Why do cured, dried, and canned foods last so much longer than fresh foods?


Doesn’t the flesh decay?

In: 0

Food preservation processes elminitate bacteria or make the material inhospitable to the life of bacteria or funguses, which are the cause of decay. Drying removes water which all living things depend upon. Adding a high concentration of salt disrupts the flow of minerals and water in and out of cells. Heating the contents of a can kills microorganisms inside it and the seal prevents them from entering again.

Foods mostly “spoil” from bacteria and fungi eating them and excreting waste that tastes bad or is even toxic.

Curing or drying makes the food much less edible for fungi and bacteria.

Canning seals the food away from fungi and bacteria and then the can/jar is heated hot enough to kill the fungi/bacteria that’s already there.

The meat decays because someone else is eating it. Microbes, specifically. This wouldn’t be a problem for us if it weren’t for the fact that these microbes can infect us, causing disease, and the waste chemicals they produce as they chow down are toxic to us, causing food poisoning.

The solution that several ancient and more modern people came up with (whether they knew it at the time or not) was to make the meat as inhospitable to microbes as possible. Curing deprives them of water, canning deprives them of access, smoking poisons them. There’s also another preservative technique called the forever soup. You make a soup and keep it over flame. You ladle some out whenever someone wants to eat and you add more ingredients whenever they’re found. And you keep the flame going. Forever. There are forever soups right now that are older than you and me. But nothing in the pot decays because it’s far too hot for microbes to survive.