May 05, 2010- Food preservatives are food additives that serve the specific purpose of preserving the food for longer time spans. A number of natural and artificial preservatives are used for preserving different kinds of foods. Natural food preservatives are things that can be easily found in the kitchen amongst the everyday cooking ingredients. Some of the well known natural preservatives are things that we use day in day out. Let's have a closer look at a small list of natural preservatives explained and elaborated in good detail.
Onion as a natural food preservative is quite a popular preservatives additive. It contains antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, which is the main reason for onion being one of the best natural food preservative alternatives to artificial food preservatives. Yellow variety of onions is said to be the most effective food preservative variety. The flavanoids in the yellow onions have beneficial properties for health in general as well as for food preserving needs.
Apart from having components that show antioxidants and antimicrobial properties, the other advantageous qualities to be found in a vegetable as common as an onion are its ability to fight health problems related to inflammation, cardio issues, chronic illnesses and certain forms of cancer. All the above mentioned benefits are due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardioprotective, vasodilatory and anti-carcinogenic properties.
All of the above are results of an extensive research and were published by the International Journal of Food Science & Technology.
Other natural food preservatives additives are salt, sugar, lemon, honey, vinegar, neem oil, rosemary extract and more. Let's see some important ones in detail.
Salt is an essential one of the natural food preservative additives. It is mostly used for preserving meats and other non vegetarian foods. Salt is instrumental providing protection from yeasts, molds and bacteria by dehydrating the microbes with a process called osmosis, curbing the growth of food spoiling bacteria and therefore enhancing the life of food being preserved. Or in layman terms, salt binds the water by entering the tiny food tissues, drawing out the moisture completely. Thus, reducing the chances of food getting spoiled for, longer than normal spans.
Just like salt, sugar is also an everyday food ingredient and in unfailingly found in every kitchen. Other than being used as a sweetener, sugar is also among commonly used natural food preservatives. Sugar also uses the same concept of osmosis just like salt, where its soaks up all the moisture from the food being preserved and obstructing the growth of any food spoiling bacteria. Preserved foods are either stored in a sugar syrup or in the crystallized form. Sugar is usually used to preserve fruits like apple, plum, peach, pear, etc. The way these fruits are preserved, the sugar preservative content works as a sweeteners and enhanced the taste of these fruits overtime
Vinegar is also an effective food preservative that has been used for the purpose of preserving various fruits and vegetables. Vinegar is prepared by fermenting sugar and water solution. The acetic acid is the constituent in vinegar that is responsible for killing the small microbes that cause food spoiling, Though almost all vinegar forms are good and effective for preventing spoiling of food. Vinegar is used for preparing pickles which are again just another way of preserving food. Some restaurants also use vinegar to keep certain vegetables and fruits fresh for a day or two.
Rosemary leaf extract is also widely used as natural preservative. Traditionally the extract has been used primarily for it's nice aroma and flavor. But due its food preserving capabilities, rosemary extract is now also used for preserving food. Its main quality is that it serves as an antioxidant, thus preventing the oxidations of the ingredients that are prone to any form of spoiling. It effectively retains the color and the flavor in the food.