Many people hunt out fresh produce wherever they can. They go to their farmers markets, grocery stores and even take out shares in local farms in order to get their fresh produce. What many people are missing is the understanding that canned items are usually more nutrient dense than the fresh produce they buy.
Before we take a look at canned foods, let’s review the process of fresh food from the farm to the family table. Just to start off, it is important to remember that as soon as food is plucked off of the stem or stalk the nutrients begin to fade in their effectiveness. That being said, once the produce is picked at the farm, it may sit around for a few days before even leaving the farm for the market or to get packaged for delivery to a store.
After hanging out and ripening, the produce is usually loaded onto a truck to be delivered to a store. If you have ever shopped at a large chain super market that has distribution centers, the first stop in the cross-country travel is usually to be cross-docked in a DC. This can last anywhere from a day to three days, waiting on the next truck to pick it up.
From pickup at the DC, there is still another couple of days travel to your local supermarket. In all actuality there is probably seven to ten days between picking and delivery to your store, not to mention the couple days it sits waiting for you to pick it up and put it in your cart.
While it takes a little more than a week to get fresh produce to your doorstep, canning is a much quicker process. Many times, foods are cooked and canned within a day or two of being picked, retaining many of the original nutrients.
To ensure that foods are packed at their peak of freshness, most canning facilities are located within a few miles of the point of harvest. Fruit and vegetable canneries often can be seen from the fields where produce is harvested. Seafood canneries are within minutes of the docks, while meats, soups and stews are canned within the facilities in which they are prepared.
Minimizing transportation keeps costs down as well as ensuring that food, especially fruits and vegetables, are packed when the flavor is greatest. By locking in the freshness, canned goods usually have more flavor than many of the fresh foods on the market.
Canned foods are the next best thing to living on a farm. Even those who participate in crop shares with their local farmers do not get the same freshness found in a can. Literally, the only way you would get fresher food was if you were there to pick it or catch it yourself, and seriously, who has the time for that? The next time you pick up a can of corn or some tuna fish, think about how quickly it was locked into the container and rest assure you are getting the freshest item possible.
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