Alternatives to canned foods due to BPA? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
delly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 186
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Can we start a discussion about how to find substitutes for canned foods, for those of us who are uncomfortable with the BPA in the can linings?

I've been trying to cut canned foods out of our diet because of the BPA. I don't know, maybe I'm overreacting, but I just feel more comfortable with that decision.

EXCEPT - it's not easy! Canned stuff is VERY convenient for certain applications, and I haven't figured out how to substitute well.

We don't even use that much canned stuff - just a few things, but they're hard to replace.
For instance, my kids love black olives - they can finish off a can at one sitting if I let them! That's one thing I haven't been able to replace yet, i can't find jarred olives that taste the same to them.

So some things we're in the habit of using from cans are:

- Black ripe olives (I had heard there was a brand that was BPA-free cans, but it turned out to be false - AFTER I bought a bunch of them. Grr.)

- Canned chicken (and tuna, but we don't eat tuna)
Somebody please tell me if the chicken that comes in bags (like this) has the same lining containing BPA on the inside? I've got a call in to the company but no answer yet.

- Pineapple - you can get it in plastic and I think sometimes glass, so I guess I should be able to find an option. It is more expensive that way though. Sigh.

- Beans (I've since started using Eden's Organic, so that should be ok, although I should probably work on using dried beans, but I'm scared of prepping them. We don't eat that many anyway, I need to work on that.)

- Chili - I've found some jars of it, so probably ok

- Refried beans - Eden's Organic has totally unflavored varieties - just beans, salt and water - DH hates that. he wants the flavor of the stuff we usually buy so I haven't been able to stop buying them yet.

- Diced tomatoes (occasionally)

- Creamed corn - I have a great soup recipe that uses canned creamed corn and canned reg corn, I need a substitute for the creamed! (I can use frozen for the reg corn)

- Canned pumpkin - great for easy baking. I did puree and freeze some fresh pumpkins from our garden but I'm really nervous about actually using the puree, it's a very different color and much more watery than the canned version (I had one last can and I had to make SOMEthing to take to a meeting the other day. ) I REALLY hope they work out ok.

- Chicken and vegetable broth - I'll just buy the cartons, those are safe, right? I hope?

- Soups - well, they are easy fallbacks, but they don't get much use around here. Not sure what I'd do for a substitute, probably making and freezing my own although I don't have too many recipes that freeze well.

- Evaporated milk - I have a couple favorite baking recipes that use this, I have NO idea how to substitute it.

- Sweetened condensed milk - ditto evaporated milk - we have an ABSOLUTE favorite (and SUPER EASY) pie recipe using this and now I can't in good conscience use it! Any way to substitute?

- Condensed creamed soups - I don't actually use these much but it seems like SO MANY recipes out there use them. And they do make it easy - just open and dump! I've seen recipes for making your own - but i would like something that doesn't require making a roux every time I want to use a condensed soup - I'd never get around to it. Either a dry mix? or something I can keep in the freezer?


One problem with the milk and condensed soup recipes is that I would consider using powdered milk (like for the DIY condensed soup mix) but I"m not sure how far this Chinese melamine problem extends. I hear that the US has imported a pretty significant amount of whey and possibly other dry milk solids, and I have no idea of how stringent the rules on declaring origin are? Of course, maybe I should spin that off into another post?


We don't eat meals of out cans (like ravioli or spaghettios or anything) so that's easy. And my kids like frozen and fresh veggies much better than the occasional canned we've used.

I can't think of any other ways we use canned, but if anybody does have other thoughts feel free to chime in! I haven't seen discussions of this elsewhere so I'm really hoping to get some opinions from other people who are thinking about it! (or maybe I'm the only one and I'm going overboard? )

The other thing is that canned food is so much more economical. Sigh. And with the economy this way it's hard to stick to not buying it! I will admit, for our "emergency" stash, I will be keeping some canned food around. Better BPA than no food if it came to a crisis!
delly is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 03:23 PM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Make your own. The milks and olives I don't know about, maybe someone will have something you can use instead of the milks for baking? The rest you can easily make on your own and freeze as needed.
Alyantavid is offline  
#3 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 03:38 PM
 
Sydnee's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 2,429
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'll come back to this, but I have a recipe for evaporated milk! And I have always made my own rouz for the cream soups. It's really so very easy, and then I can customize it!

Ok, I'll go dig up that recipe...

Busy Mama to three beautiful girls and loving wife to my hubby
Sydnee is offline  
#4 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 04:22 PM
 
GoddessKristie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: AR
Posts: 1,410
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Evaporated milk is just cooked below boiling temp until it's reduced by 1/2.
GoddessKristie is offline  
#5 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 05:33 PM
 
mercy589's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
subbing! I was walking through the grocery store the other day in one of the canned goods aisles wondering why it was so calm and normal. I was looking at the cans and wanted to yell - "Bisphenol-A! Theres a toxic chemical in all these cans! Don't buy them!" ... ok, so I didn't do it, but ugh, why isn't there a big revolt, a boycotting of canned goods going on until they change something???

I did dried beans in the crockpot, soak them overnight, rinse and refill with water and then cook on low all day until done. I portioned them out and froze them.

