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Cold storage techniques for food preservation (2/3)

Cold storage is the simplest and most basic way to preserve food. Cold stops or slows down cellular activity, enzymatic reactions, as well as the development of microorganisms. It thereby limits the spoilage of food and extends its shelf life. There are three main cold storage methods:

► Refrigeration

is the most common method used to store foods and extend their lifespan. It slows down the temperature of stored products and limits bacterial growth. This is why refrigerated food products can last for approximately 10 times longer than unrefrigerated products. Keep in mind that the most sensitive perishable food products should be stored between 0 and + 4° C. This method does not affect the texture nor the flavor.

► Freezing and deep-freezing

is one of the oldest methods used to avoid food spoilage. Low temperatures impede the growth of microorganisms and convert the water present in food products into a solid-state. In other words, the crystallization of water reduces the liquid available for biological reactions, and thereby, slows or stops microbial and enzymatic activities. This method also preserves the texture, the nutritional value, and the flavor of food products. It's an excellent technique to avoid food waste: don't pass by discounted products close to their expiry rate, give them a second chance. If you cannot consume them immediately, just pop them in your freezer! Most food products can be frozen, however, they should not be exposed to temperature fluctuations nor refrozen after thawing!

► Root cellar

is also a really old and simple method to preserve the lifespan of food. For those who are sensitive to the environmental impact, this technique will speak to you. No need for fancy modern refrigerators or freezers, but simply a root cellar (dark underground location). It keeps your food products cool. You can store basically anything, especially your fruits and veggies (carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets or potatoes). If you don't have a cellar nor a garden where you can construct a root cellar, you can put your food in your garage, as long as the temperature remains between 10 and 20° max. You can also hang your garlic and shallots in the attic. Let's think out of the box and get started!

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