The agriculture industry needs suitable alternatives to food preservatives for meeting the increasing demands of the supply chain. There are ample preservatives and preservation techniques to successfully store perishable foods. Since chemical preservatives are known to have harmful health effects on people, consumers are increasingly seeking sustainable methods of food preservation to keep their food naturally fresh.
Some of the common preservatives that are found in foods include Butylated Hydroxytoluene, Monosodium Glutamate, nitrates, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils, bromate, potassium, and more. These are harmful for consumption and can cause serious health ailments.
Natural Alternatives to Food Preservatives
Some of the sustainable and natural ways to keep your food fresh for a longer time include:
• Ascorbic acid in lime juice that acts as an antioxidant for fruits and vegetables
• Lacto-fermentation using salt and water to extend shelf life of vegetables and fruits
• Freezing is an amazing way to preserve food for up to 6 months longer
• Curing food with salt is a sustainable alternative to food preservatives
• Pickling fruits and vegetables with vinegar help to extend shelf life
• Cayenne pepper is an outstanding substitute for chemical preservatives
• Rosemary oil or extract has antioxidant properties and reduces microbial activities in fruits and vegetables
• Pure and raw honey can prevent the browning of fruits and vegetables due to its antioxidant properties
• Garlic has powerful antibacterial properties that keep food fresh and free from viruses for long
This is the best way to slow down the decaying process of produce from the farm to the consumer’s larder. Postharvest methods help ensure high-quality produce, cost-efficiency, the longer shelf life of fruits and vegetables and multiple other benefits. However, there are two distinct postharvest methods that stand apart as the finest alternative to food preservatives. The two postharvest methods include:
- Vacuum Cooling Method – The process involves cooling vegetables in a sealed metal chamber with adjustable temperature and pressure controls. It minimises the loss of moisture from the farm produce and ensures a cooling effect by removing heat in an energy-efficient manner. There are custom-designed vacuum coolers ranging from a 1 bin chamber up to 10 pallet chambers for different industrial needs. Depending on the amount of produce to be stored, vacuum coolers ensure rapid cooling within 30 minutes. The advancement in technology allows rapid vacuum cooling of produce like broccoli, lettuce, mushroom, beans, corn, kale, celery, spinach and more. Since the process is happening inside a sealed chamber, vacuum cooling is the fastest postharvest technique to cool produce and save energy at the same time.
- Hydro Cooling Method – Hydro cooling reduces microbial activities in fresh produce that help to extend their shelf life considerably. Since the microbial activities in the hydro cooling postharvest process are reduced, the produce becomes resistant to decay. The farm produce is soaked in running cold water or dipped in a tank of cold water. Nozzles in hydro coolers ensure effective and equal distribution of cold water for the produce. Water is a better conductor of heat than air. So hydro coolers eliminate the chances of tissue damage using cold water. Hydro cooling is also effective in drawing out the excessive heat from farm-fresh produce. Sanitisation and other safety measures are used to keep the water in the hydro coolers clean. Also, it is a time-consuming process in comparison to vacuum cooling. Nevertheless, hydro coolers efficiently keep the moisture of the farm produce intact, thus conveniently extending their shelf life. Some of the fruits and vegetables suitable for hydro cooling include green beans, avocados, radish, watermelon, carrots, celery, asparagus and more.
There are different methods of food preservation that are highly sustainable, cost-effective and keep farm produce fresh for a longer time. The importance of postharvest methods is glaring as more consumers are aware of the harmful chemical preservatives. A wide number of different vacuum coolers and hydro coolers are introduced to the market to keep the supply chain flowing seamlessly. While growers and buyers are both aware of different methods, buyers want their food to be preserved in an environmental-friendly manner.
Quik-Cool, Australia is known for its innovative and sustainable products. We are one of the leading manufacturers of commercial and industrial postharvest cooling solutions in Australia. Call us today to get an OBLIGATION-FREE quote for the products based on your requirements.