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5 traditional food processing techniques explained

What is homogenisation, pasteurisation, canning, drying and smoking? Learn about these five traditional food processing techniques
© EIT Food

Food processing has many advantages, but it also brings its disadvantages. The following is a summary of traditional food processing techniques.

1 Homogenisation

This process aims to decrease the particle size of products, especially emulsions or two-phase systems where, for example, fat particles are dispersed in a water phase such as milk, mayonnaise and ice cream mix before freezing.

By decreasing the particle size the stability of the product over its shelf life is increased.

A homogeniser in the Pilot Plant with Afroditi explaining how it works

2 Pasteurisation

This process is a heat treatment where the time-temperature combination results in the inactivation of (vegetative) pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms, and leads to an increased shelf life for the product.

It is used for milk, juices and many other products.

A pasteuriser in the Pilot Plant with apple juice being delivered to a jug

3 Canning

This process is composed of many sub-processes aiming to increase the shelf life of a product and make it storeable at room temperature.

Microorganisms, their vegetative form and spores, are inactivated by an intense heat treatment called sterilisation after the food has been placed in a pre-prepared and sealed can.

A canning retort in the pilot plant

4 Drying

Drying aims to decrease the water content of a product and therefore inhibits microbial growth by creating an uninhabitable environment with a low-water activity.

Many different approaches for drying exist, including hot air drying and freeze drying. Products include dried fruits and vegetables, grains.

dried apple slices

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

5 Smoking

This process has been used for centuries, especially in the meat but also fish industry. The initial aim was to prolong shelf life, however these days the main reason is the special flavour and aroma which is developed during smoking.

sausages hanging on a metal rack in a smokery

Image by sebastirut from Pixabay


© EIT Food
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How Food is Made. Understanding Food Processing Technologies

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