There are many things celebrated in February, among them are Ground Hog Day, the Super Bowl, Valentines day, Presidents Day, Ash Wednesday, and we can’t forget my Dad’s 86th Birthday. But I think we forgot that February is “National Canned Food Month.”
Now, as you know I am an advocate for fresh fruits and vegetables, but there are some things that you need to eat that come from cans. When I was growing up my family used canned foods a lot. At that time (1950-1970) they did not have all of the fresh or organic fruits and veggies that they have today. Frozen foods were not readily available either at that time. Some of these items were what you would have called “off season.” So that is why canned foods were used more often. Foods in a can have a longer shelf life especially with canned soups and vegetables. What was a grilled cheese sandwich without a bowl of hot Campbell’s tomato soup? Or what would an Ambrosia Salad be without your cans of fruit?
We know that canning is a way of processing and preserving food to extend its shelf life. This is done by using a method of sealing foods in an airtight container. A cans typical shelf life ranges from one to five years. In the late 18th century in France, the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was concerned about keeping his armies fed and offered a cash prize to whoever could develop a method of food preservation. After 15 years of experimentation a man by the name of Nicholas Appert came up with the idea of an airtight container so the food would not spoil. He used glass jars sealed with corks held in place with wire. In 1812, Thomas Kensett who immigrated to the United States, opened New York’s first canning facility for meats, oysters, fruits, and vegetables. Louis Pasteur more than 50 years later demonstrated that growth of microorganisms is the cause of food spoilage which explained the effectiveness for canning. At that time the cans were made of tin, now in 2013 today’s cans are made of 100% recyclable steel.
Some Canned Food Trivia For Fun:
- Did you know that the “Can Opener” was invented 48 years after cans were introduced? Most people feel they still haven’t invented one that works all the time.
- Almost 200 Billion cans of food are produced in the world each year.
- The Hormel Company of Austin, Minnesota sold the first canned ham in 1926.
- What a story! A 40-year old can of corn was found in the basement if a home in California. The canning process had kept the corn safe from contaminants and from much nutrient loss. In addition the kernels looked and smelled like recently canned corn.
- Did you know the most common food found in a can are baked beans, canned sardines, canned tuna, Pineapple, Vienna Sausage, Tomato soup, and last but not least Spam?
“Colorful Corn Salad”
|Courtesy of Taste of Home|
3 cans of sweet corn niblets (water drained)
1 can of black olives (pitted) and chopped
3/4 cup of chopped grape tomatoes
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
1/2 cup of chopped red pepper
1/4 cup of chopped onion or scallions
1/2 cup of ranch salad dressing (your favorite)
In a large salad bowl, combine all vegetable ingredients, and then add the salad dressing. Stir till all coated, cover and refrigerate until serving. Serving is for 8 people or more, depending on how much of the ingredients you use. You can also add another ingredient or take one of them out. Your choice…just enjoy and Mangia Tutti!
Till Next Time………………………………...........
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