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It is probably the most practical way to preserve food, which is why in times of shortage it has been the most widely used technique for preserving food.
It has been discovered that, since prehistoric times, the concern for preserving food has been in force in the human species, with findings of more than 20,000 years old of techniques that are still used today, such as outdoor extraction, salting or smoking.
History of canned food
As we have seen, the history of preserves goes back a long time, however, the use of preservative substances was what set the clear precedent for the conservation methods we use most today.
Three important men in the beginnings of canning.
The development of these techniques was not very striking until three men, between the 19th and 20th centuries, stood out in this selective process:
- The first one was Nicolas Appert, who invented the hermetically sealed conservation as we know it today. This technique consisted in introducing the food into a glass jar that was closed with a cork stopper and submitted to a bain-marie. The appearance of this invention was due to a request from the French government to find better ways to preserve and transport food for its army.
- Practically at the same time, although as a result of Appert's method, the Englishman Peter Durand patented what we know today as canning, which is nothing more than the packaging of vacuum-sealed food in wrought iron cans.
- Last but not least, Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization as a method that eliminates microorganisms through heat, so that they do not affect the food. We can say that it is the safest and most durable technique.
These methods were a great advance for the preservation of products, mainly of the freshest ones such as fish, in addition to being a great job-generating industry.
The most common ways to find the preserves are:
- Drying or dehydration: all the water is extracted from the food to prevent bacteria from reproducing.
- Salting: treatment with salt to dehydrate the food and avoid the attack of germs.
- Smoking: preserves the food due to the antimicrobial effect of the smoke from the burned wood.
- Canning: food is sealed in a container after being vacuumed and heated.
- Freezing: consists of freezing food to last up to a year in this state.
- Refrigeration: the product is vacuum-cooled to prolong its shelf life, although not as long as with freezing.
- In vegetable oil: the food is placed in a container filled with oil from olives, sunflowers, rice, corn, etc.
- In sunflower oil: it is the most used seed oil in Spain and Europe, as it is healthier and cheaper than olive oil.
- In olive oil: it is the maximum grade as far as oils for the preservation of fish and seafood are concerned.
- In marinade: it is a preparation based on salt and vinegar together.
In addition to these preserves, there are many others such as canned food in its natural state, canned food in different sauces, or canned food in its own juice.
Recommendations for buying and consuming preserves
These are some of the recommendations at the time of both buying and consuming preserves:
- Select the size of the can according to the portion to be served.
- Clean the can or jar before opening it.
- Keep the hygiene rules as if it was a product itself.
- Use the indicated can opener.
- Be careful with the edges of the cans, as they are very sharp.
- It is best to pour the content of the can into the place to be served, instead of taking it out with some kind of cutlery.
- Follow the consumption recommendations to preserve the flavor and the qualities of the food.
- Canned food can be stored for a long time at an ambient temperature of around 20°C.
- If you cook with other foods, try, as far as possible, to add the preserves at the end, so as to avoid reheating them.
- The liquid of the conserves contains vitamins and hydrosoluble minerals, reason why it is very recommendable to take advantage of it.
Canned food brands
Some of the best brands of preserves to enjoy a good lunch, dinner or appetizer, and even an exquisite cooking, are: