If someone was to be named father of canning that person would, beyond any doubt be Nicolas Appert. He was a Parisian chef, who, in late 18th century, responded to a call by Napoleon Bonaparte who promised a high reward to any person that would come up with a way to preserve food for a long period of time. Napoleon hoped that with such an invention cases of food poisoning would be minimized.
Appert indeed came up with a groundbreaking method through boiling food and then preserving it in airtight glass jars.
Appert’s patent spread quickly, nevertheless it had one weak point. Fragile glass jars were not the easiest to handle and carry around. The solution to that problem was presented by British inventor and merchant Peter Durand, in 1810. He patented his own method of food preservation in a tin, setting the basis for the process that remains popular up to our times. It was only after the invention of a can opener 45 years later, that canning entered its mass production period, as until then any attempt to open it would require the use of a hammer and a chisel.
…and our history…
For us, at VIALCO SKOURTOPOULOS S.A., canning is a mass production process that consists of several distinct stages, as presented in the text that follows. Minimizing the amount of time required to process fish, beginning from the time of fishing them, it remains our top priority, as this plays a decisive role both on the quality and taste of our product.
- delivery of fresh fishery (sardines or anchovies) in our factory and preservation in freezer chambers
- freshly caught fish are beheaded in a way that simultaneously removes the entrails and washed, in the same machine
- fish is placed in cans, where it is being cooked
- the can is then filled with oil or sauce (depending on the product)
- cans are sealed automatically
- the product is being sterilized
- cans are washed, traceability marks are placed and finally packaging completes the process
Fish salting is an ancient food preservation method, that in modern times is followed in order to produce savory delicacies. In VIALCO we are proud of our know how concerning this particular process, as salted fish was among the first goods that our company produced after its founding, in 1928. Furthermore, our company was granted the No24641 patent, concerning the technique which offers a perfect appearance to the final product. In spite of all modern industrial production advances, we remain devoted to the traditional way of salted fish procedure, presenting our clients with a final product that is 100% handmade.
- Fresh fish delivery and immediate start of processing
- the raw material is beheaded carefully by hand in a way that simultaneously removes the entrails. The procedure by hand ensures excellent fish appearance
- then fish is placed in saturated brine in order to be cleaned
- fish is placed in a specific way in metallic containers (tinplates) between layers of salt
- tinplates are moved in the maturation hall, where they will remain until the product gains all its necessary excellent characteristics (scent and colour)
- The maturation time varies depending on the kind of fish, the fishing period and the temperature levels.
Fish smoking is another method that VIALCO uses in order to offer traditional and tasteful delicacies to its clients. Fish that are to be smoked, mostly mackerels and herrings, are firstly washed and gutted. Then fish is placed in brine and left to mature before being taken to our smoke chamber. Our company uses a combination of rose wood and beech for the smoking, which are known for their skills in flavoring fish.