Knowing how to navigate the canned food aisle can be your secret weapon for mealtime success. Between the potatoes, peas, beets and corn, canned goods offer home cooks the ingredients of the produce aisle - without the prep work.
To get you started on stocking your pantry, we've narrowed the beginner's list down to four easy categories of canned goods.
1. Protein in a pinch
When cooking with beans, dried varieties need to soak overnight; but what if you want a three-bean salad in a pinch? This is a definite canned can-do! When dinnertime calls for ingredients that require planning ahead for soaking, marinating or precooking, try swapping dried or fresh ingredients such as beans, tuna and sardines for prepared canned options. Your meal will be protein-packed in minutes.
White Bean Salad with Patty Pan Cups
2. Labour-intensive ingredients, no prep work
You love the idea of fresh artichokes -- pretty as a flower, delicious in any course -- but you simply can't stomach the idea of wielding your paring knife for hours on end to get them table-ready. Take the work out of making fresh meals by opting for canned ingredients that have been prepped by pros. Craving fresh tomato sauce but there's no time to score, blanch and peel those hothouses? If it's a labour-intensive ingredient you need, consider the can!
Baked Artichoke Mozzarella Dip
Mussels with Spicy Vodka Tomato Sauce
3. Out-of-season ingredients
Shopping for seasonal ingredients provides the best bang for your buck and flavour for your cooking. Canned fruit and vegetables are plucked at the peak of freshness and allow you to enjoy seasonal ingredients without any guilt. Corn, peas and peaches can adorn even the coldest winter's night meal when you go canned.
Scallops and Minty Peas
Peach Oatmeal Griddle Cakes
4. Flavour boosters
Even a little tin can will boast big flavour. Chilies, pickled products and pastes line the shelves of the grocer's International aisle. Just a dollop can bring a bland dish to life and help you travel around the world without leaving your kitchen table. Harissa, Chipotle in adobo sauce and tahini might turn you into a canned goods addict.
Crispy Moroccan Lamb Pastilla
Quinoa Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing
Original image courtesy of Boarding1Now
by Joanna Gryfe