"Vicki Can't Cook...but she sure can Can!"
"Special Thanks to Cajun Clark for his generosity in sharing this canning information."
Man, more likely woman, has been preserving, or at the least attempting to preserve, food since the first brontosaurus wandered too close to the hunter's spear. They used smoke, salt and sun; the latest technology then available. But as you know from your reading, except for da ol' mon Caj who acts like he was there, success was limited.
Smoke processing originated when the first fire was built in the cave dwelling at the beginning of human civilization. Many peoples, especially in tropical developing countries, use this process today to preserve meat. As anyone who has ever used a smoker knows, smoke--whether it be hickory, pecan, mesquite, oak, beech, alder, maple, or ... -- imparts attractive and appealing sensory properties to meats, including color and flavor. However, when using smoke to preserve food, there are certain risks involved, and drawbacks inherent to the process. For example, many a smoke house has caught fire and burned down, and sometimes surrounding structures went with it. Smoking works only if there is low heat, copious quantities of smoke and the meat/fish/fowl is left in this environment for a rather lengthy period of time. Finally, because of these factors, dehydrators are commonly used to accomplish this goal, and liquid smoke is used in a marinade in order to obtain similar taste results.
Salting, which came after smoking, as a means of preserving foods is thought to have begun prior to written history. Salt was used as early as 3000 BC by the Mesopotamians to preserve meat and fish. Early Roman writers-historians, circa 200 BC, record the need to salt perishables and vegetables to preserve them. Two methods of salting were generally used: 1.) cover the food with copious quantities of salt; or, 2.) immerse or cover the food to be preserved with saturated salt brine. Whichever method is used, the time must be sufficient for the salt to infuse into the tissue while dehydrating the product.
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The Advent of mechanical refrigeration in the 20th century drastically changed the methods used to preserve food. Salt-cured and pickled foods evolved into forms that are salted to a lesser degree and depend on modern refrigeration and packaging practices for preservation. However, exposure of foods to smoke, which began as a traditional method of preservation, continues to be used today mainly because of taste. But today for the most part, smoke flavorings are now being used in place of traditional smoking methods in most of the processed meat products produced in the United States.
What's that Vicki? You want to know what? You're upset because your most favorite way for preserving food has been left out and should have been before refrigeration? Yes, Vicki, da ol' mon Caj knows that as far as you're concerned the most important method of food preservation has been left out.
When? Well...Okay...but only if you put the top of that pressure cooker down. Thank you. What Vicki's referring to, as you've already guessed, is Canning.
Yep, that's it: CANNING!
Capt'n Salsa's note: Let's follow along with Caj and Vicki as..
Vicki Tells All
Different Canners for Different Foods
Facts, and How-to Get 'em Ready
Water Bath...Pressure Canner
Some of Vicki's Recipes
1. Home Canned Tomato Juice
2. Home Canned Whole Tomatoes
3. Homemade Tomato Soup
What Can't You Can?
Recommended Tested Canning Salsa Recipes