Here is a short Very truncated history of canning:

Short History of Canning
  • 1795 — Napoleon offers 12,000 francs to anyone who can devise a way to preserve food for his army and navy.
  • 1809 — Nicolas Appert of France devises a way to preserving food in bottles. Wins prize preserving food by sterilization.
  • 1810 — Peter Durand of England gets a patent using pottery, glass and tinplate iron to use in canning.
  • 1812 — A small plant started by in New York cans oysters, meats, fruits and vegetables in hermetically sealed containers.
  • 1818 — Peter Durand introduces his tinplate can in America.
  • 1819 — Thomas Kensett and Ezra begin to sell products in canned tinplate cans.
  • 1825 — Thomas Kensett obtains an American patent for tinplate cans.
  • 1830 — Huntly and Palmer sell biscuits and cakes in decorated cans.
  • 1849 — Henry Evans given a patent making cans by machine. Production increases from 5-6 cans per hour to 50-60 per hour.
  • 1856 — Henry Bessmer discovers method of making steel from cast iron.
  • 1856 — Gail Borden granted a patent on canned condensed milk.
  • 1858 — Ezra Warner granted a patent on first can opener.
  • 1858 — American John Mason invents a practical glass jar for home canning.
  • 1866 — J Osterhoudt patents the tin can with a key opener.
  • 1870 — William Lyman patents an opener with a rotating wheel that cuts the top rim of the can.
  • 1875 — Libby develops a tapered can for canning corned beef.
  • 1880-1890 — Automatic can making machines begins.
  • 1892 — Tobacco cans first seen.
  • 1909 — Tuna canning starts in California.
  • 1921 — Canned citrus juice begins in Florida.
  • 1926 — Canned ham, SPAM begins.
  • 1931 — Electric can opener introduced.
  • 1933 — Motor oil canned.
  • 1940 — Carbonated soft drink canning.
  • 1957 — First all aluminum beer can.
  • 1962 — Beverage can pull-tab appears.
  • 1973 — Six-packs introduced.

Back several hundred years ago it was absolutely paramount that you be able to preserve your food in one form or another, otherwise in the winter while it was snowing and miserable outside you would starve because there was no fresh food and you would quickly run out of meat to butcher and cook, not to mention scurvy.

Now a days its not out of absolute need that we can, there are advantages and disadvantages, and I just want to point out a few of them now.

Canning is cumbersome, time consuming,  and hot. Normally home canning is done between late spring to late summer, so pretty much the hottest time of the year. Which can make it kind of miserable and moist and it makes it harder when the recipes ask that you please do not double or triple recipes because they are meant to be done in smaller batches.

The advantages that I see far outweigh the bad. First of all, you know what your putting into it, if you have health needs like need lower sugar in jams and canned fruit you can do that, or lower the amounts of salt in almost anything else you make. You can buy food while its in season to can it, its MUCH cheaper and you know how fresh the product is that you are canning, there is something really satisfying about canning your own food, its nice because you can use the same jars over and over which makes it MUCH cheaper the second and third go around with those jars.

Canning is a really cheap gift, its from the heart, it contains your time and energy as well. People are aware of that, and I believe that what I can tastes better. It always does and I have a couple of examples:

First is my daughters best friends mother- I sent her over for a weekend sleep over with a jar of jam, and by the end of the weekend the 8 ounce jar of blackberry jam was gone.  (well there are 4 kids plus mom and dad in that house, and my kid was there too) so she went out and purchased some more blackberry jam because she’d never had it before mine and she had really liked it,  she opened it, and tasted it, and said it was nothing like mine, not nearly as good and less than 2 minutes later she dropped it and it broke, he response was a shrug of the shoulders and “Meh, it wasn’t that good anyway.” I sent another larger jar over a few weeks later.

Also, one other example is about 7 months ago (so November) D said he wanted beef stew for dinner and I was on my way home from work at about 7:30pm, I had stayed late, stuck by a customer. It was to late to fix beef stew so I stopped and purchased a few cans of beef stew from the grocery store and some frozen biscuits. It was alright. D, didnt finish his food. I asked him why, since he had asked for that food anyhow, and he said it just wasn’t the same, it wasn’t MY beef stew.

Just think about the possibility of making beef stew or your favorite soups, or chili, spaghetti sauce or whatever. I also think that canning meats is an amazing idea and I have friends who have been doing it for years, its always tender and it eliminates the need to cook until tender before making your meal. The options really are endless.

I know that not everyone agrees with canning, but its gotten a lot of people through a lot of tough times.

What is the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning?

With water bath canning, jars are completely covered with 212°F boiling water at all times during processing. Pressure canning uses only 2-3″ of water and the canner has a special, sealing lid in order to build up steam and the temperature inside to reach higher than boiling temperature. Low acid foods need to be processed at 240°F in order to kill all microorganisms including botulism, which causes food poisoning. Water bath canners are not capable of reaching higher temperatures, so they are not safe for processing low acid foods. Similar to both types of canning is that the high temperatures kill harmful microorganisms, and drive out all air from the jars which then forms a tight seal.

Here are the links to the pages on how to, whats needed, and recipes on:

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