Shopping: better frozen or canned food? – Italian Cuisine

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Let's start from the assumption that fresh (and in season) is better, but when you can't find the product on the market every day and we want a varied and balanced diet, frozen foods and canned foods often come to our aid, helping us also to limit waste at the table and therefore, they do not always represent absolute evil. With the necessary precautions and always keeping an eye on the label, you can buy products in total safety.

Let's start with frozen foods
176146Italians love them very much, buy them and often consume them, especially appreciating the quality and practicality of use, according to the latest "Annual Report on Consumption of Frozen Products in Italy", of theItalian Frozen Food Institute (IIAS), the frozen food market in 2018 tends to remain stable compared to the previous year and to drive sales are "out of home" consumption, while the data for the first four months of 2019 bode well, showing signs of positive development. "Frozen food – he claims Vittorio Gagliardi, President of IIAS – confirmed that they are an integral part of the daily eating habits of Italians, not only at home but also outside the home, confirming that sub-zero products are increasingly becoming an essential element even in the kitchens of our restaurants. In fact – continues Gagliardi – the main prerogatives of the frozen product (that is, the high quality and naturalness of the raw materials, the availability in every period of the year, the high nutritional content, the absolute hygiene and food safety) have now also conquered the chefs and restaurateurs from all over Italy, holding an important place in high quality cuisine ". The product offered by frozen food companies is healthy, safe and traceable and allows chefs to have every type of ingredient available, even out of season.

176152Among the most popular merchandise segments, the photograph taken by the IIAS reveals, the vegetables are confirmed, followed by fish products, while the consumption of frozen potatoes continues to grow and the pizzas are confirmed as a product very appreciated by the consumer, thanks to innovation continues and the constant expansion of the offer. By now the myth that frozen products lose their nutritional properties has been dispelled, thanks to greater information from the consumer who knows that vegetables are frozen a few hours after harvesting, maintaining the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the fresh or that the fish caught is frozen directly on the boat or kept at a temperature such as to allow processing immediately after disembarking. The only preservative is cold. Food safety standards exist, verified by checks and analyzes on the supply chain and carried out according to the law.

Some rules to follow
Of course, it is good to follow some important rules during product selection, transport and storage, such as putting it in the shopping cart at the end of the shopping and buying it in highly frequented sales points, guaranteeing a good product rotation, avoiding choosing broken, wet or frosted packages.

Use thermal bags during transport and once at home, if some food is partially defrosted, place it in the fridge and consume it within a day. Important rule: never refreeze a product that has already been thawed.

As for the conservation, our freezer comes to the aid with the stars that indicate the maximum storage times of the different foods. It is always the rule of not opening the freezer (and the fridge) in case of black out.

In addition to being safe, frozen foods also represent accomplices in the fight against food waste. The reasons are many, but among the main reminds us of the IIAS, there is the long duration of storage and optimization of household waste, because basically what you buy frozen is eaten 100%, just because we tend to use only the portion that is needed at the moment.

And the canned foods?
176149Even for canned foods, the tendency is to consider them not genuine, a stock to keep in the pantry for emergencies. They often contain salt, sugar, flavorings and preservatives, so reading the label well is one of the main precautions to follow before purchasing and prefer those "natural" and without salt. Also in this case it will be good to pay attention to the choice of the package, which must not have bulges, dents or breakages. Check the boxing date, which is not too far in time, even if the deadlines are long.

As for the legumes, for example, it is suggested to eliminate the preserving liquids that usually contain salt and rinse the product before using it for cooking preparations.

"We're talking about explains Dr. Annalisa Russo, nutritionist biologist – of foods that retain their organoleptic characteristics, as the treatments suffered to allow their conservation are not particularly aggressive and in the case of vegetables the original taste is not excessively altered. As far as the nutritional aspect is concerned, it should be specified that the food does not maintain the characteristics it has at its origin, especially as regards vitamins and mineral salts". The passage of time and the heat treatment that foods undergo for canning are aspects that contribute to the reduction of vitamins, a process that starts from the moment the product is collected. Even steel packaging is environmentally friendly, cans, large barrels, boxes and closures can be recycled many times, maintaining their characteristics intact.

Keeping the theme, the star chef Moreno Cedroni, during the last edition of Terra Madre at the Salone del Gusto in Turin, he made gourmet creations starting from two products, tomato and anchovy, preserved in steel containers. The chef, fascinated by this preservation process, began to study it to understand how to keep canned perfumes and flavors, starting from his "starred" recipes and relying on research and his creativity.

Mariacristina Coppeto
June 2019

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