Canned Produce v Fresh Produce – From The Farm To The Table

Many people hunt out fresh produce wherever possible so they can eat their fruits and veggies fresh every day. They go to farmers markets, grocery stores, and even take out shares in local farms in order to get their fill of fresh produce.

What many people may not understand is that canned items are usually more nutrient dense than the fresh produce they buy.  Yes, you may want to reconsider eating only fresh produce to get your healthy number of servings every day. And, if you still long for fresh produce, you may want to consider saving some of it for canning, and not just as a way to preserve the end of the harvest, but for nutrition.

Really?  Could a supply of canned produce really be a healthier choice when compared to fresh produce?  Let’s take a look.

Fresh Produce

Let’s review the process of fresh produce 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 supermarket, the first stop in the cross-country travel is usually to be docked in a distribution center, or 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 are probably seven to ten days between picking and delivery to your store, not to mention the couple days the produce sits waiting for you to pick it up and put it in your cart.

Canned Produce

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.  It’s good business sense to package your product, especially when food quality and safety is concerned, close to where it’s grown.

Minimizing transportation keeps costs down as well as ensuring that produce is packed when the flavor is at it’s peak. By locking the freshness in the can, it stops the degeneration of the produce right in its tracks, leaving you with a product that is the closest you can get to fresh unless you picked it off the vine and ate it right there.

Field Fresh Convenience

Canned foods are the next best thing to eating at the farm. Even those who participate in crop shares with their local farmers do not get the same freshness that properly canned food will provide. The next time you pick up a can of corn, or consider canning your own food, think about how the nutrients are locked in to give you the freshest and most nutritious produce possible.

For more canning tips and lots of canning recipes, I recommend you grab a copy of my ebook Canning Made Simple.
Inside you’ll find over 40 canning recipes to get you started, along with simple to understand explanations about what to can, how to can, and even why to consider canning at all!

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