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8.1: Food Preservation

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       Keeping foods at or below a certain temperature can help maintain foods freshness and prevent spoilage from occurring. A more apt way to look at it would actually be that we are slowing down the process of spoilage. However, not all food should be stored within the refrigerator. For example some fresh produce actually keeps better outside of the refrigerator such as potatoes, onions, and oranges. Other produce items do well in the crisper while others do not. Produce high in water such as celery can even be stored in glass containers filled with water to prolong their life. 

    Please visit this informational site from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on all things refrigeration: How To Guide for Refrigeration.

    And this handy guide for which produce to store in the refrigerator and how: Produce storage guide.



    Freezing is a highly effective method for preserving most foods but temperature fluctuations or improper storage containers can lead to freezer burn and food spoilage. 

    For more information about how freezing works and also foods to freeze visit this site: here.



    Canning is a process of food preservation that can extend a foods shelf life from less than one week to over 5 years. Home canning can lead to outbreaks of foodborne illness if not done properly but there is less risk if buying canned goods from the grocery store. It is however important to learn how to identify cans of suspicious safety and you can keep everyone safe by discarding cans that are buliding, dented on the seal, or are covered in rust. 

    To learn more about home canning please visit: Home Canning Basics.


    Drying as a food preservation method works by removing most of the moisture that exists naturally in foods which bacteria need to survive. By removing most of the water we are drastically cutting down biological changes that can occur in the food. 

    For information about drying foods at home please visit: UMN Extension: Guide to Home Drying.


    Fermentation can help prevent spoilage by preserving food through reduction of its water activity. The shared link below is jam packed with information about fermentation that you may find helpful in general but the section on food preservation close to the end is what this section is all about.

    Link to  "How Fermentation Makes Food Taste Good"



    By now you may be sensing a trend. If you want to preserve food you must decrease the amount of water activity. The process of curing does this through the power of salt! To learn more about this process visit this science of cooking article.

    8.1: Food Preservation is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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