ConceptsFood

What is raw packing?

Raw vegetables are used in raw packaging.

Raw canning refers to the canning procedure of filling jars (or cans) with completely raw fruits or vegetables. This is in contrast to other canning methods such as hot canning, where fruits or vegetables can be boiled for a couple of minutes and then immediately placed in cans and sealed. Each method can be used for a variety of different foods, but some foods are better suited to canning raw than canning hot, and vice versa.

Raw canning works well when canning pickles or other vegetables.

The main thing to remember about raw canning is that the food must be packed close together and, in most cases, is usually covered with canning water or canning liquid that is heated. So it’s not the case that raw canning avoids putting extremely hot liquid in the mason jar. This heat, in addition to sterilizing the canning jar, minimizes the risk of food contamination. However, in general, this form of canning is excellent when you want to preserve vegetables or fruits in a semi-raw form. It works particularly well for things that will be served crisp, like pickled cucumbers or other pickled vegetables.

If you’re canning fruit, raw canning may not be as effective, especially if you plan to store the canned goods for more than a few months. Most fruit when exposed to air will begin to show some discoloration within a few hours of being cut. When you pack raw, you leave some of the air already in the food, and this can cause raw-packaged food to discolor in a couple of months. Hot canning may be more appropriate because boiling foods for a few minutes can help preserve color and remove some of the air that fruits or vegetables naturally contain. A good canning book can help you determine if the foods you want to preserve will work better with a raw or hot canning method.

When you’re canning at home, a primary concern should be food safety. For this reason, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides guidelines on how to safely practice raw packaging. To keep your food fresh, tasty and free of contamination, it is very important to pay attention to these guidelines. They are available online in PDF format and most up-to-date cookbooks will also observe and explain food safety protocol, whether you pack raw, hot or choose other food preservation methods.

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