Canned foods can be good

Advocate staff photo by BETH COLVINHearty and filling, this stew is a perfect weeknight dinner.
Advocate staff photo by BETH COLVINHearty and filling, this stew is a perfect weeknight dinner.

Paradoxically, canned food gets the blame for everything that is wrong and everything that is right with modern society.

Critics point to the fact that some canned food has a lower nutritional value than the same food eaten fresh. They also say some canned goods have a high sodium and fat content. Proponents say canned goods make some foods, like fruits and vegetables, available to communities unable to enjoy them fresh. They argue that by the time produce reaches the table, fresh and canned goods may be similar in nutritional value.

The Canned Food Alliance, a group of steel makers, can makers, food processors and affiliate members that promote the nutritional and convenience benefits of canned food, points on its website to a University of California-Davis study that “found that fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables each contain important nutrients and contribute to a healthy diet, and exclusively recommending one form of fruits or vegetables over another ignores the benefits that each form provides.”

Furthermore, the alliance touts the safety of canned goods, saying that canned food 100 years old has been found to be microbiologically safe, though they don’t recommend eating it.

Home cooks may prize canned goods for a quick solution for sides or even the main dish. Furthermore, cooks who can’t prepare fresh foods, like people who are unable to chop vegetables or do a lot of other knife work, frequently turn to canned goods as a substitute.