Ever wonder if all canned foods are ready to eat meals?
Yes! all canned food must be ready to eat meals in order to meet the FDA Canned food requirement regulatory guide. However, the majority of most canned food found inside your pantry was preserved using the canning method for the sake of the longevity of their shelf life and not necessarily as a ready to eat meal.
And this is because canning foods pretty much like all canned foods such as green beans, tuna fish, or SPAM are already cooked before they are canned.
Canned foods are prepared so that they sit on the shelf indefinitely, and that is impossible if the food is not cooked and sterilized. So, all canned foods are ready to eat; all you should do is warm it up before eating, which is just a choice.
And, in our household pantry, we have made a habit of making the best of summer bumper harvest out of our backyard grow and cheap farmers markets to preserve cheap food.
You too could do the same if you want to save money. With just a handful of best affordable canning jars, you can preserve anything from pickled garlic, preserving Zucchini, canned tomatoes, and this guide shows you how easy canning meat for later use is done without a pressure canner like this one here on Amazon.
Everything you need to Know about canned foods
Many people think that canned foods are less nutritious than fresh or frozen foods; some claim that they even contain harmful ingredients and should 100% be avoided, while others claim that canned foods are best, safe, and part of a healthy diet.
Many people have different opinions concerning canned foods. But here we will put aside sentiments and look at the facts. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about canned foods.
First of all, canning is a method of preserving food for an extended period by merely packing it in containers that do not contain air.
There are three steps in foods, which include:
- Processing, here the food is peeled, sliced and then (cooked)
- Sealing, after processing the food, the next step is to seal it in airtight cans
- The last step is to heat the canned food to kill all the harmful bacteria so that it does not rot.
So as you can see in the three steps of canning food, cooking is involved. This means that all canned foods are cooked, and hence ready to eat too. Canning allows the food for years still in good condition, and the most common canned foods include vegetables, fruits, kinds of seafood, beans, meat, etc.
As said before, many people think that canned foods are less nutritious, but studies have shown that it’s not true at all.
Preserving most of the foods that are ready to eat meals keeps all essential nutrients intact.
And, this is because the canning process of all preserved foods does not affect the nutrients it contains. Published studies have also shown that foods high in nutrients maintain their high nutrients levels even after being canned.
However, water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins C and B can be damaged during the canning process, especially during the heating of food.
But during the same heating process, amounts of other healthy minerals may increase.
Another thing to like about canned foods is that they are a convenient and affordable source of healthy nutrients, and they tend to cost less than fresh food, and their advantage is that they last for an extended period.
Best canned foods that are ready to eat
Below we have listed some of the top best-canned foods that are ready to eat just after reheating them:
1. Canned salmon is ready to eat
Canned salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Is better when canned because it’s packed with the bones intact, meaning more calcium for your bones and teeth.
Also, some of the fat is removed, making it a healthier option. Canned salmon is 100% ready to eat, all you have to do is reheat and then with any other meal of your choice.
You can mix the salmon with cooked potatoes, quartered tomatoes, pitted (stoned) black olives, cooked green beans, and soft-boiled eggs.
Dress with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon. There you have a delicious meal on your table.
2. Canned pinto beans are ready to eat
The nutrition benefits found in canned and fresh pinto beans are just the same, but the canned beans are much more convenient and can easily be added to soups or stews, and they are also a good source of folate and manganese, relatively high in protein, and rich in vitamin B1 as well as a slew of other minerals.
Serve the canned pinto beans with any meal of your choice, and they are ready to eat any time.
3. Canned tomatoes are ready to eat
Canned tomatoes are a high source of lycopene and are also rich in vitamins A and C while containing no fat or salt. They are also ready to eat, so make a flavorful sauce to go with the roast or grilled chicken. Gently soften sliced onions with garlic.
Add torn olives and canned tomatoes, and let cook for a short while. Just before serving, throw in some torn-up basil, then serve alongside your meat.
Canned tomatoes are convenient and contain all the nutrients the body needs.
4. Canned smoked mackerel are ready to eat
Canned smoked mackerel is infinitely more versatile and delicious than cooked one; it is also high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and is also very affordable.
So prepare your smoked mackerel paste by blitzing the mackerel with cottage cheese, low-fat natural yogurt, cracked black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Eat with crackers or on whole-wheat toast.
5. Canned sardines are ready to eat
Canned sardines are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids just like salmon, they usually contain tomato sauce, which is awesome for its lycopene content, but often this sauce has high levels of sodium as well, so, go for a low-sodium option packed in water.
Canned sardines are very affordable, too, and contain good amounts of vitamin B12. So, you can serve your canned sardines with a healthy potato salad with cooked, cooled, cubed potatoes; a chopped-up hard-boiled egg; diced chives and scallions; and a dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice, and whole-grain mustard. There you go, you have a perfect meal on your table for the entire family to enjoy.
6. Canned kidney beans are ready to eat
Kidney beans require a long cooking time, and there is little difference between those cooked for long periods for canning and the dried ones you cook at home.
They are high in fiber, iron, and memory-boosting B1, release their energy slowly (meaning no sugar spikes), and contain a relatively good amount of protein.
So Bulk up your lunch box with a bean salad made of kidney beans, diced bell peppers, jalapeños, cilantro, and cooked green beans. Mash a garlic clove on a chopping board with some salt to create a paste, mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then stir the mixture through your beans. Scatter more balsamic vinegar over the top, and serve to your family. (1)
7. Canned pumpkin is ready to eat
Always go for natural canned pumpkin and avoid the canned pumpkin pie filling that is packed with sugar and other ingredients. Natural canned pumpkin is low in calories, high in fiber, and fat-free.
It contains over 500 percent of your RDA of vitamin A, 8 percent of magnesium, 10 percent of vitamin C, and 10 percent of iron (among others, including beta-carotene).
As canned pumpkin has less water than the fresh variety, some of these vitamins and nutrients are more concentrated. So Make a risotto as you usually would, softening a shallot and garlic, then adding rice, wine, and stock.
Next, add and stir through the canned pumpkin. Continue to cook, then serve with cubes of roasted pumpkin, a scattering of toasted flaked almonds, and grated low-sodium Parmesan.
8. Canned clams are ready to eat
Canned clams are high in protein and zinc, which is important for a healthy immune system; they as well high in omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of phosphorus, manganese, and potassium.
They do contain a bit of cholesterol, but nowhere near the quantities found in prawns. Canned clams are ready to eat and can be served with any side dish.
9. Canned chicken is ready to eat
Canning chicken may sound a bit absurd, but actually, a can of cooked chicken is a versatile ingredient that is packed with protein and incredibly low in fat for a relatively low-calorie count.
Chicken is high in selenium as well as cancer-preventing B-vitamin niacin. It also contains B6, which is important for energy metabolism. Serve your canned chicken with any other meal of your choice and enjoy it with the family.
Disadvantages of canned foods
Everything under the sun had its advantages and disadvantages. Now let’s look at the most common disadvantages of canned foods:
- Some canned foods may contain BPA, a chemical that had been associated with health problems like heart diseases, and type 2 diabetes. So you need to take caution when selecting your canned foods.
- Canned foods that are not processed properly may contain deadly bacteria; however, the risks of contamination are very low.
- Some canned foods contain salt, sugar, and other preservatives to improve their appearance and flavor and texture.
Bottom line: It’s very important to take caution when choosing your canned foods because they are all not made equal or the same.
Make sure you read the label and ingredients list of the canned foods you choose to buy.
Canned foods can be a very nutritious option when fresh foods are not in season; they provide all the essential nutrients and are convenient too.