Man’s steady advancement has had huge benefits on the way we eat. Scientific developments have enabled us to grow crops and raise livestock in unfavorable conditions. It has also helped u to devise ways to store the food for long periods it is harvested or slaughtered.
Scientific research has come forth on important information regarding nutrition. We now have many papers discussing the effects of salt, fats, sugar, carbohydrates, and proteins on our bodies. Apart from good health care, improved nutrition is another key factor to increase life span in the developed world.
With the bewildering array of information, there is little doubt that science has continued to have a huge effect. Here are some of the food preservation discoveries that have changed the way we look at and eat food.
Before refrigeration was discovered, people used several methods for preserving food, such as meat or fish. Primary ways of storing food include using salt which stops the growth of bacteria found within food, allowing it to be kept for longer periods. The art of salting can be traced back to the embalming process used by the Egyptians. It can also have its origin in the common use of salt during the Roman period and the Middle Ages. It was regarded as one of the most expensive commodities on earth. Salting is still in use, especially for the production of breakfast staples like bacon.
The discovery of distillation as another way of preserving food is an ancient practice. The roots of distilling can go back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. There are a few other cultures as well that can be traced back to distillation. Some tablets provide textual evidence that an early form of distillation was known to the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia. Early evidence of distillation was also found which indicated that it was tried out by alchemists working in Alexandria, Egypt in the 1st century CE.
Drying is one of the oldest food preservation methods. It is a great way of preserving herbs, fruits, vegetables, and meat. Since the beginning of time, people have used the sun and nature as a preservation technique for removing moisture from food. This practice has been used throughout the world, for example, Southern Italy has been drying tomatoes, while India is known for drying chilies, mangoes, and a host of spices, using the powerful preservation methods of the sun. If you have been using the deliciously sweet and sun-dried tomato, you’ll know just how much flavor this technique can add to them.
Modern life is incomplete without refrigeration, and the discovery of it changed the way we preserve food. Ice was first commercially shipped from New York back in 1799. Over a hundred years later, there were over 2000 ice merchants in the US and iceboxes had reached even the poorest households.
While its primary use was to preserve food for even longer periods of time, it also led to the availability of quality ice. This additional idea resulted in the production of chilled mixed drinks and ultimately in the discovery of the modern cocktail.
Both cans and glass jars are suitable and have been used for canning. It is a method of preserving food that can stop it from spoilage. It includes storing the food in containers that are then sealed hermetically and then sterilized by heat. The process was invented by Nicolas Appert of France in 1809, after a long time. When he discovered the process of canning, he got a call from his government for a means of preserving food to use in the army and navy.
The main difference between pickling and canning is that you just need two things for pickling – salt and acid. Pickling requires you to soak the cucumbers in brine – a solution concentrated with salt. When they have been pickled for the required amount of time, they are fit for consumption. It is rumored that pickles were one of Cleopatra’s hush-hush beauty secrets. Pickling even makes appearances in the Bible and texts of Shakespeare. The method dates back thousands of years, as far in the past as 2030 BC, when cucumbers were native to India and were pickled in the Tigris Valley. The word pickle actually comes from Dutch work ‘pekel’ or northern German word ‘pókel’, which means meaning salt or brine – two important components for the pickling process.
An added benefit of pickling is that it does not change the texture of the food. The vegetables go through the fermentation process which also gives them a vitamin boost, such as that of Vitamin B6.
Now that we know all about the preservation discoveries, it makes us think about how science impacted the food industry.