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The Importance of Canned Food in Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes


Thanksgiving is a holiday rooted in tradition — traditions that include watching football, tuning in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and gathering around the dinner table for a big meal with family and friends.

The Thanksgiving tradition of cooking a feast started with the Pilgrim’s first harvest in 1621. Alongside 90 Native Americans in Wampanoag, they celebrated the season’s harvest for three days. They ate wildfowl, venison, shellfish, cornbread, porridge, pumpkin, squash nuts and beans. 

Although there may be similar foods on your Thanksgiving plate, many of the holiday’s  classic recipes call for canned food. Whether it’s cranberry sauce for turkey, cream of mushroom soup for green bean casserole or pumpkin for pumpkin pie, there’s no denying the importance of these canned ingredients.

How did canning make its debut?

The canning process first emerged in France during the early 19th century as a way to preserve food for Napoleon’s massive army. Nicolas Francois Appert invented the process of heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars — the same technique behind today’s canning process. Canning food not only preserves products, but it prevents microbial growth and extends product transportability.

Today, much of the canning process is automated within food processing plants. Prior to filling cans and containers with food, they are cleaned with Class 0, oil-free compressed air to remove any debris and food particles that may have come from conveyor belts. The compressed air is then used to fill containers with food and beverage products. After the canning process is complete, they’re packaged and shipped out to stores where consumers pick them up for their holiday meals. 

Do you use canned foods in your Thanksgiving recipes? Leave us a comment below and share your favorite recipe or holiday tradition.

From everyone at Atlas Copco, thanks for reading and have a happy Thanksgiving!

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