Commonly Used Food Processing Methods

By | April 14, 2018

Food processing is not at all a new concept. It is practiced since ages. History of food processing is basically the transformation process of raw ingredients into food or food into other forms. It dates back to the prehistoric age when crude processing including various types of cooking, such as roasting, smoking, steaming, fermenting, sun drying and preserving with salt were in practice. Food processing has slowly evolved from a mere avocation to a giant growing sector around the world. Find Out What Food Processing Methods is all about but let us first understand as to what exactly food processing means!

Food Processing Methods

Food Processing Methods | Discoverfoodtech.com

What is Food Processing?

Food processing is a set of methods and techniques that transform raw ingredients into food or food into other forms. They are fit for consumption by humans or animals either in the domestic and industrial level. It typically uses clean, harvested crops or slaughtered animal products and others to produce attractive, marketable, and often long-life food products. Modern food processing technology largely developed in the 19th and 20th century.

Pros and Cons Of Processing

Food, as we all know, is perishable in nature. The benefits of processing the food include:

  • increase in shelf-life of the food,
  • marketability
  • protection from pathogenic microbes and toxic substances
  • regular supply around the year
  • ease of preparation by the consumer

While it does the above few good things to food, here are some ill-effects of processing:

  • reduction in the nutritional value
  • the inclusion of additives may have adverse health effects

Now let us have a look at some of the food processing methods

Drying

One of the oldest method that humans have been and still are using. The only change has come in the way(equipment) food products are dried. Drying is basically reducing the water or moisture content in the product. Hence reducing the favorable conditions for the bacteria to grow and spoil the food product. It is mainly performed to extend the shelf life. Food products can be dried with the application of heat (vacuum dried, tray dried, heat pump dried etc.) or cold temperatures (freeze-dried).

Related Read: Freeze Drying In Detail

 Food Processing Methods

Freeze Dried Foods | Food Processing Methods | Image Source – Indiamart.com

Fermentation

Fermentation is a food preservation and value addition process for food products. It is the action of microorganisms on food in a controlled and suitable environment. Fermentation process preserves the food with the production of acid or alkali with the introduction of characteristic flavor, hence increasing its shelf life as well as marketability. Various factors such as temperature, type of microbe, oxygen, pH etc affect this process.

Sugaring

Sugaring is a processing cum preservation method generally used for fruits such as peaches, plums, pineapple etc. Suitably sized fruit pieces are either cooked with sugar or a dipped in sugar syrup and sterilized with the help of sterilization process.

Pasteurization

Pasteurization is a processing method that is applied to mainly milk. A mild heat treatment about 72 degrees centigrade for 15 sec is applied and then the milk or the food product is cooled to a temperature of 4 degrees. This time and temperature combination is called High-Temperature Short Time (HTST) pasteurization. Such conditions are enough for the inactivation of microbes with minimal change in nutritive value and sensory characteristics.

Pickling

Usually, the food is cooked or soaked in chemicals that play a role in the destruction of microorganisms. These include brine (salt and water solution), vinegar, ethanol vegetable oil etc. It’s generally practiced for vegetables like cabbage, pepper or raw mangoes. The factors that control the pickling process is temperature, moisture, pH etc.

Food Processing Methods

Pickling Of Vegetables | Food Processing Methods | Image Source – epicurious.com

Freezing

Frozen foods are currently in great demand. With this food processing technique now you can enjoy fries, paranthas, chicken nuggets etc in a just a few minutes. Freezing process increases the shelf life of the food products and inhibiting the growth of most of the bacterial species. It is carried out via two processes: mechanical and cryogenic or flash freezing (using liquid nitrogen at -196 to -320 degrees Fahrenheit).

Related Read: Read About Quick And Slow Freezing Process Of Food

Food Extrusion

Extrusion is increasingly becoming important in manufacturing products like pasta, ready-to-eat cereals, snacks, pet foods, sausages and much more. An extruder is used as the machine for this processing technique. It consists of a large, rotating screw tightly fitted within a stationary barrel, at the end of which is the die (a tool used for cutting material using a press). A set of mixed ingredients are forced through an opening into the extruder with a design specific and is then cut into a specific shape and size by the blades present. Extrusion process makes mass production convenient, efficient and continuous process, ensuring greater uniformity in the final product.

Food Processing Methods

Food Extrusion Technology | Discoverfoodtech.com

Related Read: Food Extrusion In Detail

Reference

http://foodprocessinghistory.blogspot.in/2011/03/ancient-food-preservation.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Food_processing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frozen_food

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_extrusion