Yield: 1 guide
Advantages of Hot-packing
Many fresh foods contain from 10 percent to more than 30 percent air.
How long canned food retains high quality depends on how much air is removed from food before jars are sealed.
Raw-packing is the practice of filling jars tightly with freshly prepared, but unheated food. Such foods, especially fruit, will float in the jars. The entrapped air in and around the food may cause discoloration within 2 to 3 months of storage. Raw-packing is more suitable for vegetables processed in a pressure canner.
Hot-packing is the practice of heating freshly prepared food to boiling, simmering it 2 to 5 minutes, and promptly filling jars loosely with the boiled food.
Whether food has been hot-packed or raw-packed, the juice, syrup, or water to be added to the foods should also be heated to boiling before adding it to the jars. This practice helps to remove air from food tissues, shrinks food, helps keep the food from floating in the jars, increases vacuum in sealed jars, and improves shelf life. Preshrinking food permits filling more food into each jar.
Hot-packing is the best way to remove air and is the preferred pack style for foods processed in a boiling-water canner At first, the color of hot-packed foods may appear no better than that of raw-packed foods, but within a short storage period, both color and flavor of hot-packed foods will be superior.
The unfilled space above the food in a jar and below its lid is termed headspace. Directions for canning specify leaving ¼-inch for jams and jellies, ½-inch for fruits and tomatoes to be processed in boiling water and from 1- to 1-¼-inches in low- acid foods to be processed in a pressure canner This space is needed for expansion of food as jars are processed, and for forming vacuums in cooled jars. The extent of expansion is determined by the air content in the food and by the processing temperature. Air expands greatly when heated to high temperatures; the higher the temperature, the greater the expansion.
Foods expand less than air when heated.
=========================================================== * USDA Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539 (rev. 1994) * Meal-Master format courtesy of Karen Mintzias