Frozen fish fingers
Fish are rapidly frozen on the ship to best retain their texture and flavour. Frozen blocks of fish mince are then sent to the plant for processing. First, the blocks are loaded into a machine, where they are sliced into long planks, much like lumber. These planks are then loaded vertically into slots, where more knives slice the logs into sticks or 'fingers'. As the fingers move along a conveyor belt to the next station, works check for breaks or any irregularities.
The fish fingers then travel through a curtain of batter, made up of flour, water and spices. The excess batter collects in a pan below and coats the bottom. Next, the fingers enter a fryer for a mere 28 seconds, just long enough to cook the outside coating but keep the fish frozen on the inside. They are now en route to the freezer, where they spend about 45 minutes until an oscillator deposits the fish fingers in to boxes.
Each day, an estimated six million Brits will eat a pork sausage. With over 490 unique flavours and recipes for sausages in Britain - from Cumberland to Lincolnshire - not to mention all the variations from different butchers around the country, you could eat a different British sausage every single day for ten years.
To make sausages, you begin by mincing pork. Ingredients, such as seasonings, are added along with cold water. After a good mixing, the meat is put back through the mincer to produce the sausage meat. The final meat product is then packed into casings, which, traditionally, are cleaned animal intestines. Commercial sausages are now commonly made with collagen casings made from reconstituted meat products.
Lastly, there is a proper way to cook sausages. It is very important not to pierce the skin, as this will let out all the juices which it has so heartedly tried to encase. Next, massage the sausage with oil before adding it to an oiled pan and continously roll it over a low heat for as long as possible. Be patient and you will be rewarded with divine taste.
Pasta is made from a mixture of water and semolina flour. Semolina is made from durum wheat, which is a much harder grain than common wheat. After the ingredients are mixed, the dough is kneaded before it moves on to a lamination process, where large cylinders press the mixture in to sheets. The dough is further flattened by a vacuum mixer-machine to remove air bubbles amd excess water. The sheets then pass through a steamer, which heats the dough to kill any bacteria.
To shape the pasta, the dough is forced at a great pressure through the holes of a die. The shape of the pasta is determined by the holes on the die. In the case of spaghetti shapes, the metal die is shaped as the particular alphabet letter. As the pasta is extruded, a machine cuts the pasta to its desired shape thickness. The pieces are then transferred to a dryer tank or passed through a drying tunnel before the final product is packaged.
Dry roasted nuts
Dry roasting is the process of roasting nuts without adding oil. Nuts can be roasted whole, in their shells, or after the shells have been removed. When whole, the nuts are usually roasted for thirty minutes in a large convection oven at 150C and after, are ready for consumption. Workers inspect the nuts before packaging, removing any shell fragments or foreign matter.
Roasting nuts without shells is a very similar process. A conveyor belt transports the nuts (shells and skins removed) to a revolving drum called 'the tumbler'. As the tumbler spins, the nuts are sprayed with a seasoning mixture. The rotating action of the drum ensures that nuts are coated thoroughly and evenly. The nuts are then transferred to a conveyor which turns side-to-side, spreading them in a thin layer so that they will dry roast evenly. The are roasted in a convection oven for thirty minutes at 150C.
Like all cooking methods, dry roasting changes the chemical compounds in nuts, enhancing the flavour and scent of the product. It is seen as a healthy method for roasting nuts, as it does not require the addition of oil.
Canning is a food preservation technique that has been used for over a hundred years to store food over an extended period of time. When canning, the food product is first sterilised, often by boiling, to remove any contaminants. The sterile product is sealed in an air-tight container. Since nothing can enter the can, the food remains in a sterile environment until it is opened.
Canning corn is a process that brings together science, technology and several other components. To preserve nutrients, no more than four hours pass between harvesting and canning procedures. Cobs are transported to the processing plant, where they are passed through counter-rotating cylinders to remove the leaves and silk in a matter of seconds. Once cleaned, the cobs move onto a belt where they are lined up in a single row to prepare for the kernel remover. Knives in the machine remove the kernels in a fraction of a second, up to 1.5 tons of kernels per hour. Twice a day, the machines are stopped for inspection and are cleaned and sharpened.
Cobs and kernels then move on to two separate conveyor belts. The corn residues, cobs and leaves will be used for animal feed. The kernels enter a large rotating drum which removes any large particles. They then fall into a liquid mixture of water and a fluid that is obtained when cutting the corn kernels, allowing for the kernels to be transported with minimal damage. The kernels flow along the conveyor belt towards the next processing step where they will be bleached in a huge cylinder to eliminate any micro-organisms. A worm screw in the cylinder brings the bleached kernels to the surface, where they move down a line for visual inspection.
The cans move to the filling department where a rotating filling machine packs the cans at up to 400 cans per minute. A brine solution of water, sugar and salt is also added to the cans before the lids are securely attached. Finally, the cans undergo laboratory tests to check for water tightness of the can, the filling weight and the quality of kernels. Finally, the cans are sterilised in a 121C oven for 4-6 minutes. This is a crucial food safety step, as it eliminates any micro-organisms and ensures the reliability of the product for up to 18 months.
Canned pineapple rings
Did you know that the journey from fresh fruit to can only takes twenty minutes? Worldwide production of pineapple began by 1500 but it wasn't until the late 19th century when canned pineapple was commercially produced in Hawaii.
Pineapples are harvested about once a year. It takes seven months to produce the first bloom of reddish flowers. This is the point when farmers add a chemical, often ethylene, to stimulate flowering. About five months later, the pineapple is ripe and ready for picking. In mass production, pineapples are collected and sent to a factory as quickly as possible. Upon arrival, they undergo a multiple step cleaning process. Chorinated water helps reduce bacterial count and washes away any insects and frog eggs (pineapple crowns are a popular egg-laying spot). A final rinse in clean water gets rid of the chlorine reside.
After cleaning, the pineapples move down the production line where they are graded based on a number of criteria, including size, colour and how many 'eyes' (the diamond shapes on the side of the fruit) are intact. Those chosen for canning are sent on to the next stage of production. A machine removes the crown, auto-peels and cores the pineapples. They then pass down a line where workers check the fruit for any leftover skin, cutting it manually. Next, the pineaples pass through a machine that cuts them into slices. The riper, darker and therefore, sweeter slices go straight into a can. Those remaining are cut into chunks and also canned. Syrup is usually added as well before the can is sealed and sterilised. All of this takes place in about twenty minutes!