Myth busted: Canned peaches as nutritious as fresh

DINUBA, Calif. — The California Cling Peach Board discovered what growers and home canning enthusiasts have known for generations: Canned peaches are still vitamin packed.

Thanks to a study conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) and the Linus Pauling Institute, the California Cling Peach industry now has science to stand on. The multi-year-long study concludes that California canned peaches are nutritionally equivalent to their fresh counterparts, and that some nutrients increase thanks to the canning process.

Antioxidants increase

Just as lycopene levels increase when tomatoes are cooked/canned, so too do key nutrients found in fresh cling peaches. The OSU study found that antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C all increased and that folate levels in canned peaches were up 10 times compared to their fresh counterparts.

“We always knew that our canned peaches are nutritious,” said second-generation peach grower and California Cling Peach Board Chairman Sarb Johl. “Now we have the science to back up our claims.”

Oregon study

The objective of the OSU study was to assess whether canned peaches could deliver nutrient levels comparable to fresh peaches.

Fresh freestone peaches, fresh cling peaches and canned cling peaches were analyzed for vitamins A, C and E, folate, antioxidants, total phenolics and total carotenoids to assess how these nutrients were affected by the canning process and whether storage further changed these components.

“Several of the vitamins and phytochemicals measured in this study were found to be present in canned cling peaches versus fresh freestone at statistically significantly higher levels,” said Bob Durst of OSU and the Linus Pauling Institute, who led the research on this project.

“Additionally we found that there were no statistically significant changes in nutrient content during storage for three months. It appears that the canning process elevates and activates some of these key nutrients and that the actual package — the can — seals in these higher levels, which is a very good thing for lovers of canned peaches.”

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