PRESERVING FOOD HAS BEEN A DESIRE OF HUMANS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME in order to fight off hunger in times when fresh food was unavailable. For hunter-gatherer communities, a successful hunt meant food for the present, but it was difficult to have a supply on hand when the weather was warm.

In order to preserve their food, ancient families smoked, salted, and dried it in a systematic manner. This was done out of need.


In order to shield their skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s rays over the course of many centuries, the ancient Egyptians stored food in olive oil and crafted priceless, calming cosmetics out of various plants. Fruits such as figs, which were plentiful in Mediterranean civilizations, were exposed to the sun to ripen them.

Because of the hot and dry weather, the moisture in the figs quickly evaporated, and someone noted that the figs that had been dried out did not rot as fast as the ones that had not been dried out.

We now know that keeping the moisture content of food to a minimum may prevent the development of bacteria and other microbes that cause spoiling.
In the late eighteenth century, when France was in a state of economic and military disarray, the shortage of supplies and fresh food for the soldiers produced scurvy and malnutrition, which in turn led to increased mortality.

In the year 1795, the government of France offered a reward of 12,000 francs as a prize to any French patriot who could come up with an innovative method of storing food for extended periods of time.

Nicolas Appert, who by profession is a confectioner, brewer, distiller, and chef, accepted the challenge and experimented with a variety of procedures and pieces of equipment.

Appert was awarded a prize by the French army in 1810 for developing a technique of food preservation that was both safe and effective. It took him 14 years of trial and error to get at this point.

He emphasized the use of glass containers that were airtight and maintained that applying heat to a full container would force the air out of the container, thereby producing a vacuum that prevented food from going bad.

After placing his wide-mouthed glass containers in boiling water, he corked them to keep the contents within.

More than fifty different kinds of food were successfully preserved by him using this approach, but he had no idea why it was effective. His dissertation, titled “The Art of Preserving All Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years,” was first published in 1810 and then translated into English the following year.

Although he was the first person to can food for business purposes, his facility near Paris was destroyed during the Napoleonic wars.

An Englishman named Peter Durand, who had access to Appert’s thesis, was the one who first patented the idea of combining iron and tin to manufacture food preservation cans.

By the year 1818, both the British navy and army were making use of the technique, which Durand had trademarked and given the term “tin canister.” The term “tin canister” was eventually abbreviated to “can” when further improvements were made.

John Mason is credited with inventing the glass jar with a threaded top in the year 1858 in the United States. This product was intended to replace jars that had cork stoppers. The early history of home canning reached its zenith in 1874, when another American named A. J. Shriver devised a pressure canner that could be used in the house.


Canners at home achieve the same results as Louis Pasteur did in 1857 when he developed the technique of preserving food by using heat to eliminate the bacteria that caused rotting in food. It doesn’t matter which method of canning you choose; the goal is the same:

to kill the microorganisms that cause food to go bad and to create a vacuum in which any remaining bacteria cannot grow. Clostridium botulinum thrives in an environment that is moist, with temperature ranges between 40 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and lacks oxygen (oxygen concentration of 2 percent).

In spite of the fact that Clostridium botulinum may be found on fresh food, the circumstances necessary for it to cause damage while the food is still fresh are not met.

However, if the fresh food is canned after it has been exposed to the appropriate circumstances for the growth of bacteria, then the food may be hazardous if the canning procedure was not carried out in the correct manner.

This is the central tenet around which all other canning practices revolve. The acidity of the product is the deciding factor in which the ultimate canning method (boiling-water bath or pressure canner) must be employed to make the food safe to consume. The acidity of the product is the determining factor.

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