Food Processing Explained
With today’s elaborate grocery stores and food markets, it’s hard to imagine how our food looks before it’s packaged and sold in stores. At any given point, we can choose from boxed, canned, cooked, grown, or fresh food to have in our homes. While that is not a luxury everyone can afford, we have advancements in food processing to thank for that. When most people think of food processing, they think of Twinkies and candy. But not all food processing is bad.
Food processing is the process of transforming fresh food into consumable options. There are quite a few different ways to process food depending on the purpose of the end product. Some of the more popular processes are canning, fermentation, and freezing.
It may not seem like it, but an apple can be processed in quite a few different ways. It can be sliced, dried, or made into juice, sauce, or jam. The possibilities are endless for just a simple apple. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of food processing methods and each type of food grade pump used in the process.
Canning is most commonly used to preserve the freshness of fruits and vegetables, as well as extend their shelf life. To can produce, it must be stored in an airtight container so it can be carefully sterilized by hot water. The process of pasteurization is then used to rapidly heat the canned items and then dramatically drop the temperature to cool the produce. Pasteurization kills any microorganisms that could be harmful for humans to ingest. Once the canning process is complete, the canned items make their way to your local grocery store. Canning helps products last longer in your kitchen, canned is cheaper than fresh produce, canned produce typically contains more antioxidants, and it reduces food waste. A GP 275 lobe food grade pump is the ideal pump for canning for a smooth application and quiet operation.
Fermentation is mainly associated with the production of alcoholic drinks like beer and wine, but it is also used for non-alcoholic drinks like apple cider and kombucha. Fermentation can also be used to preserve food such as sauerkraut, dry sausages, and yogurt. The fermentation process begins when sugar is broken down by bacteria, yeast, or other microorganisms under anaerobic conditions. Anaerobic conditions happen when there is no oxygen present. A double diaphragm sanitary food grade pump is ideal for fermentation to ensure the integrity of the fermented liquid.
With the addition of freezers in our homes, many people don’t realize that by freezing food in their homes, they’re practicing the process of freezing. Freezing produce or meat preserves freshness, extends shelf life, and decreases the presence of harmful bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses. Produce like fresh vegetables must be washed, blanched, and packaged before they are frozen. Blanching is a cooking method that involves cooking a vegetable or fruit at a high temperature for a short period of time before immediately transferring it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
The Benefits of Using a Food Grade Pump
You can now see how the different methods of food processing are beneficial, but how are food grade pumps beneficial as well? Below is a list of the top pros of using food grade pumps.
- Makes indigestible foods edible: Grains like wheat are not edible or digestible in their natural state. Food processing can turn grains into flour which becomes bread, cereal, or pasta.
- Shelf-life: Various food processing methods remove harmful microorganisms from our food to extend their shelf life and improve food safety.
- Nutritional value: Many forms of processing can enhance the nutritional value of food. Vitamin D can be added through fortification.
- Convenience: Processing allows typically hard-to-find or seasonal food items to be packaged and provided in ready-made meals, bagged salads, and canned produce.
Food Processing For the Win
The next time you hear “food processing” on the radio or TV, you’ll now know that not all food processing is bad or unhealthy. Processed foods with high sugars and additives are indeed bad for you. Canning, fermentation, and freezing all help preserve the nutritional value of our foods. A food grade pump is designed to optimize food production while maintaining strict sanitization standards. If you’re looking to change your diet or just want to learn more about food production, it’s always best to understand how our grocery stores provide our food.