February 11, 2016
The Surprising Facts Behind Canned Food
Are you a fan of canned vegetables? Do you prefer your spaghetti, meatballs, and ravioli fresh out of a can rather than a steaming colander? If you think canned tuna is more delicious than fresh mahi-mahi, you may be excited to learn that there are more reasons than you might think to celebrate food of the canned variety, the least of which is the fact that February is Canned Food Month!
It may seem odd to celebrate something like canned food, but without the canning process, the world would be a much different place than it is today. While we take the benefits of canned food for granted today, there was a time not so long ago when keeping food fresh for great lengths of time was no simple task.
The tail end of the 1700s (1795, to be precise) was a busy time for France, as the country was involved in many battles with countries such as Italy and Germany and even battles in the Caribbean. With troops spread out across the globe, France"s leading political faction, known as the French Directory, was desperate for a way to keep their troops fed, and looking for a method to keep food fresh for longer, they offered a prize to anyone who could provide a meaningful breakthrough in food preservation.
Nearly 15 years later, Napoleon had become emperor and the prize had still not been claimed. Then, a chef by the name of Nicolas Appert devised a food storage method using champagne bottles sealed with cheese and lime. And thus, "canning," or bottling, in this case, was born.
Canned Foods: Surprising Facts
When it comes to canned foods, there are a lot of myths and misnomers regarding the benefits that it brings to the table. One of these "food myths" concerns nutrition. Many people believe that canned vegetables in particular offer no nutrition. This is, of course, not true. In fact, the nutritional value of canned foods is easily comparable to that of both the fresh and frozen varieties of the same foods. In fact, research shows that canned foods offer roughly the same nutrients while coming in at a lower cost than other types of preserved foods.
Another interesting fact about canned foods is the fact that they are less processed than other food types, meaning that they are in more of a natural state than frozen food products.
Finally, believe it or not, canned foods are one of the safest forms of food you can purchase. Steel cans are highly durable and resistant to tampering; their airtight seal also aids in fighting off contamination and food-borne illnesses.
So as we delve deeper into February, break out your confetti and party hats and let's celebrate Canned Food Month in style! After all, if it was not for canned food and food packaging, we would all be carrying around our Chef Boyardee ravioli in a pair of fuzzy coconuts, which is not a very appetizing idea to say the least!