How Food Preservation Works

Refrigeration and Freezing

A bag of frozen vegetables will last many months without spoiling.

Refrigeration and freezing are probably the most popular forms of food preservation in use today. In the case of refrigeration, the idea is to slow bacterial action to a crawl so that it takes food much longer (perhaps a week or two, rather than half a day) to spoil. In the case of freezing, the idea is to stop bacterial action altogether. Frozen bacteria are completely inactive.

Refrigeration and freezing are used on almost all foods: meats, fruits, vegetables, beverages, etc. In general, refrigeration has no effect on a food's taste or texture. Freezing has no effect on the taste or texture of most meats, has minimal effects on vegetables, but often completely changes fruits (which become mushy). Refrigeration's minimal effects account for its wide popularity.