Wednesday, August 6, 2008

still knee-deep in plums!

Why is it called “canning” if we are putting food in jars?

according to Intercourse Canning Company:
In 1795 Napoleon offered money to anyone who could find a way to preserve foods for his troops. Nicholas Appert of France found a way to preserve food in jars sterilized and sealed with pitch and had a vacuum-packing plant by 1804. This process was a military "secret" but by 1810 Peter Durand of England had a patent for tin-plated iron to use in "canning." Canned rations were on the field at the Battle of Waterloo.

In 1812 a small plant in New York produced hermetically sealed oysters, meats, fruits, and vegetables in cans. Durand introduced his can to America in 1818. Henry Evans patented a machine that made the tin cans increasing production from 5-6 cans to 50-60 cans per hour.

In 1858 American John Mason invented the now famous glass jar for home canning. By the 1860s the process time had dropped from six hours to 30 minutes, making canned foods commonplace. In the heating process the sterilization destroys bacteria and enzymes that can cause spoiling, and the seal prevents new air or other organisms from entering.

what have we canned in the test kitchen?
  • mixed garden plum w/garam masala preserves* (we've tried this one on bread and butter, toast, w/ cheese and toasted baguette slices, and on lamb chops)
  • santa rosa plum w/rosemary preserves (excellent on french toast!)
  • yellow garden plum w/ginger & clove preserves (tastes like peaches)
  • garden plum chutney (waiting 3 weeks to allow it to mellow)
  • garden plum w/vanilla bean preserves (tastes like raspberries)
  • pickled garden plums (cooling off as i type...)

*noted in Can't take credit for them...

i need a nap.


  1. interesting history!
    while you're still knee deep in plums, you might try this (Plums in Rum):

    I've been really wanting to make this, but it's supposed to sit for 'several months' to develop its flavor; while I'm usually quite patient, I'm moving to Europe in a couple of months, and don't think I'll be taking preserved plums with me (who knows though? :) )

  2. jen-

    europe?! exciting! i can't wait to see what you start cooking up in your new location.

    plums in rum look like fun. i might try this plum conserve recipe too:

    i'm also sharing some plums w/ a friend tonight for his first jam making experience.

    after all of the above...maybe, just maybe, the plum tree will be clean.