Why Isn't There Canned Broccoli?

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When it comes to buying canned vegetables, we usually find the same handful of choices: peas, beans, corn, carrots, beets, tomatoes. Why don’t we see broccoli or green peppers in a can?

Like many things in life, it has to do with appearance. In order to prepare veggies for canning, they must first be heated enough to kill any microorganisms. Then they are subjected to another heating process, this time under steam pressure at 240 to 250°F. The length of time varies depending upon the vegetable’s density, acidity and ability to transfer heat; corn and pumpkin take longer than tomatoes or green beans.

Not every veggie can withstand that amount of cooking and still look appealing and appetizing when it slides out of the can. Even if there was a way to keep broccoli stalks looking neat and pretty, the parts of the plant that consumers like are the florets, and that’s precisely the part that would wilt and go mushy during the canning process. That’s why manufacturers stick with the sturdier stuff for canning purposes, and leave the more delicate plants for the frozen food section of your supermarket.