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Canned Vegetables

( Originally Published 1926 )

71 Q. How many grades of canned vegetables are there?

A. There are three grades: Fancy, Extra Standard or Choice, and Standard. The Fancy grade calls for materials of highest quality and flavor, uniform in color and size, handled with special care. The Standard grade is prepared from sound material, usually about the average run of the crop, so that it may lack uniformity in size, color, and ripeness. The Extra Standard or Choice grade is intermediate between the Fancy and Standard, and applies to a product that falls slightly below the rigid requirements of the Fancy grade, but is still better than the Standard.

72 Q. What are the various vegetables that are put up in cans?

A. Artichokes
Bean Sprouts
Beans, Baked
Beans, with Tomato Sauce Beans, with Pork Beans,
Red Beans,
Red Kidney Beans,
Lima Beans, Refugee Beans, Wax
Brussels Sprouts Cabbage
Corn, Cream Style Corn, Whole Grain Corn on the Cob
Okra with Tomato Olives, Green Olives, Ripe Olives, Stuffed Onions
Peppers, Green, Peppers, Sweet Pimientos
Potatoes, Sweet Pumpkin Sauerkraut
Tomato Paste Tomato Puree
Hominy Tomato Sauce
Kale Truffles
Lentils Turnips
Mixed vegetables
Vegetables for Soup
Whole Wheat

73 Q. What are canned artichokes?

A. These are usually the thick, fleshy parts ("bottoms") of the immature flower of the artichoke plant, which is a thistle-like evergreen plant, about three or four feet high. The flowers are gathered before they expand and the "bottoms" are boiled in salted water and then canned. They are usually served with cream dressing or melted butter. Some canners put up also whole artichokes; that is, the entire flowering head of the artichoke plant, the bud scales of which are also eaten.

74 Q. Why is some asparagus green and some white?

A. The white asparagus is obtained by deep planting; the full length of the spear is kept under the ground. If any tips protrude, they are immediately covered up. The green asparagus grows above the ground.

75 Q. What is meant by "peeled" asparagus?

A. This is asparagus made from large stalks, from which the tough skin has been peeled.

76 Q. What are "bean sprouts" and for what are they used?

A. These are the sprouts of the Mung bean, a small, green, round bean, originally grown in China, but now also grown in the United States and elsewhere. They have a flavor similar to that of string beans, and are prepared by soaking the beans for several hours and then keeping them moist for several days, this being done usually in basements. Sprouted beans can he bought in cans, and are used in the preparation of Chop Suey and other Chinese dishes, as well as in salads, soups, and stews. As the canned sprouted beans are already cooked, they should be added to stews, soups, etc., just before serving.

77 Q. What are Brussels Sprouts?

A. The Brussels sprout is in a reality a miniature cabbage. The sprouts are attached to the long stalks of the plant. The uses of Brussels sprouts are similar to those of cabbage, but the sprouts are considered to be of superior flavor. They are called "Brussels" because they were originally cultivated in Belgium. The Brussels Sprouts are canned whole in three different sizes: Extra Small, running between 65 and 70 to a No. 2 can ; Small, running between 40 and 45 to a No. 2 can; and Medium, running between 18 and 20 to a No. 2 can. The Medium size sprouts are also put up in No. 10 cans, containing about 100 sprouts.

78 Q. How many kinds of canned navy beans are there?

A. Four kinds : Beans put up with plain sauce, with tomato sauce, with pork and plain sauce, and with pork and tomato sauce.

79 Q. What is the difference between canned beans that are labeled "Baked Beans" and others that are labeled just "Beans"?

A. The "Baked Beans" are cooked in jacketed kettles or ovens, which dry-heating process is necessary to entitle the packer to label his product "Baked Beans." The other canned beans are put up in this way : The beans are soaked for ten to fifteen hours, with frequent changes of water, and are then "blanched" in hot water, after which they are sealed in cans with the sauce and processed under steam pressure.

80 Q. Of what is the "Plain Sauce" that is used in putting up canned beans made?

A. It is usually made of molasses, sugar, salt, and water.

81 Q. Of what is the "Tomato Sauce" that is used in putting up canned beans made?

A. This "Tomato Sauce" includes the same ingredients as those of the "Plain Sauce," with the addition of tomato pulp and spices.

