verb (used with object),pas·teur·ized,pas·teur·iz·ing.
to expose (a food, as milk, cheese, yogurt, beer, or wine) to an elevated temperature for a period of time sufficient to destroy certain microorganisms, as those that can produce disease or cause spoilage or undesirable fermentation of food, without radically altering taste or quality.
1881, with -ize, after Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), French chemist and bacteriologist, who invented the process of heating food, milk, wine, etc., to kill most of the micro-organisms in it; distinguished from sterilization, which involves killing all of them. The surname is literally "Pastor." Related: Pasteurized; pasteurizing.