foods, such as vegetables and meats, require pressure canning. Food preserved by canning or bottling is at immediate risk of spoilage once the can or bottle has been opened.
National and international expert bodies have declared food irradiation as "wholesome"; organizations of the United Nations, such as the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, endorse food irradiation. Consumers may have a negative view of irradiated food based on the misconception that such food is radioactive; in fact, irradiated food does not and cannot become radioactive. Activists have also opposed food irradiation for other reasons, for example, arguing that irradiation can be used to sterilize contaminated food without resolving the underlying cause of the contamination.[15] International legislation on whether food may be irradiated or not varies worldwide from no regulation to a full ban.