From freshness and preservatives to vitamins, there are many preconceived notions about canned and flash-frozen vegetables. But are those statements actually true and well-founded? Ready-to-use vegetables really do have their advantages.
Vegetables made ready-to-use when ultra-fresh
As obvious as it may seem, people often need to be reminded that cans and bags of frozen vegetables contain vegetables grown in the soil! Just like any other fresh vegetable! These fresh vegetables are harvested once they have reached maturity, when their taste and nutritional qualities are optimal. Only five hours maximum go by between the harvest, immediate transportation to the factory, and canning. This minimal time guarantees ultra-freshness and is the reason why vegetables maintain their beneficial qualities (vitamins, minerals, and fiber) and as well as their taste.
Preserving the nutritional value of different vegetables is largely ensured by the blanching step, which involves exposing vegetables to a high temperature for only a few minutes. This step allows them to preserve their natural colors and all their taste. That is why we can safely say that with cans and frozen vegetables, “seasonal” vegetables are for all year!
No preservatives in canned vegetables
Another preconceived notion is that preservatives are used in canning. Not true! There are no preservatives in canned vegetables. The appertization process alone is preservative enough. Ingredients added to the original vegetables include salt, water, and sometimes seasonings (or a little sugar for steamed peas, as required by law).
Canning techniques do impact nutrition, causing some losses, but they are comparable to the effects of cooking at home. It is true that cooking destroys vitamin C… but never completely! Heat-processed spinach and cooked potatoes are still a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is very sensitive to light and oxygen, so if you do not use the fresh vegetables that you prepared immediately, their vitamin C may disappear completely! The benefits provided by canned, flash-frozen, and fresh vegetables are therefore nearly identical. So whether fresh, canned, or flash-frozen, all kinds of vegetables count toward your five servings daily of fruit and vegetables.