What is in Your CANtry? Five Fabulous Recipes Starring PICS Canned Foods!

Ellie Wilson

MS, RDN Senior Nutritionist

Canned foods have flown off the shelves lately as folks prepare to cook more at home over the next few weeks. Canning was a transformative food preservation advance, a process invented in the late 1700s, in response to a call from Napoleon Bonaparte, who was looking for a way to safely store and transport food to feed his army. It was perfected in the early 1800s, with the first commercial canneries starting up in England and America in 1812 and 1813, respectively. Ironically, the can opener was not invented until 1858! Though it was clear heat was key to the process, it was not understood why until Louis Pasteur demonstrated the presence of microorganisms and the temperatures that killed them in the late 1800s. Foods lose nutrients, quality and appeal as time passes, canning was a game changer for home cooks and commercial food service, and remains a great way to create recipes that are delicious and convenient.

The benefits of canned foods are many – fruits and vegetables are usually canned within a few hours of harvesting, capturing their nutrients and flavor right at the peak, and preserving them for a minimum of about two years, sometimes longer. Most canned items are single ingredient, no other additives necessary to maintain flavor, color and texture. Canned foods are budget and time-friendly, prepped and ready to use. Cans are also one of the most recyclable containers – made of 100% recyclable steel, important to sustainability efforts.* Finally, adults and children who regularly eat canned foods have a better intake of fruits, vegetables and fiber than those that do not.

PICS canned fruits, vegetables, tuna, chicken, beans and soups are top quality – you will love exploring the wide variety and flavors. Check these great recipes out – we are powering up the protein and produce content with a focus on canned beans. Beans are a rising star as families become focused on eating more plant-based and plant-forward foods. Let kids add the beans and some of the ingredients while you supervise – they love eating what they help preparing, and it is a positive way to connect them to food skills. Combining beans and other proteins is a budget-smart way to add benefits and a fresh twist to old favorites.  Better meals are in the can!

Cowboy Caviar – A versatile recipe that comes together in just a few minutes! Dress it up with chopped mango or canned pineapple, use it as a dip, a side or a salsa on fish or chicken – delish!

For more canned food recipe ideas check out…

Hearty Healthy Turkey Chili

Pasta Fagioli

Pork Navy Bean Soup

Zoodle Chickpea Avocado Salad


*Ref. Canned Food Alliance