82 Q. Are green or dried beans used in putting up the conned lima beans?

A. Both green and dried lima beans are used for canning. The canned dried lima beans are known as "soaked." The Department of Agriculture distinguishes between "ripe" lima beans (allowed to ripen on the vine) and "dried" lima beans (picked before ripening and dried). It has ruled that when the canned lima beans were not packed green right off the vines, they should be labeled "Prepared from ripe beans" or "Prepared from dried beans," as the case may be.

83 Q. How many varieties of canned string beans are there, and how are they graded?

A. There are two principal varieties: The flat pod bean and the refugee, or round, bean. (Both the wax and green beans grow flat and round.) The beans are sifted into sizes by being run through a "grader," and are graded as No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, or No. 5, according to the size of the sieve through which they can pass.

84 Q. What kind of beet is used for canning?

A. The red garden beet is the only one used for canning. The small beets are canned whole or sliced, while the large beets (over 2 inches in diameter) are cut into pieces—slices, cubes, or quarters—and are sold as cut beets.

85 Q. What is meant by "Maine Style" and by "Maryland Style" canned corn?

A. In canning "Maine Style" or "Cream Style" corn, the kernel is cut off and the creamy contents of the lower part are forced out by scrapers; the corn is packed together with the milky cob scrapings. In canning the "Maryland Style," or "Whole Grain," corn, the kernels are cut deeper and not packed with the scrapings from the cob. (The Department of Agriculture has ruled that no canned corn may be labeled "Maine Style" unless it was actually packed in the State of Maine.)

86 Q. Is anything added to the corn in the process of canning?

A. A little salt, sugar, and water.

87 Q. Is corn on the cob also put up in cans?

A. Yes. Both the sweet and the Bantam varieties are put up in cob form in No. 2, No. 3, and No. 10 cans.

88 Q. What is "shoe peg" corn?

A. This is the trade name for canned corn cut in a special way so as to preserve as nearly as possible the whole kernel of the corn. It tastes like corn on the cob. Indeed, shoe peg corn (or "special cut" corn, as it is sometimes labeled), is corn on the cob minus the cob. It is warmed by placing the unopened can in boiling water for ten or fifteen minutes. The can is then opened, the juice drained off, and the corn served with a lump of butter.

89 Q. Is ordinary field corn (also known as "Maize" and as Indian corn) put up in cans the same as sugar corn?

A. Yes, but very seldom. And when field corn is canned, the label must state that fact plainly. The Bureau of Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture, has given the following opinion regarding the matter: "The product which is universally canned and sold as canned corn is sugar corn. The purchaser who buys a can labeled as `corn' unquestionably expects to get sugar corn and would undoubtedly be deceived if he received instead a can of field corn. The only condition under which canned field corn could be sold without objection would be under a label unequivocally designating it as field corn, with an additional statement clearly indicating that the product is not sugar corn, and with a further plain statement of the addition of sugar, if sugar is added in the preparation of the product."

90 Q. What is meant by "lye" hominy?

A. Hominy prepared from white corn, treated with hot lye solution to loosen the tough hulls. After the hulls are removed, the hulled corn is thoroughly washed to remove the lye. The corn is then cooked until tender and put up in cans with weak brine.

91 Q. What is kale?

A. Kale is a variety of cabbage, its curled leaves being open instead of forming a head. The leaves are used as greens and are also canned, same as spinach.

92 Q. What are the different grades of imported canned mushrooms?

A. There are six grades: (1) Miniature—the smallest sized button, without stems, counting from 130 to 200 to an 8-ounce can; (2) Sur Extra Small—same grade as Miniature, but larger size, counting from 100 to 130 to an 8-ounce can; (3) Extra—same grade as Miniature and Sur Extra Small, but counting from 40 to 60 to an 8-ounce can; (4) First Choice—same button as Extra, but more open and with stems; (5) Choice—very open; stems longer than those of First Choice; liable to run irregular in size; (6) Hotels—stems and pieces left over in the packing of the other grades.

