On opening the can the volume of the contents in relation to the capacity of the can should be noted. The contents should fill the can; any considerable space between the top of the can and the surface of the contents should count against the grade of the product.

Any excess of liquid, that is, more than is necessary to immerse the solids, lowers the grade of the package.

The presence of any foreign material such as drops of solder or bits of paper, which indicate careless methods in packing, should be looked for.


In canned peas, a very cloudy or starchy liquid probably indicates that the peas have been "soaked." This would be confirmed by the peas being mealy, large, and with skins easily loosened in the can. Since peas are graded according to size, those known as " sifted," whatever the size, are higher in price than the unsifted, sometimes known as "the run of the garden." A large number of yellowish peas in a can indicates inferior quality and flavor.

String Beans

The smaller string beans, less than two inches in length, are high priced and more decorative than nutritious. Those over three inches in length are coarse. Those between two and three inches are generally satisfactory. The "cut" beans are cheaper but not uniformly good in flavor and texture.

Lima Beans

The smaller lima beans, bush limas, are higher in price and generally of a better color than the large beans, pole limas.


Canned corn that is very milky or full of liquid may be sweet, but it does not grade so high as the dry packs and does not keep so well.

Okra - Young okra is tender and the pods are canned whole. This brings a better price than the older pods which are cut before being packed.


Good spinach is packed whole, that is, the leaves are not cut. The chopped packs lack the fresh flavor of the other and their quality is less certain.


Tomatoes "hand packed" and "cold packed" are put whole into the cans while raw and steamed, so that they are cooked in their own juice. If any additional juice is required to fill the crevices, it is supposed to be tomato juice.

Tomatoes so packed are superior to those cooked before the cans are filled, and will be found practically whole when the can is opened.


All large fruits are more expensive in tins than are small fruits, because the tins are more solidly filled with the latter and more portions can be served from a tin of given size. Of the large fruits canned whole or in halves, neither the largest nor the smallest are the most economical investment, but rather the medium size. This is because portions are made by the piece rather than the spoonful and the very large pieces are few to the tin, while the very small necessitate two or more pieces being served to the portion. Large fruits bought in the cut form, for example, peach slices, peach chips, and pineapple chips, are most economical of all, for the same reason that small fruits are economical.