Over dinner the other night we discussed camping and road trips. The subject of tinned food was raised. The view was mixed around 50% of folk had an absolute disdain for tinned food yet the rest supported the use of canned food as an emergency measure.
Get to a campsite late and need to feed everyone? Sweetcorn on toast or baked beans make a great meal. Add cheese, salt and pepper and you are good to go. Tinned soup is even great with toast.
Canning and bottling have preserved food for many years and it keeps food healthy and nutritious.
Many of us who served in the military have memories of tinned food sans labels where you ended up having peas or beans for breakfast and then there was meatloaf or bully beef.
Yet carrying tinned or bottled food has benefits, especially if travelling to remote locations where there are no shops. The only downside is the loss of certain vitamins as canning requires high heat.
Canned tomatoes are essential and can be used for any meal, with some red wine that can add an extra dimension to a bolognese or stew. They contain an amazing antioxidant “lycopene” for heart health which benefits from the canning process.
Baked beans on toast are a cost-effective and nutritious addition to a meal or even a meal itself. A great source of protein, low in fat and rich in lycopene as about a third of the juice is tomato sauce.
Canned fish is rich in heart-friendly,omega-3 fatty acids, fish in water or tomato sauce is better for your salt and fat intake.
Beans and legumes such as chickpeas and suchlike are good sources of protein, iron and zinc. As well as B vitamins, rinse them and add them to a stew or potjie.
When buying fruit choose fruit canned in fruit juice rather than syrup, reduce the sugar content if you can it is the healthy option.
Avoid anything in brine if you can.
From an environmental perspective remember that tin cans are 100% recyclable and can be turned into appliances and even cars as long as you take them home and recycle them.
So don’t feel bad about taking a few tins along on your next road trip. It’s good for you and the environment as long as you take the tins home.
A lot of people measure quality by tins of fish. After Military service, I gave up on spam and corned beef. Yet fruit and veggies are important as well as things like canned spaghetti. Tuna makes an amazing salad and sardines mashed with oil and vinegar are amazing served on got toast. A great substitute for fish paste which we sadly lost.
Remember though that fish is packed in omega-3 which energises after a long day. You get an amazing variety of tuna, sardines and pilchards.
The pilchards even come with chill sauce and should not be discounted. One can mix tinned meals with rice or pasta or even make a salad. Tinned food should be part of any trip as you can never be sure of a hot meal around the corner. Our CEO Ian Georgeson always takes a few tins of smoked mussels when we travel and they are amazing as the coals smoulder before we braai.