Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Curing: Preservation process of food

Postharvest technology is concerned with handling, preservation, and storage of harvested foods, and maintaining its original integrity, freshness, and quality. The methods of preservation depend on the origin of foods—particularly whether they are of plant or animal origin.

The basic concept in curing of foods like meat, fishes and vegetables is to reduce the moisture contents by osmosis process. When moisture contents in any food are much low, there are much lesser chances of getting microbial infection and subsequently growth.

Curing is also done for flavoring. It is done by adding salt, nitrates, sugar, nitrites in combinations which are capable of dehydrating the food. Higher salt used for curing also dehydrates bacteria resulting in their killing.

For crops, curing is a postharvest healing process of the outer tissues of root crops by the development of a wound periderm by application of heat.

The purposes of curing are
*to heal wounds of tubers and bulbs sustained during harvesting,
*to strengthen the skin,
*to dry superficial leaves, such as onion bulbs to prevent microbial infection during storage and distribution,
*to develop desired skin color (onion),
*to reduce water loss during storage in potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassavas, yams, onions, and garlic.

In term of meat process, curing is the treatment of meat with preservative chemicals that restrict or prevent the growth of spoilage bacteria and food poisoning bacteria. It is used together with processes that use heat, smoke or low temperatures to give the required shelf life of cured meats. Meat can be defined as the edible flesh of a number of species of mammal or bird, both wild and domesticated.

The cure ingredients can be rubbed on to the food surface, mixed into foods dry (dry curing), or dissolved in water (brine, wet, or pickle curing). In the latter processes, the food is submerged in the brine until completely covered. With large cuts of meat, brine may also be injected into the muscle.
Curing: Preservation process of food

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