13 January 2017

Vegetables en conserve

When it comes to vegetables, en conserve means canned. I do use canned vegetables. Beans, for example. Green peas, called petits pois in French. Tomatoes. Certain vegetables keep a good taste and texture after undergoing the canning process.

Petits pois, for example. Fresh peas are not available year-round. People buy them in cans or jars, already cooked and sometimes seasoned. Peas and carrots. Peas and mushrooms. I bought a six-pack of canned peas a few weeks ago because they were a well-known brand on sale at a good price and we can have them all winter, cooked with either fresh carrots or fresh mushrooms, which are available year-round.

It helps if the peas are treated nicely by the companies that process and pack them. For example, the peas I bought don't contain any chemical additives, just salt and sugar. And the instructions on the can say that they should be drained before being cooked and served (à égoutter avant utilisation). Rinsing them is a good idea too, to remove extra salt and sugar used in the canning process. Then you can put in fresh water or your own broth when you cook them. With some butter too, of course, and a lettuce leaf or two.

A few years ago, I was talking with a British friend — the woman who left Bertie the black cat with us when she moved back to England seven years ago — and she tossed off a comment about French food that I remember. "The peas you get in France are very good," she said. "Even the ones in tins are delicious." I had always thought the same thing. An Englishwoman should know. When I was growing up in North Carolina, we called green garden peas "English" peas, to distinguish them from our local "field" peas like black-eyed peas.


  1. I prefer the frozen variety of pea for bulk use...
    to me, they cook-up better...
    but we always buy the small tins of peas...
    and other things like beans, mushrooms, sweetcorn, etc...
    because they are a very useful "sling it in the stew" addition...
    especially the peas... and they really are better over here!!
    I recently found some "Sweetcorn & Red Kidney Beans"...
    not used them yet... but they are also D'aucy, so should be good.

    Once we discovered D'aucy we always bought them...
    and that was before we even thought about France!
    Yes, you can get D'aucy in the UK...
    in the "right sort of store" naturally...
    and they cost! But, it is worth a little extra for that difference in quality.
    The only large tins we get are tomatoes for soups...
    because all ours get converted into sauces that are too good to loose in a soup...
    and then big tins of red kidney beans, chick peas and lentils... a very useful standby!
    And we buy the bottled varieties, too....
    both because you can see the contents....
    and they have the tops we can buy as spares!!
    But peas, in season, we use our own... not frozen...
    unless we have enough to freeze... like this year...
    we've still got a kilo left in the freezer!

    1. I think most Americans don't really like green peas, carrots, or mushrooms. The peas they've had are canned and full of additives — not at all like the ones you get here. Children are force by their parents to eat them. I think green garden (English) peas are just not adapted to American climates or canning methods.

    2. I don't eat meat so carrots and mushrooms are a part of my diet .. but I dislike anything canned and I am so lucky to live where there are nothing but fresh produce markets everywhere ... even in winter in NY State, there were markets with fresh greenhouse veggies. Meanwhile, I don't like peas :)

  2. They say that the speed of canning or freezing retains more of the 'good things' in the veg. as opposed to buying (not so ) fresh. However, picking from your garden straight to the kitchen has to be the best, but we do like our food out of season.

    1. We've probably been spoiled by modern technology, but a winter diet of cabbage and carrots can get boring — especially for all those who don't even like cabbage. I guess dried beans, including English mushy peas, can fill the gaps.

  3. We get very good frozen peas here in US now and I eat them in pasta, especially, but also as an easy side dish. I love carrots too, but not frozen (seems to turn them into cottony cardboard). Cook them sliced thinly with butter & a pinch of sugar in the cooking water--yum, like candy! The only canned veg I still buy are beans for when I don't have time to cook them and for some reason, artichoke hearts, which I can't always find frozen.

    1. I agree about frozen carrots, that's for sure. Even the ones I've cooked and then frozen are not very good when they come out of the freezer. I like frozen peas too, but the canned ones here in France are just about as good. (Our freezer is too full to accommodate bags of frozen peas.) And don't forget good canned tomatoes, which are a lifesaver in winter if you run out of frozen home-made sauce or oven-dried tomatoes. I buy sweet corn in cans (not available here otherwise), as well as artichoke hearts or bottoms, and hearts of palm.

  4. Here in the US, I prefer doing my cooking from scratch so I'm almost sure what goes into it. (Except for sardines, the only canned or tinned food I use is canned tomatoes, just because they are so much better than the "real" thing.) Every so often I cook red kidney beans with Kielbasa, the Polish sausage. No problem soaking and cooking the beans. I tried the same thing in Paris a few years back and the skin of the beans was so tough I had to moulinette the whole thing to make it edible. Ken suggested I buy the canned variety instead. I did and was very happy with the result. Why is it the fresh beans are so very tender in the US and so tough in France

    Right now I have Small Red Kidney Beans (?) soaking and I'll crockpot them with Kielbasa a little later today.

    1. As I believe I said to you, I had the same problem here in France with pinto beans imported from Portugal. The skins were so tough that they were impossible to eat. I always loved pinto beans in the U.S. Maybe red kidney beans and pinto beans need to grow in a hot climate -- though I'm not sure where the imported-from-Portugal pintos were grown.

      I'll have to try Kielbasa again when I'm in N.C. in February. I don't have a good or clear memory of it. Maybe I'll like it. Is there a brand that you buy?

    2. I only heard the term "English" peas when we moved to Alabama. I didn't have many black eyed peas growing up, but lots of peas with potatoes- yum! Kielbasa is good. I will have to try it with kidney beans sometime.

    3. The Beef Polska Kielbasa's brand I am going to use today is the Hillshire Farm's. When I used to spend winters in SoCal, I could find there smoked Kielbasa, can't remember the brand, and that was very good. I don't remember if I used the Hillshire brand here before. We'll see.

      Evelyn, if you cook red kidney beans don't forget the red wine. That's the important part of it. If you want my recipe, just let me know. It might be in French though :—)

    4. I should have said that the beans soaking right now are just small red beans, not small red kidney beans.

    5. Well, there's some product called "red beans" — they go into Louisiana "red beans and rice." They might or might not be kidney beans. And then there are red mung beans, also called adzuki beans. Mystère...

    6. Oh, the adzuki or red mung beans are Vigna varieties, like black-eyed peas.

    7. Bonjour cousin,

      I do believe that the beans that you ( and Ken) bought in Paris/France could have been old -even after soaking overnight the skin could be tough . In such cases, I do add a good pinch of Bicarbonate de Soude ( baking soda) in my boiling water .

    8. Bonjour Cousine,

      I normally put baking soda in the soaking water and later in the cooking liquid. And it works fine here in the states. I've read that if you add also 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in the soaking liquid and a teaspoon of wine vinegar in the coking liquid the beans lose their ability to produce those annoying side effects, if you get my drift! It seems to be working for me.

  5. I do love d'aucy canned white kidney beans. We also have another brand Elysée and their Flageolets verts are great. Didn't have time to make cocos Bretonnes last Saturday and I substituted those Flageolets to go with a gigot d'agneau . They were great .


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?