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Old 02-25-2005, 11:15 AM   #1
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Always eat fresh and local?

OK. I'll admit it. I eat lots of frozen and canned foods. I eat a lot of vegs and fruit shipped up from other continents.

I'm rather sick of hearing this. I would really, really like to know what lettuce grows under a foot of snow in NYC (where so many cooking shows originate)???? I know I can get fresh bay leaves (which aren't as good as dried, I might add) and rosemary (which my neighbors call me up for regularly) from my bathroom (sorry, that's where the sun is!!). But tomatoes, green beans, lettuce --- even winter veggies such as cabbage and brocolli --- in February, in northern Illinois (or for that matter NYC)? who are they kidding? No, of course a tomato I buy at my grocery this month isn't going to taste like the one from my garden in September. But I only get that tomatoe for 6 weeks or so, otherwise I freeze it, and used canned. Are they telling me I should never eat a green bean except for the two months I can get them fresh? Peas, even shorter.

I think the reason that we don't die from starvation in winter time is that we've come up with wonderful ways of preserving and shipping produce (when was the last time YOU knew someone who had scurvey? Or a goiter?). So why do some chefs (again, I'm talking northern ones) pretend that they only use local produce in season? When it is there, yes, of course you should use it. But ..... help me here. Am I missing something?

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Old 02-25-2005, 11:24 AM   #2
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eating fresh isn't the hard part. planes and trucks arrive everyday in nyc with fresh produce from around the country, and around the world. the tricky part is eating local produce, which of course doesn't begin until march with asparagus and beans and leafy veggies.
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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I think this is an excellent point, Claire, and you're right, there's a lot of mixed messaging about fresh vs. frozen/canned.

After a lot of reading about this I've come to the conclusion of:
Fresh is better if 1-it's truly fresh (not sitting on the grocery store shelf for a week before I buy it) and 2-it's cooked properly so that all nutrients aren't leached out of it.

While fresh is better than frozen or canned, any kind of of veggie is better than none. My choice is usually fresh, and if not fresh, than frozen. That really limits the amount of canned veggies I eat to corn, if called for in a recipe, and tomatoes and beans.
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:22 PM   #4
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Fresh and Local is a nice idea ... and I enjoy it when things are in season ... but for the most part, things aren't - which is why our ancestors learned to preserve food for those times when things weren't in season.

Any restaurant or chef that claims to only cook fresh and local is either full of mule muffins, a bold faced liar, only has one item on the menu, or so stupid I wouldn't trust them to make me a cup of coffee.

I like fresh when I can get it in season locally, then fresh from where it is shipped in from, and then frozen. I'm not a "can fan" but some things you just get in cans. Tomatoes are a good example .... and tuna.

I saw a NY "chef" on TV once that said he/she only cooked with local organic "in season" ingredients - and made a Vidallia onion pie. I think Vidallia, Georgia is a little too far south of NY to be considered local.

And, heaven fobid that we should ask where the salt was mined, the black peppercorns were grown, what about that vanilla or cinnamon, the nutmeg, etc .....
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Old 02-26-2005, 10:32 AM   #5
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I'll buy fresh, in-season, local produce when it's available. After that, I try to buy fresh imported produce. There are some that I prefer frozen, like corn, and sweet peas. The only canned vegetables I like are some tomato products, hominy, and green beans.

My chef will purchase some fresh, in-season, local produce, when it's in season. Locally-grown corn, cantaloupe, and tomatoes. The members at the club go nuts over it.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:23 PM   #6
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AS a child of the sixties, living all over the place, I ate a lot of canned goods, and, like most of us, still have a certain fondness for the flavors of my childhood. My mom was on the vanguard of the frozen veggie industry, and when I was quite young we went to frozen veggies. It actually took awhile to get used to the flavor!!! Green beens, spinach, and peas suddenly had a totally different flavor from what I was used to!! Heaven forbid I taste fresh versions of those vegs!

But I'd like to add canned beans to the list of canned goods that are wonderful. For many years I cooked my beans from the dried (which, I might add, are still preserved, no matter how you look at it). But then I went on the road for a few years, and there was no way I was going to have my stove on all day in that tiny RV (turns it into a sweatbox, and the A/C would blow the circuits trying to keep up). To top it off, I had three episodes in quick sequence where the beans simply didn't cook up tender (and no, no salt or acidic ingredients) enough to be edible. So now, 90% of the time, I buy canned beans.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:25 PM   #7
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Oh, a quiz question. I know the answer, I think. What is the first vegetable that was "canned" and what is the history behind it? Curious to see who out there is interested in food history.
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Old 02-26-2005, 10:42 PM   #8
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Ckaire, I could not find a direct answer to your question, but I did find this interesting timeline.


