Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/608

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558

CANNING

sealed against them, the presence of air would not of as though freshly canned, and their flavour was as itself cause fermentation, provided it were sterilized. To good when the last can was eaten as in the first month. destroy bacteria the food is heated to a sufficiently high No illness of any kind occurred prior to the famous temperature under pressure in retorts and kettles. Heat retreat, and those most inclined to canned fruit and is the only agency that need be employed. The use of vegetables were the healthiest and strongest of the party. Surgeon-Major W. Simson Pratt, M.D., whose experience antiseptics is inexcusable. While the process of canning is simple, extreme care is and judgment on this point were attested by Sir Garnet required in handling the material. Bacteria lodge upon (afterwards Lord) Wolseley, reported as follows:—“Taking food from utensils; they are in the water-supply, in the my experience in India and the late Nile expedition air, perhaps in the fluids used in the process of canning; in which the test of tinned provisions was exceptionand on the person or garments of workmen. Cleanliness ally severe from continued exposure to the powerful is imperative. Moreover, certain forms of bacteria are not direct rays of the sun, I have found that tinned provisions, killed as easily as others, and unless the packer knows meat, and vegetables, put up separately or combined in how long the food should be cooked and how high a tem- the form of soups, are practically undamageable by any perature is necessary for sterilization, he is liable to lose an climatic heat.” Canning was early introduced in various parts of the entire season’s product. Fortunes have been lost through lack of cleanliness or of a knowledge of bacteriology. The Atlantic States of North America (1820-45). In 1848 the simple process devised by Appert has been developed by demand for canned meat for California became urgent, and applying steam and machinery to all parts of the work additional impetus was given by the Civil War in America, from the cultivation, gathering, preparation, and packing of 1861-65. From that time the industry spread over the raw material to the manufacture of tin cans, labels, and globe. There are now canning factories in China, the East cases. Among the devices in common use are auto- Indies, Africa, France, Great Britain, and other countries matic can-making machinery, cappers, fillers, floaters, of Europe; but the industry has received its chief brining or syruping machines, wipers, corn cutters, corn development in the United States and Canada. Factories silkers, pea briners, hullers, corn cookers, conveyers, line the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to Florida, the labelling machines, and box fillers; a portable process Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific coast as far north as points kettle has made canning possible on the farm. In treating between 60° and 65° north latitude in Alaska, and are peas, for example, the work was formerly done by hand found in nearly all the forty-six States of the Union. In and the peas twice cooked; after being subjected to heat the whole of North America there are about 2000 canning for ten minutes at 212° F. the tins were vented, resealed, factories besides a number of firms in the cattle trade that and again processed. By the aid of modern machinery have canning houses in connexion with their stock-yards. the pods are gathered by a viner, the peas are podded by a One of these has placed upon the market eighty food “ huller,” and are assorted in four or five sizes by a revolv- specialities into which meat or poultry enter, and is adding ing cylinder, the sides of which have meshes of varying one new sort every week. Besides the packing of all sizes. After being blanched the peas are covered with varieties of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, fowl, soups, the brine, placed in tins, and sealed by machine. They are packers put up combinations of food, and the favourite then processed once in a retort for twenty minutes at a special dishes of different nations, as for instance, succotash, temperature of 240° F. One firm in Wisconsin, U.S.A., okra and tomatoes, stewed kidneys, clam chowder, plum puts up over 2,500,000 tins of peas annually. As a general pudding, Irish stew, beefsteak and onions, Hamburger rule fruits and vegetables are only processed once, meats steak with onions, veal loaf, ham loaf. Many of these and fish twice. Method and results vary greatly. Until articles are sold as low as eighty to ninety cents per dozen recently there has not been any considerable scientific (3s. 2 jd. to 3s. 7|d.), so as to permit of their being sold to study of the art, and canners are generally deficient in a consumers at ten cents (5d.) per tin. Full statistics are knowledge of scientific cooking and of the time and heat not available because packers are unwilling to make public the extent of their business, but the following figures may required to destroy the various kinds of bacteria. The cans are made from steel plates, with little or no be relied on. In 1889 there were put up in the United solder anywhere exposed to chemical action. In a perfectly States and Canada 177,718,152 No. 3 or quart tins of closed tin chemical action is virtually suspended. Upon tomatoes, and during ten years 1891-1900, a total of the access of air the acids in fruits and vegetables may 1,174,369,200 tins. Of sweet corn there were put up in decompose the tin very rapidly, forming mineral salts, and 1900 a total of 155,654,976 tins, and during ten years therefore the contents of a tin should be immediately 937,452,408 tins. In California the estimated output of removed. When properly prepared canned food will keep table fruits reaches sixty million tins every season. The without deterioration for practically an unlimited period output of canned salmon on the Pacific coast for ten years of years in all extremes of any climate. At the London 1890-1899, was 1,027,510,896 one-pound tins. During Exhibitions of 1851, 1862, and 1873 tins of meat which the three seasons ending 1899, the average annual output had been put up from twenty-five to forty years were was nearly 3,000,000 cases of forty-eight one-pound tins found perfectly sound. Stores of meat, &c., in tins have each, or 144,000,000 tins. Of this the United Kingdom been left in the Arctic regions for years, annually exposed takes an average of over 48,000,000 tins annually. The to temperatures of 92° below and 80° above zero, and magnitude of the American industry is further shown by when examined found as sound as the day they were put the fact that during the year ending 30th June 1900 the up. Condensed milk thirty-two years old was found in exports of canned beef were 55,553,745 pounds, of which perfect condition except for a slight discoloration. It is 32,273,374 pounds went to the United Kingdom, and attested on high medical authority that the qualities and 12,172,889 pounds to South Africa. It is estimated that properties of foods are not altered to any material extent 375,000,000 pounds of milk are annually used in the United by the process of preservation. Severe tests of this States for making condensed milk, which is equivalent to an statement have been made both in the Arctic regions and output of 156,500,000 tins. One company engaged in the in the torrid zone. Brigadier-General A. W. Greeley, business has a capital of $20,000,000. Large corporations U.S.A., records that canned fruits and vegetables which are engaged in the same line in Switzerland and other were subjected to the extremes of Arctic temperatures countries. It is safe to estimate the output of canned for almost three years presented the same appearance goods in the United States and Canada at over one billion