93 Q. What are the different grades of domestic canned mushrooms?

A. There are four grades: (1) Miniature—whole mushrooms without stems, counting from 100 to 110 to an 8-ounce can; (2) First Choice 60-80s—whole mushrooms with short stems, counting from 60 to 80 to an 8-ounce can; (3) First Choice 30-40s—whole mushrooms with short stems, counting from 30 to 40 to an 8-ounce can; (4) Hotels—stems and pieces from any or all of the other grades.

94 Q. What kind of liquor is that in which mushrooms are canned?

A. Mushrooms are put up in their own juice. Thus, the liquor in the cans is pure mushroom juice. It is used for flavoring purposes and in preparing cream of mushroom soup.

95 Q. What are broiled mushrooms?

A. Domestic canned mushrooms which, before canning, were broiled in butter and their own juice. They are canned without stems and are dark in color.

96 Q. What should be the net weight of canned mushrooms in each of the four sizes of tins in which they come packed?

A. The following weights of drained mush-rooms represent the minimum quantities required by the Government to properly fill tins of the respective trade sizes:

Tins Height Diameter Drained Mushrooms

Inches Inches Pounds Ounces

1 kilo 4½ 4 1 ....
1/2 kilo 41/2 2 7/8 .... 8
1/4 kilo 3½ 2 1/4 4
1/8 kilo 2 3/16 2 1/4 2

97 Q. What are cepes?

A. Wild mushrooms grown in France, where they are found especially in chestnut groves. They come to this country put up in cans, the same as the cultivated French mushrooms.

98 Q. What is okra?

A. The young pods of the okra, or gumbo, plant, which grows from 2 to 8 feet high. The pods have from 5 to 12 sides and grow from 2 to 10 inches long. They contain many small, Okra Pods kidney-shaped seeds. Okra is used principally in soups (gumbo soups) and in the preparation of some other dishes, mainly meat dishes, to which it gives a mucilaginous consistency and a pleasant flavor. It is canned both whole and cut.

99 Q. What are the different kinds, grades, and sizes of canned peas?

A. There are two principal kinds: (1) the Early June peas, maturing in June, and (2) the Sweet peas, maturing in July. The shape of the Early June pea is perfectly round, while that of the Sweet pea is somewhat irregular. The skin of the ripe, dried seed of the Early June pea is smooth, and the skin of the ripe, dried seed of the Sweet pea is wrinkled.

There are three grades: (1) Fancy peas—young peas of uniform size and color; clear liquor; no flavor defects; absolutely tender; (2) Extra Standard peas—less succulent than the Fancy grade, but green and of mellow consistency; of uniform size and color, with clear liquor; reasonably free from flavor defects; (3) Standard peas—size fairly uniform, but not so tender as the Fancy grade ; may be slightly hard; covered with reasonably clear liquor, though not necessarily free from sediment.

There are six sizes: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, and No. 6, depending on the size of the mesh of the screen through which they can pass. Different packers give different names to the various sizes; thus, one packer may call his No. 1 peas "Tiny Sifted," while another may be putting out the same size as "Extra Small Sifted."

100 Q. What is the official definition for each of the six canned pea sizes'


No. 1 peas are peas which were, before pre-cooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 9/32-inch mesh.

No. 2 peas are peas which were, before pre-cooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 10/32-inch mesh.

No. 3 peas are peas which were, before pre-cooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 11/32-inch mesh.

No. 4 peas are peas which were, before pre-cooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 12/32-inch mesh.

No. 5 peas are peas which were, before pre-cooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 13/32-inch mesh.

No. 6 peas are peas not all of which were, be-fore precooking (blanching), small enough to pass through a screen of 13/32-inch mesh.

101 Q. What is meant by "Alaska" peas?

A. "Alaska" is the trade name for one of the two varieties of Early June peas, the other being the Winner variety. The name "Alaska" is merely a classification and does not indicate the source of production.

102 Q. Does the, size of the pea have any bearing on the tenderness of the pea?

A. No. The peas in a can may be of fancy quality and yet be No. 5 size, and they may be No. 2 size and yet be of Standard grade. The only reason some peas are not so tender as others is because they were canned a trifle beyond the time when their maturity reached perfection.

