Traditional Ways to Preserve Food

Tropical preserves. Fruit preserves. Jam and jellies. Whatever you fancy calling it, the sure thing is you will never run out of options. Try flavors such as mango, banana, raspberry, strawberry, or grapes. Fruit spreads are the tangy, sweet and delectable delights that boost our energy in the mornings. Put your preferred amount on a piece of bread and prepare yourself for a burst of goodness. Before this article turns into an advertising piece, let us go back to the subject matter.

The creation of a wide variety of jams, jellies, and preserves did not originate out of boredom. It is one of the food preservation techniques invented by our ancestors. Almost any produce goods could be preserved, which started from the Pleistocene period. A time where a freezer or to be specific, electricity wasn’t invented yet. Our ancestors were mostly travelers and warriors, and the need for long-lasting food is necessary for them to survive the harsh weather and surroundings. So they thought of indigenous and sometimes, crude ways to preserve food for later consumption. We still apply some of these today, such as:

Freezing or Refrigeration

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The principle lies in this method is the colder the food, the slower the bacteria or harmful microorganisms to breed or live. First practiced mainly in Europe around the Middle Ages, where extreme Scandinavian winters were experienced.

Exclude Air

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Specifically oxygen. A sealed container prevents the entry and growth of bacteria. This is possible thru canning or vacuum treatment. Usually, the food must be boiled first as this preserves the food as well.

Drying

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Any produce goods such as fish, meat or fruit exposed under the sun or heated inside an oven reduces moisture in the food thus prevents bacterial growth.

Curing or Salt

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A Salt is a natural moist absorber and stops the proliferation of bacteria in a salt-laden food. Since the ancient times, the Romans and Mesopotamians used this natural food preservative.

Pickling

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This is the process of soaking or submerging food in a liquid solution such as vinegar or brine and often mixed with other spices or herbs. The now processed food is stored in an airtight bottle or jar, another food preservation method.

Smoking or Roasting

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The oldest form of food preservation. How old? Since men discovered fire, so it was in the Early Stone Age, approximately 800,000 B.C. They knew eating raw food is unhealthy.

After they learned cooking meat or fish over a pit of hot twigs, dry leaves or stones, it became a popular cooking method.

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