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Pressure canning in the UK

Discussion in 'Lovely Grub' started by British Red, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    To preserve food, one has to either kill or prevent reproduction of the micro organisms that cause food spoilage.

    There are many ways of preserving food:

    Lowering the temperature (refrigeration, freezing, clamping, root cellaring, evaporative cooling)

    Raising the acidity (preserving in fruit juice, pickling, lactic fermentation)

    Raising the alkalinity

    Increasing sugar content (jams, jellies etc.)

    Removing water (dried fruit, jerky, vine dried legumes etc.)

    Increasing salt content (brining, Parma ham etc.)

    Adding chemicals (sulphide type food preservatives)

    Raising the temperature (cooking)

    Removing oxygen (Vacuum Packing, adding chemical anti oxidants, preserving in fat or aspic)

    Using benign micro organisms (cheese making, wine making etc.)

    Irradiating

    For me, these techniques break into several types

    1) Continuous Power input required (refrigeration and freezing)
    2) Flavour altering (pickling, making jam)
    3) Chemical addition (brining, salting)
    4) Organic (cheese and wine making)
    5) Technological (irradiating, vacuum sealing)
    6) Heating and sealing (canning)

    For me, a variety of these ways are needed on the homestead to keep food fresh. In the UK, almost the only “home managed” way of preserving meat is freezing. Freezing is fine, but freezers need power, and they break down.

    Some of us make jerky, hamburger rocks and biltong. Again, fine in its way – makes for light and easily transported “trail food” – but not so big on convenience.

    A few make hams, bacon or brawn or even quails in aspic. These are all good techniques – but limited.

    Something almost never done in the UK is “pressure canning”. Sure we preserve foods that are naturally resistant to bacteria (jams, pickles, chutneys etc.) but pressure canning is different. Pressure canning uses a pressure canner to superheat steam to get the internal temperatures of the jar contents much higher than can be achieved with any amount of direct heating of contents. This is important for one reason – botulism. Botulisum is a nasty – often fatal form of food poisoning caused by neurotoxins produced by Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. Clostridium Botulinum is a soil based spore forming bacteria. Being soil based it can find its way into many foods. The spores are very resilient and can survive being boiled at 100C. No amount of heating liquid based foods will kill them. However being cooked in a pressure cooker at a hot enough temperature for long enough will. If foods are processed in this way and then sealed, they remain safe for as long as the seal remains.

    Processing food in this way is known as pressure canning. The tools, consumables and materials are common in the US. This article is intended to show the process of pressure canning, it is safe for low acid vegetables, meats, soups and stews etc. if done properly without adding salt, acids or sugars common in making pickles and chutneys – thereby preserving the desired taste. It also offers the advantages on not requiring electricity ongoing and letting the cook decide what goes into home preserved “convenience meals”.

    Today I was pressure canning tomatoes. Tomatoes can be preserved without pressure canning but these are for long term storage, so I decided to pressure can them. The process is the same for meats in gravy, chillis, soups etc. – but the amount of pressure (and hence internal temperature) required and the canning times vary. This cannot be home calculated – a good reference book is required and is absolutely mandatory for the process

    [​IMG]
    IMG_6335 by British Red, on Flickr

    The “Top Guide” for pressure canning is the “Balls Blue Book” – it gives advice on the process and recipes, pressures and canning times. I also use the Balls guide to home preserving – and of course the manual supplied with my canner.

    You do need these books – seriously. For example, the weights and pressures you use depend upon your height above sea level. As our school science (and my article on the Science of Water) observes, water boils at lower temperature at higher altitudes. So to be sure of killing the bacterial spores, we need to increase the pressure in the canner to achieve the required temperatures.

    So to business. I picked a few tomatoes today…

    [​IMG]
    1) Tomatoes by British Red, on Flickr

    …well more than a few

    [​IMG]
    IMG_6279 by British Red, on Flickr

    So its time to can some. I can as chopped tomatoes in their own juice, but you can can them whole or made up into sauces.

    Here is the main piece of equipment – a pressure canner. Like a monstrous pressure cooker, but not the same. You can cook in a canner, but people wiser than me advice against canning in a cooker. Note that this model (one of the “All American” range has a pressure gauge and a round regulator (weight) on top. The regulator has three holes and setting each of those holes on the spigot creates different internal pressures and hence temperatures (5, 10 and 15lbs of pressure)

    You can’t get pressure canners in the UK – you have to import them from the US. There are large companies there who are happy to ship however. Mine is a large one and will take 16 pint jars at a time.

