Which Methods Of Food Storage Are Correct? | 18 Methods Explained

Storing food is often challenging, and we usually end up spoiling food and regret it later. If you need clarification about how to store food and which food storage method is correct, tag along. 

Which Methods of Food Storage Are Correct?

These are the methods of food storage that are listed below

  • Refrigerating
  • Freezing
  • Canning
  • Dehydrating
  • Vacuum Sealing
  • Fermenting
  • Pickling
  • Root Cellar
  • Oiling And Salting
  • Cold Storage

Using these methods, you can preserve the food items for a good time. Remember, each food item must be stored differently depending on the type. Let us put an end to food wastage once and for all by storing them correctly.

18 Methods To Store Foods

It is exciting to note that there are not two or three methods but almost 18 different methods. These methods prevent the growth of the microorganisms responsible for decaying the food and spoiling them. 

There are different food items, so the storage methods should also be different according to the food type. If you know the ins and outs of these methods, storing food would become much more accessible. So, let’s begin the conversation and see all the possible storage methods.  

1. Refrigerating

Refrigerating

One of the most common methods to store food is refrigeration. Refrigerating food items is very simple and convenient for anyone. Whether you want to store fruits or vegetables or even cooked foods, you can refrigerate almost everything and everything. Refrigeration slows down bacterial proliferation, which increases the shelf life of food. 

Make sure that food is safely placed in different refrigerator sections according to the food type. Also, remember that for the refrigeration process, the temperature should be below four °C, but again, certain food items can be degraded due to low temperatures. Maintaining a constant temperature throughout the storing process will ensure better food quality even after days and weeks. Items like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits should be in the refrigerator when you get them from the store.

An air-tight container or zip-lock bag to refrigerate the food is a must. Also, avoid overcrowding your refrigerator. Keep enough room between each food item and give them proper air. 

2. Freezing

In my opinion, freezing is an upgraded version of refrigeration. If you notice, any frozen food has a longer shelf life than refrigeration, mainly because of the temperature difference. So freezing the food is another excellent way to store your food items and keep them pleasing to consume for a long time. 

 You have to freeze the food at 0°F or less, which slows down the food’s decaying process. I was amazed that food items like raw meat, poultry, and cooked meals can be stored for six months or even up to a year using the freezing method. 

Not only is the taste and texture of the food retained, but the best thing about freezing is that there is no loss of nutrients, even after days and months. Freezing food requires an air-tight container that is clean and moisture-free. Place the food, whether cooked or raw, and ensure it is adequately sealed. Check the temperature and double-check the supply, as there should be no disturbance. 

3. Canning

Canning

Canning is a method of storing food, which many of you may know but are always skeptical about. Trust me, I was only confident about canning once I learned the right way. Canning is an ancient method that was used for storing food. Food items are stored in air-tight cans with some acids like vinegar, citric acid, and lemon juice that preserve the food for a long time. 

If you were fortunate enough, you may have encountered your grandmother making jellies and jams and storing them in cans. Now, you and your whole family can enjoy the delicious items for a long time without changing flavour or nutrients. 

In 1810, the process of enclosing food in bottles, corking the bottles, and placing the bottles in boiling water for various periods, later called the canning process, was invented. With time, there has been an alteration in the canning method, yet the process is still an excellent storage method. 

4. Dehydrating

When it comes to dehydrating, I always remember the delicious beef jerky. If it were a dehydrating process, we would never be able to enjoy beef jerky and other food items. You will be amazed to know that people dehydrate fruits and herbs to keep them safe and eat after months and even years. 

Dehydrating involves drying the food items and extracting all the moisture. The absence of humidity slows down the food decaying process, and one can store it for a long time. 

From meat to fruits and vegetables, everything can be dehydrated. Once the food items are dehydrated, you can store them in containers and consume them on the go. This is a great way to make some healthy snacks. 

One myth I want to clarify is that no nutrient loss happens after dehydrating. Only water content is reduced, and other nutrients are well preserved. You can quickly dehydrate your food at home with the dehydrating machine. 

