Amongst the most important types of foods consumed today are fruits. They provide a healthy component of our daily diet and supply external nutrients and properties that help revitalize the body, aid in digestion and protect us from disease. It is for these reasons that canning, as a process of preservation to retain the nutritional value of fruits, was invented.
The canning process dates back to 18th century France. Upon realizing his concerns of keeping his armies fed regularly, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte offered a cash prize to whoever could develop a reliable method of food preservation. Nicholas Appert, a Parisian chef, had been experimenting with food preservation. He offered up his process to the Emperor. Appert believed that it was the presence of air that led to food spoilage. His experiments on preservation were dedicated to removing air from the container that would enclose the food.
Fifteen years later, Appert postulated that if food is sufficiently heated and sealed in an airtight container it will not spoil. No chemical preservatives are necessary to keep the food fresh when canned.
Peter Durand soon evolved Appert’s findings by developing a method of sealing food into durable tin containers. This preserving method was further explored by Bryan Dorkin and John Hall, who set up the first commercial canning factory in England in 1813.
As the years went by, canning became one key food preservation technique that was adopted around the world. Several people began experimenting with different types of foods that could be preserved by canning and began the revolution of canned fruits.
An understanding that fresh fruits were quick to spoil because of their high acidity content was evidence that they too needed to be preserved through tin canning to extend the time length of their ripeness. In fact, fruits are often canned at the peak of their freshness and so contain the maximum amount of their nutritional value.
A Michigan State University study found that canned fruits provide a higher nutritional intake at low cost compared to fresh fruits. One such fruit that provides higher nutritional value than their fresh form is canned peaches. Compared to fresh peaches, canned peaches offer up four times a higher amount of Vitamin C, ten times a higher amount of folate, 1.5 times a higher amount of antioxidants and have an almost comparable level of Vitamin E. The most popular forms of canned peaches served today are California cling peaches grown in the United States.
Although canning as a method of food preservation revolutionized the food industry in the 18th century, it has also provided an avenue to keep foods longer, fresher, more nutritious. Canned foods are also convenient for making everyday recipes. In an era of endless food options for the contemporary Canadian kitchen, canned fruit is a great addition. Swapping in Peach Purée is a simple way to used canned peaches in the kitchen.
1. The Canning Process by Canned Food Alliance