NATIONAL CANNED FOOD MONTH
February is time for a second harvest and National Canned Food Month! Take a look at your pantry and harvest your shelves of the preserves and canned goods from last fall.
The story of canned food goes back to the waning years of the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte’s offer of 12,000 francs to anyone who could develop a method of preserving food for his army. A Frenchman named Nicolas Appert claimed the prize when he discovered that applying heat to food in sealed glass bottles improved its shelf life. Appert’s research led to the current methods of canning. The first tin-opener was invented by the English surgical instrument maker Robert Yates in 1855. Early food tins had to be opened with a hammer and chisel. The French army used bayonets.
In modern times, canning has its benefits. Saving money is especially important in uncertain economic periods. Preserving your garden harvest is a great way to not waste a summer’s hard work in the garden. Canning is also Earth-friendly. Properly-preserved foods both taste great and are healthful. Ball Mason Jars are the most widely used canning jars which are recognized November 30 during National Mason Jar Day!
There are several methods of canning, and each has its advantages. Water bath canning is a lower temperature process that is ideal for jams, jellies, salsa, and tomatoes. Pressure canning involves a higher temperature process and works best when canning meats, poultry, seafood, chili, and veggies. Open-kettle canning is a process where hot food is poured into hot jars then sealed. This canning method is the least recommended. It is essential to learn the principles of keeping food fresh and discouraging bacteria growth. Study the various canning techniques carefully and make sure you are properly equipped before you start.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Learn about the history of canning and how to preserve your own food. Grandma might be your best teacher! Use #CannedFoodMonth and post your canned goods on social media.
The Canned Food Information Council designated February as National Canned Food Month in 1987 to break down misconceptions surrounding canned food as being less nutritious than fresh. Depending on the variety of fruits and vegetables, what they are packed in and served with will make a difference in their nutritional value.
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