This category covers establishments primarily engaged in canning specialty products, such as baby foods, nationality specialty foods, and soups, except seafood.
Cans have unquestioned advantages as food containers. Hermetically sealed, they protect their contents from contamination as well as prevent undesirable fluctuations in moisture content; the absorption of oxygen, gases, and undesirable odors; and exposure to light. In addition, they allow for high-speed filling, sealing, and casing, and retailers can display them easily and attractively.
Compared to other methods of food preservation, canning is a recent development. Freezing goes back to the ice ages, and even smoking and drying were used before recorded history. Canning did not come along until the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
Nicholas Appert, a French confectioner and chef, theorized in 1795 that if food is heated in a container with no air in it, the food will keep. He worked on his theorem for 14 years, cooking foods in cork-stoppered bottles in boiling water. Sent around the world on sailing ships, Appert’s preserved fruits and vegetables remained wholesome. Eventually an English merchant, Peter Durand, would develop the use of tin canisters in 1810.
The first U.S. patent for tin containers was granted in 1825. At first, cans were made by hand; even an expert in the process could turn out only five or six an hour. The term canning came to mean sterilizing food by heat and sealing it in airtight containers, either metal or glass, at an individual’s home or in a processing plant.
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