Saturday, September 24, 2011

Glossary Of Canning Food Preservation Terminology

It always helps to understand when you are learning a new kitchen procedure just what certain terms mean.  So, with the help of BALL Blue Book Guide To Preserving I have put this glossary of terms together for you. 

Altitude - The vertical elevation (distance) of a location above sea level

Antioxidant - An agent, such as lemon juice, ascorbic acid or a blend of ascorbic and citric acids, that inhibits oxidation and controls discoloration of light color fruits and vegetables.

Ascorbic Acid - White, crystalline Vitamin C found in some fruits and vegetables.  A commercially available product used to control discoloration of light color fruits and vegetables.

Bacteria - Microogranisms, some of which are harful, found in the soil, water and air around us.  Some bacteria thrive on conditions common in low-acid canned food and produce toxins that must be destroyed by heating to 240 degrees F for a specified time.  For this reason, low-acid foods must be process in a steam-pressure canner.

Band - (aka metal screw band) A threaded screw band used with a flat metal vacuum sealing lid to form a two piece metal cap.

Blanch - To lossen the skin of fruits and vegetables by dippin in boiling water.  Also, to dip vegetables in boiling water or steam to slow the action of enzymes.

Boil - Water or food heated to 212 degrees F at sea level.  Boiling water, when referring to the boiling-water canner, means a rolling boil for the enitre processing time.

Boiling-Water Canner - A kettle large enough to completely immerse and fully surround canning jars and two piece caps with water.  The boiling-water canner is used for processing high acid foods.

Botulism - A poisoning caused by a toxin produced by the spores of Clostridium botulinum.  The spores are usually present in dust, wind and soil clinging to raw food.  The spores can grow in any tightly sealed jar of low-acid food that has not been processed correctly.  The spores belong to a species of bacteria which cannot grow in the prescence of air, and they do not normally thrive in high-acid foods.  Using the correct processing temperature and time to preserve low-acid foods will destroy toxin-producing spores.

Cap - Two-piece vacuum closure for sealing home canning jars.  The set consists of a metal band and a flat metal lid.  The lid has a flanged edge and sealing compound.

Case Harden - When deydrating food, the formation of a hard shell on the outside of produce that traps moisture inside and causes deterioration.

Citric Acid - An acid derived from cirus fruits, such as lemons and limes, used with ascorbic acid as an antioxidant to control discoloration of fruits.

Cool Place - Term used when referring to a storage place for ho me canned foods.  The ideal temperature is 50 degrees F to 70 degrees F.

Dehyrdration (or drying) - The process of removing water from food.

Dry Pack - When freezing food, to pack without added liquid or sugar.

Enzyme - A protein that functions as a catalyst in organisms.  In food, enzymes start the process of decomposition, changing the flavor, texture and color.  Enzyme action sows down in frozen food, increases quickly at temperature between 85 degrees F to 120 degrees F and stops at temperatures above 140 degrees F.  The preservation methods for canning and freezing neutralize the action of enzymes.

Exhausting - Forcing air to escape from a jar by applying heat. Or, permitting air to escape from a steam pressure canner. Also called venting.

Fermentation - Caused by yeasts which have not been destroyed during processing of canned food.  With the exception of some pickles, fermented canned food should not be used.

Flash Freezing - Accelerated method of freezing foods often done at home by placing individual items on a baking sheet for quicker freezing before stroing food in freezer bags, platic freezer boxes, can-or freeze jars or vacuum packages.

Freezer Burn - Dehydration of improperly packed foods for freezing which leads to loss of flavor, texture and color.

Headspace - An area left unfilled between the top of the food in a home canning jar or freezer container and the rim of the jar or freezer container.

High Acid Food - Foods which normally contain enough natural acid to result in a pH of 4.6 or less and foods which may contain very little natural acid but have a sufficient amount of vinegar or lemon juice added to them to be treated as high acid foods.  High acid foods may be safely processed in a boiling-water canner at 212 degrees F.

