Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Victualling Victoria's Navy - 5. Goldner's Patent Preserved Provisions


At last! That disreputable cut-price contractor has finally delivered the preserved provisions! The voyage can proceed! Erm, wait a minute, the dodgy contractor is me. These four cans are by far the best reproduction of Goldner's Preserved Provisions that I have achieved so far. Pictured above are two two-pound cans of boiled beef, a two-pound can of carrots, and a one-pound can of vegetable soup.
The chunks of beef were boiled for about ten minutes before being threaded through the small hole in the top of the can. About three quarters of the liquid was then poured in. The meat wasn't fully cooked at this stage - most of the cooking, or more likely over-cooking, occurs in the can.
Here's the sealed up can sitting in a pan of muriate of lime (Calcium Chloride). From the thermometer reading you can see that the temperature is approaching 130 Celsius yet the solution displays no obvious signs of boiling. The original recipe called for sealing the pin-hole in the lid while the can was being heated. I tried this but the jet of steam blew through the solder, so it was allowed to cool slightly first. After sealing, the can was heated again gently to check for leaks, then finished off in a pressure cooker. In the old days the can itself was the pressure cooker. You can be assured that I was wearing full protective gear throughout the more risky parts of the process.

The final step in the process is to keep the filled can in a warm place for at least a week. This was achieved using a plastic crate and a 40 Watt heater. If there were any viable microorganisms left inside, this was their chance to show themselves by bulging out the ends of the can. Pleased to say that there was noting to report on this score. Painted up and labelled, the cans look almost too good to use for anything other than display, but opened they will be, and their contents tasted. Could they be anything other than delicious?

7 comments:

  1. Good point, I never thought of it before....protective gear while canning food .

    We can all bet that in Goldner's scheme to cheat the Admiralty , he did not provide protection for his underpaid workers. Wonder how many workers got scalded?

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    1. Hi Soloman. Sounds like you're referring to the fictionalised Goldner there. From the historical record his product was of beyond reproach at least up to 1847. As for safety, there is a report of a fatality at the Houndsditch works when a whole turkey was being canned but it is not clear whether this was in Goldners day or after 1851 when the business had been passed on to McCall. I wouldn't be surprised if there were quite a few lesser accidents.

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  2. Excellent work! I really really love it!

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  3. Impressive Peter, I never thought you could go that far

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  4. I would LOVE to purchase one off you or, commission one I should put it. I'm serious! Astonishing work!

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    1. Thanks. There may be a gift ship opened at the end of the experiment.

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Three visits to 137 Houndsditch

In January ‎2019 Gina Koellner and I made a pilgrimage to the site of Goldner's preserved provisions manufactory. The site is now partly...