History of the can (timeline)

1795 Napoleon offers 12,000 Franks to anyone who can devise a way of preserving food for his army & navy.
1809 Nicholas Appert (of France) devises an idea of packing food into special "bottles", like wine. Now nicknamed "father of canning", he receives the 12,000 Frank prize from the French government after he invents the method of preserving food through sterilization.
1810 Peter Durand (of England) receives a patent from King George III. The patent includes pottery, glass and tinplated iron for use as food container.
1812 Nicholas Appert (of France) publishes "Book for all households" which is translated and published in NY.
Thomas Kensett (of England) starts a small plant in NY: canning oysters, meats, fruits and vegtables in hermetically sealed containers.
1813 John Hall and Bryan Dorkin opened the first commercial canning factory in England in 1813
1818 Peter Durand introduces his tinplated iron can in America.
1819 Thomas Kensett and Ezra Gagett start selling their products in canned tinplate cans.
1825 Kensett receives an American patent for tinplated cans.
1830 Huntly and Palmer (of England) start selling biscuits and cakes in decorated cans.
1847 Allan Taylor, patents a machine for stamping cylindrical can ends.
1849 Henry Evans is granted a patent for the pendulum press, which - when combined with a die device, makes a can end in a single operation. Production now improves from 5 or 6 cans per hour, to 50-60 per hour.
1856 Henry Bessmer (of England) discovers first (and later on William Kelley of America also discovers) the process of converting cast iron into steel.
Gail Borden is granted a patent on canned condensed milk.
1858 Ezra J. Warner (of Waterbury, Connecticut) patents the first can opener! This was used heavily by the US military during the civil war!
1866 E.M. Lang (of Maine) is granted a patent for sealing tin cans by casting or dropping bar solder in measured drops on can ends.
J. Osterhoudt patented the tin can with a key opener.
1870 William Lyman patents a better can opener (rotating wheel, which cuts along the top rim of the can).
Hinged lid tin cans are introduced.
1875 Arthur A. Libby and William J. Wilson (of Chicago) develop the tapered can for canning corned beef.
Sardines first packed in cans.
1876 Hume "floater" introduced to float solder onto ends of cans as they roll along "the line".
1877 The simplified "side seamer" for cans appears.
1880-1890 Automatic can making machinery debuts.
1892 Tabacco cans introduced.
1894 Ams machine company begins manufacturing locked double seam cans.
1898 George W. Cobb preserving company finally perfects the sanitary can.
1899 Inventors Helbling and Pertsch patented aerosols pressurized using methyl and ethyl chloride as propellants.
1901 American can company formed.
1909 Tuna canning begins in California.
1914 Continuous ovens for drying inked tinplate are introduced.
1917 Ernest Moeller (Bayer company) introduces aspirin pocket sized cans.
Key-openning collar-can for coffee introduced.
1921 Zinc oxide and other zinc compounds in enamel lining found to prevent discoloration of canned corn by Zinc sulphide ("Corn black").
Canned citrus juice cans first ship from Florida.
1922 Eric Rotheim (of Norway) develops the modern aerosol can.
Canned dog food introduced by PH Chopped.
1926 Canned ham (SPAM) was introduced.
1927 Erik Rotheim (of Norway), designs the aerosol can in 1926. He patents the first aerosol can and valve that could hold and dispense products and propellant systems (patent received in 1929).
1831 Electrical can opener introduced (with a serrated edge which cuts along the top rim of the can).
1933 Quart can of motor oil introduced.
1935 Introduction of the bear can. The first beer can was "Krueger Cream Ale" - sold by the Kruger Brewing Company of Richmond, Virginia.
1940 Carbonated soft drink canning begins.
1941 US Soldiers rely on canned field rations during WWII.
1943 Lyle Goodhue and William Sullivan invent a portable aerosol can using pressurized gas that can be used by US service men to kill malaria causing bugs during WWII.
1945 First aerosol cans begin marketing on a wide basis.
1949 Spray paint was invented by Edward Seymour. The first color was aluminum...
1953 Robert Abplanal invents a crimped valve that can dispense pressurized gas. This significantly improves the aerosol can design.
1955 Cans participated in A-Bomb civil defense tests in Nevada in order to test whether canned foods were safe to eat after Nuclear explosions (they were found safe).
1957 Aluminum was introduced in metal can making.
1959 First all-aluminum beer can.
Ermal Fraze (of Kettring, Ohio) invents the easy open can!
1960 Easy-open can introduced.
1962 Beverage can pull-tab was introduced.
1964 Two piece can developed. Found to use less metal than the traditional three-piece can.
1965 Aluminum beverage cans introduced.
Tin-Free-steel (TFS chromium) cans developed.
1970 First Earth day - recycling begins to raise awareness.
1972 multi-packs for beverage cans are introduced (6-packs).
1973 Indel (of Israel) introduces one of the first tin-plate Coulometric rating systems (SUMETAL)
1985 Aluminum cans dominate beverage market
Astronauts in outer space receive carbonated beverages in cans.
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:08 PM   #9
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lol, claire, i think you're great or i'd probably get mad because of your insulting us 'Northerners.' we do use fresh ingredients up here at all times unless we really can't. but i grew up in a gourmet-loving food-snob household. i got into my early-to-mid 20's and basically came into my own w/cooking, and i do use fresh, locally grown produce at all times. we have farmers' markets out the wazoo up here at all times and we all have gardens.
betcha you'll roll your eyes and think i'm flinging s*it. hell, at least i have pictures to show that i'm not full of it. food INCLUDED. i love photography and i take lots of pictures of my food.
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Old 02-28-2005, 07:13 PM   #10
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We purchase fresh whenever possible but hear in the "North" we rely on foods shipped to us. We do eat quite a bit of freshly frozen corn and canned tomatoes.
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