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Canned food: which one to choose and what to pay attention to

canned foods

Having canned food in your pantry can be very useful when you don’t have fresh food available. Let’s find out what to buy and if there are any contraindications.

Using canned food is a well-established and widespread habit in all kitchens, especially for its convenience. But often canned foods are also used to prepare special dishes or when fresh food is not available. An example of all are certainly legumes, but there are many varieties of these products. Even in this case, however, it is necessary to make distinctions because each of these has its pros and cons. So let’s find out what cannot be missing in the pantry and if there are any contraindications!

Canned foods: what must not be missing

To be considered supplied, a pantry must clearly also have canned food, in order to have at hand food that we use every day, or almost every day. We mentioned before legumes , but chickpeas, beans and lentils, as well as being widely used, are among the most popular foods in this category.

These foods are excellent alternative sources of vegetable protein and can give life to many dishes such as cous cous, hummus , but also meatballs or veggie burgers. They are also perfect on their own or as a side dish to meat, especially in winter. Another excellent ally, also available in cans, is certainly tuna (with its contraindications ), preferably in oil or natural, perfect for dressing pasta or salads; and a good source of protein.

Other examples of canned food that should not be missing are corn and peeled tomatoes. The first, very practical and healthy, contains calcium and helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels . In addition, it is also very energetic. Peeled tomatoes are the most versatile variant of preserved tomatoes and thanks to the many varieties they will be very useful for preparing pasta, lasagna, parmigiana, stew and many other dishes.

Then there are canned foods that are less common but certainly very useful in the kitchen, such as coconut milk and condensed milk. These foods are mainly used for Asian preparations, to create sweet and sour flavors, but also to flavor mascarpone and cream. Finally we find the essential olives if you want to garnish pizzas, savory pies and to give an extra boost to dishes.

canned sardines
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Canned products: the advantages

Also in our case, as with everything, there are pros and cons. First of all we can say that, if chosen carefully, they are good and useful, especially if we are dealing with long preparations such as putting in water or boiling legumes.

In addition, canned foods allow you to stock up on products without them going bad. In addition, the canning process preserves and protects food in an airtight package, even for up to five years.

It must also be said that they are the best way to find off-season or foreign products.

Canned food: contraindications

We now come to the contraindications which, even if they are many, can be easily avoided. First of all, we can say that to identify quality canned foods, you must carefully read the label . It goes without saying that all of these products contain preservatives, but they are often natural like oil, salt, brine and sugar. However, there are some that contain chemical preservatives and should be avoided. The same goes for products that are too elaborate and refined or that contain too much salt.

In any case, a good practice is to rinse the foods taken from the box before consuming or cooking them, so as to eliminate the preservatives. Another point against canned foods is the possibility of coming into contact with bisphenol A , also known as BPA. It is an element widely used to produce the resins or the packages in which foods are canned.

It may happen that small amounts of bisphenol A are transferred to the food contained in the package, especially with acidic foods such as tomato derivatives. There are health risks but only later and high exposure and are related to fertility and kidney and liver functioning. But all these problems can be avoided by reading the label carefully and choosing quality products, without being fooled by poor products.

How and where to store the cans

Now that we understand what to expect from canned food, let’s find out how to store it. In general it is best to store food in a cool and dry place, but above all away from light so that it does not get hot.

Also if you use cans, remember to transfer the food once you have opened it and, these products resist for a long time, it is good to consume them before the expiry date . This way you will not only avoid waste, but you will avoid eating foods that have lost their qualities.

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