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Food Preservation Through Temperature

Food preservation is an action or a method of maintaining foods at a desired level of
properties or nature
for their maximum benefits. In general, each step of handling, processing, storage, and
affects the characteristics of food, which may be desirable or undesirable. Thus,
understanding the effects
of each preservation method and handling procedure on foods is critical in food
preservation.Temperature is very important factor affecting quality of food.It can be
used effectively in controling long time safety and quality assurance of food.
Following are some methods of food preservation relating to temperature adjustment.


heat-treatment process that destroys pathogenic microorganisms in certain foods and

beverages. It is named for the French scientist Louis Pasteur, who in the 1860s
demonstrated that abnormal fermentation of wine and beer could be prevented by heating
the beverages to about 57° C (135° F) for a few minutes. Pasteurization of milk, widely
practiced in several countries, notably the United States, requires temperatures of about
63° C (145° F) maintained for 30 minutes or, alternatively, heating to a higher
temperature, 72° C (162° F), and holding for 15 seconds (and yet higher temperatures for
shorter periods of time). The times and temperatures are those determined to be
necessary to destroy the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other more heat-resistant of
the non-spore-forming, disease-causing microorganisms found in milk. The treatment
also destroys most of the microorganisms that cause spoilage and so prolongs the
storage time of food.
Ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurization involves heating milk or cream to 138°to
150° C (280° to 302° F) for one or two seconds. Packaged in sterile, hermetically sealed
containers, UHT milk may be stored without refrigeration for months. Ultrapasteurized
milk and cream are heated to at least 138° C for at least two seconds, but because of
less stringent packaging they must be refrigerated. Shelf life is extended to 60–90 days.
After opening, spoilage times for both UHT and ultrapasteurized products are similar to
those of conventionally pasteurized products.

Pasteurization of some solid foods involves a mild heat treatment, the exact definition of
which depends on the food. Radiation pasteurization refers to the application of small
amounts of beta or gamma rays to foods to increase their storage time.


Cooked food is food that has been changed in various ways by heat treatment. The
heat may be applied
in a number of ways; it may be dry or moist, or it may be applied by means of fat or by
infrared radiation.

Dry-Heat Method

When food is cooked in an oven it is said to be baked. Baking is a rather slow method of
cooking, but it has the advantage that large quantities of food can be cooked evenly.
Sometimes the food to be cookedis put into the oven in a container containing a little fat;
food cooked in this way is said to be roasted.
Meat and potatoes are the foods most often cooked by roasting. Cooking temperatures
used in an ovenvary from below 100°C (very slow) to about 260°C (very hot). Broiling is
another method of applying dry heat. The food to be broiled is placed beneath a red-hot
source of heat, usually a glowing metal grid.
Radiant heat is directed onto the surface of the food, which is rapidly heated. Broiling
heat is applied to the top surface of the food, and the food should be turned from time to
time. Infrared grilling makes use of heat rays that have longer wavelengths than visible
light. Some of the radiation used in normal grilling is of this kind, but in infrared cookery
the proportion of infrared radiation is much increased, and this reduces cooking time to
such an extent that a steak, for example, may be cooked in a minute.

Moist-Heat Method

Although cooking with water involves using low temperatures, it is a relatively quick
method of cooking because water has a great capacity for holding heat and for
transferring this heat rapidly to food by means of convection. In moist-heat cooking,
food is heated by either water or steam.Boiling uses boiling water; simmering uses
water near, but below, the boiling point and is similar to both stewing (for meat and
juice)and poaching (for fish). Boil-in-the-bag cooking uses boiling water indirectly, but
because the food is sealed in the bag this method prevents loss of flavor and soluble
nutrients into the cooking water.In steaming, steam is used directly to heat the food or
indirectly to heat the container. Although steaming is slower than boiling, cooking may
be sped up by the use of a pressure cooker, in which steam is produced
at higher than normal pressure. The increase in pressure raises the temperature at
which water boils, so the cooking temperature is increased and the cooking time is
In essence, a pressure cooker is a pot with a well-fitting lid arranged so that steam can
be safely generated under pressure. The pot and lid lock together by means of a groove
to make the cooker pressure tight. The food to be cooked and the required amount of
water are put into the pot, which is then closed.
When the closed pot is heated, air is driven out through the air vent until the cooker is
full of steam. In pressure cookers with a pressure indicator, the vent then closes and
pressure builds up to the value required. Slow heating alone is then needed to maintain
this pressure, which is shown by the pressure indicator. Should the pressure rise too
much, steam automatically escapes through the air vent. The fusible plug is a second
safety device; this will melt if the cooker overheats or boils dry.


