Do you know which are the most appropriate containers for canning?
Do you know the containers that can be subjected to sterilization processing by autoclaving?
At TERRA Food-Tech® we explain the different types of food packaging, their advantages and disadvantages, and how the sterilization process influences each one of them.
When preparing preserves, one of the first questions that may arise is what type of container to use. Not only for technical and health related issues, but also in terms of brand image of the product. In any case, we must use hermetic containers that allows the preserves to be subjected to a sterilization process by autoclaving to destroy all bacteria, including their spores, without significantly altering the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the original product. In addition, doing this process well will allow us to comply with Food Safety regulations and also skip the cold distribution chain.
Types of food packaging
Currently, there are a multitude of food containers on the market that are suitable for autoclaving and that comply with current legislation regarding safety and hygiene. What is of vital importance is that all of them must be made with materials that withstand the sterilization temperatures.
Glass jars, bottles and jars are widely used in food packaging, especially in those brands that want to convey a high-quality homemade or artisan image. It is especially recommended for gourmet preserves.
The twist-off caps have an internal lining that ensures airtight internal closure. They must be made of materials resistant to high temperatures. In fact, some companies sell caps specific for pasteurization (that only withstand temperatures below 100ºC) and lids for sterilization processes ( they withstand temperatures above 100ºC).
Sterilize glass containers in TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves
Depending on the autoclave model and the measurements of the container, it will be possible to work with a greater or lesser amount of product per cycle. Considering the standard 62 × 57 mm glass jar (height by diameter), 60 to 460 glass jars can be sterilized according to the TERRA Food-Tech® autoclave model.
These autoclave also incorporate a lid piercing kit and a temperature probe that can be placed on a product sample to perfectly control the entire process, preserving the organoleptic properties and minimizing possible changes in the nutritional characteristics of the packaged product. They also incorporate a fast cooling function to minimize heat transfer excess and a counter pressure system that prevents breakage of containers during the autoclaving. For those larger producers there are specific accessories such as the stainless steel basket elevator to work more comfortably and avoid carrying weight.
Cans, made of steel and/or aluminum, are also suitable and very popular containers for preserving food. For a better image of the preserve, they can be screen printed, lined or even packed in printed cardboard boxes.
Sterilize cans in TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves
As with glass containers, the amount of product that can be processed per cycle will depend on the dimensions of the autoclave and the size of the can.
The lid piercing kit is also suitable for piercing cans, so a temperature probe can also be placed on a sample to monitor the entire process. Depending on the depth of the can, there are various probe options.
It will be important to correctly program the counterpressure value to avoid breakage or deformation of the cans.
The plastic containers such as semi-rigid trays, bags or pouches are increasingly used in the production of canned food. They are one of the cheapest packages and they are preferred by consumers especially in the case of pre-cooked food. For many reasons, because they show the product inside like a glass bottle, and also for practical reasons since they can be heated in microwaves or frozen directly. In the case of pouches or heat sealed bags, a very popular trend nowadays in the food industry, they take up very little space and they are flexible, so they are easy to store and to manipulate.
Sterilize plastic containers in TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves
Plastic containers, semi-rigid trays, bags or pouches can also be autoclaved. If we consider the case of 200x150x20 mm pouches (base by depth by height), 20 to 95 pouches can be sterilized per cycle depending on the model in TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves. And in the case of 50x150x120 mm plastic trays (base by bottom by height), we would be working up to 80 containers per cycle in 150-liter autoclaves, a really high amount of preserves per cycle in the case of small producers.
In the case of plastic containers, it is extremely important to correctly adjust the back pressure value and control the duration and number of water fillings during the rapid cooling phase to avoid breakage or deformation of the containers . In addition, there are also specific probes for pouches.
TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves suitable for all types of packaging
TERRA Food-Tech® equipment is designed for cooking, sterilization and pasteurization of food packaged in cans, glass and plastic containers. They are the product of the evolution of the RAYPA brand, with more than 40 years of experience in the manufacture of sterilization equipment. They are compact autoclaves developed to meet the demand of small producers of canned preserves and to facilitate development tests and quality control in the food industry.
Productive capacity in TERRA Food-Tech® autoclaves
Contact our sales team for more information or to find out the autoclave that best suits your business.