Michael Symon's Canned Food Rule You Should Never Break - Exclusive

We hold this truth to be self-evident: Not all canned foods are inherently evil. The latest course books on such subjects (and believe us, they exist!) estimate that over 1,300 kinds of foods in cans exist to be purchased in the world. What's more, human thirst for the packaging type is nearing the unquenchable. Fortune Business Insights estimates that the global canned food market is growing and will top $100 billion by 2027 — which means that maybe it's time to have the talk. 

There are certain canned foods that you should never invite into your kitchen; some, on the other hand, are safer to stock in your pantry than others. This is something that celebrity chef Michael Symon knows well. Symon, who sat down with Mashed recently to celebrate his partnership with Contadina (yup, those are canned tomatoes), explained to us his rule of thumb for picking a solid canned food from your supermarket shelf.  

How Michael Symon picks canned foods

Michael Symon won't pick a canned food based on the beauty of its label. Instead, he reads first. "When you grab a can of anything, a very good thing to be aware of immediately is how much or how little is on the can," the Iron Chef told Mashed. "If I grab a can of something and it has 47 different ingredients in it and 39 of them I can't pronounce, [it's] probably not a good option for me [for] the way that I like to cook or choose to cook."

When it comes to canned foods, says Symon, the simpler the better. "When you look at something and you're like, 'Oh, there's not a ton of things listed here,' we're in a great place right off the rip. That's a very important thing to me," Symon advised. "A lot of times with the canned stuff, there's a lot of things that you can't pronounce, can't say, and that's not what you're looking for when you're looking for a product. You want less things in the product." 

As a rule, Symon also stays away from canned foods with artificial flavors, preservatives, and GMOs. If you're looking specifically for a good canned tomato, pay attention to how they're peeled and processed. You want something vine-ripened instead of "gassing to get it to be ripe." You'll also want them steam peeled, Symon explained, "so there's no weirdness going on with how they're choosing to peel the tomatoes before they end up in the can."

Contadina ticks all those boxes, and Chef Michael Symon developed a new recipe for his partnership with the company! Check it out by visiting his Instagram.