    [​IMG]
    3) Pressure Canner by British Red, on Flickr

    The Pressure Gauge

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    4) Pressure Gauge by British Red, on Flickr

    The Pressure Regulator

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    5) Pressure Regulator by British Red, on Flickr

    I’m also going to need at least one of the very large stock pots that I use for all sorts of major cooking

    [​IMG]
    6) Stock Pot by British Red, on Flickr

    I’m also going to use some canning tools

    [​IMG]
    7) Canning Tools by British Red, on Flickr

    From left to right

    Jar lifter
    Lid tightener
    Lid lifter (magnet on a stick)
    Non metallic spatula (I like silicone ones)
    Tongs

    I’ll show all these tools in use later.

    Next we need some jars. Jars come in all sorts of sixes and shapes. For most purposes, there are two main types. Pint jars (500ml) and Quart jars (1 litre). Canning jars are not the same as jam jars – this may seem obvious to our US colleagues – but not to us UK types! They take a different kind of lid.

    [​IMG]
    8) Jars by British Red, on Flickr

    Next we need lids and bands. Lids are flat. They have a bit of temperature sensitive glue round the outside and seal in a near vacuum as the jar cools. Bands serve only to hold the lids in place. Bands are re-useable, most lids are not.

    [​IMG]
    9) Lids & Bands by British Red, on Flickr

    Before we get cracking we need to sterilise the lids, jars and rings. The jars go in the big stock pot, get covered in water and given a boil for at least ten minutes

    [​IMG]
    10) Boil Jars by British Red, on Flickr

    Lids and rings go in a small saucepan, get given a gentle simmer (not boiled!)

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    11) Simmer Lids and Bands by British Red, on Flickr

    Right, lets get on with the tomatoes.

    Each one gets a cross sliced into the skin (just through the skin)

    [​IMG]
    12) Score Toms by British Red, on Flickr

    The tomatoes get blanched for about a minute – then the skins just slip off

    [​IMG]
    IMG_6300 by British Red, on Flickr

    This is where BB and I work together – her getting the skins off, me chopping. It makes the work smoother and company is nice!

    [​IMG]
    IMG_6302 by British Red, on Flickr

    So we have skinned chopped toms – and boiled jars

    [​IMG]
    15) Jars Boiled by British Red, on Flickr

    The tongs come in handy here – for picking up and emptying the jars – they are very hot!

    [​IMG]
    16) Drain Jars by British Red, on Flickr

    I remove the jars a few at a time so they are hot when packed. This recipe calls for a tablespoon of lemon juice to raise the acidity. In the packing a ladle and a jam funnel (the grey thing at the back), make life a lot easier!

    [​IMG]
    17) Funnel and lemon by British Red, on Flickr

    The jars should be filled allowing an inch of “headspace” (a gap between the filling and the top of the jar)

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    18) Headspace by British Red, on Flickr

    Next sliding a spatula around the edge removes any air pockets

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    19) Spatula by British Red, on Flickr

    Its important to wipe the rim of the jar. Any “goop” on the rim means the lid won’t stick!

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    20) Wipe by British Red, on Flickr

    Next we put the lid on. Using a lid lifter saves scalded fingers – just pick it up with the magnet!

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    21) Pick Up Lid by British Red, on Flickr

    The lid is popped on and a band screwed on just finger tight. The band keeps the lid in place but not having it totally screwed down hard means gases can escape from boiling liquid.

    Now we have to prepare the canner. First 2” of water go in the bottom

    [​IMG]
    22) 2 inches water by British Red, on Flickr

    Next we put a jar rack in the bottom. The jars must not sit directly on the bottom of the canner

    [​IMG]
    23) Jar Rack 1 by British Red, on Flickr

    A layer of jars are placed in the canner – not touching each other or the canner walls

    [​IMG]
    24) Layer of Jars by British Red, on Flickr

    Another jar rack is placed on top of the first layer of jars and more jars added

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    25) Jar Rack 2 by British Red, on Flickr

    The lid is placed on. It only goes on one way. The arrow on the lid needs to align with the mark on the body of the canner

    [​IMG]
    26) Line Up Lid by British Red, on Flickr

    The lid clamps are then done up. They should be tightened two at a time on opposite sides so the lid is even

    [​IMG]
    27) Lid Clamps by British Red, on Flickr

    Next – I check the recipe

    [​IMG]
    28) Recipe by British Red, on Flickr

    The recipe calls for 10lbs of pressure for 25 minutes. I do not need to adjust this as I am not over 1,000 ft, so I set the pressure regulator to 10 and light the propane stove

    I can watch the pressure rise on the gauge.

