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When food items are exposed to oxygen or heat, as a result of processing or improper storage care, they begin to deteriorate. The deterioration is called Oxidation. An age-old technique for preserving food was to Cure it with Salt (used mostly with meat and fish). Sugar was also added to fruits to prevent spoilage. There are certain spices and herbs that are used in preservation methods. Vinegar and vitamins (such as Vitamins C & E) can also be used as preservatives.

 Today preservation has progressed past a home industry. Most modern applications of preservatives involve using Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved chemical additives to extend the shelf life of food items. In Smart Kitchen we will mostly deal with Oxidation by using acids, and reducing our foods exposure to oxygen with packaging and containers.

 Oxidation is a scientific sounding term for the very familiar process of exposure of product to oxygen, but since we will be looking at a bit of science below, the scientific name fits.  

Scientifically, oxidation usually means the loss of electrons in hydrogen when exposed to oxygen or the gain of electrons by oxygen. Reduction, in the molecular sense, means a decrease in the oxidation state of a material, where hydrogen gains an electron and oxygen loses one. That is the science of Oxidation & Reduction we needed as background to preface the rest of this topic on oxidation. 

Practically, we are discussing oxidation to understand the concept of Enzymatic Browning which is the primary reasons that foods turn brown after prolonged exposure to air.