Some foods such as fruits and vegetables are available in some season and not in others. Other foods are more abundantly available in some season than in others. So civilized men adopted techniques to preserve such seasonal foods intact for later use. Food preservation methods have been followed by men since times immemorial. Now modern technology has been widely introduced in this branch, by understanding the importance of such food processing methods in human life.
Food preservation has been defined "as the science which deals with the process of prevention of decay or spoilage of food thus allowing it to be stored in a fit condition for future use". It has also been described as the state in which any food may be retained over a period of time without (1) being contaminated by pathogenic organisms or chemicals (2) losing optimum qualities of colour, texture, flavor and nutritive value.
Importance of Food Preservation
Food production and supply does not always tally with the demand or meets of the people. In some places there is surplus production of a food product, whereas in some other place there is inadequate supply. Even foods are perishable and semi-perishable like juicy fruits, vegetables, mangoes, tomato, papaya and many more, which very quickly gets spoilt. It is therefore important to improve and expand facilities for storage and preservation of food. Food preservation helps in:
1. Increasing the self-life of foods thus increasing the supply. So many perishable foods can be preserved for a long time.
2. Making the seasonal food available throughout the year.
3. Adding variety to the diet.
4. Saving time by reducing preparation time and energy, as the food has already been partially processed.
5. Stabilising prices of food, as there is less scope of shortage of supply to demand.
6. Decreasing wastage of food by preventing decay or spoilage of food.
7. Improving the nutrition of the population. Preserved foods help people to bring a variety in the diet, thereby decreasing nutritional inadequacies.