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Updated Sunday, February 25, 2024-01:24

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Human beings have been incorporating preserved foods into our diet for a couple of centuries, whether they are in a

glass jar or a can


And although the can opener was invented 50 years after the first canned food, that did not prevent the military from feeding themselves thanks to them on the front.

"Cut around the top with hammer and chisel," the label read.

Nowadays it is much easier to open a can of sardines, but the


that we can face when we ingest its contents, especially if it is preserved at home, are still very present.

I invite you to

open a can

of olives and continue reading, but be careful with the metal so you don't become

one of the 2,000 people who cut a finger every year

in Spain when trying to open them.

Botulism and home preserves

The consumption of spoiled homemade preserves, especially vegetables, is the main cause of botulism in the general population.

And we are not talking about that preserve making us feel bad and sending us to the bathroom, we are talking about a

serious illness

that can be fatal.

What causes botulism?

The toxins secreted by a bacteria called

Clostridium botulinum


This bacteria is very

present in our environment

and can contaminate food, and if we do not preserve it correctly, these bacteria will multiply and produce these

dangerous toxins


To know more


What is botulism?

These are its symptoms

  • Editorial: EL MUNDO

What is botulism?

These are its symptoms

What foods are there more risk of botulism?

It can occur with any homemade preserves, but

there is more risk in preserved vegetables

such as asparagus, chillies, beans...

The main problem is that

this toxin will not alter the taste, smell or appearance

of the preserve.

We will be eating contaminated food without knowing it.

Does botulism exist from drinking honey?

Yes, that risk exists, but

only in the case of babies


Honey can contain the bacteria responsible for botulism, but in this case we are talking about

infant botulism


That is why it is not recommended to give this food to children under 12 months, however it is completely safe from one year of age.

Is there a risk of botulism in a supermarket preserve?

The probability that botulinum toxin appears in the industrial preserves that we find in supermarkets is

extremely low

: one can in a billion.

You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to choose contaminated canned goods from the supermarket.

I have a beat up can at home, can I eat it?

No, because

the safety of the food it contains cannot be guaranteed


Even if you don't pour oil, no contents come out, and the metal appears intact, the best thing you can do is throw it away.

The advice is equally valid

if the can is bulging, rusty

or in the case of

glass jars if you do not hear the "plop"

when opening them.

How many days can I leave the can open in the refrigerator?



with the food inside

should never be stored in the refrigerator


If we have leftover contents, we must remove it from the can and place it in a

clean plastic or glass container with a lid

, where we will also deposit the

oil or liquid

that the can contained to help preserve it.

We can store this container in the refrigerator

for 3 or 4 days.

Doing so will prevent the food from being contaminated, for example, by fungi and oxidation in the can.

Tips to avoid botulism in home preserves:

  • Wash your hands, disinfect the surfaces

    where we are going to make them and sterilize the glass jars and lids by immersing them in

    boiling water for 15 minutes


    We will not dry them with a cloth to avoid contaminating them.

  • We remove

    traces of dirt from food

    and wash them with drinking water, removing fruits and vegetables that are broken, beaten or cracked.

  • We cook the food and put it in the jars, leaving

    a few centimeters of free space


    We put the lids on making sure there

    is no air left inside


  • We will treat the jars with heat

    to carry out the conservation process, placing them in a

    pressure cooker

    and covering them with water.

    We let them boil for at least

    30 minutes

    and then wait for them to

    rest for about an hour

    so that the vacuum is properly created.

  • Finally,

    we remove the jars and let them cool upside down

    to check the airtight seal.

    After this we check the seal by pressing the center of the lid with a finger, which

    should be inwards and not "plop" when pressed


  • Finally, it is important to label each jar with the

    production date

    , to

    consume them within a year