In frying, food is cooked in hot fat. Fat has a much higher boiling point than water and
can be heated almost to its boiling point without smoking. Frying is a quick method of
cooking because of the high temperature used. In shallow frying, a shallow pan is used
and enough fat is added to cover the bottom of the pan.
Although such a method is quick, heating of the food is uneven and it should be turned
from time to time.
Lard, drippings, and vegetable oils (e.g., olive oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil, often
blended together) are best for shallow frying. In deep frying, a deep pan and plenty of
fat are used, so that when the food is added it is completely covered by the fat, which is
very hot. Temperatures between 150°C and 200°C are usually used, and the
temperature of the fat may be checked with a thermometer. Such a method is quick and
the food is cooked evenly on all sides. Refined vegetable oils or cooking fats, which are
made by hardening a blend of vegetable, animal, and marine oils, are best for deep

Method of food preservation by low temperature

Refrigeration Temperatures typically between 45 – 32°F (7.2 – 0°C). Preferably

below 38°F.
Refrigeration or cold storage of food is a gentle method of food preservation. It has
minimum adverse effects on the taste, texture, and the nutritional value of foods. It must
be kept in mind, however, that refrigeration has a limited contribution towards
preserving food. For most foods, we can expect refrigeration to extend the shelf-life by a
few days. In many cases, refrigeration is not the sole means of preserving the food.
Refrigeration temperature is a key factor in predicting the length of the storage period.
For example, meat will last 6-10 days at 0° C, one day at 22° C and less than one day
at 38° C. Household refrigerators are usually run at 4.7 -7°C. Commercial refrigerators
are operated at a slightly lower temperature. On an average day, the room temperature
is 25° C, so the longer you leave food on the kitchen counter, the sooner it will spoil.
Most spoilage microorganisms prefer warmer temperatures, but there are a group of
microorganisms called psychrophilic which will grow at refrigerated temperatures.

Refrigeration and freezing are used on almost all foods: meats, fruits, vegetables,
beverages, etc. In general, refrigeration has no effect on a food’s taste or texture.
Freezing has no effect on the taste or texture of most meats, has minimal effects on
vegetables, but often completely changes fruits (which become mushy). Refrigeration’s
minimal effects account for its wide popularity.
Chilling is a processing technique in which the temperature of a food is reduced
and kept at a temperature between –1°C and 8°C. The objective of cooling and chilling
is to reduce the rate of biochemical and microbiological changes in foods, in order to
extend the shelflife of fresh and processed foods, or to maintain a certain temperature in

food process, e.g. in the fermentation and treatment of beer. Cooling is also used to
promote a change of state of aggregation, e.g. crystallization. In the wine industry,
cooling (chilling) is applied to clarify the must before fermentation. The objective of cold
stabilization is to obtain the precipitation of tartrates (in wines) or fatty acids (in spirits)
before bottling.

Field of application

-1° C to + 1°C (fresh fish, meats, sausages and ground meats, smoked meats and fish)
0°C to + 5°C (pasteurized canned meat, milk and milk products, prepared salads, baked
goods, pizzas, unbaked dough and pastry)
0°C to + 8°C (fully cooked meats and fish pies, cooked or uncooked cured meats,
butter, margarine, cheese and soft fruits)
8°C to 12°C in the wine industry. The must is kept at this temperature between 6 and 24
In food processing, method of preserving food by lowering the temperature to inhibit
microorganism growth. The method has been used for centuries in cold regions, and a
patent was issued in Britain as early as 1842 for freezing food by immersion in an ice and
salt brine.

Except for beef and venison, which benefit from an aging process, meat is frozen as
promptly as possible after slaughter, with best results at temperatures of 0 °F (− 18 °C) or
lower. Fruits are frozen in a syrup or dry sugar pack to exclude air and prevent both
oxidation and desiccation.

Principles of Freezing

Does not sterilize food.

Extreme cold (0oF or -18oC colder):
Stops growth of microorganisms and
Slows chemical changes, such as enzymatic reactions.
Freezing is the unit operation in which the temperature of a food is reduced below its
freezing point and a proportion of the water undergoes a change in state to form ice
crystals. The immobilization of water to ice and the resulting concentration of dissolved
solutes in unfrozen water lower the water activity (aw) of the food
Preservation is achieved by a combination of low temperatures, reduced water activity
and, in some foods, pre-treatment by blanching.
Methods of freezing

Freezing techniques

The use of cold air blasts or other low temperature gases coming in contact with the
food, e.g. blasts, tunnel, fluidized bed, spiral, belt freezers.
Indirect contact freezing, e.g. plate freezers, where packaged foods or liquids are
brought into contact with metal surfaces (plate, cylinders) cooled by circulating
refrigerant (multi-plate freezers).
Direct immersion of the food into a liquid refrigerant, or spraying liquid refrigerant over
the food (e.g. liquid nitrogen, and freon, sugar or salt solutions).


AIR FREEZING – Products frozen by either “still” or “blast” forced air.

Cheapest (investment)
“still” slowest, more changes in product
“blast” faster, more commonly used
INDIRECT CONTACT – Food placed in direct contact with cooled metal surface.

Relatively faster
More expensive
DIRECT CONTACT – Food placed in direct contact with refrigerant (liquid nitrogen,
“green” Freon, carbon dioxide snow)

freeze individual food particles