Food Processing in South Africa

© Marinda Louw
Pickled beetroot.

A modern society, living in a city, relies more and more on the convenience of processed food. Living far from farms and having to commute to work leaves little time to cook at home and even less time to grow our own food. 

Processing food saves time, is a convenient way to add nutrients to a diet and helps farmers to not only to diversify their product offering but also to utilise excess produce and extend shelflife and availability far beyond the growing season.

The processing of raw ingredients such as fruit and vegetables includes drying, freezing, juicing, fermenting and further processing into preserves, pickles and value-added products.

Similarly, raw materials like meat, milk and grains are further processed and preserved. This range of articles, however, will explain basic processing techniques of fruit and vegetables.

By Marinda Louw

Canning

Canning of fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs such as fish and ready-meals involves the airtight sealing of food in containers and then exposing the canned product to a heat treatment....more

Drying Fruit and Vegetables

Drying removes the moisture, which encourages mould, yeast and bacterial growth, thus in effect enhances the shelflife of fruit....more

Fermentation

Fermentation is a process during which micro-organisms convert starches (carbohydrates) and sugars into by-products such as alcohol (wines) and acids such as lactic acid (cheese) and carbon dioxide (beer)....more

Freeze Drying

Freeze-drying is a highly technical way of food preservation. During this process, frozen foodstuffs are dehydrated under pressure to preserve its nutrition and flavour. Freeze-dried foods are easily rehydrated by adding water....more

Fruit Processing

Processing may take place on the farm, as is the case with most dried fruit, or in proximity to the farm, as is the case with canned fruit....more

Juicing

As the world becomes more urban and people are living further away from where food is produced, there is a trend towards adding value to raw agricultural products. Juicing is a form of adding value and is an excellent way to extend the shelflife...more

Pasteurisation

Pasteurisation was invented by Louis Pasteur, a French scientist. He discovered that heating milk to a high temperature and then quickly cooling it before bottling or packaging could keep it fresh for longer....more

Pickling of Foods

Pickles are foods soaked in salty or acidic solutions that help prevent spoilage. It also helps to preserve and change the taste and texture of the food....more

Smoked Foods

The smoking of foods is an ancient practice; one of the first methods of cooking and preserving foods like meat and fish. Modern applications of smoking as food processing include marinating the meat before smoking...more