Exemplification Essay on Foods

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Introduction

We all process foods every day when preparing a meal for ourselves or our family and virtually all foods undergo some form of processing before they are ready to eat. Some foods are even dangerous if eaten without proper processing. The most basic definition of food processing is 'a variety of operations by which raw foodstuffs are made suitable for consumption, cooking, or storage'(Robertson, 2004). Any activity that changes or converts raw plant or animal materials into healthy, nutritious, and more pleasant, palatable foodstuffs is referred to as food processing. Processing in large-scale food production requires using scientific and technical concepts to maintain foods by slowing or halting natural decay processes. It also allows for improvements to be made to the eating standard of foods in a timely manner. Food processing also uses the creative potential of the processor to change basic raw materials into a range of tasty attractive foods that provide interesting variety in the diets of consumers. Without food processing, it would not be possible to sustain the needs of modern urban populations, and the choice of foods would be limited by seasonality.

Definitions of key terms.

Food processing refers to the methods and techniques used to convert raw materials into food or food into other forms. They are suitable for human or animal consumption in both domestic and industrial settings (Senauer and Kinsey, 1999). It usually makes attractive, marketable, and often long-lasting food products from clean, harvested crops or slaughtered animal products, among other things.

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Methods of food processing.

The following are common methods of food processing methods (Fellows, 2000).

Drying

One of the oldest methods that humans have been and still are using. The only change has come in the way(equipment) food products are dried. Drying is basically reducing the water or moisture content in the product. Hence reducing the favorable conditions for the bacteria to grow and spoil the food product. It is mainly performed to extend the shelf life. Food products can be dried with the application of heat (vacuum dried, tray dried, heat pump dried, etc.) or cold temperatures (freeze-dried).

Advantages

Dried foods if stored properly can keep indefinitely

Dried foods are extremely lightweight and can be moved easily. Drying foods can weigh as little as 10% of that of what the fresh food weighed before the drying process.

Drying foods can be a great way to save foods that are bought in excess. For instance, when we buy a stalk of celery, we use just so much of it. The rest we can dry to use in soups at a later time.

Dried fruits are a sweet alternative to sugary treats, and dried herbs and vegetables add flavor to otherwise boring foods.

Disadvantages

Dried food does not taste the same as fresh food does.

Moisture can cause dried foods left in the food in the drying process or allowed in during storage can cause mold on food.

Overly dried fruits, vegetables, and meats can be exceptionally hard, often to the point where they do not soften. The texture is often noticeably changed. Jerky for instance will never be made into a regular piece of meat. Fruit leathers will never become fruit or fruit sauce again. The dried product would rot before it softened.

Dehydrated foods have had all the water removed, so be sure to increase fluid intake if consuming large quantities of dried foods.

Pickling

Usually, the food is cooked or soaked in chemicals that play a role in the destruction of microorganisms. These include brine (salt and water solution), vinegar, ethanol vegetable oil, etc. It's generally practiced for vegetables like cabbage, pepper, or raw mangoes. The factors that control the pickling process are temperature, moisture, pH, etc.

Advantages

Pickling rivals freezing, canning, and drying for preventing foods from spoiling.

It also adds unique flavors to meals that might otherwise be boring.

Many fermented foods are also good sources of nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids, and healthy bacteria.

Pickle juice can be used to facilitate hydration and can be used to decrease muscle cramps caused by heat.

Allows food, such as cucumbers and zucchini, and summer squash, can be preserved longer than the food could be eaten fresh.

Disadvantages

Pickling alters the taste of foods permanently, therefore the pickled item might not be a possible consideration as a substitute for a fresh ingredient in a recipe.

High-sodium products like pickles can cause higher blood pressure so moderate your pickle consumption.

Like canning, it requires the expense of jars, lids, and other canning equipment. However, unlike canning, pickling does not require the use of a pressure canner.

Freezing

Frozen foods are currently in great demand. With this food processing technique now you can enjoy fries, paranthas, chicken nuggets, etc in just a few minutes. The freezing process increases the shelf life of food products and inhibits the growth of most bacterial species. It is carried out via two processes: mechanical and cryogenic or flash freezing (using liquid nitrogen at -196 to -320 degrees Fahrenheit).

Advantages

This type of preservation is a relatively quick process. A hundred pounds of meat can be packaged into meal-size packages within an hour. You can blanch a large amount of vegetables in just a few minutes.

You can preserve food and keep it longer and always have things available to cook with or eat. You can buy items in bulk when on sale and save money. Blanching prior to freezing stops enzyme activity and helps maintain nutritional value in the foods.

You can double recipes and create convenience foods that do not contain chemicals, preservatives, excess salt, or sugar. Some families create convenience meals to last a whole month thus saving time and money.

It has several advantages over canning. Freezer containers are cheaper than canning jars and lids. The simple blanching process emits less heat into the living space and requires less initial energy usage than canning does. It also preserves vitamins better than canning does as well.

Disadvantages

Vitamins B and C are lost in the freezing process. Antioxidants, which protect you from cell damage, are also lower in frozen fruits than they are in fresh fruits. Vitamins A, E, carotenoids, fiber, minerals, and proteins, however, retain their values in frozen fruits and vegetables.

Freezer burn can affect texture and flavor. Foods frozen in containers that are not designed for freezer use can be exposed to air. Because of this exposure to air, damaging ice crystals form on the food. The cells in the frozen food rupture, resulting in moisture, texture, and flavor loss. Freezer burn is the dried out, gray-brown edges or sections of meat, dried sections of baked goods, and the dulled coloring in vegetables and fruit. Eating freezer-burned foods is safe, but it is unappetizing.

