Canned foods

Convenience and canned food make a great pair. Whether at home or on the road canned food has been civilization’s big yardstick of making things accessible and available.

Historically, the origin of canned food comes from a time when it was hard to find food at all time and all places. It was invented as a means of ensuring food supply at difficult places and difficult times, mostly military supply during wars. Where fresh food was available, canned food was not required. However, like many other things, just because canned food was both quick and convenient, we took the easy way out and canned food became a big hit that revolutionized the food industry. Roughly 30 percent of retail shelf space today is reserved for canned food.

Canned foods

Canned foods are foods placed in containers and heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms that damages food quality. The containers are vacuum sealed to prevent entry of air which can bring with it contaminating microorganisms. Canning is an important and safe method for preserving food and is believed to be as nutritious as fresh or frozen food.

Research has found that some canned foods provide as much dietary fiber as fresh and frozen food and even help to combat the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

Which canned foods are specially good for us?

Canned green and yellow vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, pumpkin and apricots are high in vitamin A and related carotenes, antioxidants that provide essential protection for the body's cells. Canned tomatoes help prevent prostate cancer since they contain an important carotenoid called lycopene. Canned beans varieties are a valuable source of soluble fiber, which reduces blood cholesterol and gastrointestinal problems which can lead to cancers.

Is fresh food better than canned food?

Fresh food is not necessarily better than canned food since they start to lose vitamins from the moment they are picked. Moreover, they are stored in warehouses or are in transit for long periods of time before they find their way into the market. As canned foods are normally cooked and processed from the source, they help preserve more vitamins.

Can canned food be kept without refrigeration?

Properly canned food can be kept without refrigeration for an indefinite period without fear of getting them spoilt or toxic. During canning, the food is placed in an airtight (hermetically sealed) container and heated to destroy microorganisms. The hermetic seal ensures that microorganisms do not contaminate the product after it is sterilized through heating.

Are foods packaged in materials other than metal cans considered "canned"?

If a food undergoes the same canning preservation process they can be considered “canned foods” irrespective of which container is used. Thus today canned foods are packaged in a number of other types of containers, such as glass jars, paperboard cans, and plastics that can be formed into anything from pouches to soup bowls to serving trays.

Does canned food contain Bisphenol A (BPA)?

BPA is an industrial chemical widely used in common plastic products, such as baby bottles, children’s toys, and the linings of most food and beverage cans. While the threat to plastic products has been eliminated, at least in the USA, there is still a debate about its health hazard in metal containers.

According to many scientific studies links have been established between BPA and serious health problems, from heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities in adults to developmental problems in the brains and hormonal systems of children.

Is canning at home safe?

For canning at home food is divided into high acid foods, and low acid foods. High acid foods have a PH below 4.6 (most fruits and pickles go into this category), and low acid foods have a PH above 4.6 (vegetables and meats go into this category). Canning recipes nowadays tell you whether the food is high acid or low acid. Do not follow older recipes as they may not be considered safe.