When opening a can of fruit, some of us might be wondering if the fruit has already been cooked. Do I need to prepare the fruit in any special way? Can it be consumed directly after opening?
All canned fruit is cooked as part of the canning process. In fact, it’s a requirement by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) that all canned food needs to be cooked as part of the canning process. Therefore you can consume canned fruit directly, and there is no need for additional preparation.
Fruit is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet, so it is good to consider if canned fruit the right choice for you. Let’s take a closer look at canned fruit and why it is cooked during canning.
How Should I Prepare Canned Fruit?
There aren’t any special preparations you need to do before eating canned fruit. It can be consumed directly from the can. Canned fruit usually comes in its own juices, water, or syrup, and these are edible too. When you purchase canned fruit, you will find that they have been pre-cut. If you are working on a recipe, you can use canned fruit instead of fresh fruit and skip some of the preparation steps.
Canned fruit can be added to any recipe, and you should follow the instructions as they come. There should not be any need to make special arrangements due to it being canned fruit. Canned fruit will have a longer shelf life than fresh fruit, which means you don’t have to rush and use them up before they expire.
Why Is Canned Fruit Cooked?
The principal reason for canned fruit being cooked is the need to kill any microorganisms that may be present. The canning process then preserves the fruit, and no new microorganisms can get in. This helps to give the fruit a prolonged shelf life as it keeps the fruit from going rotten. The FDA has made it mandatory that all canned goods be cooked to ensure they are safe for consumption. There is a minimum standard internal temperature that foods must be heated to ensure all harmful bacteria is killed.
What Is The Canning Process Like For Fruit?
The process of each type of fruit varies based on how it needs to be prepared. Some fruit will need to be peeled and deseeded before being chopped, sliced, or diced. Other fruits like berries won’t need to be. Cans are filled with fruit along a production line and topped up with water, juice, sauce, or syrup. There is always a little bit of room left at the top of the can to allow for expansion. The can is sealed shut before the fruit is cooked.
When the contents of the can are cooked is typically done at a low temperature for a short time. This helps to preserve the quality of the fruit, as too much heat could lead to flavor changes and spoilage. A lot of care and consideration is given to figuring out the perfect temperature and length of time to cook different fruits. The level of acidity in the different foods is one such consideration. Fruits tend to be more acidic, which means they should be cooked in a can at a lower temperature than meat and some vegetables.
Are Canned Fruits Nutrient-Rich?
One thing you may be wondering is if canned fruit still has the nutrients that fresh and frozen fruits have. It’s a fair question because processed food tends to be depleted of some nutrients. Canned fruit is no exception. There is some nutrient depletion during the canning process. Certain vitamins are heat-sensitive, so there is some loss of vitamins C and B1. The B vitamins are also water-soluble, so they will leak out of the fruit into the liquid in the can. If you don’t use this liquid, you risk losing some more nutrients.
The good news is that canned fruit will still contain a lot of nutrients, and it is certainly better than not having any fruit. The cans are sealed shut, which stops oxygen from getting in. This stops the loss of more nutrients through oxidation.
When Should You Avoid Canned Fruit?
There are some things to be wary of when you purchase canned fruit. Supermarkets will sell cans that are damaged under the pretense that the food is still safe. This isn’t always the case and is not worth the risk – avoid damaged cans. While the contents of the can will still be safe in most instances, a small perforation will cause bacteria to grow. The smallest hole in the can might be invisible to the human eye but will be enough to spoil the contents.
You should inspect the cans you have at home before you cook them, especially cans that have been stored for a long time. If your can is showing any signs of rust, denting, or bulges, then you should dispose of it. Rust will eat away at the can and can make holes which leads to oxidation. Bulging is a clear sign that there are bacteria in the can and the contents are spoiled.
Benefits of Canned Fruit
Firstly, fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet, so it is a good idea to keep some in the house. Fresh fruit goes off quickly, quicker than we can sometimes eat, so canned fruit is an excellent alternative. Although there is some loss of nutrients during the canning process, it’s not a massive depletion. Canned fruit is an excellent source of vitamins.
Fruit is harvested and canned within a few hours, which means that they maintain a great taste. Avoid selecting cans that have added sugar or sodium. It’s unnecessary and makes the product less healthy. Canned fruits come in a variety of ways, but the healthiest option is the fruit that comes in its own juice. The syrup is a popular alternative but contains a lot more calories.
Canned fruit has a really long shelf life, much longer than fresh fruit. They also can be stored anyway, which makes them more convenient than frozen fruit. Canned fruit is ready to eat straight out of the can or can be used straight away in your meals.
We all love saving, and canned fruit is usually cheaper than the fresh alternative. This means you can save on your weekly shop and stock up in advance.
How Long Will Canned Fruits Last?
In theory, canned fruits can last a very long time, certainly for many years. Not all cans will have a sell-by date because canned goods that last over two years aren’t required to. Cans will have a lot code that the manufacturer can use to identify when it was made. The best thing to do with canned fruits is to rotate them as you buy more. That way, you ensure the oldest fruit is always being eaten first – why risk it?
The Office of Civil Defence has recommended that people replace any canned food stored in their emergency kit every 12 months. Your canned goods are likely to still be edible past this, but it’s a good reference point. By swapping out your canned fruit every 12 months, you can ensure that the food is of good quality and edible.
Is Canned Fruit Safe Once Opened?
After you have opened your canned fruit, you should take it all out of the can, even if you aren’t going to use all of it. That’s because the oxidation of tin and iron will cause the flavor of the fruit to spoil. If you aren’t going to be using the entire contents at the same time, you can store the fruit in a plastic container. The product should last in the fridge for up two days, after which it should be disposed of.
For more general information on how canned food is cooked, check out another article discussing whether canned food is cooked.