The term processed food brings to mind the image of neon orange cheese, stringy canned asparagus or worse.
But the real definition of processed food is any food that’s been altered in some way by either mechanical or chemical operations to change or preserve it.1 And those methods of “processing” aren’t as diabolical as you may think. They include freezing, canning, baking or drying techniques that actually sound rather homespun and domestic. So, perhaps we can alter our thinking to look for minimally processed foods, including:
In order to have the “best processed foods,” let’s train ourselves to do more cooking and meal prepping, which allows us to control the amount of salt, sugar and fat in our meals. Also (pro tip!), read labels while grocery shopping to see what and how much of these nutrients have been added to your purchase.
What steps do I take at home to utilize minimally processed foods? I’m fortunate to have space for a garden, so I’m able to can, freeze and preserve much of the harvest for use in other months. If you’re limited on space, think about starting out small, maybe with a container tomato plant! See below for my personal home canned tomato recipe!
Oven-dried tomatoes in garlic olive oil
1Source: Encyclopedia.com. Food Preservation. https://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/food-and-drink/food-and-cooking/food-preservation. 2003.