Should You Rinse Canned Vegetables?

On our busiest days, it may seem hard enough to just get dinner on the table, let alone think about making a healthy meal. The thought of scrubbing, peeling, chopping, and cooking, even our favorite vegetables, can seem overwhelming when you've barely had time for other daily necessities. But modern conveniences like ready-to-go canned foods have provided us with a simple way to ensure we're still getting our daily dose of vitamins and minerals, even in a time crunch.

From nutritious black beans to chickpeas to corn, all kinds of healthy foods come in convenient shelf-stable cans. However, you may know that the extra step of rinsing some canned foods is advised for certain items. We know this is an optional added task that many people tend to skip over. While depending on the item, things like taste and texture can be affected, there's a more important reason you will want to start rinsing off your canned vegetables.

Make sure to get all the extra salt off

It turns out there is an important reason you'll want to pull out a handy strainer before cooking with your canned veggies. While you may be washing off your grains of rice or canned beans to rid them of excess starch, rinsing your canned vegetables serves a different purpose. To keep the integrity of the vegetables' flavor, many canned foods opt to load up their brine with lots of salt. However, there are lots of motivations one may have to avoid eating sodium-covered veggies, especially when it comes to health. High salt levels in one's diet can contribute to plenty of issues, such as an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, per Harvard.

While you may think purchasing a low or reduced-sodium can of veggies rid you of having to perform this extra step, this version only contains about a 25% reduction in sodium levels from a typical can. No matter what kind of cans you purchase, the only way to ensure you're not eating any extra sodium than needed is to make sure you give all your canned veggies a thorough rinse before cooking with them. So, while you may say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, make sure the same is true for your tasty veggies.