Did you know that February is National Canned Food Month? It’s true!
In fact, this obscure observance has been around since 1987, when the Canned Food Information Council established the holiday to break down myths that were swirling about canned foods.
Here at Interfaith Community PADS, canned goods are a staple that allow us to provide nutritious meals to our homeless guests.
That’s why we are excited to take some time to celebrate National Canned Food Month with some fun facts plus a list of the top five canned goods we use at the shelter.
5 Fun Facts About Canned Food
How much do you know about canned food? Test your knowledge with this trivia.
1. Canned fruits and vegetables are nutritious.
The common myth is that canned fruits and vegetables are not as nutritious as their fresh and frozen counterparts. However, research has shown that this is not always true. While canning may damage certain vitamins, amounts of other healthy compounds may actually increase. The canning process preserves most of the food’s nutrients, making canned goods a great option.
2. There are three stages of the canning process.
The canning process includes:
- Processing: When the food is peeled, sliced, chopped, cooked, or whatever other processing is needed to get it ready.
- Sealing: The food is then placed in a can and sealed.
- Heating: Finally, the can is heated in order to kill harmful bacteria and prevent spoilage.
3. In the US, the most popular canned goods are …
This special report from 24/7 Wall Street, published in 2020, reported the 25 most popular canned foods in America, as ranked by sales based on UPC purchases. Ranking #1 on the list was StarKist Tuna, with $87.4 million in sales in 2018. Other items on the list include other brands of tuna, a variety of soups, canned pasta, vegetables (corn and green beans specifically), tomato products, baked beans, vienna sausages, and cranberry sauce.
4. Canned foods last longer than the expiration date.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, “Most shelf-stable foods are safe indefinitely. In fact, canned goods will last for years, as long as the can itself is in good condition (no rust, dents, or swelling).” The dates on the cans refer to quality, not safety. The foodsafety.gov FoodKeeper website has information about how long a canned good may last beyond the date on the can.
5. Choose the healthiest canned food.
Although canned foods can be just as nutritious as fresh or frozen, consumers should watch out for additives that make the product unhealthy. In particular, check the amount of sodium, as many companies add salt for taste. The ‘no salt,’ ‘unsalted’ or ‘low sodium’ versions of items like canned vegetables, beans, and tomato products are best. Also, watch out for added sugar; when selecting canned fruit, choose those that are canned in water or their own juice instead of syrup.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
ICPADS Top 5 Canned Goods
Here at Interfaith Community PADS, we go through a lot of canned goods as we feed our shelter guests every night. Wonder what we use the most of? Here are answers from our Director, Harrison Holtkamp.
1. Green Beans
You can’t go wrong with green beans! Green beans are a staple at our homeless shelter because they are always a hit with guests. We try to include vegetables on the menu every night to ensure we are serving nutritious meals. Whatever canned vegetable we choose, we use about NINE cans per meal to feed everyone!
In addition to being great on its own, we make a lot of great dishes with corn. We use plenty of the whole and the creamed varieties.
Peas are another great side dish to go along with any shelter dinner. Random fact: Peas are Harry’s favorite vegetable!
4. Mixed Vegetables
Mixed vegetables are another one of our favorite vegetable sides to serve at dinnertime. With carrots, corn, peas, and beans combined together, everyone’s favorite vegetable is sure to be included in the mix.
Or more specifically tomato and chicken noodle soup. In order to serve soup as a side dish with the dinner entree, it takes about 12 cans to feed everyone.
And there you have it, a list of the top five canned goods used at our shelter.
If you’re looking to celebrate National Canned Food Month, there is no better way to do it than by donating some of these items!
For more information on donating canned goods (or other items) to our shelter, go here.
Happy National Canned Food Month to all!