Is The Liquid In Canned Vegetables Good For You 11 Expert Tips on Cooking With Canned Foods

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Canned foods often get a bad rap, but hidden inside the tiny tin capsules, you’ll find some of the most versatile and flavorful ingredients. Creating an enticing and appetizing meal using them doesn’t have to be hard when you know how.

Whenever you’re cooking with canned ingredients, inventiveness is always the secret ingredient to success. While it may be tempting to rely on old favorites, take the time to experiment with flavors and create dishes that are showstoppers.

Should you be entirely new to this essential cooking skill, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve enlisted the help of culinary experts to share top tips for cooking with canned food. Use them as a starting point, but also experiment with your own recipes—you may just surprise yourself. 

Give Beans and Veggies a Good Rinse

When you’re working with certain canned ingredients, it pays to give them a wash ahead of time. The reason is simple: In some cases, the liquid in the container will have high levels of salt.

“Thoroughly rinse off the liquid that they come in, so that you’re able to control the sodium content going into whatever it is that you’re making. And if you’re using canned beans or chickpeas over dried, add them toward the very end of the cooking process because they won’t take as long to cook through,” says “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi.

The Draining Exception: Canned Tomatoes

Are you committing this culinary sin? If you happen to drain canned tomatoes before you use them, you’re making a serious mistake, says Pamela Reed of Brooklyn Farm Girl. When you’re cooking Italian-inspired dishes, you can make use of the vitamin-rich juice in your meals to delicious effect. 

“For canned tomatoes, don’t drain them. Instead, use the juices to your bonus. There’s no reason to drain stewed tomatoes if you’re using them for a pasta dish. Pour the entire can in, tomatoes and juices, for the full taste!”

Use Salsa to Make a “Lazy Chili”

If you open your pantry to find line-upon-line of canned beans, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to turn these staples into a mouth-wateringly good meal. To get your creative juices flowing, why not try making a super simple chili in minutes?

“We absolutely love the simplicity of what we call ‘lazy chili.’ You simply rinse and drain a can or two of black or pinto beans and add them to a skillet with a jar of your favorite salsa,” says food blogger Jessie May. “Salsa basically has everything you need for an amazing chili: tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasonings, jalapeño, etc. You simply simmer this for a bit and can add any additional spices or salt if you’d like. Serving this over baked sweet potatoes with a little avocado or cashew cream is heavenly and super affordable too.”

Add Instant Flavor With Vegetable Broth

Yearning for more flavor? While you may be used to draining canned ingredients and putting them straight in the pan, there’s another way to go here. Utilizing something as basic as vegetable broth could help you improve your dish in an instant.

“Blanch canned vegetables to remove the canned taste. Submerge vegetables in boiling water for a minute before submerging them in ice water to stop the cooking process. Cook ingredients in vegetable broth instead of water to add more flavor. Use seasoning and spices to add more flavor,” says chef Sapna Chandra, owner of Real + Vibrant and author of Plant Power Bowls. 

Spicy Bean Salads for the Win

Looking for another way to use up your canned beans? If you happen to have some chorizo in your pantry, you can make a spicy salad that will stand the test of time. Alternately, you can use some dried spices and vegetables to make a veggie version.

“Spice up canned white beans with chorizo, another staple that can be frozen, to make a white bean chorizo salad that will last. We make ours with tarragon, but if you don’t have a fresh herb on hand, use dried tarragon and a little dried oregano,” says Jill Donenfeld, chef and co-founder of The Culinistas. 

Tinned Fish = Fish Burgers

Craving fast food? When burger night comes around, you might have to experiment with the canned ingredients you have in your pantry. Making your own fish burgers can be fun for the whole family and costs next to nothing. 

“One of my favorite pantry recipes is salmon burgers—yes, for real, salmon burgers! We use canned salmon for our salmon burgers recipe, but you could also use canned tuna or even canned chicken. This is the season for making do with what you have. Everything else you need for this base recipe is pantry-friendly, too—panko, mayo, and some seasonings. If you happen to have some remnants of a head of cabbage in your fridge then you can serve these salmon (or tuna, or chicken) burgers on a quick slaw, but they could also go on other greens, or on buns, or with some roasted sweet potato wedges,” says Lindsay Ostrom of Pinch of Yum.

Season, Season, Season

Needless to say, whenever you’re working with canned foods, seasoning is everything. The last thing you want is to end up eating bland and basic meals. You don’t need a ton of spices to make these ingredients flavorful. Simply stick to three basics to get started. 

“Whenever you’re using canned fruits, toss them with a bit of red chili powder, lime juice, and salt. You can also use rock salt here. It will take the flavors to the next level,” says Harshad Sawant, the blogger behind Sprout Monk. 

When in Doubt, Stick to These “S” Dishes

“My top tip to using canned foods is to use them in stews, soups, and sauces instead of stir-fries. If possible, don’t waste the ‘juice’ that the canned product came in as there are valuable nutrients in there,” says The Highest Critic’s Caleb Chen.