Vegetables and most fruits lose their crispness when frozen, even if when you blanch them for a short time. Cooked frozen corn on the cob, zucchini, potatoes, and broccoli result in mushy vegetables that taste waterlogged. Other vegetables, such as peas, however, taste better than many of the fresh varieties. Corn removed from the cob, some varieties of green beans, and chopped leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale work well in soups or stews where a crisp quality is not necessary. Some items also change texture when frozen and do not tasteful the same when thawed out and eaten.

Frozen foods that are not properly packaged can pick up the smells of other items around them in the freezer.

You have to know which items must be thawed before using, and which ones should be allowed to thaw while cooking.

Freezers are expensive. Not only does it require an initial high-priced investment into the freezer, but also there is a continued expense involved in keeping electricity to it.

An electrical outage can mean disaster for a frozen food plan. When electricity goes out for extended periods, you could lose hundreds of dollars of food. Electrical outages are not the only problem. Freezers can and do have mechanical malfunctions. A couple of years ago my own deep freezer's compressor went out. First, I placed as much of my more expensive meat into my refrigerator freezer as possible. I then canned and dried as much of the produce and meat left in the freezer as I could before they went bad. Fortunately, I was able to save much of it before any of it went bad.

Smoking

Many foods such as meat, fish, and others are processed, preserved, and flavored by the use of smoke mostly in big smokehouses. This process is very simple as the combination of smoke to preserved food without actually cooking it and the aroma of hydro-carbons generated from the smoke processes the food and makes it even tastier to eat.

Advantages

Smoking kills certain bacteria and slows down the growth of others. It prevents fats from becoming rancid and prevents mold from forming on fermented sausages. It extends the shelf life of the product.

The smell and flavor of smoked meat are appetizing. Smoking changes the color of the meat and makes meats shine and appear redder and more appealing.

Disadvantages

The process requires constant attention and equipment that can be costly. It is difficult to keep the food moist due to the low moisture content in the smoker, and it is also difficult not to contaminate meat flavor. Problems can occur if the fire is too hot (cooking the meat before it is properly smoked) or if there is not enough smoke or heat (the meat goes bad before it can be smoked).

Statistical correlations exist that indicate that smoked foods may contain carcinogens. The smoking process contaminates food with Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contaminate food when food is smoked. Some experts believe that when smoked foods are consumed, it increases gastrointestinal cancer risks. Not everyone, however, agrees that the evidence is definitive.

Fermentation

Fermentation is a food processing and value-addition process for food products. It is the action of microorganisms on food in a controlled and suitable environment. The fermentation process preserves the food with the production of acid or alkali with the introduction of characteristic flavor, hence increasing its shelf life as well as marketability. Various factors such as temperature, type of microbe, oxygen, pH, etc affect this process.

Advantages

It helps restore proper bacteria balance in the intestines.

Probiotics are bacteria that produce lactic acid, and they can be found in fermented milk, yogurt, and other foods that have gone through the fermentation process. The health of intestinal tracts can be improved by eating foods containing lactic acid bacteria, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology in June 2006. (Nestle,2002). Not only that but consuming such foods can also improve the bioavailability of nutrients, minimize the symptoms of lactose intolerance and reduce the prevalence of allergy in those who are susceptible.

It improves heart health.

The consumption of dairy is associated with the risk of coronary heart disease. However, there are certain milk products that have undergone fermentation considered good for the heart. There is evidence to prove that fermented milk products can mildly decrease really high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), according to the February 2006 issue of Current Opinion in Lipidology (Rickman, 2000).

Disadvantage

It is linked with the development of gastric cancer.

A study was published in Cancer Science in January 2011 showing a connection between the consumption of fermented foods and the risk of developing gastric cancer. The study was a meta-analysis of reports showing the effects of fermented and non-fermented soy food consumption on the risk of gastric cancer development (Nestle,2002). The study indicated that a high intake of fermented soy foods increased the risk of gastric cancer while a diet that was high in non-fermented soy foods reduced the risk of gastric cancer.

Store-bought items lose beneficial bacteria.

Fermented foods sold in many stores are processed differently than those that are traditionally fermented. They have too much acid and have been pasteurized so they don't spoil right away. Research has also shown that fermented cheese products contain way too much salt than water.

Conclusion,

Processing foods has been a part of our culture for a little over a century and doesn't have to stop now. Processed foods contain numerous chemicals, and diseases linked to them occur on a daily basis. They've been a staple of our American diet for decades, and it's time to put an end to it! Our obesity rate has risen dramatically, and the risk of cancer has increased dramatically. Fixing our eating habits could be one solution. We can all improve our habits by eating processed foods only once or twice a month, rather than every day. We can eat whole, healthy foods that will not cause disease but will aid in the prevention of it. We can also help spread the word to the youth about how to change their eating habits and set a good example for their parents by doing so.

References

    1. Robertson GL (2004). Food processing methods.Principles and Practice. CRC Press.
    2. Rickman JC, (2000) Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. J Sci Food Agric. 2007;87:930-944.
    3. Fellows P. Food Processing Methods: Principles and Practice. Second. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2000.
    4. Senauer B, and Kinsey J. Food Trends and the Changing Consumer. St. Paul, Minnesota: Eagan Press; 1999.
    5. Nestle M. Food processing methods: How the Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2002.
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Exemplification Essay on Foods. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/exemplification-essay-on-foods/
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