24 February 2021 (updated)

The Pros and Cons of Canned Food

Canned food can be a great way to create a nutrient-rich meal with great health potential! But are canned products safe and good all the time? Read on to find out!

One of the benefits of a pantry can be the ability to create a cheap and easy meal on the fly! But, there are also some drawbacks to canned food so it’s important to be aware of what you’re getting. While some canned goods can be nutrient-rich, others may contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Instead of removing canned goods from the groceries, there are ways to make it part of your meal! Share your own canned food recipes on your favorite family app.

What Is Canned Food?

Fresh vegetables can be an important part of every nutritious meal, but that doesn’t mean canned goods aren’t a decent replacement! In fact, canning is a popular method of preserving foods by packing them in airtight containers. While canning was first developed in the 1700s to provide food for soldiers, it’s evolved to be a kitchen staple. The canning process involves three steps including processing the food, sealing it, and heating it to prevent spoiling. There are many canned food essentials but the most popular ones are canned vegetables, fruit, beans, soups, seafood, and meat.

Is Canned Food Good for Health?

Many people think that canned goods aren’t good for you, but that’s not always the case. In truth, the canning process can retain most nutrients and make canned food healthy. While vitamins like A, D, E, and K are maintained following the preservation process, proteins and fats are also unaffected. Though some vitamins may diminish, the nutrition found in some canned goods can actually increase. Foods like corn and tomatoes actually release antioxidants when they are heated so they become even more nutritious! Share your own nutrition discoveries on FamilyApp.

Is Canned Food Unhealthy?

Canned goods can be a great option for a quick meal. However, there are downsides to the convenience of a can! Many canned goods contain BPA (biphenol-A), a chemical that is often used in food packaging. While the conclusions from these studies are mixed, this chemical has been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, canned items can also be high in sugar, sodium, and other preservatives. While this is often done to preserve the food’s taste and texture, it can make canned food bad for you. Instead of foregoing this type of food, it’s important to read the labels so you know what you’re getting.

Which Canned Goods Are the Best for You?

If you’re looking for canned foods to add to your grocery list, look no further! Some of these foods even offer vitamins and nutrients that can make for a balanced meal.

  • Canned Spinach – It’s often hard to finish all the spinach in the bag, and that’s where canned food is great. In fact, canned spinach has even more vitamin C than the fresh stuff. Share your spinach recipes on your favorite family app!
  • Black Beans – If you get the low sodium version, there are few foods that offer the health benefits that beans do. With 6 grams each of fiber and protein per serving, it'll be sure to be a delicious addition to many recipes!
  • Coconut Milk – Whether you’re making a curry or adding it to coffee, coconut milk is one of the better-canned dairy products. This has a great canned food shelf life so you can pull it out of the cupboard at any time!
  • Spicy Chili – This product is from Amy’s, but you can choose almost any product from their line-up for a premium canned food. They feature a variety of low sodium options of your favorite soups and stews!

Canning Your Own Food

Canning your own food instead of buying it from the grocery store isn't just an old-fashioned hobby, it's actually seen a resurgence recently! One of the simplest methods is "water bath canning." With this method, you fill jars with acidic food such as tomatoes, berries, or cucumbers, fill the can with vinegar, cover with lids, and boil them in an open pot of water until a seal forms under the lid. This forces air out of the jar and creates a vacuum in an acidic environment where bacteria can't thrive. Consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation if you're looking for more resources on safe and home canning! Here are some foods you can consider canning at home:

  • Fruits and juices
  • Jellies and jams
  • Salsa
  • Tomatoes
  • Relishes and pickles
  • Chutneys, sauces, pie fillings
  • Vinegar
  • Condiments

Here's a recipe for making your own yummy jam that's free from many of the additives you'll find in the grocery store brands--

Strawberry Blackberry Jam

Perfect for toast, pastries, and so much more!

5 from 1 votes


PREP TIME

20 mins

COOK TIME

2 hrs

TOTAL TIME

2 hrs





COURSE

Appetizer

CUISINE

American

SERVINGS

4 cups

CALORIES

35.0 kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 2

    cups

    strawberries

  • 2

    cups

    blackberries

  • 1

    whole

    lemon

    juiced

  • 1/2

    cup

    sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Strawberry Blackberry Jam

    1. Mix all ingredients in a medium, deep sauce pan.

      Mix all ingredients in a medium, deep sauce pan and turn the heat to medium until the mixture begins to bubble. Then, reduce the heat to simmer and stir.

    2. Heat

      Heat on medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Then, reduce the heat to simmer and stir.

    3. Cook and Stir

      Allow mixture to cook and the fruit/berries to break down on their own.  Be sure to stir every 20 minutes. Stir more frequently when the jam begins to thicken.

    4. Pour

      When the jam has reached the desired consistency, carefully pour hot jam into clean and sterile mason jars.

    5. Clean and Seal

      Clean the rim of the jar is clean and jam-free, then wipe the lid with a damp cloth, place on the seal and tighten the lid until a slight resistance is met.

    6. Rest

      Carefully place the jar on a kitchen towel and place in a spot where it will not be touched or disturbed for twelve hours. Once the jam begins to cool, the seal will make a popping sound. This means that the jar is sealed.

    7. Refrigerate and Store

      Refrigerate for immediate use or store in a cool dry place for up to six months.

NUTRITION

Calories:

35.0 kcal

Carbohydrates:

9.0 g

Serving Amount:

14

Serving Unit:

g

Sugar:

8.0 g

Can You Get Into Canned Food?

Canned food might get a bad reputation, but there are plenty of benefits to this type of food. From tuna and carrots to tomatoes, some options even contain more nutrients than their fresh version. It’s just important to read the labels so you know what you’re getting. Do you any favorite canned foods? Share them with others in our comments. After all, canned food may save the day when you're in a pinch for dinner! 



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