Preservation of Foods Can Be Done In A Healthful Manner
Unprocessed foods are the purist source of high quality nutrients we can feed our bodies. This is because modern processing removes the natural ingredients, often replacing them artificially.
It is in your natural, fresh foods that you will find the highest nutrient levels, as well as the best flavour. Another advantage to natural foods is they don’t come pumped with artificial preservatives. Yes, that means a shorter shelf life due to their vulnerability to microorganisms that cause chemical reactions that bring about deterioration.
Included among these microorganisms are bacteria and enzymes, yeast and fungi. This is your basis Biology 101. It is a simple chemical reaction that breaks down the tissues of this produce, causing decay.
The simple solution in avoiding this decay is to eat it on a daily basis. Modern nutritional experts have determined we require 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to maintain proper health.
If we are sticking to that regiment, any produce in our possession is being eaten long before the process of decay sets in. The only advantage to processing and preserving foods through artificial means is a financial one. It will give products a longer shelf life.
The downside is they have created food for our consumption that is unhealthy and even dangerous due to the chemicals and additives used in this preservation process.
Processed foods also contain excessive amounts of salt and sugar that overwork our kidneys and liver. Add to that modern day food preparation practices, including exposure to excessive heat and radiation, growth hormones, and selling vegetables precut and washed, a practice that depletes much of the nutritional value of these foods.
The moral of this sad story is to eat natural, fresh foods, preferably organically grown whenever possible.
But there are healthy ways to preserve food that do not involve the use of chemical additives. One of these is freezing. Nutritionists have long maintained that frozen food is healthier than canned.
Freezing retains many of the vitamins and minerals lost through canning. What may be lost, however, is a degree of flavour and colour. If freezing fruit or vegetables at home, make sure to use the freshest product possible in order to retain as many nutrients as you can.
As freezing prevents decay, once the frozen product is thawed, that chemical breakdown and deterioration will begin. So don’t thaw your food until you are ready to use it.
There are several other natural methods of food preservation including pickling, salting and drying. Pickled vegetables are very good for a person’s health, aiding in digestion.
As for drying, this process is accomplished by means of low heat, which over a period of time (from eight to twenty-four hours, depending upon the product) dehydrates the fruit, vegetable or meat that is being processed.
I mention meat, as many enjoy making jerky through this dehydrating process. It does, however, require the adding of salt or soy sauce. Just about any fruit can be dried in this way.
The more water content, the longer the drying process, so for something like pineapple, for instance, you can expect a much longer drying period than for cranberries, cherries or apricots.
After you have dried your food items, they must be covered and stored in an air tight container to prevent moisture from being introduced and, with it, the possibility of mould.
If you detect evidence of mould in your dried foodstuffs, it should be thrown away. It’s not enough to just cut off the mouldy part as the mould has roots that may be invisible to the eye but still a health threat.
Dehydrated food is also sweeter, as all the water has been removed, leaving a concentration of sweet pulp. An example of this would be to compare the sweetness of a raisin (dried) to a grape.
The preservation of our food can be done in a healthy, safe manner without the need of dangerous chemical additives. You will reap the rewards for your efforts in the enjoyment of good health.