    [​IMG]
    29) Pressure Rising by British Red, on Flickr

    When the gauge reaches 10, the regulator starts to jiggle and hiss, trying to hold the pressure there. The heat needs to be turned down to let the regulator jiggle three or four times a minute – keeping the pressure up but not venting too much steam. Don’t run the canner too hot. You pretty much have a large metal bomb at this point!

    Here you can see the steam escaping

    [​IMG]
    30) Escaping Steam by British Red, on Flickr

    I keep the pressure there for twenty five minutes and then turn off the heat. Its now vital to let the canner cool until the pressure gauge registers zero. At this point the regulator can be removed allowing any pressure to escape before undoing the clamps and removing the lid. Failure to do this will get you scalded with super heated steam at best and at worst will cause the lid to fly off, jar to explode and flying glass to erupt!

    Once the lid has been safely removed, the (hot) jars can be lifted out with the jar lifter.

    [​IMG]
    31) Lift Jars by British Red, on Flickr

    The bands are screwed down tight with the lid tongs and the jars left to cool

    [​IMG]
    32) Screw Down Lids by British Red, on Flickr

    As the jars cool, the contents contract. This sucks the lid down and you will hear a “ping” as they pop inwards. This is the proof that the jar is properly sealed – and can be checked even after storage.

    [​IMG]
    33) Check for Ping by British Red, on Flickr

    The jars can then be left to cool at which point the bands can be removed.

    [​IMG]
    IMG_6347 by British Red, on Flickr

    …and there we have it – pressure canned tomatoes.

    Red
     
    #1 British Red, Sep 26, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2011
  2. Samon

    Samon Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    That made a very good late night read!

    how long will the toms last in storage now?

    I've always wondered on shelf life of bottled water and tinned foods.
     
  3. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Two, three years easily.

    Tinned food, done properly, will never, ever, go off provided that the tin is intact. There are cases of people eating fifty year old tins. Nutritional content may decline, but the contents are not in any way harmful

    Red
     
  4. Samon

    Samon Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    woah.. I thought a few years max on the tinned stuff but that's certainly news to me!

    pretty good shelf life on your toms though!

    what are you gona next? any meats/pates?

    Why is there a 'best before'date on tinsned food if it'll be good for so long? Iknow the stores say fruit and veg should be eaten by 'this date' but most of my veg in the fridge lasts alot longer.

    I also hear your the man when it comes to pine tar soap..is this true?
     
  5. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Best before is actually planned to be repealed. Basically canned goods are usually safe for a good time past that date. Use sense though - smell and taste and if in doubt throw. But just because its a day over an arbritrary date, don't worry.

    We will be canning up a load of chilli with our own produce shortly - just waiting for the last of the chillis to ripen up - the garlic, onion, tomatoes, peppers etc. are all ready to go :)

    I do make our own soap and have been known to run up a few pounds of pure pine tar before now. Its a pig to make though - it traces (sets) at near light speed!
     
  6. Samon

    Samon Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    Ah ok, I've avoided tin that were about 3 years out of date in the past when scavenging food from a quite abonded house during a rough patch but next time I'll atleast open and sniff the contents.

    the new batch sounds nice!

    How do you aquire the tar in such big quantities?

    and do you make spruce resin chewing gum?

    Do you ever sell samples of the soap you make? I'm quite fond of using only bar soap and have looked into the benfits of pine tar soap.

    (excuse the many questions :rolleyes:)
     
  7. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Theres laws that prevent me selling soap without paying about £300 per recipe for product testing -not worth it sadly. Pine tar in its purest form is available from equine suppliers as "Stockholm Tar"

    Don't do chewing gum yet

    Red
     
  8. calibanzwei

    calibanzwei Settler

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    Great stuff Red, cheers!
     
  9. Native Nathan

    Native Nathan Native

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    As always another great Tutorial with Pic's

    Thanks British Red
     
  10. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Nomad

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    thanks for this, i am trying to get into canning , but i am struggling with the details before i get going, when i do , i will be picking your brains, many many thanks pete
     
  11. Rod Paradise

    Rod Paradise Full Member

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  12. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    You aren't that far away Pete - you could always come over in canning season and get some hands on experience :)

    We are struggling towards amassing the basic skills we need slowly - adding more each year and practicing those we have. It would be a pleasure passing on anything we already know

    Red
     
  13. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Nice job Red, and a great tutorial. I'd like to add that generall over her it's advised that when you sterilize the jars, lids, and rings, you should also sterilize the tools (jar lifter, tongs, funnel, etc.) This can be done safely by leaving the handls of the lifter and tongs out of the water and using a kitchen mitt to remove them.
     
