In The Cupboard
Photograph - Photography
When I saw these tins of early 1900's canned food memories of early years came forth. No....I'm not THAT old. When my parents moved into a century farm in the 1960's the pantry still had tins of food from the previous owners. I remember the same tins of Damson plums and the Quaker tomatoes.
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as long as 30 years in an edible state.
In 1795 the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food. Nicolas Appert suggested canning and the process was first proven in 1806 in test with the French navy and the prize awarded in 1809 or 1810. The packaging prevents microorganisms from entering and proliferating inside.
To prevent the food from being spoiled before and during containment, a number of methods are used: pasteurisation, boiling (and other applications of high temperature over a period of time), refrigeration, freezing, drying, vacuum treatment, antimicrobial agents that are natural to the recipe of the foods being preserved, a sufficient dose of ionizing radiation, submersion in a strong saline solution, acid, base, osmotically extreme (for example very sugary) or other microbially-challenging environments.
Other than sterilization, no method is perfectly dependable as a preservative. For example, the microorganism Clostridium botulinum (which causes botulism), can only be eliminated at temperatures above the boiling point.
From a public safety point of view, foods with low acidity (a pH more than 4.6) need sterilization under high temperature (116-130 °C). To achieve temperatures above the boiling point requires the use of a pressure canner. Foods that must be pressure canned include most vegetables, meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy products. The only foods that may be safely canned in an ordinary boiling water bath are highly acidic ones with a pH below 4.6, such as fruits, pickled vegetables, or other foods to which acidic additives have been added.
In the United States - Canned food also began to spread beyond Europe — Robert Ayars established the first American canning factory in New York City in 1812, using improved tin-plated wrought-iron cans for preserving oysters, meats, fruits and vegetables. Demand for canned food greatly increased during wars. Large-scale wars in the nineteenth century, such as the Crimean War, American Civil War, and Franco-Prussian War introduced increasing numbers of working-class men to canned food, and allowed canning companies to expand their businesses to meet military demands for non-perishable food, allowing companies to manufacture in bulk and sell to wider civilian markets after wars ended. Urban populations in Victorian Britain demanded ever-increasing quantities of cheap, varied, quality food that they could keep at home without having to go shopping daily. In response, companies such as Nestlé, Heinz, and others emerged to provide quality canned food for sale to working class city-dwellers. In particular, Crosse and Blackwell took over the concern of Donkin Hall and Gamble. The late 19th century saw the range of canned food available to urban populations greatly increase, as canners competed with each other using novel foodstuffs, highly decorated printed labels, and lower prices.
Thank you for viewing. Barbara McMahon
April 14th, 2013
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