“Utilizing canned foods effectively requires understanding that the water content of canned foods is going to be different than what you would expect from the fresh equivalent. Whether it’s canned vegetables, canned meat, or canned whatever, understanding that your product might be softer or ‘wetter’ will allow you to cook with canned foods better.” 

Make Tomato Paste Your New BFF

Looking for that rich, intense flavor you get from professionally-cooked meals? Adding something as simple as a spoonful of tomato paste could be the answer. This canned ingredient works in an array of dishes and always helps to intensify the flavor. 

“Tomato paste is a great flavor enhancer for any tomato-based sauce, especially when fresh tomatoes are out of season and not at their flavor peak. One of my favorite uses for tomato paste is in a classic shakshuka. It adds a deep, rich tomato flavor and really intensifies the sauce, especially if you’re working with less-than-stellar tomatoes,” says Liran Leibman, executive chef at Mediterranean restaurant ZIZI.

Don’t Overlook Corn

The next time you’re in the mood for a fresh and light lunch, here’s a dish you can try that takes mere minutes: a quick corn salad from canned ingredients is as easy as pie. 

“You can make our light corn salad using canned corn, if you don’t have fresh corn available. Adding garlic and spices will brighten up the dish and make the corn feel fresh,” says Ohm Suansilphong, chef at Thai spot Fish Cheeks. “In a mortar, pound garlic cloves and chilis together to form a smooth paste, then add palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice and pound until combined. Add cherry tomatoes and long beans to the mortar and lightly crush them with the sauce. Finally, add corn kernels and stir to combine.”

If All Else Fails, There’s Always Hummus

Hummus is the unofficial king of canned foods. Spread it on toast, put it in a salad, or simply use it as a dip—there are oh-so-many ways to enjoy this Middle Eastern treat. While you may not be able to get a fresh batch from the store right now, you can make it at home easily. 

“Canned chickpeas go from basic to brilliant when blended with beets for a beet hummus to nosh on with chips or to use as a spread for a sandwich,” says Donenfeld.

Helpful Links

  • How to Grocery Shop
  • An Essential Food Storage Guide
  • Our Full Guide to Freezing Vegetables, Meat, Fruits, and More

Video about Is The Liquid In Canned Vegetables Good For You

13 Canned Foods That Are Actually Healthy And 5 That Are Not

From tomatoes, pumpkins and apricots to water chestnuts, and many more, watch till the end to hear about all of them. And there’s more, we’ll also tell you what the unhealthiest canned foods are so that you can avoid them at all costs.

Other videos recommended for you:

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#CannedFood #NutritionTips #Bestie


Intro – 0:00

Healthy Canned Foods:
1. Pumpkin – 00:42
2. Tomatoes – 01:27
3. Apricots – 02:08
4. Fatty Fish – 02:40
5. Beans – 03:12
6. Chicken – 03:45
7. Clams – 04:05
8. Water Chestnuts – 04:29
9. Roasted Red Peppers – 04:54
10. Artichokes – 05:23
11. Chickpeas – 05:50
12. Corn – 06:05
13. Prunes – 06:28

Unhealthy Canned Foods:
1. Clam Chowder Soup – 07:02
2. Sliced Peaches – 07:34
3. Spaghetti And Meatballs – 07:58
4. Baked Beans – 08:32
5. Processed Meats – 09:03


Healthy Canned Foods:
1. Pumpkin – Carving a pumpkin is one thing, but actually cutting, gutting and peeling a pumpkin to eat? Is another. Canned pumpkin is by far a much more convenient and less messy route, but it may also be more nutritious when it comes to specific nutrients.

2. Tomatoes: This is another time-saving no-brainer: Using canned tomatoes saves you from cooking and stewing your own from scratch, which can take hours.

3. Apricots: Who doesn’t love an apricot or two or three? The trouble is, they have a short season. But that’s where canned apricots come in, which you can find on supermarket shelves all year-round.

Unhealthy Canned Foods:
1. Clam Chowder Soup: Don’t be fooled into thinking this soup is good for you just because it plasters the words “Light” and “Low Calories Per Serving” on the label. Lurking beneath the aura of natural foods is one nasty additive: titanium dioxide.

2. Sliced Peaches: These melt-in-your-mouth peaches are actually soaking in water, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and sugar inside those cans. By marinating in this sweet solution, just a half a cup of these peaches racks up 21 grams of sugar. The same half a cup of natural peach wedges will only have 7 grams of sugar. That equates to 28 percent of your recommended daily limit of added sugars.

3. Spaghetti And Meatballs: Who knew that spaghetti and meatballs could come with 8 grams of sugar? It’s all thanks to the high fructose corn syrup in their sauce. It does have a significant amount of protein but not from the actual meatballs, from soy protein concentrate.

For more information, please watch the video until the very end.
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