    #13 santaman2000, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  14. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Nomad

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    i will take you up on that offer british red, once i have a job and some spare petrol money on the go. as for the smoking forum thats a great place, so i also find is the survivalist forums in the states as canning is seen as a preppers hobbie.

    i must admit i can preserve with sugar and vinegar and freezer and do an awlfull lot of it, with the allotment on full force in the autum but i was looking for other none freezer ways.

    my most thumbed book is the "basic,basics, jams,preservesand chutneys handbook" by marguerite patten, isbn 9781902304721

    i must admit my bible has to be the classic nay more than that ,
    how about holly tomb of all things preservation


    HOME PRESERVATION OF FRUIT AND VEGTABLES, BY THE AFRC INSTITUE OF FOOD RESEARCH, ISBN 0-11-242864-9 HALLOWED BE THIS BOOK, AMEN

    that baby came out before the second war and so many people owe there lives to it durring the war, when they could save food for later the book should have been given a medal of honour and its own parade.

    the version i have is the modern one and my mum has a, proper 1950's copy she was given as a wedding present by her mum, she thought it so important to have one and both books are very very worn out,


    any way back to canning i never under stood why it was never a british thing bottle canning we seem to go for vinegar and sugar.

    from what i can gather its a states based company selling in europe in pounds and eruos, they seem to advertise there prices as delivered , but i would like a proper quote before i go and order it, but basicly a "all americian 21 quart" they are called "overstock.co.uk or dot com


    i have finaly found a company in the uk that sells americian presure canners, i have no idea what they are like i will find out tonight when i tune into the states and find out how they work, but they are advertising a all americian pressure cooker for £222 delivered to blighty, which is amazing value.

    the next proplem is going to me the glass jars, i can get loads of kilner style cheap copies with glass lids and rubber band seal for pence but the proper glass jars are well into £4 inc lids apiece, which needs some working on
     
  15. British Red

    British Red M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Pete - look on Sears Roebuck - they are happy to ship to the UK.

    Lots of "survivalists" are actually "self sufficiency" types - they aren't all "bunkers and bullets" - lots are "bantams and bottling". I too have learned a lot from them Including one of the "greats" who rodcues crystal sugar from tree sap - a process I am trying to adapt to working with sugar beet :)

    I like the non electrical food preservation techniques too. I have tried many and intend to try about four more this year.

    Shout if I can help in any way

    Red
     
  16. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Nomad

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    i must admit i am more of a prepper than a bush craft man my self, and know exactly what you mean about the bullets and bunkers some of the blokes on the survivalist forums are a little doom and gloom and some are very Team Americia, but since i just scrap over the 40 mark i get into the over fourty forum which is a lot less testorone and shouty and more helpfull
    the other great thing with the survivalist forums is that there is no limits to the questions you want to ask .

    some of the people i am talking too have been canning for donkeys years so they are them selves the book.

    i have been collecting buckets from the local shops and heat pads from poundland so its rice and pasta soon, i just need to buy a new or used new to me vaccuum bagger as i have blown mine up a few weeks ago, but with the amount of use or should i say abuse its not surprising realy

    when i say we collect a trailer load of apple to make wine and to freeze etc i realy do meaN A TRAILER LOAD four feet by three feet by three feet high, cookers eater, cider and pears and any soft fruit and elderberries we can find then back home and start to process the next day. the locals have no idea what they are missing when the stare at us and what we are doing.

    when i used to live in south warwickshire i collected my nick name because i was to busy foraging in them to go shopping , most of it went into freezer or wine production, it has taken me well over five years to find even 10% of that sort of supply in the whole of birmingham , some years we just go to mums for the weekend when the fruits are about, though i must admit i wish hugh ferrnly whittingstall had kept his trap shut as so many other people do it now i dont get a look in !!
     
