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How to Cook with Canned Foods

You might have looked at this title and thought "huh? what's so hard - you open, empty, heat and serve". Actually, kinda, yeah. But there's more than that. Here's a few thoughts:

  1. Canned food can actually be very good for you. It's usually preserved soon after it's harvested. It lasts a long time. Gives a good variety to your diet if you don't garden and put up your own harvest.
  2. You can get fruit, vegetables, ham, tuna, other various meats, soups, stews, spaghetti sauce, etc. You can get just about everything you want in a can or jar. Theoretically you could live off of canned foods and not get too bored.
  3. It's hard to get your required 2 servings of seafood a week, but it's easy with the plethora of canned varieties. Good for omega-3 fatty acids. Get tuna and other seafood packed in water, not oil since that adds unnecessary calories and fat.
  4. Good protein from not only the seafood but also pork, beef, poultry, beans, soybeans and more. You'll also get dietary fiber from the beans and soybeans.
  5. Examine the labels, and get LOW sodium whenever possible.
  6. Go easy on the fruits with sugar added. There are many available packed with natural juices or "lite".
  7. Many canned products don't have preservatives, except mixtures like soups and stews. Try to avoid MSG, corn syrup, high sodium and other preservatives. Read the labels.
  8. Prefer organic? Many regular grocery stores now have a section dedicated to organic products and even local.
  9. Canned food doesn't need actual cooking ... just heat and serve.
  10. When buying, avoid those cans with dents or bulges.
  11. Check the expiration date. Many cans have a 2 year expiration, but can usually last longer if kept in a cool safe place, with no bulges or dents, and the seal is intact. They will, however, decrease in vitamins and minerals. You be the judge.
  12. Keep in mind that the dollar store can usually sell things cheaper because they are close to the expiration date.
  13. Use a marker to write on the can the date you purchased the item.
  14. Rotate your stock. First in, first out. You buy green beans one week, and another the next week. You use the oldest first (especially with the soonest expiration date).
Cooking with canned foods makes things easy and fun! When you get a few extra dollars, pick up a can of something you've never tried before, read the label, and maybe buy it. Try to use it that week in your own creation.

We are working hard to come up with wonderful recipes using canned and other stored foods. Keep checking this blog for regular entries.

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