Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Idioms, Wikipedia.


process of hermetically sealing cooked food for future use. It is a preservation method, in which prepared food is put in glass jars or metal cans that are hermetically sealed to keep out air and then heated to a specific temperature for a specified time to destroy disease-causing microorganisms and prevent spoilage. Low-acid foods, such as meats, are heated to 240°–265°F; (116°–129°C;), while acidic foods, such as fruits, are heated to about 212°F; (100°C;). Canning was invented in 1809 by Nicholas AppertAppert, Nicolas
, also known as François Appert
, 1750–1841, French originator of a method of canning. In 1795 the French government offered a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food, especially for use by the army and navy.
..... Click the link for more information.
. The process proved moderately successful and was gradually put into practice in other European countries and in the United States. Glass containers were used at first, but they proved bulky, costly, and brittle. Early canmaking was slow and expensive; sheets of tin were cut with shears, bent around a block, and the seams heavily soldered. A good tinsmith could make only about 60 cans a day. The industry began to assume importance with the invention in 1847 of the stamped can. Because of the food requirements of soldiers during the U.S. Civil War, considerable amounts of canned meats and vegetables were produced. Salmon from the Columbia River was canned in 1866 and salmon from Alaska in 1872. A machine for shaping and soldering was exhibited in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. The open-top can of the 20th cent., with a soldered lock seam and double-seamed ends, permits easy cleaning and filling. Cans used for foods that react with metals, causing discoloration (usually harmless), may be coated with a lacquer film. Highly specialized machinery, knowledge of bacteriology and food chemistry, as well as more efficient processes of cooking, have combined to make the commercial canning of food an important feature of modern life. The range of products canned has increased enormously and includes meat and poultry; fruits and vegetables; seafood; milk; and preserves, jams, jellies, pickles, and sauces. The general principles of commercial and home canning are the same, but the factory more accurately controls procedures and has highly specialized machinery. The Mason jar, popular in home canning, was patented in 1858. Home canning grew in popularity during World War II, when the harvest of "victory gardens" was canned. Canning leads to a loss of nutrient value in foods, particularly of the water-soluble vitamins. The home-canning methods recommended today are much more specific than the old-fashioned methods, which are no longer considered safe.


See A. C. Hersom and E. D. Hulland, Canned Foods (1981); C. Walker, The Complete Book of Canning (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


(food engineering)
Packing and preserving of food in cans or jars subjected to sterilizing temperatures.
Placing a jacket around a slug of uranium before inserting the slug in a nuclear reactor.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Charles John, 1st Earl Canning. 1812--62, British statesman; governor general of India (1856--58) and first viceroy (1858--62)
2. his father, George. 1770--1827, British Tory statesman; foreign secretary (1822--27) and prime minister (1827)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The offer has been unanimously recommended to shareholders by the Canning board under chairman Mr David Probert, who is being offered a seat on the MacDermid board.
Canning's relationship with Cork Walgreen went back to the 1950s, when Canning was a store manager in a Walgreens store in Champaign, Ill., and Walgreen was an administrative assistant to the company's vice president of operations.
To anyone who grew up in a household where canning is not practiced, the process may seem somewhat mysterious.
You can change some things in tested canning recipes, though.
Family friend and avid dahlia grower Eleanor Shantz compares Canning's accomplishment to winning an Olympic gold medal.
Not only is the practice of canning widespread but the people who do can preserve large quantities of produce.
Another potential hazard of oven canning is that the jars may burst, blowing out the oven door and injuring anyone who might be nearby.
The automatic canner, says Cask's Jamie Gordon, elevates Oskar Blues Brewery's role at the "forefront of canning micros."
"Many canned fruits and vegetables are packed just a few hours after harvest, and, because the canning process helps to retain the natural goodness of the food for a long period of time, it means people have access to high-quality, tasty, nutritious food which is ready whenever they are."
"Many canned fruits and vegetables are packed just a few hours after harvest, and because the canning process helps to retain the natural goodness of the food for a long period of time, it means people have access to high quality, tasty, nutritious food which is ready whenever they are."
From catching the sardines to ensuring their freshness while being transported to production plant for canning and distribution, producing this canned good is indeed a tedious process.