Millions of us are relying on food cupboard staples to get us through the lockdown, and sales of tinned food have soared as we try to shop less often and save cash.
But it’s no bad thing – tinned food can keep you healthy, according to top TV chef Phil Vickery.
“Canned food has long been a fixture in my home cooking because of its many benefits, a key one being quality,” he says.
“Many tinned fruits and vegetables are packed just a few hours after harvest and the canning process helps food to retain its natural goodness for a long period of time.
“It means people have access to high-quality, tasty, nutritious food which is ready whenever they are.”
Here, the This Morning star tells us about the benefits and how to get a boost from tinned grub….
The NHS advises that you should eat two portions of fish a week since it is linked to boosting your brain and heart.
Phil says: “Increase your family’s daily fish intake easily by incorporating tinned fish into your meal planning.
“Try adding a tin of tuna to a can of drained potatoes, a bit of mayonnaise and one egg to make fish cakes. Gently saute them in hot oil and serve with salad for a nice fresh dish that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.”
Full of beans
Did you know baked beans, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans and chickpeas can all count toward your recommended five-a-day portions of fruit and veg?
Phil says: “Get creative by switching tinned veggies for your usual protein and carb sources. Baked beans are a great protein alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
“Chickpeas make a great alternative for pasta in classic Italian dishes. Swap out the pasta with a can of chickpeas for a fresh and fun gluten-free alternative to the Med’s favourite carb.”
Fresh fruit isn’t the only type that counts for your five-a-day – canned does too.
Phil says: “Try topping breakfasts, such as porridge, with a mix of canned fruit. My personal favourites are canned peaches and mango.
“It adds a lovely, sweet note to the breakfast and is nutritious at the same time – win, win!”
Phil believes cans can help you get more for your money too.
“Canned vegetables and pulses are a great way of bulking out family favourites such as pies, lasagne and ragu.
“Adding a can of carrots or beans not only boosts the nutritional content but it makes more expensive ingredients such as meat go further.”
You can create delicious, fuss-free healthy snacks using canned food.
“Bake canned chickpeas in the oven with a little paprika for around 45minutes,” says Phil. “This is one of my absolute favourite ways to use canned chickpeas – it’s so easy.
“You can also make hummus by whizzing chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and salt in a mixer. Just like pesto, once you realise how easy it is to scratch cook it, you’ll never go back.”
Humble canned peas can also be used in all sorts of ways, according to Phil.
“Peas can be prepared in ways most people would never imagine,” he says.
“Swap out the basil in pesto for a handful of canned peas and mint, before adding to a food processor with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice for the freshest pesto you’ve ever tasted.”
Ring the changes
“Use up those cupboard staples and create something unexpected.
“For instance, if you’ve got cannellini or butter beans in the cupboard and can’t think what to do with them, try stewing them with a can of chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli, onion and tomato puree and serve with rice for a lovely meat-free dinner.”
Here’s one you might not have come up with on your own… using canned black beans to help make delicious chocolate brownies.
Phil says they are “one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet – they pack a protein punch and swap sugar for slow-release carbs to keep you full after eating. You’ll find recipes online.”
Batch cooking is a great way to save money and time.
Phil says: “Canned food is perfect for batch cooking as you can be creative by making dishes from scratch, and you may have a lot of the ingredients in your cupboards already.
“Canned plum tomatoes can be used to create tasty sauces, or in soups or rice and pasta dishes.
“The trick is to batch cook a few different meals so you don’t find yourself eating the same meal day after day.
“Save even more of your free time by swapping out slow-to-cook carbs with ready-cooked canned alternatives such as quinoa, spelt and lentils in any dish for a quick and easy healthy base to a meal,” adds Phil.
- For Phil’s canned food recipes go to lovecannedfood.com
Phil opens lid on top tins
There’s far more to discover in cans than baked beans and chopped tomatoes…
- Artichoke hearts: Whack them on a pizza or add them to a salad – they’re amazing
- Peaches Perfect with porridge or they make an easy crumble
- Anchovies Use the oil as well to add a rich flavour to dishes
- Mango So much easier than chopping up fresh
- Crab Luxury for less and amazing in a linguine
- Lentils Perfect for bulking out your meals and saving you money
- Sweetcorn Try making sweetcorn salsa to top tacos – kids love it
- Pineapple Try it grilled, it’s so delicious
- Bamboo shoots Make your stir fries simpler
- Mushy peas are one of your five-a-day and a chip shop classic