Canned Food - General
( Originally Published 1926 )
116 Q. What makes canned foods keep?
A. The food is sealed in air-tight cans, which prevents contamination from the outside. It is then heated to such a temperature and for such a time as will destroy the bacteria in it that would otherwise cause spoilage.
117 Q. Are foods fresh when canned?
A. In commercial canning plants the raw material goes direct, and without delay, from the point of production to the can. Delay would mean a lower grade product, bringing a lower price, and the canner, in his own interest, if for no other, packs the product while it is fresh.
118 Q. Are any chemical preservatives used in the canning of foods?
A. No, none whatever. Preservation is accomplished solely by the application of heat. Chemical preservatives are unnecessary and are not used in the commercial canning industry. Their use would simply be a needless expense with no additional advantage.
119 Q. Are canned foods safe?
A. The best answer is probably that given in "Hygeia," the health journal of the American Medical Association: "Under present conditions of commercial canning, there are few safer foods."
120 Q. What causes canned goods sometimes to "swell"?
A. There are two chief causes : (1) insufficient sterilization and (2) imperfect sealing. Sometimes the swelling of a can is due to over-filling, but this happens very seldom. Unless the contents of the can are thoroughly sterilized and the can is perfectly sealed, bacteria are sure to form; this always results in the formation of gas, which causes the can to "swell."
121 Q. Are swelled canned goods fit for food purposes?
A. That would depend on whether the swelling is due to decomposition or whether it is due to overfilling, as is sometimes the case. As the cause cannot be determined without a chemical analysis, and as in nearly all instances the swelling is due to decomposition, the contents of bulged cans should not be used for food.
122 Q. Do canned foods deteriorate with age?
A. No. Age does not change the condition of the contents, provided the contents have been thoroughly sterilized and the can is in perfect condition.
123 Q. Does discoloration on the inside of a can mean that the contents are spoiled?
A. Discoloration on the inside of the can does not indicate spoilage, nor does the discoloration produce changes in the food that have harmful results. Every housewife knows that some vegetables, like string .beans, tarnish the vessel in which they are cooked, and the discoloration in a tin can is no more harmful to the food in it than this tarnish on the cooking vessel.
124 Q. Why are some cans lacquered on the inside?
A. Cans with lacquered lining, commonly referred to as "enameled" cans, are used in packing certain products containing acids and having a high natural color, in order to prevent the bleaching effect that would be caused by the action of the tin coating of the plain cans on the coloring matter.
125 Q. What should be done with canned foods that have frozen?
A. Do not put them in a warm place. The cans should be thawed out very gradually in a low, dry temperature of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is done, the contents will not suffer any noticeable deterioration.
126 Q. What should be the exact dimensions of a No. 1 can, a No. 2 can, a No. 2½ can, and a No. 3 can, such as are used in canning fruits and vegetables?
A. While some packers use cans known as No. 1, No. 2, No. 2 1/2, and No. 3, which vary slightly in dimensions from the sizes generally used, the following dimensions apply to cans that are predominantly used by the canning industry and are generally accepted as standard.
128 Q. What is tripe?
A. Tripe is the white, thick, honeycomb-like inner lining of the stomach of a calf or a steer. It is cleaned, boiled, and canned in milk. While it has practically no flavor, many appetizing dishes are prepared-from it.
129 Q. Are all canned meats subject to Government inspection and regulations?
A. Yes, and this includes stews and all soups with a meat base.
130 Q. What are the various ready-made meat and fish dishes that are put up in cans?
A. Beef A la Mode
131 Q. What is tamale?
A. Tamale is a Mexican dish, prepared from cornmeal and minced meat, flavored with chili peppers, garlic, and spices. The ingredients are rolled into balls, dipped in oil, and steam-cooked.
132 Q. What are some of the other items besides fruits, vegetables, fish, and meats that are put up in cans?