This blog post is brought to you by The Motherhood and ConAgra Foods. All opinions expressed about antioxidants in food are my own. #AntioxidantFacts
One of my favorite things to eat is my grandmother’s homemade vegetable soup. She used to grow a huge garden with all sorts of vegetables like yellow squash, tomatoes, corn, beans and okra. When everything had been picked, washed and made ready, my grandmother would work for hours, even days, to get it all canned. It was always nice to enjoy a hot bowl of her vegetable soup in the middle of winter, many months after those vegetables had been grown.
I am so glad she knew how to preserve food! I recently attended a virtual chat with food scientists and experts from ConAgra foods. We talked about food preservation and antioxidants. I learned a lot of Antioxidant Facts to share with you.
Canning is just one way to preserve food. Other methods include freezing food, putting food in the refrigerator and adding ingredients to everyday foods.
It is important to preserve our foods for several reasons. We preserve them for taste, freshness, safety, natural color preservation and to reduce food waste.
Facts about antioxidants in our food.
- Antioxidants are a type of preservative added to foods to help protect oils from damage that leads to rancidity. For example, when we open a box of food and it is exposed to air, the fats and oils in our food will spoil. Rancid (spoiled) food has an unpleasant odor and taste.
- Certain foods contain natural antioxidants and others may contain manmade antioxidants. Many foods contain both natural and manmade anwtioxidants.
- Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and Citric Acid are antioxidants naturally found in food.
- Manmade antioxidants in food are BHT and TBHQ. Both of these antioxidants are tasteless and colorless.
You may wonder (like I did): Why are manmade and natural antioxidants used in foods?
Manmade antioxidants have been used in our food for decades. BHT and TBHQ are manmade antioxidants used to preserve certain foods because sometimes natural antioxidants can throw off the flavors of foods we know and love. Food makers like ConAgra Foods choose certain preservative ingredients based on what they know will deliver the best flavor, while keeping foods safe and fresh.
This fun video by Mental Floss helps further explain with “6 Facts About Preservatives.” Watch the video and let me know if you learn anything new. I know I did!
The bottom line is that both man-made and natural antioxidants are safe ways to preserve our foods. They help us to enjoy the foods we love by preserving their quality, flavor and color. They also improve the shelf-life of foods and reduce the amount of food waste.