Canned vs. Fermented Vegetables

Aktualisiert: Nov 2

There are many methods of food preservation. The oldest ones go back to prehistoric times & they included drying, salting & pickling, smoking, burying in the ground & fermentation.

The newer methods include refrigeration, freezing, canning, jelling, or even using sugar. Just to name a few.

With the onset of technology, harmful chemicals & preservatives are also very often used by big companies to "preserve food". Saving on time & cutting the costs.

I will not go into details with all those different ways, as we want to concentrate on two methods that are used to preserve vegetables.

Namely canning & fermentation. Especially that those two methods confuse people the most.

Let's take a look at canning first.

"Canning is a method of food preservation in which food is processed and sealed in an airtight container (jars like Mason jars, and steel and tin cans). Canning provides a shelf life that typically ranges from one to five years, although under specific circumstances, it can be much longer."

The above quote is from Wikipedia

The whole idea of canning was developed in France during Napoleonic Wars, specifically in 1809, when Nicolas Apert "observed that food cooked inside a jar did not spoil unless the seals leaked, and developed a method of sealing food in glass jars." (Wikipedia)

So basically almost any food can be preserved this way. Fruits, vegetables, beans, meats, etc.

To find out more about canning, please click here

The pic below, with various canned vegetables, was taken from the linked article.

Two types of containers were & are used for this method. Tins (or cans, hence the term canning) in commercial productions & glass jars or bottles (both at home & commercially).

The canning process of vegetables requires a liquid in which those vegetables are submerged. That liquid called brine, is usually either a mixture of water + salt, or water + vinegar + salt.

Less common is the use of oil & seasonings. The most common vegetables preserved this way are artichokes, olives or sun dried tomatoes.

The rest of the vegetables are preserved by using the two types of water based brine.

Most common of them are: cucumbers, red peppers, red cabbage, green peas, corn kernels, beets, okra, anything that has "Pickled" in the name & all kinds of vegetables mixes.

Many of those vegetables can be quite tasty, although their nutritional content is usually diminished a bit, as some water-soluble vitamins are lost during the canning process

(that is something that does not happen when the same veggies are fermented)

One of the reasons for that is the fact that "canned" vegetables quite often undergo two heating processes. First they are subjected to a hot brine & next comes the process of sealing. That requires the jars to be either submerged in a hot water for a certain amount of time or to be placed inside a hot oven t