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Zathura12's avatar

What are the ideal conditions for preserving food?

Asked by Zathura12 (68 points ) December 19th, 2009

In another question I asked if you could preserve food in space.

I want to know is there a way to preserve a piece of food indefinitely or for a very very long time.

Let’s say an apple, a sandwich, and a steak.

Here are some variables I’m going to cut out.

Let’s say each is prepared normally. No preservatives besides what you would normally do like salt and spices. It has to be edible.

Let’s assume that the food itself is sterile and the environment it will be in is too.

Each food will also in its ideal temperature and humidity.

It will be in a place devoid of air and light.

With those conditions, how long do you think each food would last?

What would cause it to go bad in those conditons?

Without using chemicals, what else could be done to improve the conditions?

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7 Answers

Response moderated
dpworkin's avatar

Flash freezing in liquid nitrogen and then hyper-low-temp storage would probably keep it edible indefinitely.

Zathura12's avatar

But a flash freeze would eventually destroy the food. If you try to thaw the apple it will be mush. I want it as close as possible to it’s original state. But that would work better for the other two. I wonder how that steak would taste in 50 years.

laureth's avatar

Drying foods helps preserve them. You could slice the apple, dry the slices, and keep them for quite a while. Ditto the steak – only you’d probably call it “beef jerky” by the time you were done.

The sandwich is a little more complex. I would ask you what’s on it, but I’m pretty sure it would be moot.

fireinthepriory's avatar

Yeah, @pdworkin!! So many people underestimate the utility of frozen nitrogen and a good -80ºF freezer. I know very well that fish, at any rate, keep perfectly and will thaw like you never froze them in the first place. Gotta keep mittens handy for when you pull stuff outa there though… I have gotten freezer burn on my hands more than once.

gailcalled's avatar

If the steak comes from a cow engineered by Monsanto, it should last 50 years easily and taste the same both before and after the five decades.

CMaz's avatar

Yes, and I bet it would be a good floor wax too.

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