5. Vacuum Sealing

Vacuum Sealing

The vacuum sealing method was unknown to me, and one day, while mindlessly scrolling the reels, I saw someone vacuum sealing, and I had to try. If you think every food can be vacuum sealed, then you are wrong. 

Food items like raw meat, chicken, lamb, beef, and fish can be vacuum-sealed, and you will be amazed to know that the food items can be stored for around 1 to 2 years. 

Even green vegetables can be vacuum sealed, but make sure to blanch them first, and you will be amazed to see that the vibrant green color of these veggies is well retained. Vacuum sealing of food would require vacuum equipment, which you can get from any nearby store. 

It is straightforward to know if you are curious about how this method safely stores food for a long time. The vacuum removes the oxygen, preventing aerobic bacteria growth that will decompose the food. This is one of the most excellent methods for storing food items. 

6. Fermenting

Who would have thought some microorganisms could help us store food for a good period? Fermenting is the process where microorganisms like yeast and bacteria work to preserve food safely. Fermentation is one of the oldest methods for storing or preserving food.

Through the anaerobic process of fermentation, the carbs present in the food are converted into alcohol or acids. These alcohol and acids create unfavourable conditions for other bacteria and microorganisms that decompose food. 

Food items like milk and milk products, beef, vinegar, and even drinks like beer are fermented to be stored for good time. You will be stunned to know that the fermentation process changes the taste and aroma of the food items, which are very different and palatable. 

7. Pickling

Pickling

I don’t have to emphasise much on the pickling method because we all love pickles. Again, pickling is one of the traditional methods of preserving and storing food. Remember when our grandmother and mother cut some vegetables or fruits and then placed them in a jar? That was the pickling method only. 

Many pickled food items to enjoy the sweet and savoury notes of the same for months and years. If you are like me, you should choose your food items. 

The pickling process is quite simple. Fruits, vegetables, or other food items are first softened in a liquid, commonly vinegar. The addition of salt is super important in the pickling process. You can even pickle some meat and enjoy its new flavours. 

8. Root Cellar

If you are lucky enough to have a root cellar, the storing process gets easier. Don’t worry, even if you don’t have a root cellar, because you can always create a small one at home if you have the space. 

Now, root cellaring is another method used for storing and preserving food for a long time. Food items are stored underground because of the cold temperature, which slows down the decomposition of food. This is a conventional method that does not use equipment or electricity. 

Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, celery, and onions are some of the items that are perfect for storing foods. Everyone knows that wine and many alcoholic drinks are stored in root cellars simply because they have dark, cold, and humid conditions, perfect for preserving them for a good time. 

9. Oiling And Salting

Oiling And Salting

Oiling and salting are similar to the pickling method. Oils like olive oil and seed oil are perfect for protecting food from contact with the air. They stop the development of aerobic microorganisms responsible for decaying food items.  

The food item is coated with salt or oil, creating a protective layer around it. A typical example of this method is sun-dried tomatoes. Even meat and fish are coated with salt and oil and then kept for storage. 

Salt removes all the water from the item, and oil stops the oxidation process. So next time you have some raw meat that needs to be stored, try drying or wet curing, and I am sure you will be satisfied with the result. 

10. Cold Storage

Cold storage is storing food items in a cold and chilly place. Refrigerating, freezing, and root cellaring are nothing but cold storage methods. Do you know that restaurants or grocery brands use temperature-controlled storage units

Yes, because these restaurant and grocery brands have food items in bulk quantity, and to avoid any spoilage, temperature-controlled storage units are used as they slow down the decomposition of food items. 

Cold storage is perfect as it does not require much effort or equipment, from fruits to vegetables like potatoes, apples, beets, carrots, and onions. The only requirement is temperatures below 40°F with extra humidity or carbon dioxide. Just remember that not all food items can be stored in cold storage.

11. Freeze Drying

Freeze Drying

Have you ever heard of freeze-drying? Let me make this method of food storage pretty simple for you. You will be amazed to know that freeze-drying dehydrates frozen food via a process that transforms ice into vapour. This process is also known as sublimation.

In simple terms, raw food items are frozen in freeze-drying, and in low-pressure conditions, the sublimation process occurs. Another thing you should know is that freeze-drying was an excellent storing method during World War II. 

