What does pasteurizing mean and how does it work?

What does pasteurizing mean and how does it work?

What does pasteurizing mean?

With pasteurization we refer to a thermal process which is essential to ensure that preserved food, such as jams, marmalade, tomato sauces and pickled or marinated vegetables are safe to be eaten and have a fairly long shelf life. This process is often used also in the food industry, food service and even in the pastry sectors. Let’s discover what pasteurization means, how it works and what benefits it has to offer.
Pasteurization is a technique widely used to increase the safety levels and the shelf life of the food. Its main goal is to eliminate or significantly reduce the pathogenic microorganisms that might be in the food, without affecting the nutritional and organoleptic values of the recipe.

Pasteurization of food

What happens within the pasteurization process? During the food pasteurization process, the food is heated to specific temperatures (below 100 °C), but what happens really? The heat destroys the bacteria, fungi and yeasts in the food, thus making it safer to be eaten.

At what temperature does pasteurization occur?

Pasteurization generally occurs between 60°C and 85°C, but the temperature and time mainly depend on the kind of product. In particular, see the differences below:

  • Low temperature pasteurization: between 60-65 °C for 30 minutes, used with delicate foods such as wine and beer.
  • High temperature pasteurization: between 75-85 °C for 2-3 minutes.
  • Flash or HTST (High Temperature Short Time) pasteurization: between 75-85 °C for 15-20 seconds.

What food can be pasteurized?

Simply put, pasteurization is mainly used in the preparation of jams/marmalade, sauces such as tomato-based sauces, pickled or marinated vegetables, milk, fruit juices and many other food products. Let’s see which kinds of food are usually pasteurized in different contexts:

Food Industry

  • Jams/marmalade: pasteurizing jams helps to eliminate pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, reduce microbial load as well as preserve nutritional values, making the products safer and extending their shelf life.
  • Tomato sauce: pasteurizing tomato sauce is mandatory to ensure safety and extend shelf life.
  • Fruit juices: pasteurized fruit juices undergo a thermal process in order to eliminate microorganisms and extend their duration in time.

Restaurants

  • Pickled vegetables and other preserves: in this case pasteurization helps to eliminate pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and Escherichia, increase long-term shelf life as well as preserve the nutritional and organoleptic values of all heat-sensitive substances. This process makes preserves safer and more durable over time.
  • Tomato sauce: pasteurization of tomato sauce is mandatory to ensure safety and extend the shelf life.
  • Other food: in restaurants and catering services, food like sauces, gravies and creams are often pasteurized to ensure higher safety levels and to extend their shelf life.

Pastry

  • Custard and other creams: many sweet recipes include raw eggs. Some of these recipes do not involve cooking, so it is always better to pasteurize the eggs before using them.
  • Jams/marmalade: pasteurizing jams helps to eliminate pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, reduce microbial load as well as preserve nutritional values, making the products safer and extending their shelf life.
  • Candied fruits: pasteurizing candied fruits helps to prevent mold formation.
  • Fruit juices: pasteurized fruit juices undergo a thermal process in order to eliminate microorganisms and extend their duration in time.

Difference between Pasteurization and Sterilization

With pasteurization and sterilization, we refer to cooking methods that involve the use of heat to make the food safe to be eaten. These processes however are different in regards to their intensity and final objectives. In fact, pasteurization helps to reduce the pathogens without significantly altering the product, whereas sterilization eliminates all microorganisms and their heat-resistant forms, often causing more distinct alterations of the organoleptic qualities.
The choice of one method or the other depends on one’s specific needs and on the type of food.

Pasteurization

  • Objective: to reduce the bacterial load in order to increase the shelf life trying not to alter the organoleptic properties.
  • Temperature: below 100 °C (usually between 60 and 85 °C).
  • Duration: the process is shorter compared to that of sterilization.
  • Examples: jams/marmalade, sauces such as tomato-based ones, pickles, marinated vegetables and other preserves, fruit juices.

Sterilization

  • Objective: to completely eliminate the microorganisms, including bacterial spores.
  • Temperature: above 100 °C.
  • Duration: the process takes longer than that of pasteurization.
  • Examples: canned food, preserves, long-life products.

Restaurants: pasteurization with Cucimix

Cucimix makes pasteurizing easy: it provides precision, traceability of the process and works in autonomy.
It is suitable for pasteurizing food that have an acidic pH. In fact, during the pasteurization process, all vegetative forms of pathogenic microorganisms are inactivated, and the low pH (below 4.3) prevents the germination of any residual heat-resistant forms.

pasteurization with Cucimix
multifunctional basket of Cucimix

The multifunctional basket of Cucimix, available for 30 and 70-litre models, makes it possible to pasteurize to 40x 300-ml jars at the same time, guaranteeing even temperature.
Thanks to the programmable FTC system, Cucimix offers a fully automated pasteurization process for all recipes with up to 20 stages and customized warning messages. With the two probes, including the additional “core probe” you will have precise temperature control. Also, the programmable mixer prevents burnings and guarantees even quality of the final product.

Here is an example of products that you can pasteurize with Cucimix:

  • jams/marmalade
  • tomato-based sauces
  • pickled vegetables
  • marinated vegetables and other preserves

Discover how you can optimize your pasteurization processes in the kitchen with Cucimix:

Cucimix-CBTE030

Not only is Cucimix ideal for pasteurization, but it is indeed a true multifunctional industrial cooker. It is available in various capacities: from 30 litres up to 310 litres and can be equipped with a variety of different accessories that make it extremely versatile for different applications.

Don’t miss the opportunity to optimize your pasteurization processes with Cucimix advanced technology.

Contact us today to book a demo or to receive more info on the Firex innovative solutions.
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