There’s an old saying: If you waste not, you shall want not. And it’s that mindset that helped lead to food preservation tactics such as canning. Canning helps us save perishable foods and has changed the way we eat.
Canned food has become such a staple of our food industry that February has even been designated as Canned Food Month. To celebrate and highlight the creation of this awesome idea, Tristar Products review the invention of canning.
A man named Nicolas Appert began experimenting with food preservation in the late 1700s and he was able to successfully save foods such as soups, vegetables, juices, and even some dairy products. His theory was that air coming into contact with food is what caused it to spoil, so he worked on ways to remove that element during storage.
Appert’s theory wasn’t exactly correct but he developed it from an early 1700s practice of covering meats with a layer of fat to protect them from air. But it was Napoleon Bonaparte that changed the game of canning when he strived to develop a more effective way of feeding his French troops.
Napoleon offered a hefty reward to anyone that could come up with a better solution. So Appert got back to work and discovered that it wasn’t just the air that caused food it spoil, it was also temperature. So Appert began developing a process where food was placed inside glass jars that were then corked and sealed with wax. The jars were then wrapped in canvas and boiled. This method seemed to do the trick and he submitted his invention to Napoleon and the French government in 1810. In that same year, Appart published a cookbook called The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances. It is known as the first cookbook to discuss modern food preservation, known today as canning.
By 1812, an Englishman named Brian Donkin exchanged the easily breakable glass for a more durable tin can for food preservation. The canned food industry grew from there. The popularity of canned food was slow initially because the time-consuming process of canning made the products expensive and an effective can opener had not been invented yet. But once the cost of production went down and the can opener was invented 40 years later, canned foods took off and are now found in virtually every grocery store around the world.
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