The New Student's Reference Work/Cold Storage

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Cold Storage. Food may be preserved either by some chemical change made in it or by keeping out the bacteria of decomposition or by cold. The first method, which includes smoking and the use of large quantities of sugar, has the disadvantage of making the food less wholesome. The second method depends upon the fact that bacteria are kept out with the air, and requires that the bacteria present in the food or vessel be first destroyed, usually by prolonged boiling. By this method the food loses taste, in most cases. Cold storage depends upon the fact that below a certain temperature the bacteria of decomposition cannot work, though they may continue alive. A mammoth’s flesh was preserved in the snows of Siberia for probably 20,000 years or more; and when found the dogs ate the flesh. Cold storage is the best method of preserving food. In 1867 the first refrigerator-car ran from Chicago to New York with a load of beef; it was a success, and enormous quantities of meat are now sent east in this way. The butchers in New York and other cities are able by the same method to keep the meat a long time after receiving it. Meat is now sent across the Atlantic in cold storage, especially to England, thus saving the expense and the risks of sending live animals. For about 25 years mutton has been sent in ever-increasing quantities from New Zealand and Australia to England by cold storage, with excellent results to all concerned. Fruits are now sent in refrigerator-cars from California and the south to all parts of the country. Bananas are thus packed, and the heat regulated on the journey, so that the bananas arrive at their destination at just the required degree of ripeness; for cold prevents ripening as well as decay. The cars are built double, with ice at each end, and a fan turned by the forward motion of the car keeps the air circulating over the ice to the meat and back again. The art of cold storage was neglected until the American people developed it into a great industry and common practice.