As we wrap up National Canned Food Month and look forward to National School Breakfast Week, I want to tell you what I learned on a tour of California peach country last summer. So what is the connection between canned foods, school meals and orchard visits?
The answer is really simple, smart and delicious: California Cling Peaches (#client) are picked at peak freshness and packed into recyclable steel cans within 24 hours of leaving the trees, meaning that canned peaches offer an out-of-orchard flavor when local fruit is not in season. Popular with kids, canned California peaches can also help school nutrition programs lower costs and reduce waste at mealtimes, including school breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.
Let’s explore what canned California Cling Peaches can do to make to National School Breakfast Week #FreshAsCANBe in any school nutrition program. March is a marvelous month to celebrate school breakfast (as well as Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday) – but US-grown fresh peaches are still at least two months away. No worries – canned peaches are perfect for breakfast parfaits and smoothies. They can also make tasty toppings for pancakes, waffles and French toast sticks. Peach cobblers and crisps are always popular – and if you want to get really innovative, be like Chef Becca from Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary & Wellness Services. When faced with lots of leftover cinnamon rolls due to a schedule miscommunication, she added canned fruit and created a Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bake with Warmed Spiced Peaches. That’s a win-win-win for hungry students, school breakfast and reducing food waste.
Honestly, I see cans of California Cling Peaches almost every time I visit a school kitchen. They are often on the menu – but always in the storeroom because, as my colleague and fellow RD Neva Cochran says, they are Convenient, Affordable and Nutritious. The affordability of canned fruit allows Chad Elliot in Decorah, Iowa, schools to BuyAmerican.EveryoneWins. His schools then have the budget to serve local hamburger on a house-made bun, with local onions, cucumbers and milk, along with plenty of other veggies. Large districts, like those in the Urban School Food Alliance struggle with aging buildings and schools without kitchens. Canned fruits also help these schools with budgeting, With canned peaches as a fruit serving, Philadelphia Public Schools can serve Chicken Cheese Steak on authentic, local Philly Amoroso’s Bakery sub rolls!
During much of the year, canned California Cling Peaches can be an even better choice than fresh fruit. For fall seasonal celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving, fresh USA peaches are unavailable but canned peaches are the perfect color and flavor. Layered with canned pineapple and yogurt, parfaits like these are student favorites for school breakfast, lunch and supper. When I toured California peach orchards last summer, I enjoyed the perfect flavor and texture of just picked fruit. I also saw how quickly those same peaches are packed in light syrup or 100% fruit juice to maintain as much of the fresh-picked quality as possible. When districts BuyAmerican.EveryoneWins. canned fruit from California orchards, the products are easy to store and handle, consistently high in quality and have little or no waste.
Include plenty of California Cling Peaches on your USDA Foods purchases for 2020-2021—because when you BuyAmerican.EveryoneWins. The best way to help students learn to love fruits and vegetables is to always #HaveAPlant! Questions? Answers: Buy American Provision Toolkit at https://californiaclingpeaches.com/buy-american