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Food Fundamentals

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Canning was developed in the 16th century by Nicolas Appert, French military personnel and was identified as the main method of preventing the growth of microorganisms in foods. As a process that seeks to add value to peas and increase their shelf life, canning has grown in industrial application especially as a way of preserving peas. This is also attributed to the increased public concern on the dangers presented by botulism on low acid vegetables which are poorly preserved (Schafer, 2010). This paper will evaluate the process of canning peas to help highlight the value addition steps that are necessary for the final production of peas. In doing this, the paper will evaluate the production and processing methods of canning peas in Australia, the manufacturing practices and regulations and in the country and the quality control measures of the process. The nutritional value of canned peas will also be discussed in comparison with other forms of peas and vegetables that have not undergone this process. Production and processing of canned peas The major need that necessitates processing of vegetables like peas is the need to preserve them in stable and non perishable states for a longer period of time. The processes of canning destroy all microorganisms in the food thus preventing the possibility of recontamination which may result into health risks. The pea canning process involves a number of steps which are customized to suit this kind of vegetables and this differentiates it from other processes (NHRMC, 2012). As bean like products that have pods, the pea’s preparation steps involve the coring step to remove the peas from the pods before they can be prepared for canning. After the peas have actually been obtained, the next step involves cleaning, sorting and stocking in pots or cans from where the packaging will actually be done. Salt is then added to help enhance the flavour of the peas, even though this procedure is not necessary as this process adds no value to the food processing step. Standard canning jars which represent different market values are then filled with the canned peas. These jars should be properly cleaned if they are reuse can to eliminate recontamination after filling. With pressure canning, sterile jars are not used as the process of canning will eliminate any present microorganism. To increase the nutritional value of the canned peas, fresh vegetables at the peak of eating quality should be used (Nistor, Hodosan, Bahacio, and Vilau, 2010). Before the actual canning process, the canner and pressure gauges should be checked to ensure that it tally with monitoring and evaluation requirements of the process. Once the cans are ready, 2-4 inches of boiling water is placed at the bottom of the pressure canner which are then placed strategically in racks to allow steam to freely flow across all the jars. The provision for ventilation for around 10 minutes provides time for the escape of any trapped air in the scanner. Air trapped in the canner causes under-processing at lower temperatures which increase the susceptibility of the canned food to microorganisms. Once the process is completed, the jars are removed from the canners and placed in an upright position on a towel or a rack which is placed away from the drafts. After the cooling process is effectively completed, the integrity of the seals should be checke