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More efficient food preservation method
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Could such a food preservation method use methods and materials available to many?

Jan 17 2012, 03:17 pm

While there are new methods of food preservation, sometime these don't help most people because most people have limited access to the needed tools.

As a possible example of a method within reach of many, please consider lactic acid fermentation of fish as a preservation method:

Oct 20 2014, 03:20 am

Gamma radiation would bring new barriers to use as well as requiring the equipment in the first place, radioactive materials in hands of end users and their transport internationally. Simplicity would be key here. I propose the following categories as a starting point (that I am more than willing to abandon should one more structured present itself. They all seem to overlap)

Temperature Control: freezing, fridge, out of sunlight, pasteurization, sterilization
Air Control: containers; cupboards; canning; vacuum packing; confit (submerging in fat, essentially a low tech canning)
Acidity Control: lactic acid fermentation, citric acid and other antioxidants,
Moisture Control: cooking, curing, smoking, brine

Criteria determining an effective solution would ideally start with the International Collaboration Framework but that aside, I suggest the following order of importance (again, just until something better comes along)

Time the process requires
Technical skill the process requires (a shame to have a solution and it be held back by lack of educational outreach facilities)
Cost for reagents
Longevity of preservation
Availability (Extremely locale dependent, gathering preferable to purchase)
Contextual Influences (indeterminate when generalizing)
Cost for Equipment overheads
Degradation of foodstuffs during the process

From this, not having foodstuffs to preserve is clearly ideal. Extra effort should be expended on analogues of keeping meat on the hoof. Beyond this I am wary of suggesting universal cures, the best solution would be one requiring least investment of time, resources and energy that removes or reduces significantly the primary cause of food spoilage in the locale. Clearly this differs between Greenland and the Sudan. On the upside; any coastal area can by default go to the salt based methods. Apart from the gamma radiation, this seems to be an attempt to reinvent the wheel. It is vital due to population pressures and the vast amount of wasted calories. With a wider view of the problem, the lower hanging fruit would be more effective paths. For example, ~15% of the nutritional value of an animal is wasted when its blood is not utilized. I shall end here, as I have just noticed the last activity on this was 30 months ago. If I carry on this comment will be a treatise on economic ecology. I shall conclude by reasserting my view that gamma radiation is very effective, winning one several categories I made up, yet it will only be efficient when added to a well developed preexisting food processing infrastructure. I dream of bio-materials, possibly engineered simple organisms that encase the food, draw out moisture and hold for re-hydration, stop airflow and create an nonreactive environment possibly even emitting a low level of gamma radiation. I imagine some of the foodstuff may need to be consumed by the organism itself to provide the energy for it to grow and encase the food. All human society depends on its food storage at its core; it is hard to imagine we have missed a fundamental trick here.

NB Lactic Acid Fermentation takes up most of my Wednesdays. It makes for horrific smelling/tasting fish but produces wonderful plant products such as Sauerkraut. It is however dependent on 1) Sterilization of storage vessel 2) Air tight storage vessel 3) Accurate pH measurement 4) Accurate salt measurement. Due to this, I cant see it as a solution