Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum

Study of traditional methods of food preservation

Students: Pradeep Seervi, Harshit Singhal, Swapnil Ingale, Amit Bhati, Prashant Prazapati ;
Mentor: Dr. Venkata Krishnan

Preservation of food stuffs, such as vegetables, fruits, grains etc. has special significance in a hilly terrain like Himachal Pradesh, where there is huge variation in the climate conditions during an year (hot and humid tropical to cold and alpine) and some parts of the state is cut-off from the rest of the world due to harsh weather conditions (e.g. Spiti valley) and remain inaccessible. Furthermore, in several regions of the state, cultivation happens only in selected months of the year. Due to these reasons, (i) a number of fruits and vegetables are seasonal with huge availability (and at cheaper costs) in certain months, while no availability in other months and (ii) there is a huge need for preservation and storage of food for later consumption. There exists several age-old traditional methods of preservation of food, such as the familiar sun drying (to reduce water activity), storage under vinegar (preservation under acidic condition to avoid attack by microbes), etc. In addition, there are also many indigenous methods which were/are used by yester-generation people in villages, which have hidden scientific knowledge, but are currently under decline. This project aims to explore those traditional methods of food preservation along with its scientific understanding and suggest any technological interventions based on extension of the obtained knowledge.

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