How are canned foods made?
Americans consume around 5 to 6 cans of vegetables each week. But how are these cans produced? Let’s talk about the journey from field to can…
It all starts with local farmers nurturing the land to create the delicious vegetables we know and love like tomatoes, greens beans, corn, and more.
Next, the produce is picked, washed, and prepped by thousands of hard-working men and women. Depending on the item, it may be diced, pitted, or blanched before canning.
Then, the cans are typically filled with water before they are sealed.
Finally, the cans are heated to a certain temperature for a prolonged period of time to ensure it kills off any harmful bacteria. This step is what allows canned foods to be shelf stable rather than refrigerated like most fresh produce.
What are the advantages of canned vegetables?There are a number of benefits that come with eating canned vegetables. Canned vegetables are affordable, nutritious, delicious, and easy to use! This isn’t to say we should eliminate fresh produce from our diet, but rather introduce a balance of all types of produce including fresh, frozen, and canned!
1. Canned foods are budget friendly
If you’re looking for a lower cost produce option, canned goods should be your go-to! Canned counterparts are almost always more affordable with prices up to 20% percent less than the cost of fresh.
2. Canned foods are convenient
We know that 9 out of 10 Peaple are not eating enough vegetables. And in this busy world, it can be hard to find the time to prep and cook fresh vegetables. That’s where canned goods really shine!
They are a convenient, ready-to-go option that’s available year round. Plus, they are a simple solution for meeting the recommended 5 to 9 servings of vegetables per day.
3. Canned veggies are just as nutritious as fresh or frozen
Did you know canned vegetables are typically canned within hours of picking? This process locks in all of those beneficial vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C.
For this reason, canned vegetables have the same or higher amounts of nutrients as fresh or frozen produce.
In the case of canned tomatoes, they actually have a higher amount of lycopene and beta-carotene than fresh! This is due to the heating process of canning which increases the levels of these anti-inflammatory nutrients.
4. Canned vegetables have health benefits
Studies have shown those who regularly eat canned foods have overall healthier eating habits. We also know eating more vegetables helps lower the risk for certain diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
As a dietitian, I always recommend choosing options like no salt added canned vegetables. This allows you to slash the excess sodium and added sugars.
5. Canned foods are sustainable/
Canned foods typically last in the pantry anywhere 2 years after processing! This is a much longer window than the typical 3-7 days for fresh produce. This long shelf-life can help reduce food waste which is so important for the sustainability of our planet. Plus, it means you’ll always have vegetables on hand.
When I want to throw together an easy meal without going to the store, I love relying on canned vegetables. For example, it’s so easy to whip up a veggie fried rice, fruit salad, or pasta with canned goods.
Canned foods also use less energy on its journey from field to can. Plus, they don’t require additional refrigeration with transportation or storage.
Finally, don’t forget that canned foods are recyclable. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are created from landfills. Simply rinse out the can before adding to your recycling bin. These cans are made of metal which can be recycled forever without loss of quality!