Home Canning - Preserving fresh or prepared foods in glass home canning jarsthat seal with two piece vacuum caps using a heat process to destroy microorganixms that cause spoilage.

Hot Pack - Filling jars with precooked, hot food prior to processing.  Preferred method when using firm food.  This method permits a tighter pack, reduced floating and requires fewer jars.

Jar - A home canning jar, sometimes called a mason jar, designed to withstand repeated use and heat processing in the boiling water and steam pressure canners.

Lid - The flat metal disc with sealing compound.  Used in combination with a metal band for vacuum sealing home canning jars.

Low Acid Food - Foods which contain little natural acid and have a pH greater than 4.6.  Bacteria thrive in low acid foods.  They can only be destroyed by heating to 240 degrees F (at or below 1,000 feet above sea level) for a specified time in a steam pressure canner.

Metal Band - A threaded screw band used with a flat metal vacuum sealing lid to form a two piece metal cap.

Microorganism - A living plant or animal of microscopic size, such as molds, yeasts and bacteria, which can cause spoilage in canned or frozen food.

Mold - Microscopic fungi that grow as silken threads and appear as fuzz on food.  molds thrive on acids and can produce mycotocins.  They are easily destroyed at processing temperatures between 140 degrees F to 190 degrees F.

Overnight - A time period of 8 - 12 hours

Pectin - A complex colloidal substance found in ripe fruits, such as apples and citrus fruit.  Pectin is available commercially in powdered and liquid form.  Pectin in the correct balance with fruit, sugar and acid, assists in forming the gell structure in jellies and other soft spreads.

pH - Potential Of Hydrogen - A measuring system in chemistry for determining the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.  In canning, foods are seperated into high acid and low acid.  Different heat processing methods must be used for each.

Pickling - Preserving food, especially cucumbers, in a solution of brine or vinegar, often with spices added.  Pickled foods must be processed in a boiling water canner.

Pretreatment - Blanching or treating produce with an antioxidant to set color, slow enzyme action or destroy bacteria.

Processing - Sterilizing jars and the food they contain in a steam-pressure or boiling water canner to destroy harmful molds, yeasts, bacteria and enzymes.

Produce Protector - An ascorbic acid and dextrose blendused to inhibit oxidation and control discoloration of light color fruits such as apples or vegetables like peeled potatoes.

Raw Pack - Filling jars with raw, unheated food prior to processing.

Rehydration (or reconstitution) - Restoring water (liquid) to dried food.

Simmer - To cook food gently just below the boiling point (between 180 degrees F and 200 degrees F) Bubbles will rise gently from the bottom of the pot and slightly disturb the surface of the food.

Steam Pressure Canner - A heavy kettle with a lid which can be locked in place to make a steam tight fit.  The lid is fitted with a safety valve, a vent and a pressure gauge.  The steam pressure canners is used for processing low acid foods.  Steam created under 10 pounds of pressure at or below sea level reaches 240 degrees F which is hot enough to destroy harmful bacteria that thrive in low acid food.

Syrup - A mixture of water (or juice) and sugar used to add liquid to canned or frozen food.

Two Piece Cap - Two piece vacuum closure for sealing home canning jars.  The set consists of a threaded metal band and a flat metal lid with a flanged edge and sealing compound.

Vacuum Packaging - A method to remove air from a container and seal the container to prevent air from reentering without heat processings.  Perishable foods must be refrigerated or frozen.  This is not substitute for home canning.

Venting - Forcing air to escape from a jar by applying heat.  Or, permitting air to escape from a steam pressure canner.  Also called exhausting.

Yeast - Microscopic fungi grown from spores that cause fermentation in foods.  Yeasts are inactve in foods that are frozen and are easily destroyed by processing at a temperature of 212 degrees F.

I do hope you found this helpful and until next time, see you 'round the table

Where Meals and Memories are Made

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