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What you need to know about canned food as you stock for coronavirus lockdown

Readers Lounge - By Derrick Oluoch | March 26th 2020 at 01:25:00 GMT +0300
In the house employ the first in first out rule (Shutterstock)

Canned foods are very convenient especially now that we need to stock up food for the coronavirus lockdown. Canned foods are easily available and you can readily access them in supermarkets and general stores.

When shopping, always remember to check the expiry dates marked on the cans. Also, ensure that the cans are not dusty and they don’t have torn labels as that is an indication of old stock. When you get to the house employ the first in first out rule to ensure that you don’t keep your food for too long. When arranging your cans, and even other foodstuffs, on the shelves or the fridge, place the new items behind the ones you already have so that the ones in front get used first.

Here are some important things you need know about canned foods:

Canned food loses quality when they stay for too long

Canned foods have a long shelf life, however, that doesn’t mean you keep them for several years before consuming. According to mealtime.org, canned foods depreciate in quality after about two years. While older canned foods are likely to still retain their nutritional value, the colour, texture and taste of the food changes depending on the age and type of food being preserved.

Never microwave the can

You should not prioritize heating canned food while still in the container but if necessary, ensure you remove the lid. After opening the can, you can loosely cover it with aluminum foil then simmer it in hot water. Never put the can in a microwave. The pressure build-up within the sealed container can cause an explosion.

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Some canned foods are high in salt (Shutterstock)

Storing canned food products once opened

Once the can is opened, the food becomes perishable and therefore, must either be properly cooked or refrigerated. To preserve the flavours, transfer the canned food to plastic containers before refrigerating. However, ensure your leftovers are consumed within 3 or 4 days of refrigeration.

Some contain high amounts of sodium

Most canned foods contain high amounts of salt. In most cases this masks any changes in taste that comes with age or the extreme heating process that the foods go through. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a can of chicken noodle soup contains about 1800mg of sodium, an amount they say is more than the quantity of salt an average adult consumes in one day.

However, there are canned foods that come in low-sodium and sodium-free varieties while some contain little to no preservatives.

You can rinse off the Salt

If you are cutting sodium in your diet, you can drain and rinse the beans and other canned vegetables to rid them of excess salt. According to a research by the University of Tennessee, draining canned beans reduces its sodium level by 36% and rinsing further reduces the salt by about 41%.

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