Sterilization, pasteurization, canning and preserving
Module 3, Unit 4, Level: Basic
Preserves and canned products
Sterilization, pasteurization, canned food, preserved food, temperature, heat
The application of high temperatures is one of the most used methods to preserve food.
The main benefit of thermal sterilization, pasteurization, preserving and canning processes is to increase the shelf life of the food, which can be extended for several years, essentially maintaining its organoleptic characteristics (texture, appearance, nutrients) and ensuring safety, if all good practices in terms of food processing and container sanitation are followed.
These preservation processes offer great advantages for the consumer: diversity of flavors, aromas and presentation, versatility, possibility of consuming the food immediately or at any time of year, durability, saving time and money, easy storage and transportation.
Moreover, food products subject to these processes keep their nutritional value almost unchanged. Canned fish, for example, can be a very interesting option, given its protein, vitamin and mineral content.
Likewise, the use of liquid or sauce involving a preserved or canned food can often be used for other complementary purposes (for example, water resulting from cooking chickpeas can be used to prepare a vegan mayonnaise).
The thermal processes of food preservation also contribute to reduce food waste.
Milk and dairy products (yoghurt, cheese, soft cheese);
Fish and seafood (tuna, mackerel, sardines, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, cod, shrimp, shellfish, eels);
Processed meat (pâtés);
Fruit in jelly or jam (peach, apple, pear, fig, pineapple, cherry, plum, blueberry, quince, pumpkin, olive, capers);
Vegetables (tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, cucumbers, peppers, artichokes);
Legumes (chickpeas, beans, lentils, lupines, peas, broad beans);
Ensuring the safety of sterilization, pasteurization, preserving and canning processes is mandatory, complying with food safety standards, including the quality of raw materials.
Therefore, we should:
- sanitize and properly prepare food (for example, slicing or dividing into equal portions);
- check the good conditions of the container, discarding packages that have a broken or deformed appearance, as they can deteriorate or even compromise the quality and safety of the food;
- completely fill the container where the preserved or canned food is placed to minimize the presence of oxygen;
- store preserves and canned food in cool and airy places;
- after opening a canned food, consume it as soon as possible; if there are remains, they should not be stored in a metal container;
- after opening a jar with a preserved food, we must always use clean utensils at each use;
- read the labels carefully and comply with the recommendations, taking into account that, depending on the ingredients used for preserving the food, its durability may vary.