Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vacuum Canning?
The advantages of retort canning over traditional glass jars If you've ever seen Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), then you've seen an example of retort canning—preserving food in sealed foil pouches rather than glass jars. This style isn't reserved for the military, either. You can find retort canned food in just about any supermarket, usually for meat and fish packaging. However, you can also do your own retort canning at home using a vacuum packing machine.
The retort canning process
Retort canning has similarities to both vacuum sealing and traditional canning. To take advantage of retort packaging, you'll need special retort pouches, which are made with a flexible metal foil and plastic laminate. Since these pouches require higher heat levels to seal, you'll also need to either purchase a vacuum sealer that's equipped for retort canning, or upgrade the heat bar on your current vacuum sealer.
The first part of the process is the same as vacuum packing. Place the food inside the foil pouches, leaving a few inches at the end for a strong seal, and then use the vacuum packing machine to remove the air from the pouch and seal the end.
Next, the pouches must be sterilized, just as with traditional canning jars. This is done by boiling the retort pouches in a pressure cooker.
It's important to note that, also similar to traditional canning, some of the seals won't hold during the sterilization process. In general, less than 1% of retort pouch seals will burst in a pressure cooker. Any food with broken seals should be refrigerated and consumed within 24 to 48 hours.
Advantages of retort canning
In many ways, retort canning has an edge over traditional canning methods. Some of the benefits of this method include:
 Longer shelf life: Retort canned foods can be good for 3 to 5 years or longer.
 Space-saving convenience: The slim foil pouches take up far less room than glass mason jars, and can be stored easily in boxes or drawers.  Corrosion control: The lids and rings of canning jars are prone to rust, which can contaminate preserved food. Retort packaging is corrosion-resistant.
 Lower casualties: A greater percentage of retort pouches retain the seals during pressure cooking. Also, glass jars break when you drop them—foil pouches don't.
If you enjoy doing a lot of home canning, or if you produce food that you plan on selling, retort canning can be a practical investment that will save money while allowing you to increase the amount of stored food. Retort pouches are perfect for quick lunches, camping trips, care packages, and a wide variety of home uses.
Happy retort canning!

Written by
Words By Melissa
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Retort Canning of has NO Scientific data from the FDA or USDA for home canners.  The concerns come from non acid foods such as meats!  We are expressing our experiences, but by no way are these experiences authorized data. Can at your own risk!  
As they say, "Re-Heat before you Eat" on any home canned product in glass, cans or retort for best safety practices.  
All home canning is AT YOUR OWN RISK!