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Thanks to all of the wonderful help thus far, I've finally been able to make my Überfood. It's called "Nutraloaf", and is kind of like a meatloaf with a bunch of other stuff in it.

It has no real taste (not a problem) and the texture is a little mushy (I will try baking it longer in the oven), but the idea is I can simply eat this 3 times a day, every day, and not have to worry about making any other food.

However, one problem is that I'm getting a metallic aftertaste. I don't know if it's the ingredients, or the fact that I used a normal oven instead of a convection/steam oven.

This is the recipe I used.

2 oz Ground Beef
Brown off in kettle and drain thoroughly

4 oz Canned, Chopped Spinach
4 oz Canned Carrots, Diced
4 oz Vegetarian Beans
Open and drain all vegetables well

4 oz Applesauce
1 oz Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Potato Flakes
1 cup Bread Crumbs
2 oz Dry Milk Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder or Flakes

Combine beef and vegetables. Gradually blend in remaining 
ingredients until well combined. Mixture should be stiff 
but moist enough to spread. Each loaf should weigh 1 1/2 
pounds precooked weight and be scaled to insure proper 
weight. Place mixture into a loaf pan that has been
sprayed with pan release and lined with filter paper.

Each loaf should bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in 
convection/steam oven for approximately 40 minutes or 
until the loaf reaches 155 degrees internal temperature.

It is a subtle aftertaste and it went away after I had a stick of Wrigley's gum. I would prefer to not have to chew Wrigley's after every meal, since I don't really like chewing gum. I'm sure a peppermint or buttermint would also help with the aftertaste, but would prefer to fix my nutraloaf recipe or cooking technique.

So how can I remove this metallic aftertaste? Or, where can I even begin looking for what's causing it?

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11  
I'm sorry, but I'm not having that an Uberfood can be made mainly with ingredients that are dried or come from cans. This does not have a single fresh ingredient in it apart from the meat. I'm not surprised it had no flavour and tasted weird. Do yourself a favour and cook up large batches of a few different things, using fresh ingredients and freeze in portions. Then you can eat a varied, healthy diet and still spend a minimal amount of time cooking. –  Sam Holder Dec 15 '10 at 23:35
3  
Agreed: meat, beans, three vegetables, and a fruit doesn't give you everything you need. Your body is not going to be happy with you if this is all you ever eat. –  Jefromi Dec 16 '10 at 2:34
2  
@sam holder: Sounds like he's intentionally going for prison food: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutraloaf –  Satanicpuppy Dec 16 '10 at 3:18
4  
Are you seriously complaining about the taste of your Nutraloaf? I'm pretty sure it's designed to taste bad. –  Brendan Long Dec 16 '10 at 6:13
1  
Brendan, his post claims that the Nutraloaf itself has no taste and that isn't a problem, it's the aftertaste that seems to be causing problems. I however agree with everyone else in thinking that he should just make meatloaf or something with a side of vegetables... you can mash them together on the plate if you want homogeny! –  Frank Pierce Dec 16 '10 at 16:50

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You said that you drained your canned vegetables, but did you rinse them? Sometimes just dumping out the packing liquid isn't enough. I always rinse any beans that I get out of a can at least a few times.
If you wanted to add a little taste you might want to throw in some chopped cilantro. It packs a lot of flavor and overpowers a lot of tastes. Of course some people think it tastes like dirt. I like the idea of an Uberfood. That only puts us a few short steps away from getting all of our nutrition in pill form!

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rinsing really helped, thanks! –  JJ Caldwell Feb 16 '11 at 4:24

It sounds like most of those ingredients came out of metal cans, yes? Certainly the spinach and carrots, and I imagine the beans, tomato paste, and possibly the apple sauce? Canned foods do sometimes have a slight metallic taste, especially if you don't use them all at once and continue to store them in the can after opening it: (about.com)

However, I definitely wouldn't rely on this (or any other single recipe) as your sole source of nutrition. Even if it does include every one of the hundreds (thousands?) of nutrients your body needs in reasonable ratios (which is questionable), that still doesn't mean it's good for you.

For example: if every meal you eat has lots of vitamin C and zinc, your body won't be able to absorb the trace amounts of copper it needs, since they interfere with each other. To be healthy, you need to mix up the nutrient profile of your meals.

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That makes perfect sense. Do you know where there is any research on needing to "mix up nutrient profiles"? I am very interested in this, but I can't find anything. I asked my Doctor, and he said to see a nutritionist... but it's a far drive, and I haven't made it there yet, especially in this weather. –  JJ Caldwell Dec 16 '10 at 18:56
3  
@JJC: For starters, have a look at studies such as The effects of variety in food choices on dietary quality or Inadequate Nutrient Intakes Are Common and Are Associated with Low Diet Variety in Rural, Community-Dwelling Elderly. Honestly, I don't even feed my cat the same food over and over again, as its believed to lead to bizarre allergies, intolerances, and addictions. –  Aaronut Dec 16 '10 at 20:54

You could use frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables.

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My guess: Lack of salt. Unless you're used to doing without, most things taste really odd without it. Anybody who's tried low-salt V8 Juice knows that bitter, metallic taste you're describing.

You might get used to going without the salt, or you might consider salting your Nutraloaf mixture some. After all, there's no reason to leave the salt out entirely if you're not making a punishment of it.

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+1 - keen observation, I tend to notice this with canned soups I just never knew why! –  Frank Pierce Dec 16 '10 at 16:53
    
Very good idea. Once I had it "perfectly bland", I was going to try to spice it up with salt and maybe pepper or paprika. That might mask the aftertaste, which is fine with me. –  JJ Caldwell Dec 16 '10 at 18:53

You may want to carefully inspect your loaf pan. I have had times where very small scratches were causing rust to form. You do not need to throw away the pan, though. Just insert some aluminum foil before making the loaf next time. Pop it in the oven and you are good to go.

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I put "parchment paper" down... doesn't that do the same thing? –  JJ Caldwell Dec 16 '10 at 18:52
    
I am pretty sure that the paper would be a sufficient layer between pan and loaf. As long as there is no tearing or soak through. –  Naomi Campbell Dec 16 '10 at 20:10

Canned spinach always has an awful, somewhat metallic flavor: spinach is very easy to overcook, and tastes terrible when overcooked. The process of canning requires high temperatures for durations that ultimately require spinach to be overcooked.

Looking at this recipe, even if you replaced the canned spinach with frozen or fresh, it would probably still turn out awful (though perhaps not quite as bad), because spinach can't survive cooking for 40 minutes. Ideally, it should cook only until it's wilted, which is only a couple of minutes at boiling temperature.

I've seen recipes that call for spinach to be overcooked, the water discarded, and the spinach to be wrung out inside a (paper or lint-free) towel to remove as much liquid as possible, before being added to something and cooked further, which I expect is to reduce the overcooked flavor.

However, I'd hardly call the result a building block for a "superfood", as the process likely discards the majority of the water-soluble nutrients, and I'm pretty sure it only reduces the overcooked flavor, so I prefer (if possible) to alter such recipes to add the spinach at the last minute, or (if not) to look for another recipe that treats its ingredients better, which is what I'd recommend in this case.

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