Food items like peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, milk, cheese, chicken, beef, apples, bananas, and strawberries can be freeze-dried. It won’t be wrong to say that freeze-drying is one of the best methods for storing food. 

12. Sterilization

The sterilising process includes the destruction of yeasts, moulds, vegetative bacteria, and spore formers. Canned fish, baby food in jars, canned or jarred vegetables, sauces in pouches, and bottled milk are some food items that undergo sterilization. 

The sterilization process is integral to other storing methods like canning and pasteurization. An exciting thing about sterilization is that it combines different processes like heating, chemicals, radiation, high pressure, and filtration. Sterilization eliminates all microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

13. Pasteurization

Pasteurization

You may have heard of pasteurized milk multiple times. Let us talk about the same today and learn about the pasteurization process. The pasteurization process includes heating treatment to store the food. It is the thermal destruction of pathogens and organisms responsible for food spoilage. 

Milk, beer, and other beverages are pasteurized to store them for a long time. The best thing is that only specific microorganisms are killed in this pasteurization process. This way, the nutrients of the food items are well maintained. So, the pasteurization process is another excellent method for storing and preserving food. 

14. Blanching

Blanching is a technique that destroys the enzymes that can affect the flavour, colour, and texture. This process of storing food is quite different and fascinating. The food is submerged in boiling water and then cooled down. This mild pre-cooking process stops bacterial growth. 

Fruits and vegetables are usually blanched before another food storage method, like canning, freezing, or drying. Blanching helps remove soil, insects, and microorganisms, and other food-storing methods are followed. 

Blanching is a quick and easy method of storing food, and one must try it with fruits and vegetables to store them for a good time. 

15. Food irradiation

You will be amazed that electrons are also beneficial in storing and preserving food. The rays and electrons break chemical bonds and ionise molecules. Food irradiation has specific purposes, such as inhibiting the sprouting of potatoes, onions, and garlic. 

It also extends the shelf life of strawberries, mangoes, pears, grapes, and cherries. Furthermore, it helps in insect disinfestation of pulses, peanuts, dried fruits, papayas, wheat, and ground-wheat products.

16. Sugaring

Sugaring

Not only salt but sugar also plays a significant role in food storage. Sugar acts as a sweetening and preserving agent. Like salt, sugar also eliminates the excess water and moisture. Mostly, fruits are preserved with the sugaring process. 

Like pickling, food items are coated with sugar and stored for later use. Firstly, the food items are dehydrated and then packed with pure sugar. You can use pure sugar or dense liquid saturated with sugar, such as honey, syrup, or molasses, for this process.

17. Chemical preservation

Different chemicals are used to store and preserve food items. These chemicals delay or stop the growth of bacteria, spoilage, and discoloration. Some substances are either added or sprayed on the food. Yoghurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are some food items that are chemically preserved. 

Some of the items that are used for chemical preservation like salt, sodium nitrite, spices, vinegar, alcohol and butylated hydroxy anisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) are some chemicals to preserve the food. 

18. Dry storage

Dry storage

As I have already mentioned, different food types need different storage methods. Only some food items can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen. That is why dry storage is also essential. 

Cereals, flour, rice, dried pasta, fruit, and vegetables are some food items that use dry storage methods. These food items do not need any controlled temperature. 

In the dry storage method, food items are placed at least 15 centimetres (6 inches) off the floor. Another essential thing in dry storage is ventilation; the place should be clean.

Conclusion

As we end the conversation, I am sure you have learned everything about storing food. Storing food correctly is essential to increase shelf life and maintain the food items’ taste, texture, and nutrients. 

So make sure you follow the proper method of storing food and enjoy it for months and years. I will be back soon. Until then, make some chilli pickles. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some methods of food storage?

Refrigerating, freezing, canning, pickling, vacuum sealing, and cold storage are old methods of storing food. Some other techniques include dehydrating, fermenting, root cellaring, and oiling & salting of food. 

Why is storing food the correct way important? 

Storing food correctly is essential to increase shelf life and maintain the food items’ taste, texture, and nutrients. If you store the food right after getting it from the store, you can enjoy it for a long time without changing taste or flavour.

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