With the exception of Italian tomatoes, I rarely buy canned vegetables, unless I'm desperate for something like artichokes when they're out of season. But one thing I have always noticed is that while just about every vegetable — onions, asparagus, tomatoes, corn, beets, even kale — is readily available on a shelf, I've never seen broccoli that comes in a tin. Why doesn't canned broccoli exist?
I was surprised to find out that the answer has more to do with texture and smell than anything nutritional. In the new book, FYI: Does Size Matter? 15 Questions We Aren't Afraid to Answer, editors describe the process of pressure-canning vegetables, which at temperatures above 200ºF, would turn delicate broccoli florets to a virtual pulp. Even the USDA dissuades home canners from preserving broccoli in this manner. Not only will the canning process discolor the vegetable, it also intensifies the broccoli's gassy odor.
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