Oh! We’re already up to letter O in our series on Women, Beer and Food. Let’s celebrate Oxygen today.
Oxygen is both necessary and damaging, at various stages and and in different amounts, to both beer and food.
We need Oxygen to grow the raw ingredients for beer – H needs a 2O after all. Grain and hops need fresh clean air. Yeast is affected by it as well. For food, growing conditions and environments are enormously impacted by the air quality and anaerobic situations as well.
Once beer has been carefully made, storage should exclude Oxygen since at that stage of the game it’s a detriment and begins to accelerate the degradation of quality and flavor. There is dissolved Oxygen in beer yet to store beer in the presence of oxygen is what encourages chemical changes to take place which dramatically affect our experience and the quality of the beer.
Food storage practices rely on oxygen in some form as well. Storing things in airtight containers allows very low airflow and oxygen exposure. Anyone who’s ever cut up a fresh piece of apple or pear knows that it begins to oxidize: it turns brown due to exposure to oxygen in air. In some cases it doesn’t critically and negatively impact the food. That said, the obvious indication that something is changing should be a sign to learn what the heck is going on and learn how to properly act and respond.
Go ahead and learn how Oxygen in involved in and affects your beer and food. There are loads of resources on the net, in your local library and through professionals on the fields.
Take a deep breath and keep learning.