  17. drewdunnrespect

    drewdunnrespect On a new journey

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    hiya pete and hugh now i want to start to get into the preperedness way of thinking and food preservation perticulary and well do have any good usefull forums to look up thanks


    drew
     
  18. hedgerowpete

    hedgerowpete Nomad

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    i will list the forums i am on here, but i am pretty sure it wont upset the forum gods talking about other sites that are not in competition with bush craft. i do warn you though many are americian, so they do get either very busy or very open minded, so dont use the new posts button as it will read 2,134 and be prepared to just read as some are very heated. expect as a newbie brit to cop for some stick and give loads back, especialy when dealing with our coloniest in the states or america.

    for smoking food either hot or cold the smoking forum is part also of the smoking ring is spot on , very helpfull to

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/

    i like the survivalist web site
    http://www.survivalistboards.com,
    but stay away from some of the weapon sections as they break uk laws, see below notes, the food storage threads can be massivly long and take ages to work through but some of the stickies are brilliant

    http://forums.thepoultrykeeper.co.uk
    http://www.basc.org.uk/en/games-on/leftnav/game-meat-preparation.cfm

    has a good table section for home preparing of meats etc

    and here are some prepper sites and food storage
    http://preppersuk.freeforums.org/prepper-forum-f4.html
    http://www.survivalistboards.com
    http://nchfp.uga.edu/
    http://www.coldsmoking.co.uk/index.htm


    i am looking to buy when we can afford it one of these,
    http://www.overstock.com/Home-Garde...Canner-Cooker/4396171/product.html?cid=133635

    http://www.ludlowsurvivors.com/





    after a good old fashioned smoke we start to go toward prepper town, now whilst in the uk we have a massivly long history of sugar and vinegar preservation the yanks have gone a step further with "canning" why its called canning i dont know a far more british word would be glass jar preserving or steam preservation, but i doubt if our colonial "friends" could spell it, ha ha ha

    so with prepping we will find people who for what ever reason they are doing it and there are many , they wish to store home made foods or shop brought foods for a long time, normal is over two years so to preserve food without sugar and vinegar they have to be steam canned as above in british reds fantastic posting

    the downside is with any yank site its full of acronyms and i DO MEAN full of them the yanks love letters instead of works , UDS, HS, AK47, etc etc, it does make it hard work untill you manage to work out what one set means then research that set of information

    just another quick word of warning due to our anti terrorist laws and the fact anyone can be tried for breaking them, for any reason that suits the police or government at any time, some of if not all of the weapons, explosives, and other items pages if downloaded or even viewed on a uk computer, will easily break the uk laws, i even have concerns about even owning a copy of the Paladian press, book catalogue !!!!now because it can be desribed as information usable to a terrorist,


    why only think of some bloke going to parkistian to a terrorist camp when a white bloke can go to the states to a far right freedom camp, there one and the same. the british public have a massive amount of electronic monitoring and study done to them, without there knowledge or awarness , some of the websites that you can get into from other sites etc etc and can eventualy lead you to some very dark places, stick to the light and the forums above will sort you out for food preservation and food storage,

    personal i came into bush craft from prepping to find out some more information about certain subjects, and personaly once i have drained a forum of its information relevant to me i go find another one to drain unless it keeps my intrest.

    i am not worried about the next world war and an atom bomb nor do i need to wear a tin foil hat (any more;);)) but if i had stored more petrol and food and clothes etc for the unemployment i have been forced into the last six months could have been a lot easier, so i want to make my self a safety net of food supplies rather than digging a concrete bunker in the back garden under the shed
     
  19. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I'm not sure but I believe it's called "canning" because the commercial compamies use metal "cans" rather than glass jars. Furthering that line of logic I believe the very word "can" (in this context) is possibly short for "cannister." I suppose another possibility is the word "canning" has French roots; after all, the process was invented for Napolean.
     
  20. santaman2000

    santaman2000 M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    LOL. Very true. Sorta; I believe the use of inisials and anacronyms is increasing very rapidly in the UK also (at least if my experience here on the forum is any indication) it's likey confusing simply because they aren't the same ones you're used to. I know that it gets confusing for me trying to decipher the ones I see here on the forum. .However, NONE of your listed examples are actually acronyms. They are initials. To ba a proper acronym, the initials have to spell out a new word pronouncable as such. Examples are:

    LASER---Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
    AIDS----Aquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
    COP-----Constable On Patrol (suspected origin but not proven)

    Your inclusion of AK47 is in fact a military designation like F16, B17, M16, M1, SA80, etc.
    By including those you would also have to include common rifle caliber designations such as 30-06 (THIRTY caliber ball; adopted by the US Army in ninteen OUGHT SIX)
     
    #20 santaman2000, Mar 31, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013

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