We Spill The Beans On This 200-Year-Old History Of Canned Food

INSHPublished: December 4, 201722 views
Published: December 4, 2017

The next time you're cracking open your favorite canned dinner staple, give Napoleon Bonaparte a little thank you and praise.

Everybody knows that you are not you when you are hungry! Before Snickers was invented there was Napoleon Bonaparte, and maybe he didn’t conquer Europe, but he played a part in conquering the world. One pantry at a time!

Napoleon wondered how he could keep food from spoiling on long military campaigns. He put up a prize of 12,000 francs to whoever could figure it out. This was the moment Nicolas Appert was waiting for.

A Parisian chef Appert was already working on his own method for preserving food. He believed food spoilage was caused by exposure to air. Meat was often preserved for a short time by covering it in a layer of fat. Upon further experimentation, Appert discovered that heat would prevent spoilage.

He began stealing food in glass jars and boiling them. Nearly 50 years later, Louis Pasteur used a similar technique to develop pasteurization. Appert’s method worked and he won the 12,000 franc prize. However, the process still needed to be perfected!

In 1812, tin replaced glass and the first canning factory was built in England.
With this, canned foods filtered into urban life. They became popular among the working class as foods that saved time and money. Canned food gave low income families a wide variety of nutritious options. Cans also played a role in the emancipation of women, halving the time it took to prepare meals.

200 years later, canned food still serves an important purpose. Whether it is war, culture or convenience, the legacy of canned food is sealed!

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