Pausing to Give Thanks
As we approach a Thanksgiving that may look very different, in a year that has been unprecedented, to say the least, we wanted to just take one moment to give thanks for a few of the things that make us who we are and that never get enough credit. Here is what we’re thankful for!
What We’re Thankful For, Now More Than Ever
Tomatoes: AKA “Love Apples”
Tomatoes are the magical and unique fruit *(vegetable?) that combine POWERHOUSE nutrition, with eloquent and unique umami flavors. Nothing else packs as big of a nutrition punch, while also being so wildly beloved and delicious. We are so thankful that these red beauties are such an easy way for families to feed their kids healthy, affordable and delicious dishes.
We take a lot of pride in working with the best-registered dietitians in the world, and nothing is as cool as bringing them out to the tomato fields and watching them experience the harvest for themselves in person. We couldn’t do that this year, but here’s a sweet summary from the great Leslie Schilling RD. We really count on these nutrition experts to help spread the message about not only the simple process from field to sealed, but also the truth about canned tomatoes. (This story from our buddy Toby Amidor, RD)
Here’s a fun virtual tour video that’s hosted by another of our favorite dietitians, Manuel Villacorta. He came along on a harvest tour, and also breaks down the major nutritional benefits to canned and jarred tomato products.
Cans and Jars: Seasonal Time Capsules
We hope you already know this, but just a reminder: tomatoes are actually grown in the summertime. That’s when they’re at their best. To capture those summer flavors you have to wait until they’re at their red ripe peak! Often people are surprised to learn that the freshest, ripest and most flavorful tomatoes you’re going to get all year long come from cans and jars. That’s because they’re picked at that peak and sealed within hours, locking in all that flavor and nutrition.
This pandemic has brought about a bit of a renaissance for canned foods, as people quickly realized that if the supply chain was in doubt, or if we’re trying not to go to the store as often, these shelf stable and affordable cans and jars are a life saver to keep our families healthy and happy. While it’s a nice reminder, we like to clarify, this wasn’t a comeback. Cans and jars have been there for you for hundreds of years.
Fun Fact: You can actually thank Napoleon for the invention of canned foods:
Napoleon offered 12,000 francs to improve upon the prevailing food preservation methods of the time. Not surprisingly, the purpose was to better feed his army “when an invaded country was not able or inclined to sell or provide food”. Fifteen years later, confectioner Nicolas François Appert claimed the prize. He devised a method involving heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars — the same basic technology still used to can foods.
Every industry has been hit by 2020’s wild ride, but few as harshly as the hospitality industry. We all love restaurants because they feed us, and are where we celebrate so many of life’s milestones. Another thing we all learned very quickly through this pandemic is how much they really are an economic driver in our communities. Not only do they support so many jobs, but they are the end of the supply chain from the many food companies, canneries and plants, all the way back to the farmers. If there are no restaurants, everything gets backed up and we saw many farmers losing their crops. For all these reasons and more, we encourage everyone, safely, however they’re able, to remember to support restaurants. Everywhere is different right now, but if you can safely enjoy, or carry out, delivery or even buying gift certificates to save for the future, every bit helps. #SaveRestaurants
Even though people often think about Thanksgiving being a home-cooked feast, this year might look a lot different. Many restaurants are offering premade Thanksgiving feasts to go. Or if you are going the traditional route of cooking up a huge feast, maybe take a few days before and after to get carry out and take a break from the kitchen.
If you’re still figuring out some Thanksgiving sides, or just want to try some new healthy variations on classics, check out a few of our favorites from our buddy, and registered dietitian Sharon Palmer.