This is a sponsored post on behalf of Refreshingly Real and the Can Manufacturers Institute. They are paying me actual dollars to write about my experience on their “Farm to Can Challenge.” All opinions and words are my own, as you’ll quickly recognize.
Last month, I had the good fortunate to be invited on a Farm to Can Challenge in Indianapolis, Indiana so I could witness the process of tomatoes being picked one minute at the Triple S Farm and canned mere moments later at Red Gold facilities.
A quick word before I get into the details of this trip because I’m taking you down that rabbit hole, minus the psychedelic drugs; I’m a mother now. I don’t need mushrooms to hallucinate; I can do that on sheer exhaustion.
The entire purpose of this magical trip was to show me the value, economically and nutritionally, and the safety of using canned goods in the kitchen. Let’s be real though, I drank the canned good Kool-aid years ago. My cupboard is always stocked with beauteous beakers of edible delight, and I’ve shared countless recipes in the past where canned goods have made an appearance.
What can I say? I’m a canned good kid. Cans of beans, artichokes, tomatoes, peas, more beans, corn, soups, and did I mention beans, will always have a place in my pantry.
I know there are people who like to make everything from scratch. Personally, I’d like to churn my own butter, poop in privacy (toddlers are fun) and celebrate world peace, but a girl’s gotta be realistic. Given a choice between “chilling out, relaxing, maxing all cool” or slaving away in the kitchen, I’d choose relaxing 85% of the time. The rest of the time I’m a glutton for punishment.
My point is I have always loved canned goods even before embarking on this trip, although being greeted at the airport like a celebrity with a driver holding up a McCarthy sign definitely tipped the scales in the can manufacturers favor. Flattery wins and spoiling me rotten is even better, and Refreshingly Real did both on this trip. It was amazing, and I even got to use the potty in peace.
Despite my prior adoration of all things canned, I did learn a few things on this trip.
So without further ado, here are
Ten Fabulous Facts About Canned Goods
1. Canned goods are literally farm fresh vegetables packed in a special casing which keeps them fresh, safe and tasty. Have you tried canning tomatoes at home? I have, and it’s a pain in the ass, not to mention an all day affair, although it helps if you have booze.
2. Red Gold, America’s largest privately owned tomato and canned tomato food processor, is a four generation family owned business who work with local tomato farms in the mid-west in order to get you the best possible product, while still supporting small farmers. This warms the cockles of my heart and is the main reason I agreed to embark on this adventure; having three days to myself was another.
3. Despite canning being a mechanical process, there is a ton of hands on activity at Red Gold, with Every. Single. Tomato. being quality checked, although current labors laws frown on drinking on the job, which means they’d never hire me.
5. The tomatoes are harvested at peak freshness and canned within twelve hours maximum, and in some cases as few as 4 hours, making these canned tomatoes absolutely delicious and more nutritious than the fresh produce in your grocery store. It’s why I buy the bulk of my produce directly from local farmers or via can goods.
6. Canned goods are a great and easy way to up your fruit and veggie intake. Plus, they’re affordable, which is ideal when you’re forking over $7.50 for a pint of organic raspberries, that start spoiling the second you leave the store, which leads me to my next point.
7. Canned goods last more than two years, not because they’re packed with preservatives or weird additives, but because that’s how canning works. A tight seal, high heat and steam pressure are what retain the flavor and freshness. Science yo’.
8. 90% of the canned goods in America are non-BPA with the rest of the industry following quickly behind. Safe can liners means safe produce and when it comes to cleanliness, Red Gold gives God a run for His money. Their tomatoes get washed five times before reaching their final destination. I’m lucky if I rinse my berries once.
9. Beer comes in cans, and I like beer.*
*This comment was paid for by Brett Kavanaugh (not really).
10. The final thing I learned was you can make some pretty fabulous food from canned goods. I’ve always thought of them as easy (hello built in Sous-chef), but now I’ll think of them as elegant as well.
A huge thank you to Refreshingly Real for organizing the most delightful, delectable and darling trip I’ve ever taken for the blog. It was an incredible experience, and I am humbled by the opportunity. Thank you to my readers for allowing this momma to get paid. I might actually buy something for myself now.
What canned goods do you keep on hand? What’s your favorite recipe using canned goods?