Food is a mixture of many different chemical components. The study of food technology involves an understanding of the changes that occur in these components during food preparation. Many physical and chemical reactions occur during food preparation. These reactions may be a result of the interaction between components, with the medium of cooking, and the environmental conditions such as heat, cold, light and air to which they are subjected during cooking. It also includes understanding the nutritive value of different foods and methods of preserving them during cooking.
Groups of food
The six major components of food are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. To maintain good health, ingesting a diet containing these nutrients in correct amounts is essential. A balanced diet is one which contains different types of foods in such quantities and proportions so that the need for calories, proteins, minerals and vitamins is adequately met and a small provision is made for extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanness. Nutritionists have grouped foods depending upon the nutrient content.
The five groups of food and their major nutrients
The process of subjecting foods to the action of heat is termed as cooking. Foods like fruits, vegetables and nuts are eaten raw but most of the foods are cooked to bring about desirable changes.
Preparations of food
Preparations of food includes cleaning, peeling and stringing, cutting and grating, sieving, soaking, processing, coating, blanching, marinating, sprouting, fermenting, grinding, drying and filtering.
Processing: Processing includes all the things to get food ready for cooking and serving. The various processes included under this are:
Coating: Coating refers to covering a food with layer of crumbs, flour or other fine substances before cooking it. There are different types of coating.
Blanching: Blanching is plunging food into boiling liquid and immersing in cold water. This destroys enzymes present in food hence used as pre-preparation for preservation. Generally tomatoes, potatoes, almonds, carrots, and beans are blanched.
Marinating: Soaking a food in a marinade to add flavour or to tenderize it or both is marinating. Vegetables, fruits and meats are marinated with many flavour combinations. Meat marinade made up of oil, flavour builders and acid. Oil helps to hold natural juices of meat. Acid is used to tenderize by breaking down connective tissue. Vegetables like brinjals, onions, radish, bittergourd, potatoes and chillies are normally marinated.
Sprouting or Germination: All kinds of grams like green gram, bengal gram, peas and cereals like ragi and wheat are generally sprouted. Sprouted pulses are used in making salads and curries.
Fermentation: Fermentation is the process of breaking down of complex matter into simpler ones with the aid of enzymes and bacteria. This can be under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. Fermented foods are often more nutritious than their unfermented counterparts.
Grinding: This includes both wet and dry grinding. Wet grinding includes the grinding idli better and preparations of chutneys. Dry grinding is grinding spices for masala powders and wheat for wheat flour.
Drying: Drying or dehydrating is removal of moisture from food products. Removal of moisture helps to prolong the shelf life of the food.
Filtering: This process is generally done to remove dirt, unwanted particles or to remove moisture from food stuff. Food stuffs filtered are coffee, tea, rice, soups, fruit juices and tamarind water.
Roasting: This process should be grouped under actual cooking methods but certain recipes demand roasting as pre-preparation. Foods generally roasted are rava and vermicelli.
Main objectives of cooking: