Pickles and Other Preserved Foods

Pickling is just one of the many ways of preserving food. Historically, early records show that people first preserved their food during the war. This is necessary to maintain food supply. Today, we preserve food, fruits and vegetables to avoid spoilage, to keep them fresh and to still enjoy them even when they’re out of season. Preserving food also makes it more tasty, adding more flavors and even texture to the food.

In pickling, vegetables are soaked in brine and vinegar solution for a day or more and placed in a tightly sealed jar. The solution is first brought to a boil and then poured over the vegetables. Cucumber is the most common vegetable used. Sometimes, to produce a half-sour taste, no vinegar is used in pickling food.

Another method in preserving food is drying. By evaporating water content in food, this reduces bacterial activity usually conducive in moist environments. Dried fish and meat are some examples. Dried raisins and mangoes are some snack treats that are preserved using this process.

Freezing is a method of preserving food by preventing microbial growth using extreme cold temperatures. Meat, fish and sometimes also vegetables such as peas are frozen to maintain their freshness. Refrigeration also slows down food spoilage but do not preserve the food in its edible state for a long time. Fruits and vegetables are refrigerated to keep them fresh for a few more days.

Using sugar to preserve food is one very tasty of doing it. Cooking the food in heavily sweetened syrup creates a condition unfavorable for bacterial survival. Fruit jams and jellies use this method of preservation. So almost any fruit can be enjoyed even when they are not in season. Strawberries, mangoes, oranges, peaches and many other fruits that were used to be enjoyed only once a year can now be tasted year-long in jams or jellies. One type of this method is glazing where fruits are coated with sugary syrup but is extracted from the syrup. Apples and cherries are some examples of glazed fruits.

Smoking fish and meat can also preserve them. Heat from the smoke dehydrates the food thus reducing conduciveness for bacterial growth. This method also makes the food tasty by giving it a varied aroma and sometimes spices are also added in the preservation process.

Using fat can also preserve food for a day or two. Frying fish and meat for example extends its edibility. And there is also a method of preserving meat called potting where meat is set in a pot and sealed with a layer of fat. Potted liver is an example.

There are many more ways of preserving food. Knowing what is the best method to use for a particular food stuff helps in avoiding food spoilage. Food can be recycled and even common food can be made interesting and more tasty. Preserving food using different types of methods also offers a range of taste and variety to the food making it more enjoyable and sometimes even more nutritious.