When Did People First Freeze Food?
We think of frozen food as a new invention, but it is actually one of the oldest methods known for preserving food. From the days when man first inhabited cold regions, he froze fish, game, and other meats for future use.
The first known patent for freezing food was granted as early as 1852 in England. The method used was to immersed food in an ice-and-salt mixtures.
But frozen foods could not be used extensively until the development of mechanical refrigeration. This made it possible to freeze and transport meats over long distances.
Early in the 20th century, attempts were made to preserve foods other than meats and fish by freezing. A man called H. S. Baker froze fruits in Colorado as early as 1908. The purpose of this was to freeze the part of the fruit crop that couldn't be marketed and sell it for use later.
Only certain fruits were frozen at first, chiefly strawberries and cherries. They were frozen at first, by what is known as the cold-pack method.
This means placing barrels or containers of the fruit in large storage rooms where the temperature is maintained at 10 and 15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
In 1916, experiments in Germany showed that foods could be frozen by quick-freeze method, which meant freezing the food in few hours instead of in several days.
In 1917 a man called Clarence Birdseye began to work on methods for freezing food in small containers for sale in stores. It wasn't until 1919 that the first commercial pack of this type was put on the market.
As a result of his experiments and the work of others, it was found that many vegetables could also be preserved in this manner, and the frozen-food industry was on its way.
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