Cream of soups... there's a dry mix you can keep in the fridge...
http://www.recipezaar.com/3743
although yes, your thoughts on the dry milk are scary...

chicken and broth - buy a chicken and cook it in the crock pot and shred it (freeze some if you don't need it all) make broth with the bones

diced tomatoes - if you can still get some where you live chop up fresh tomatoes and freeze in canning jars

this is all alot of work and learning curve trying to figure it all out but its healthier! (no BPA or preservatives)
mercy589 is offline  
#6 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 05:39 PM
 
cristeen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 14,677
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, after reading how ripe black olives are processed, I won't eat them anymore. The stuff in jars is quite different because the processing is different.

Evaporated milk - I use heavy cream anywhere evap milk is called for. It's about the same consistency and I've never had a problem with recipes turning out. You just have to be careful not to let it boil.

Sweetened Condensed - you can find recipes if you google it, basically cream and sugar.

Beans - dried. Cook them in large batches and freeze them.

Pumpkin - when you cook it, you probably need to get more water out of it before freezing it. You can do that by roasting the cut squash, or bake the puree for a while to cook out the excess water.

Pineapple - I buy frozen. Or I freeze it myself when the fresh is on sale.

Refried beans - I would recommend learning how to make them. They are super simple, particularly if you have the beans already cooked in the freezer.

Stock - I stopped buying it in the cartons because the flavor is so much better in homemade. I make it in batches and freeze it in muffin tins, ice cube trays and in quarts.

Condensed soups - it depends on what you're using them for. Typically for cream of mushroom or celery, I melt some butter, toss in onions and mushrooms (or celery), sautee it a bit, add some flour, cook down the roux a bit and then add half and half. For cream of chicken, instead of butter I use chicken fat. They won't freeze particularly well, but they're pretty quick and easy to make.

Chili - again, the flavor of homemade is so much better that I don't bother buying canned.

Creamed corn - googling for a recipe for creamed corn should turn up plenty of options that you can make with frozen.

Tomatoes - this is one I still buy in cans. If I could get a good price on tomatoes in season (or grow my own), I'd can them myself.

Chicken - I shred any chicken left on a roast bird and toss it in the freezer for later use. That way I know the quality of the meat. Tuna I only really eat in steak (or sushi) form anymore, so that's fresh.

HTH

Cristeen ~ Always remembering our stillheart.gif  warrior ~ Our rainbow1284.gif  is 3, how'd that happen?!?! 

We welcomed another rainbow1284.gifstillheart.gif  warrior in May 2012!! 

2012 Decluttering challenge - 575/2012

cristeen is offline  
#7 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 06:35 PM
 
dogmom327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Posts: 5,702
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Black olives: We're trying to wean off of them although I do occaisionally see them in glass jars.

Canned chicken and tuna: I can my own (here are the guidelines: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/he188w.htm)

Pineapple: We only eat it when we can get it fresh and even then it isn't very often since we are trying to eat local produce.

Beans: Make my own from dried in the crock pot...really easy.

Refried beans: Make my own

Chili: Make my own and freeze it (although you could can it)

Diced Tomatoes: You could can your own but I did just find out that Tropical Traditions sells tomatoes in glass jars so we are switching to that.

Chicken & veggie broth: I make my own and can it (same guidelines as the meat). Healthier too since I use bones and let it simmer for several days.

Condensed soup: These are really bad healthwise (highly processed). However, they were hard to give up because I cooked with them all the time. I have since learned to make a basic white sauce and add flavoring for the same effect.

Mama to DS (6/07) h20homebirth.gif, DD (6/09) h20homebirth.gif, and DD (07/12) homebirth.jpg..

dogmom327 is offline  
#8 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 07:16 PM
 
potatocraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 229
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I just want to let you know that according to the ball home canning web site, there is bpa in the lids used in canning food. so even your home canned food and stuff in glass jars may have it.
potatocraft is offline  
#9 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
delly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 186
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think part of my problem is that I'm used to the canned versions so I'm going to have to modify my recipes to use the substitutes and get a similar result. And I am SO not good at modifying recipes - I'm NOT a good cook. So I'm a little afraid of messing with what works for me right now.

I'll miss the convenience, though. Especially because having something that you don't have to worry about it going bad in the fridge or having to allot time to thaw it is really convenient when I'm rushed, and a lot of options to replace these items are going to rely on fresh or frozen replacements. Not to mention the fact that the freezer requires that the electricity doesn't go out.

And I just can't bring myself to do home canning. I'm sure you ladies do a great job, but I just can't trust myself to do it right, i'd always worry that I didn't seal it right and something might not be safe or sanitary about what I'd canned. Sigh.

I'll have to experiment with the evaporated and sweetened condensed milk ideas, I guess - thanks for those thoughts. I'm going to miss the "open the can and toss together an easy and reliable dessert" option for taking to potlucks and such, though.

