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The process of preserving food by heat processing in a sealed vessel (a sealed jar or can).
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a typical shelf life ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances a freeze-dried canned product, such as canned, dried lentils, can last as long as 30 years in an edible state. In 1795 the French military offered a cash prize of 12,000 francs for a new method to preserve food. Nicolas Appert suggested canning and the process was first proven in 1806 in test with the French navy and the prize awarded in 1809 or 1810. The packaging prevents microorganisms from entering and proliferating inside. To prevent the food from being spoiled before and during containment, a number of methods are used: pasteurisation, boiling, refrigeration, freezing, drying, vacuum treatment, antimicrobial agents that are natural to the recipe of the foods being preserved, a sufficient dose of ionizing radiation, submersion in a strong saline solution, acid, base, osmotically extreme or other microbially-challenging environments. Other than sterilization, no method is perfectly dependable as a preservative. For example, the microorganism Clostridium botulinum, can only be eliminated at temperatures above the boiling point.
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