Processing Making Food Available

Throughout much of recorded history, people have processed foods to make them edible and to preserve them for times of scarcity. In Europe and other parts of the world eight thousand years ago, foods were smoked and dried. In the Middle East, cheesemaking developed forty-five hundred years ago as a way to store milk. And about twenty-five hundred years ago, Egyptians and Europeans mastered skills needed to salt foods for preservation.

Modern processing methods began in the 1800s with canning, giving perishable food a longer shelf life. People finally could eat a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round. During the nineteenth century, pasteurization—a process of heating milk or other liquids to kill disease-causing bacteria—was developed.

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