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The Nutrional Value of Canned Foods

The Nutrional Value of Canned Foods

According to the University of Minnesota Extension:

Many vegetables begin to lose vitamins when harvested. Nearly half the vitamins may be lost within a few days unless the fresh produce is cooled or preserved. Within one to two weeks, even refrigerated produce may lose half of its vitamins. The heating process during canning destroys from 1/3 to of vitamins A and C, thiamin, and riboflavin. Once canned, additional losses of these sensitive vitamins are from 5 to 20 percent each year depending on storage conditions. The amounts of other vitamins, however, are only slightly lower in canned compared with fresh food. Vegetables handled properly and canned promptly after harvest may be more nutritious than fresh produce held many days after harvest under abusive conditions.

A similiar finding was made in 1997 by The University of Illinois, where it stated: 

From a scientific standpoint, the results obtained in the second study confirm our findings from the 1995 analysis. Although the databases differed somewhat, the values for concentrations of nutrients were very similar. The percentages are somewhat altered because some of the RDIs and DRVs used in the current analysis were slightly different. The expanded lists provide a different array of foods  legumes and poultry/fish and some additional nutrients. Regardless of which food and what nutrients we examine, the bottom line is the same. Canned foods are an excellent alternative to fresh and frozen, because they provide the nutrients we expect from any specific food group.

In summary, home canning preserves nutrional content and is tantamount to fresh produce, provided that you utilize canning recipes that have been tested and quality produce. So keep these findings in mind as you prepare your next canning recipe! 

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