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The best inventions in food technology of all time

In this series we take a look at everything, large and small, that has changed the way we do things and significantly enhanced our lives. In part ten we look at technology advancements in food that we cannot live without.
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By Eileen Brown, Contributor on
The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Salting

Salting preserves the food using dry salt, or by brining in salt water. It is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. We would miss salted fish on our pizza and we would certainly miss bacon.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Carbonation

Carbon dioxide is introduced into liquids at pressure. When the pressure is released, such as by opening a can pull tab, or uncapping a bottle, the pressure is released, and the carbon dioxide is released in the form of small bubbles, making the drink fizzy.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Freeze drying

Freeze drying dehydrates food by freezing it and removing the water by sublimation (the liquid goes directly to gas form). Created to take food into space, a look along the supermarket shelves show that most powdered packet food, powdered milk and instant coffee has been created in this way.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Frying

Frying sears or carbonises the surface of food, caramelising sugars in the food. Frying cooks the food more quickly, gives the food a rich, crispy texture, and adds flavour and calories from fat.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Gelling agent

Not only used to make jellies, gelling agents increase viscosity without changing the taste of the liquid. Sauces, soups and puddings are thickened in this way, as are mousses and blancmanges.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Baking

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Preserving

Preserving food by the addition of salt, sugar, or vinegars have meant that humans have been able to survive harsh winters without foraging for food. Now we can enjoy jam on our toast or a pickle with our sandwich any time of the year.


The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Refrigeration

Refrigeration moves heat from one place to another in a controlled way. Refrigeration meant that towns could thrive in areas previously thought to be inhospitable, such as in the sun belt areas of the US. Artificial refrigeration using vacuums has been around since 1755.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Barrel

Barrels were traditionally made of wooden staves bound by hoops. They are used to store and age wine, and mature drinks such as cognac, whisky, port, sherry, and Armagnac which can take on the taste of the barrel over time.

The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Pasteurisation

Heating beer, wine and milk to temperatures in between 50 - 72C (122-161F) will kill most pathogens and bacteria, and stop the liquids souring or spoiling. It is widely used in the dairy industry.


The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Cork

Natural cork, extracted from the cork oak tree, is used in over 60 percent of wine bottles world-wide. It is elastic, practically impermeable, and ecologically friendly compared to plastic stoppers or aluminium caps.


The best inventions in food technology of all time ZDNet
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Cooking with nitrogen

At a temperature of -321 degrees F (-196 degrees C) liquid nitrogen can be used for flash freezing or shattering of foods. Liquids dropped onto nitrogen form frozen spheroids, and creamy ice cream can be made in seconds.

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