Having a selection of canned food in your pantry means that you can prepare a meal quickly when you don’t have time to cook from scratch. It’s also a good way to get a bit of variety in your diet when seasonal produce is out of season, or you can’t get to the store. But, have you ever wondered if canned food is cooked?
All canned food is cooked as required by the FDA in the US. Only pickled, canned foods are not actually cooked. This means that you can eat food straight from the can quite safely without having to cook it first. However, heating canned food usually makes it taste much better.
There are so many different varieties of canned foods available. Having a few cans of beans, tomatoes, corn, soup, and other types of food in your pantry means that you can always throw together a meal when you don’t have many fresh ingredients available. Let’s explore how to use canned food in a little more detail.
Is Canned Food Cooked?
Canned food is actually cooked in the can before it ends up on supermarket shelves. To do this, the food is sealed into the can, and the can is then heated. This heating process destroys any micro-organisms and helps to preserve the food for a long period of time. As long as the can remains sealed, the contents should be safe to eat.
Many canned vegetables are first peeled and chopped or kept whole but washed. They are then quickly blanched to destroy any enzymes that may discolor the food. After the vegetables are placed into the can, it’s topped up with a liquid such as brine. A small air space is left at the top to allow for expansion during cooking.
Then, each can is sealed, and the food is cooked at a temperature that is optimum for the food inside the can. Acidic foods are cooked at a lower temperature because botulism spores are unable to grow in conditions that are acidic.
Can You Eat Canned Food Straight From The Can?
You definitely can eat canned food straight from the can because the food is already cooked after the can is sealed to destroy any nasties and to preserve the food inside.
However, there are some precautions that you need to be aware of. If the can is dented or damaged, the food inside may be spoiled. Similarly, if the can has been pierced or is bloated, you should throw it away immediately.
So, as long as the can is completely sealed and has not been damaged in any way, then the food inside is perfectly safe to eat without having to heat it up.
What Canned Foods Can You Eat Without Cooking?
All canned foods can be eaten without cooking them as long as the can is sealed and not damaged, pierced, or bloated. This includes canned vegetables and fruit, canned soup, canned meat, and canned meals.
However, some foods do definitely taste better when they’ve been heated up. For example, canned soups are not all that tasty when eaten cold. Therefore, it’s far better to heat the contents of the soup can before you eat it.
But, if you’re in a situation where you have no way of heating the food up, you can just open the can and eat the contents without fear of getting food poisoning.
How Long After Opening A Can Should I Consume The Food?
Once you’ve opened a can of food, you should put any of the food that you haven’t eaten in the refrigerator. Foods that are high in acids such as fruit, tomatoes, fruit and vegetable juices, sauerkraut, and pickles can be stored for around 5 to 7 days.
Foods low in acids such as meat, fish, stews, beans, corn, peas, soups, carrots, potatoes, and pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 to 4 days.
Should I Transfer The Food To Another Container After Opening The Can?
You should definitely place the uneaten food from a can into another container before putting it into the refrigerator. Canned food should never be stored in the can once it’s been opened.
The reason for this is that the material that the can is made from will dissolve into the food. This will give the food a metallic taste. Plus, if the cans have BPA in them, this will also end up in the food.
It’s best to empty the remaining contents of the can into either a glass or plastic container that has an air-tight lid before you place it into the refrigerator. Make sure you empty the entire contents of the can, including the juice or brine that the food has been canned in. It’s also a good idea that you label the container with the date that you opened the can.
There are some foods that are either high in sugar or high in fat that can remain in the can after it is opened. These include jams and peanut butter. Always check the label on the can, and if it says “refrigerate after opening,” you should definitely do so.
How Can I Prepare Canned Food?
Canned food is highly versatile and can be used in so many ways. You can add canned vegetables into soups, stews, and casseroles as a complement to any fresh ingredients that you have on hand. For instance, if you’re making a sauce for spaghetti bolognese, instead of using fresh tomatoes, you can just add a couple of cans of tinned tomatoes to speed up the process.
Remember, though, that it’s advisable to take the food out of the can before heating to maintain the flavor and nutrients in the food.
Here are some other quick tips for using canned food:
- If using canned vegetables or beans, give them a quick rinse before adding them into your cooking. This will get rid of the extra salt in the brine that you don’t need in your diet.
- Avoid draining canned tomatoes because the tomato juice can add extra flavor to your dishes.
- Combine a couple of cans of beans with a jar of salsa. Add some chili if you wish, and you have a quick chili con carne.
- Use tinned apples to make a delicious apple pie or apple crumble. This is much faster than stewing the apples yourself, and the flavor is just as good.
- Cans of beans are great to add to your summer salads. Through in some chopped tomato, cucumber, and red onion, and you have a delicious and nutritious salad to have with your barbecued steak.
- Used tinned fish such as tuna or salmon to make delicious fish burgers. Mix the fish with an egg and some breadcrumbs and form into patties. You can even add a can of corn and some shredded zucchini for some added flavor. Don’t forget to add some seasoning to your taste.
- Canned soups are great to just pour into a saucepan and heat up for a delicious quick meal that you can have with some nice crusty bread.
- Don’t forget that those canned chickpeas can be turned into a scrumptious hummus to have on crackers and toast.