Developed in the late 18th century in France, canning is a reliable process of food preservation. Nicholas Appert did his experimentation for 15 years and developed this method. The main ideas behind canning food are that if you heat food and seal it in an airtight container; you can preserve food without using preservatives. 

The process was taken a step further in England in 1813 by Peter Durand, and Englishman. He began to use unbreakable tin containers for sealing food. In America, the first canning factory was established in New York in 1812.

But people still didn’t clearly understand why canning works. The effectiveness of canning was explained 50 years later, when Louise Pasteur demonstrated that food spoilage happens due to microorganisms.

A natural way of preserving food

Since the groundbreaking inventions of Nicholas Appert and Peter Durand, the basic principles of canning food have remained the same. You put food in a sealed container and apply heat to destroy microorganisms. Different types of food items require different amounts of time for the process.

It depends on the density and acidity of the food, and some other factors. For example, green beans require more time than tomatoes. Far more time will be needed if you are going to can corn and pumpkin.

When processing food, your goal should be to make the food sterile but keep the nutrition and flavor. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has set some standards for processing foods.

Once you have canned food and applied the heat, the food can be preserved for about two years. You just have to make sure that the container is not damaged. No preservatives are needed for the process of canning food.

For different food items there are different sequences of steps. If you need to can fruits and vegetables, you may need to peel them and remove the stems. For some vegetables, a special heat treatment is required before you put them in the cans. Before you put acidic vegetables, tomatoes and oranges into cans, you have to sterilize them.

Food seafood, it is important to bone and shell them before you pack them. Smaller fish like anchovies and sardines are exceptions. When it comes to canning fish and meats, you have to cook them separate them from bones before canning.

READ : How to preserved beetroot

Canning methods

The pressure-canning method and the boiling water method are two methods of canning food. The basic principles of both of these methods are essentially the same. You have to use jars with special lids, and then prepare the ingredients and load them into the jars.

At first, the jars are heated. And as they cool down, the food contracts, creating an airtight seal. The methods work by this principle—whether you are using the pressure-canning method or the boiling water method.

The canning method that involves boiling water is a relatively easy method. You can do it by investing very little, and it is suitable for fruit jellies, jams, tomatoes and salsas. You have to add lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to these fruits and vegetables.

And for low-acid foods, the pressure-canning method is more suitable. You can use this method to preserve most meats and vegetables. In this method, a pressure-canning appliance is used to apply a higher temperature.

Canning equipment

To can food, you need some special equipment. For canning with safety and grace, you are best off investing in an all-in-one canning kit to ensure that you have everything you need.

And if you are not using a prepared kit, here are the things you will need for the boiling water method:

  • Canning jars with lids
  • A stock pot
  • Canning tongs
  • Canning rack
  • Wide-mouth funnel
  • Magnetic lid lifter
  • Bubble tool 

What to can?

Many different food items can be preserved with the process of canning food. You can preserve your favorite seasonal foods. Think of canned sun-kissed tomatoes and plump strawberries. It is also important to notice what is affordable and abundant.

You will get a good deal of fruits and vegetables when they are abundant in the market. In some cases, foods can be frozen before you can them. You can think of pickled asparagus in spring, marmalade and citrus curd in winter and pepper jam in the fall.

Virtually any food can be found in a can. For many decades, certain foods were available only in cans. Now there are many frozen and fresh alternatives to canned food. But even in the contemporary pantry, canned food is very common. 

READ: How to Can Vegetables in Mason Jars

Retaining the freshness

When it comes to the process of canning food, you must be serious about one thing: only fresh food is suitable for canning. For this reason, canning facilities are not usually far from the places where the foods are harvested.

Vegetable and fruit canaries are established near the fields, to make sure that only fresh produce is canned. You will notice seafood canaries near the docks. The same is true for soups, meats and stews.

Minimizing transportation costs is another benefit of it. Maintaining the freshness is important for all types of foods, but it is of utmost importance when it comes to canning fruits and vegetables.

Canned food nutrition

Canned foods retain much of their nutritional values, mostly because they are packed when they are fresh. Foods lose some essential nutrients as they age. Fruits and vegetables, when ripe, have a high concentration of nutritional values.

For certain food items, the nutrient profile is enhanced when they are canned. Canned pumpkin is one such food. Food items with higher fiber content, such as beans, contain essential phytonutrient and lycopene.

The process of canning food is popular, because it preserves most of the nutrients in foods. The process does not affect fats carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamins A, C, D, and B2 also remain unaffected. However, the amount of heat applied during the process determines the retention of vitamin B1.

Safety benefits

Preserving food for long periods was the main of developing the process of canning food. Once you have canned food, you have to apply heat to kill microorganisms. Besides, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point has set some standards of monitoring most processed foods.

The food process is monitored to identify and prevent potential contamination. People engaged in the work of canning try to maintain high safety standards. To ensure this safety, the heating process is watched closely.

Caning is one of the best ways to preserve food, partly because the process does not require preservatives. If you are a DIY enthusiast, you will enjoy every part of the process. 

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Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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