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Even as late as a century ago, the diet of most Americans depended largely on what vegetables and fruits were available at the moment. “Putting up foods”— such as the drying and smoking of meat and the canning of fruits and vegetables—was an integral and often exhausting aspect of domestic life. Toward the end of the 19th century commercial canners began offering a wider variety of foodstuffs but still couldn’t compete with fresh food in flavor or nutritional value.

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