I am aware of the jar lids probably having BPA... but at least it's minimal contact with the food I guess. Sigh. SO annoying that the food industry is like this, huh? I mean, I can't stop buying EVERYthing, and I can't realistically make everything myself (see above assessment of my cooking abilities plus the fact that I don't even have time to shower some days!).
delly is offline  
#10 of 19 Old 10-01-2008, 10:17 PM
 
mamadelbosque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,810
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My only hold outs for canned are coconut milk - which we use a surprising amount of. I suppose I could just buy fresh coconuts, but well, that would be more expensive and a goodly amount more work, so... yeah. I canned my own tomatoes this year (90 quarts and 5 pints thus far), and that was my other big one... and I can buy tom paste in glass jars, so yay!
mamadelbosque is offline  
#11 of 19 Old 10-02-2008, 03:30 AM
 
dogmom327's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Posts: 5,702
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by potatocraft View Post
I just want to let you know that according to the ball home canning web site, there is bpa in the lids used in canning food. so even your home canned food and stuff in glass jars may have it.
Very true (and unfortunate). I finally decided though that since my food rarely touches the canning lid, it's better than my food sitting in a can completely lined with BPA. Hopefully soon there will be canning lids available (and affordable) that don't have BPA.

Mama to DS (6/07) h20homebirth.gif, DD (6/09) h20homebirth.gif, and DD (07/12) homebirth.jpg..

dogmom327 is offline  
#12 of 19 Old 10-02-2008, 05:18 AM
 
tree-hugger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 684
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
weck home canning jars are bpa free

condensed milk--you can make it out of powdered milk and water--google for the proportions

tomato paste--scald, skin, core, and peel tomatoes. Puree. Dry in a food dryer. It makes a leather that can be stored without canning or freezing. Use it to thicken instead of tom paste.

beans--you can just boil them on the stove in water for 2-3 hours. soaking is not essential

refried beans--homemade are easy and healthy (depending on what you put in them)

pineapple--use fresh

coconut milk--I have not mastered this yet. The canned stuff is actually not the liquid inside the coconut. It is instead the meat of the coconut that has been forced through some kind of mesh. I tried putting coconut meat in my food processor and pureeing it, but it just turned into little pieces of coocnut and never got smooth.
tree-hugger is offline  
#13 of 19 Old 10-02-2008, 06:39 AM
 
LookMommy!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Jerusalem
Posts: 813
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I buy tomato paste in a plastic container, and coconut milk in a cardboard carton. Can you not get these where you live?
LookMommy! is offline  
#14 of 19 Old 10-02-2008, 12:11 PM
 
cristeen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 14,677
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by tree-hugger View Post
weck home canning jars are bpa free

condensed milk--you can make it out of powdered milk and water--google for the proportions

coconut milk--I have not mastered this yet. The canned stuff is actually not the liquid inside the coconut. It is instead the meat of the coconut that has been forced through some kind of mesh. I tried putting coconut meat in my food processor and pureeing it, but it just turned into little pieces of coocnut and never got smooth.
Thanks for the tip on Weck, I'll have to go look that up.

Powdered milk - two problems there, as powdered milk is not all that healthy to begin with, and then add in the current contamination crisis, I think most of us would rather avoid that.

Coconut milk - Actually, the way this is made is to take shredded coconut, pour boiling water over it, let it soak for a little while, then strain. That's all. There are special tools to make the shredding easier. The actual coconut meat is not included in coconut milk, it is discarded.

Cristeen ~ Always remembering our stillheart.gif  warrior ~ Our rainbow1284.gif  is 3, how'd that happen?!?! 

We welcomed another rainbow1284.gifstillheart.gif  warrior in May 2012!! 

2012 Decluttering challenge - 575/2012

cristeen is offline  
#15 of 19 Old 11-24-2008, 08:40 PM
 
acupuncturemomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,512
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just found this old thread and wanted to say that I believe Native Forest brand coconut milk is BPA-free!

crochetsmilie.gif mama to DD 8/06, DS 9/09
 

Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul jammin.gif
acupuncturemomma is online now  
#16 of 19 Old 11-24-2008, 10:25 PM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Eden Foods brand beans don't have BPA so I pay a little more for that brand if I want canned beans.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#17 of 19 Old 01-06-2009, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
delly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 186
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
fyi i saw on a site (www.enviroblog.org) one of the comments giving some ideas on canned tomato alternatives.

One was dried tomatoes, rehydrated... another (of course) was chopping fresh... there was a recipe for cooking them down into sauce, and someone said that there are some aseptic packagings for organic diced tomatoes and sauces...

this was all in the comments here ... I was going to copy and paste the text of the comments I mentioned, but I don't think that's allowed, so go ahead and look for yourself if you're interested. :-)
delly is offline  
#18 of 19 Old 03-19-2009, 08:52 PM
 
moonchiald's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 244
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Native forest is BPA free but it is lined with an Aluminized Epoxy. I can't find if the powdered Aluminum leaches or not.

I went from elated to bummed all in the same day when I got my second email from them.
moonchiald is offline  
#19 of 19 Old 03-20-2009, 11:10 AM
 
mamadelbosque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,810
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well that sucks (about the aluminum epoxy). Here I've been buying native forest coconut milk, thinking thats better than thai kitchen and now I'm not so sure! Bah!!
mamadelbosque is offline  
Reply

User Tag List



Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off