Canning question

I do a lot of canning. I would have thought that the universe of foods would divide into two groups – foods that can be successfully canned, and foods that cannot.

However, there’s actually a third group – foods that can be successfully canned by commercial canners, but not by home canners. Two of these foods that come to mind are dairy products and pasta. The home canner can make a clam chowder base to which the cream/milk is added when heating the soup, or a chicken soup to which the noodles are added when heating, but cannot make and can New England clam chowder or chicken noodle soup. Yet the folks at Campbell’s and Progresso make both these.

I’ve been told that commercial canners can make these products because they have specialized equipment that is not available to the home cook. Is this the reason? If so, exactly what equipment is it they have?

It was the occasion of the billy-goat somehow escaping his pen that did screw up my sissy-in-law’s schedule. T’was just a couple months later we had goat-milk for everything and no end in sight. With kids a’plenty (and I do mean both kinds), we latched onto the ancient art of the making of …


Certainly not the factual answer you seek, but an alternative when the factual answer you may (or may not) receive does not suit the factual answer you wish.

This is an educated guess by a home canner.

It isn’t that you CAN’T can those things at home, it’s that your chances of canning them and them subsequently tasting (and feeling) like nasty mush are very high. Slightly less likely, some things might interact with each other to form bio-chemical reactions that produce new and fancy chemicals that could make you sick.

So what the commercial people have are laboratories filled with food scientists who work with foods that are as absolutely identical as they can be to figure out exactly how ripe (or not) and otherwise preserved (or not) all those composite ingredients have to be for clam chowder or chicken veggie soup to survive the heat and pressure and still LOOK and FEEL and TASTE decently (the answer historically has been “a lot of salt,” and more recently, other strong spices or umami flavoring).

As for the chemical reactions and food safety: again - lots of food scientists work to make sure that doesn’t happen (or happens with inert or harmless results) with the big companies.

So you could home can just about anything you like, really - it’s just likely to taste and look shitty because you’re essentially figuring it out as you go, and only making small individual batches with small individual crops and working out problems after they happen. …And partly because we don’t usually have super sterile overall working environments and great big equipment to make huge batches at a time.

Canning itself is just heat and pressure. The tricksy part is figuring out how best to make the food inside survive that process in some sort of recognizable or tasty manner.

I think it’s more than standardization of ingredients and batch size.

Once as an experiment as I was canning minestrone I added a tablespoon of uncooked elbow macaroni to a couple of pint jars before processing. I ended up with a lump of starch in the bottom of those jars.

I have a recipe for a broccoli soup that includes rice. The point of the recipe is that the rice totally disintegrates during processing and gives the soup a sorta creamy texture. (I made the recipe once and while the soup’s texture was fine, I didn’t care for the flavor.)

My point is that processing low-acid foods like soup requires the high temperatures inherent in pressure canners for a fair amount of time – long enough to cook any pasta to mush. How do the commercial canners prevent this?

I have to share:

A canner, exceedingly canny
One morning remarked to his Granny
A canner can can
Anything that he can
But a canner can’t can a can, can he?

I’m subscribing to this thread because I hope you find the answer.

I’ve given up and only can meat and sauce or seasoning like taco meat or sloppy Joes. I’ve never figured out how to get good canned noodles.

Might this be one of the reasons why Chef Boy-ar-dee sauce is so sweet? The more sugar is already in the sauce, the less will dissolve away from the noodles.

Go to your room.

Wait, that’s not a punishment anymore. I got nothin’. Go outside

Milk products have to be pasteurised at the time of canning… This means you have to heat them up, can them and cool them down, very quickly.

if you leave the milk at pasteurisation temperatures for too long, it tastes burnt and/or becomes powdery… Millard reaction. proteins combine with sugar to make flavours that taste “burnt”.

Also, the milk product has to be pasteurised at UHT at the time of canning… UHT is ultra high temperature pasteurisation… because regular pasteurisation kills human pathogens (stuff that causes disease in humans) but doesn’t kill the bacteria that makes milk go sour. UHT makes it taste slightly burnt and sweeter, but is done very quickly to reduce the taste and texture changes…

Awww, there’s nuthin’ to do outside. I’m bored! :smiley:

This poem reads differently for many people in New York, New Jersey, and southeast Pennsylvania, where the verb can “to be able to” and the verb can “to store something in a can” are pronounced differently.

Now, I’ll go pound some sayund ahnd fill a bunch of cayuns with wooder.

Wait, doesn’t everyone know how to make ice cream at home? Am I old or something?

They might be able to invest in equipment that home canners flat out can’t. Stuff like very high pressure or very high temp canning equipment, as well as containers/closures that aren’t available to the general public.

For example, pascalization and thermization are a couple of commercial preservation processes that home canners can’t do. There’s no good way to get 1000 bar pressure or to heat a product to 150 degrees for 15 seconds and cool it down fast at home.

The other thing they do is engineer their recipes to withstand their canning processes. For example, if you look at a can of Campbell’s New England Clam Chowder, you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually have any significant amount of milk or cream in it.

Possibilities that come to mind are lower water activity slows starch hydration, or high sugar/salt means they don’t need to cook it as much. But I’m guessing.

They might also alkalize the noodles.

…where the ersters come from.

Quit shovin, I’m goin.

Thanks, Isilder. But that leads to another question – why do milk products have to be pasteurized at the time of canning? The milk products used by most canners will have already been pasteurized. What’s the advantage to doing the process again?

I do agree that the high temperatures and typically longer period of processing time used in pressure canning probably ruin milk products. The big health threat that requires pressure canning is botulism. I have no idea how likely it is to get botulism from milk products, but the other ingredients have enough of a risk that pressure canning is needed.

Now that I think about it, I’m unsurprised that the Campbell’s product contains little milk. I am a bit surprised that seems to be true of other brands of clam chowder, too. However, the Bar Harbor brand of canned lobster bisque lists milk as the second ingredient after lobster. Assuming their product is not 90+% lobster, I think we can assume there is significant milk in it.

I figure that they have to do some sort of modification to the noodles to get them not to become gelatinous, barely-together noodles. Otherwise, they’ll rehydrate in the jar as much as possible, and get that texture.

I suppose you could try some method of putting dried noodles in a relatively unwatery sauce, and hope that there’s not enough free water to rehydrate the noodles completely, but that’d be like putting dry spaghetti in tomato paste, and even that I think, would end up with mushy noodles eventually.

The latest in canning technology: canned draft beer!

Just like you can buy a growler of beer, you can now also buy a 32 ounce can of beer in what people are calling a crowler (can + growler).

I’m excited.

This was all over Bend OR. I haven’t seen it elsewhere yet.