The exact beginnings of the Memorial Day Holiday are in dispute. Several towns throughout the U.S. claim their spot as the birthplace of the pre-emanate day of remembrance. By most accounts, however, Memorial Day’s predecessor, Decoration Day, began in the 1860’s as the Civil War began to take its toll on the divided nation.
During one significant event, 10,000 recently freed slaves, ministers, and others paid homage to the more than 250 Union soldiers who died while being held as POW’s of the south. The group cleaned the Union soldiers graves, built an enclosure, and landscaped what was the Hampton Park Race Course.
The Memorial Day moniker was officially applied in 1967. It had been celebrated on May 30th mainly because that’s when the flowers used to decorate the graves were in bloom. In 1968 the date officially changed to the last Monday in May.
Unofficially, Memorial Day is also considered the beginning of summer. And picnics are an integral part of celebrating both the Day and the season. Fried chicken, burgers and hot dogs are typically on the menu. But for many, the meal of the day centers around the good old fashioned cold cut. Whether it’s a hoagie, a dagwood, a sub, a grinder, a hero, or a fancy pinwheel, it’s tough to beat the versatility, ease, and variety of a pile of perfectly sliced deli meat.
There’s few things worse than opening the picnic basket only to realize the precisely chosen turkey, ham and roast beef have went bad. Except ants. Ants are worse.
While looking for a safe way to extend the shelf life of freshly cut deli meats without adding extra chemicals, many packagers have turned to a modified atmosphere. As the name suggests, modified atmosphere packing (MAP) is essentially altering the atmosphere in a package. In the case of food products, like lunch meat, reducing the amount of oxygen in some packaging is key.
Nitrogen, or a nitrogen / carbon dioxide mix, is a common choice among deli meat processors who use the MAP process to extend shelf life. Nitrogen from a quality source is clean, dry, and doesn’t allow spoilage of the product the way oxygen does. And nitrogen is abundant – as it makes up about 78% of the air we breathe. The trick is, getting it out of the air.
That’s where the Compressed Gas Technology team comes in. CGT offers a comprehensive solution to nitrogen generation. Whether it’s a small single packaging line bagging ready-to-eat sandwiches or a large facility with dozens of MAP systems – CGT can help. As an expert in both membrane and PSA style nitrogen generators, CGT has provided solutions to some of the most well respected names in food packaging.
A picnic on Memorial Day is one of the best ways to kick off a great summer. But no matter what you decide to serve, take a moment to remember the more than one million soldiers who have paid the ultimate price to serve us.