Storage, Preservation and Processing of Farm Produce

Adeyeba Alice Olunike


Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or greatly slow down spoilage (loss of quality, edibility or nutritive value) caused or accelerated by micro-organisms. Some methods, however, use benign bacteria, yeasts or fungi to add specific qualities and to preserve food. Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavor is important in preserving its value as food. This is culturally dependent, as what qualifies as food fit for humans in one culture may not qualify in  another culture.

Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacterial, fungi and other micro-organisms as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which causes rancidity. It also includes process to inhibit natural ageing and discolouration that can occur during food preparation such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples which causes browning when apples are cut. Some preservation methods require the food to be sealed after treatment to prevent recontamination with microbes; others such as drying, allow food to be stored without any special containment for long periods.

Food preservation refers to any one of a number of techniques used to prevent food from spoiling. All food begin to spoil as soon as they are harvested or slaughtered, some spoiling is caused by such micro-organisms as bacterial and mold. Other spoilage results from chemical changes within the food itself due to natural process such as enzyme action or oxidation. For thousands of years humans have used methods of preserving food, so that they can store food to eat later. The simplest methods of preserving food, such as drying strips of fish or meat in the hot sun have been used for thousands of years and they are still used in the 2000s by indigenous people.

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