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National Canned Food Month

Did you know that February is National Canned Food Month?  Talk about good timing!  We all know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is an important part of a balanced, healthy diet, but access to some of your favorite fresh fruits and vegetables can be seriously limited this time of year, right?  Enter canned foods! 
 
Canned foods sometimes have a bad rap for various reasons.  From concerns that canned foods are highly processed and filled with preservatives, to thoughts that canned food is not a nutritious or is always high in sodium, canned food is sometimes viewed as a poor alternative to fresh or frozen produce. 
 
The good news is, these concerns are mostly unfounded!  Canned foods are generally minimally processed, and do not require preservatives.  After the produce is harvested, it travels to a cannery to be cleaned and if necessary chopped, peeled and steamed before being placed in cans, sealed and heated to preserve the food and create an airtight seal.  No preservatives added!!
 
In regards to sodium, it is true that some canned foods do contain sodium.  However more and more companies are recognizing that consumers do not want the additional sodium, which is actually unnecessary.  This has lead to a growing movement of low or no sodium canned foods.  In addition, simply draining and rinsing your canned foods before cooking and serving can decrease the sodium content significantly…up to 41%!  This combined with the fact that research has shown that canned foods can be just as nutritious, and sometimes more nutritious than their fresh or frozen counterparts, means that canned foods make a great go to during the winter months when fresh produce is less readily available! 
 
Another benefit of canned foods is their shelf life, without any need for freezing or refrigeration.  Canned foods have a shelf life of anywhere from 1 to 5 year depending on the food…which means that when your local store offers sales or deals on canned food it is a great idea to stock up!
 
All of this combines to make canned foods a safe, affordable, nutritious way to be able to eat your fruits and vegetables all year round.  What are some of your favorite foods to purchase canned?  Do you can some of your own produce during the summer to use in the winter months?
 
Monday, February 12, 2018
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