There are several ways that vegetables and fruit can be treated so that you can keep them longer in your cupboard or freezer. In the canning process, vegetables are cut into pieces, packed in cans, and heated to a high temperature to kill bacteria. The cans are sealed to create a vacuum inside which means that there is no air – this prevents the growth of any bacteria. Canned vegetables can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 years and can be very handy for the store cupboard – think sweetcorn to go with your shepherd’s pie, tinned tomatoes for pasta sauce and mushy peas with fish and chips.
Using canned fruit such as apricots, pineapple and mandarin oranges is a good way of eating fruit out of season. Fresh fruit travellling long distances may lose precious nutrients along the way, as well as racking up naughty air miles. Vitamin C is heat sensitive so doesn’t survive the canning process but other vitamins and minerals are still there. Try and avoid fruits canned in heavy syrup as it contains lots of sugar and therefore empty calories. Fruits canned in water or their own juices are a healthier option.
Frozen fruit and vegetables don’t keep as long as canned ones but they taste and look more like the fresh variety. They use a technique called the individually quick-frozen method to freeze each piece individually. This prevents them from freezing together in a solid block so your peas are free running when you tip them out of the bag.
Don’t forget you can also enjoy dried fruit such as cranberries, sour cherries and raisins. They make a tasty snack and also have a longer shelf life than the fresh alternatives.