Food is so important for the survival, so food preservation is one of the oldest technologies used by human beings to avoid its spoilage.
Why Food Preservation?
01. To retain appearance of food
02. To enhance shelf life
03. To retain crispiness, flavour and colour of food product
With the evolutionary changes, the food processers have been looking at using salt, plants and their extracts as potential means to food preservation. Here are 10 potential natural alternatives to some chemical preservatives.
Australian Kakadu Plum
Edible fruits such as the kakadu plum are making way into the seafood industry. Kakadu plums can improve shelf life and help retain the colour of shrimp. Australian researchers demonstrated that kakadu plum has produced a shelf life of up to 21 days.
As a replacement of synthetic antioxidants (such as E320), studies are demonstrating the potential of plant extracts, such as rosemary, to act as free radical scavengers and prevent oil and fats from going rancid. It can be used to preserve meat products, snack foods, biscuits, cakes, and confectionary products.
Salt is the most oldest and effective natural preservative. Salt can preserve meat, fish & vegetables. Brine prepared with salt and water is used to preserve meat.
Pickling, which is the process of preserving vegetables with vinegar, allows fresh vegetables, fruit and even eggs to last several months. For instance, vinegar along with cultured celery juice and cherry powder can be used to preserve smoke turkey breast.
“Acetic acid in vinegar kills the bacteria that spoil food and the acidity creates an environment they can’t survive in.Most traditional pickling solutions use vinegar, water, salt and sugar.”
In a study published in 2010, when compared to dill, parsley and green pepper, cayenne pepper showed the strongest antimicrobial activity against yeast, mold and other bacteria on Kareishcheese. Chili peppers have even been proposed as an alternative to chemical preservatives in the food industry. For instance, chile pepper along with garlic powder and other spices can be used to preserve RTC pasta.
Natamycin, a natural mould inhibitor, is used to preserve cream cheese, cottage cheeses, sour cream, yogurt and other dairy products.
One of the earliest plant antimicrobial agents described is the liquid extract and vapors of garlic. It can also be added to soups, sauces and pastes as a preservative.
Thyme extract is another natural preservative that can be used for food preservation. It can extend the shelf life of raw meat that is prone to unsaturated fatty acid lipid oxidation. It can also be added to instant soups as a flavoring agent and a natural preservative. For e.g: Mushroom Soup with Thyme extract.
The primary component in oregano that is responsible for its antimicrobial activity is carvacrol. The rancidity of meat products may be lowered by adding oregano oil. It can be added to instant soups and sauces as a natural preservative.
Propolis is a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of poplar and cone-bearing trees. The majority of propolis components are of phenolic nature, mainly flavonoids. It can be used as a natural preservative in meat products and other food products.