Canned and frozen vegetables are time and money-savers when you need to put a meal on the table quickly.
They’re an affordable and convenient way of getting much-needed key nutrients such as fibre, protein, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A. Faster processing times also mean little loss of nutrients from farm to plate.
- Canned baby beetroot are a nutrient-rich addition to salads with crumbled feta and fresh mint.
- Toss canned no-added-salt-or-sugar whole kernel corn into a salad with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, avocado and fresh coriander. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- To make a quick tuna and corn pasta, combine 1 can tuna in spring water (drained), 1 can no-added-salt-or-sugar whole kernel corn and 1 can no-added-salt chopped tomatoes. Stir into hot or cold pasta. Add other vegetables eg. baby spinach or rocket.
- Drain no-added-salt-or-sugar canned corn and sauté with a little olive oil, minced garlic, onions and herbs such as thyme, oregano or marjoram.
A lot of canned vegetables contain added salt and some contain added sugar. Check the nutrition information panel and choose those with less sodium and sugar. Vegetables canned in spring water are often a better option.
Drain and blend one can each of beetroot and chickpeas in spring water with garlic and cumin in a food processor. Stir in 1/2 cup low-fat plain yoghurt and season. Delicious with toasted pita bread and raw vegetable sticks.
- Keep frozen chopped spinach on hand to thaw and add to omelettes, pasta sauce, soups, casseroles, quesadillas and frittata.
- Stir-fry frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, green beans, carrots, capsicum) with sliced beef or chicken, ginger, garlic, salt-reduced soy sauce and sesame oil for a quick, tasty one-pan dish.
- Mix frozen corn or peas into hot rice along with fried onions, fresh chilli or chilli flakes and toasted cumin seeds.
- Avoid soggy frozen vegetables: try microwaving or adding towards the end of cooking without thawing or extra water.
Cook frozen vegetables without thawing or adding water to minimise the loss of valuable water-soluble nutrients.
In a food processor pulse 2 cups thawed frozen peas, 1 clove garlic, juice and zest of 1/2 lemon, small handful of mint or basil, splash of olive oil, seasoning and grated parmesan cheese (optional).
Article sources and references
- Kapica C & Weiss W. 2012. Canned fruits, vegetables, beans and fish provide nutrients at a lower cost compared to fresh, frozen or dried. Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences 2:131https://www.omicsonline.org/canned-fruits,-vegetables,-beans-and-fish-provide-nutrients-at-a-lower-cost-compared-to-fresh,-frozen-or-dried-2155-9600.1000131.php?aid=5226
- NZ Nutrition Foundation. Media Release June 2012. Canned foods as a source of key nutrients can save consumers money. www.nutritionfoundation.org.nzhttps://nutritionfoundation.org.nz/
- The Canned Food Alliance. Nutritional Comparison of Fresh, Frozen and Canned Fruits and Vegetables. www.mealtime.org/ Accessed February 2015https://www.mealtime.org/