103 Q. Why do the smallest sized peas cost so much more than the peas of the larger sizes?

A. For the simple reason that they are scarce, there being on an average only two of them in each pod—one at each end.

104 Q. Of what is the brine made in which peas are canned?

A. Pure water, sugar, and salt.

105 Q. What is the meaning of "Petit Pois," found on the labels of some cans containing peas?

A. "Petit Pois" are the French words for "Small Peas," and are often used in labeling the No. 1 size peas—the smallest size.

106 Q. What is considered a "properly filled" can of peas?

A. According to the Bureau of Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture, a properly filled can of peas should, in general, yield the following drained weights of peas, the weights being determined in each instance by draining for two minutes on a 1/8-inch mesh screen :

No. 1 can 7.5 oz. of peas
No. 2 can 13.5 oz. of peas
No. 10 can 72 oz. of peas

107 Q. What is the cause of cloudy or muddy liquor in some canned peas?

A. Cloudy or muddy liquor is caused chiefly by overcooking. Sometimes it is due to failure to cool the cans immediately after the cooking process. In some seasons when there is a long period of dry weather, the peas contain more starch than in normal seasons, which makes it difficult to sterilize the larger sizes without causing the peas to burst and cloud the liquor.

108 Q. What is meant by "soaked" peas?

A. Peas labeled "soaked" are canned dried peas, as distinguished from peas that were packed green. "Soaked" peas may be prepared either from ripe peas (allowed to ripen on the vine) or from dried peas (picked before ripening and dried). Unless labeled "Soaked," they should be labeled "Prepared from Ripe Peas" or "Prepared from Dried Peas," as the case may be. The label of "Soaked" peas should not carry an illustration showing peas in the pod. A proper illustration, and one allowed by the Bureau of Chemistry, U. S. Department of Agriculture, would be a dish containing shelled peas.

109 Q. What are pimientos, and how are they prepared?

A. Pimientos are large, sweet, red peppers. They are first boiled in oil, chiefly to soften the skin, after which they are cooked in steaming kettles of water. The pimientos are then peeled and put through another cooking process, in the course of which they give off the sweet, peculiarly flavored juice in which they are put up. Some packers peel the pimientos by first roasting them. The roasting process chars and burns the outer peel or skin of the pepper and makes it easy to remove.

110 Q. What is succotash?.

A. Succotash is a North American Indian word, meaning a mixture of green corn and green lima beans. Both fresh and dried lima beans are used by canners, the usual proportion being 25 per cent of lima beans and 75 per cent of corn. (When dried lima beans are used, the Government requires that the fact be so stated on the label.)

111 Q. Is any water added to tomatoes in the process of canning?

A. No. The water in the cans is the natural juice of the tomatoes.

112 Q. What is tomato puree?

A. Tomato puree is made from the pulp of tomatoes, from which all skins, cores, and seeds have been removed. The pulp is cooked down to a heavy consistency—about that of canned tomato soup. Tomato puree is put up both with and without salt.

113 Q. What is tomato paste?

A. Tomato paste is concentrated tomato puree and is made by boiling down the tomato puree under vacuum. It is put up in 5-oz. and 6-oz. cans. Some packers flavor the tomato paste with bay leaves.

114 Q. Do the canners use copper salts for greening peas, string beans, spinach, and other such vegetables?

A. No, none of them do. The greening of vegetables or of any other kind of foodstuffs with copper salts is expressly prohibited by the Government. There used to be imported from Europe canned vegetables that were greened with copper salts, but the Government has stopped the importation of such products.

115 Q. What are the various vegetables that are put up in No. 10 cans (so-called gallon cans) in addition to the usual smaller sized cans?

A. Asparagus Hominy Beans,
Beans, Kidney Okra and Tomato
Beans, Lima Peas
Beans, with Pork Pumpkin
Beans, without Pork Sauerkraut
Canned Vegetables Spinach Creamed
Beets Spinach
Cabbage Squash
Carrots Succotash
Cauliflower Sweet Potatoes
Corn Tomatoes
Corn on Cab Tomato Puree

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