Is there any specific vedic/tantric science that deals with the preservation of food? i.e. methods use to preserve food that people used to implement in acient times?

  • This question is more appropriate for History SE than here as it's not directly related to Hinduism and is about society and culture. But you can ask a Q. there about how historical Vedic culture used to preserve the food and what methods were used back then. Sep 26, 2021 at 6:14
  • @SwiftPushkar , done a bit of editing, hope it is acceptable
    – juztcode
    Sep 26, 2021 at 7:24
  • This is interesting q. though. And I was also thinking about not to close vote the post , but as i mentioned it not related to much of the Hinduism as per say. And food includes vast no items.So it's quite a broad too.And is of History of food. So I am afraid even editing the post will not make it much fit to be on topic Sep 26, 2021 at 13:47
  • 1
    For safer side you can ask the question on History SE. in case it's closed here. Sep 26, 2021 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


As per Dharmashastras, oils (butter, oil, and fat), were a way to preserve food (as in keep something in its original state).

1.169. Food kept overnight, or kept for a long time, may be eaten if mixed with oils: as also preparations of wheat, barley and milk, even without, oils.

Yajnavalkya Smriti

According to the Mitaksara, a commentary on Yajnavalkya Smriti:

"Food" eatables. Stale but if mixed with oily substances like ghee (clarified butter) &c., is fit for use though it might have been kept long. While transformations of wheat, barley and milk such as sweet-meat ball, (barley meal), cheese, inspisated milkJJ&c, though not oily and kept long, are fit for use. Provided they have not undergone any change (for the worse by being so kept).

In the Manu Smriti:

5.24. All lawful hard or soft food may be eaten, though stale, (after having been) mixed with fatty (substances), and so may the remains of sacrificial viands.

Manu Smriti

However, sometimes, food should not be preserved at all:

kṛta annaṃ paryuṣitam akhādya apeya anādyam || 17 ||
17. Prepared food which has stood for a night, must neither be eaten nor drunk,

śuktaṃ ca || 18 ||
18. Nor [should prepared food] that has turned sour [be used in any way].

Apastamba Sutra 1.5.17

4.211. [Let him never eat food given] by one accused of a mortal sin (Abhisasta), a hermaphrodite, an unchaste woman, or a hypocrite, nor (any sweet thing) that has turned sour, nor what has been kept a whole night, nor (the food) of a Sudra, nor the leavings (of another man),

5.9. (The milk) of all wild animals excepting buffalo-cows, that of women, and all (substances turned) sour must be avoided.

Manu Smriti

1.167. Food given without due respect, unlaw- ful meat, or which contains hair and insects ; or sour food or stale, or the leavings (of another man), or what has been touched by a dog, or on which a degraded person has cast his sight.

1.168. What has been touched by a menstruat- ing woman, or what has been publicly offered, food given by one who is not the owner, or what has been smelt by a cow, or the leavings of birds, or what has been wilfully touched with feet (these foods) let him avoid.

Yajnavalkya Smriti

Therefore, fatty/oily substances may preserve food. However, food was sometimes not preserved at all when people followed these rules.

  • 1
    OP is asking about methods use to preserve food in vedic culture and not whether it's allowed or fit consume food kept for long.Also can you point to the chapter no.of Yajnavalkya Smriti for verse no. 169. Sep 27, 2021 at 6:38
  • @SwiftPushkar You’re right. I have now clarified in my answer that when people followed these rules in older times, they sometimes didn’t preserve food. I also added the chapter no., I think it’s 1.
    – PAI
    Sep 27, 2021 at 17:01
  • @SwiftPushkar , is there also a specific veda shakha devoted to the art of nutrition?
    – juztcode
    Sep 29, 2021 at 6:45
  • @PAI , is there also a specific veda shakha devoted to the art of nutrition?
    – juztcode
    Sep 29, 2021 at 6:45
  • @juztcode - Most probably not - core Vedas deals with Yajna and activities related to that only and not of general day to day one i.e.mantras and explanation of rituals.But there is possibility of mention of preservation of food items specifically required for homas and Yajnas. Ayurveda a Upaveda is in charge of matters related to food items. Sep 29, 2021 at 7:18

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