Q:

Why do we preserve food?

A:

Quick Answer

According to HowStuffWorks, food preservation slows down the activity of disease-causing bacteria or kills bacteria in food altogether. Preserving food keeps it from spoiling too quickly, allowing it to last for weeks or even months longer than it does normally.

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Why do we preserve food?
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Full Answer

Popular methods of preserving food include freezing, canning, dehydrating and salting. These preservation methods inhibit the growth of bacteria by either eliminating moisture from foods or removing the oxygen that harmful bacteria needs to survive and thrive, according to About.com's Bethany Moncel. Without these preservation methods, food grows bacteria, fungus and yeast, and it starts to degrade.

Another popular method of preserving food is fermenting, notes Moncel. This method is not only used to make food last longer, but it also gives food a unique flavor. Fermentation is a controlled preservation process in which the food spoils slightly, but the type of microorganisms produced help keep harmful bacteria from thriving. Examples of fermented foods include beer, yogurt, vinegar, cheese, wine and ketchup.

Eating fermented foods can also benefit health. According to the Mayo Clinic, dairy products, vinegar, and sauerkraut produce beneficial bacteria during fermentation, and this bacteria can increase energy absorption and cause the amount of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract to multiply.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do pasteurization and canning help preserve food?

    A:

    Both pasteurization and canning work to kill dangerous microorganisms in food, including bacteria, yeast and mold. Pasteurization boils the food directly, most often milk, whereas the canning method requires the food to be placed in an airtight container before boiling it in either a water bath or pressure canner.

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  • Q:

    What is a food that does not spoil?

    A:

    Honey is a food that doesn't spoil, according to Smithsonian.com. Several factors aid in this ability, including its high sugar and low moisture content, which work together to form an environment that is inhospitable to bacteria.

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  • Q:

    What causes milk to spoil?

    A:

    Milk becomes spoiled because of the bacteria present in it. When milk is pasteurized, some but not all of the bacteria in it is killed, and the bacteria that remain eventually cause pasteurized milk to spoil.

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  • Q:

    Why does food rot?

    A:

    When food is slaughtered or harvested, its animal or plant tissue begins to decay. Without these tissues, microorganisms, such as molds, yeasts and spoilage bacteria, eat away at foods and cause the spoiling process. Other causes of spoilage include piercing or bruising of fruits or vegetables, oxidation, pest infestation and adulteration through the addition of leftover ingredients to fresh food.

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