National Tin Can Day is every January 19 and is a day dedicated to the humble tin can that preserves some of our favorite food items. Without tin cans, the process of storage and preservation would have been entirely different and less convenient. The best thing about canned food is that it is accessible to people from all walks of life. Over the years, various countries around the globe have made their contributions to the evolution of tin cans. The fact that this storage item has been used for over a century is proof of its worth. It sure deserves to be celebrated!
History of National Tin Can Day
The history of the establishment of the holiday is unknown, but the story behind the invention of tin cans is quite interesting. The credit for this revolutionary idea of storing food goes to a number of people. While it was the Northumbrian developer Bryan Donkin who first built a commercial canning factory, Peter Durand eventually succeeded in receiving the first patent for tin cans. Before them, it was Nicolas Appert who had earned the moniker ‘father of canning’ after he came up with the method of sterilization to store food for Napoleon’s army at war.
In 1818, Durand introduced tin-plated steel cans in the U.S., and it has been in vogue ever since. A year later, Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett Sr. of England started canning food items such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and oysters, in New York. As tin cans were initially thick with no provision for opening them, a rock, bayonet, or hammer and chisel, did the job for decades. It wasn’t until 1858 that Ezra Warner invented the first can opener. It was used by the U.S. military during the Civil War.
They started as a tool to preserve food supplies for soldiers at war, but now, tin cans have become a staple container in kitchen cupboards, refrigerators, and pantries. Who could say no to this portable and affordable product filled with easy-to-cook delicacies?
National Tin Can Day timeline
British merchant Peter Durand receives the original patent for the idea of using tin cans to preserve food.
Bryan Donkin and John Hall set up the first commercial canning factory in England.
Ezra Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut, receives the patent for the first can opener.
William Lyman invents the modern design of a can opener with a wheel that cuts around the rim of a can.
National Tin Can Day FAQs
Is canned food healthy?
Canned food can be as nutritious as fresh food as the process of canning preserves many nutrients. The amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, and minerals stay intact. The only downside is that canning involves heating which may kill water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins B and C. On the upside, heating increases the content of antioxidants.
How long can I store canned food?
Canned food usually has a long shelf life. Canned meat and seafood can go up to three years from the date of packaging while high-acid foods like pickles, tomatoes, and fruit should be consumed within two years of the date on the package.
Can I reprocess food after I break open the lid?
Yes, you can reprocess the food provided you do it within 24 hours of the first processing. Remove the lid first and then check the sealing surface for cuts. In case of a cut, replace the jar with one that has a newly treated lid.
National Tin Can Day Activities
We have a fun activity for you and your kids today. Instead of throwing away used tin cans, upcycle and transform them into cute items like a miniature drum set, pencil/pen holders, portable can telephones, a lantern, and more.
Eat only canned meals
In honor of National Tin Can Day, why not rustle up a few recipes using tinned ingredients? Pork chops with canned mushrooms sound like the perfect evening meal. Oh! And we’d love a dill tuna and chickpea appetizer on the side.
Send e-greetings to your friends and family to remind them of this unique holiday. Invite them all over for a canned food special dinner.
5 Interesting Facts About Tin Cans
What a motto!
National Tin Can Day comes with its own motto, ‘Yes, we can!’ and we absolutely love it.
Tin cans are actually made of steel coated with a layer of tin to prevent corrosion.
Can turn into a pest
If exposed to around -20ºF, tin cans crumble into a dull, brittle powder called ‘tin pest.'
Ever heard of a tin crying?
‘Tin cry’ refers to that distinct whining sound when a piece of tin is bent and the tiny crystals of the metal graze each other.
The wow factor
About 50 - 75% of tin cans are recycled annually, which makes it the world’s most recycled packaging product.
Why We Love National Tin Can Day
A useful product
A day to honor a multi-purpose storage product? Sounds a little silly, we know. But we can’t deny its utility when it comes to preserving perishable food items. After all, how would a University student cope without a tin of baked beans in their dorm room?
It raises awareness about recycling
We know how important it is to recycle tin cans to sustain the good health of our environment. Who wouldn’t fall in love with such an eco-friendly holiday?
A reason to celebrate
While you don’t need a reason to celebrate, National Tin Can Day gives you one. Buy canned items and treat yourself to an easy peasy lemon squeezy dinner!
National Tin Can Day dates