Day 4 – In Praise of Tinned Produce – Live Below the Line

May 2, 2013

I had a rather interesting comment from a friend today, who has not been as close as some to the preparation for this challenge.  Having asked what sort of things we’ve been eating, the question was asked, “ Oh, have you not had any fruit then?”  My response was of course, yes, just not fresh.  The friend then suggested that as fresh fruit was so cheap why hadn’t we eaten that?

Well, as many shoppers will know, fresh fruit and vegetable in general is NOT cheap.  It is very expensive compared with tinned and in some cases frozen food.  In our lives outside of the challenge, we have 3 bowls of fresh fruit on the kitchen side which the boys are free to graze their way through as they wish.  This week could not have been more different.  The fruit bowls were empty, replaced by tinned peaches and pineapple (and tinned vegetables too).

Today I considered buying 4 bananas, knowing that I only had £0.70 left in the purse and that I needed bread for tomorrow.  Needless to say, bananas were out of the question at a minimum of around £0.13 per fruit.

In addition to the amazing value of tinned produce is the 100% use-rate.  There is not a piece of the tin’s contents that can’t be consumed (even the pea juice went into last night’s cottage pie for some extra stock and seasoning!), there is no bruising, no skins that have added to the weight of the product, a tin can be bought “up-front” without guessing how much it might cost at the check-out, it does not rot, and because of the speed and process of canning, all vitamins and minerals are maintained, as is the case with freezing.  The March 5 2010 edition of discusses a study by The Institute of Food Research , noting their findings that “fresh” vegetables can lose up to 45 percent of their nutritional value between being picked and landing on a grocery shelf.  This is simply because as soon as they are picked, fruit and vegetables begin to change their composition.  Canning and freezing halt this change.

A different friend commented how she would really miss fresh fruit doing a challenge like this.  I do tend to agree, it is rather lovely to bite into a fresh strawberry and have that smell lingering on ones fingers, hear the crunch of a lovely fresh apple, or chop-up a set of fresh vegetables for a stew.

However, I do stand in praise of the tinned peach this week.  It is a good value, cost-effective way of getting a nutritionally sound product, with a sweetness with satisfies when other sweet treats are not affordable, and the whole tin can be eaten without any waste.   Don’t underestimate tinned and frozen fruit and vegetable;  you’ll never catch me too embarrassed to admit to using it.

Today’s menu and costs can be found at Meal diary THURSDAY , and please don’t forget you can still sponsor us at