So, you’re ready to start stockpiling food as part of your survival kit. Whether you’re preparing for a natural disaster or for when the SHTF, canned foods should be one of the core components of the food you’re stockpiling. What makes them so great? Because, for the most part, they are non-perishable, which means that they have a long shelf life. Below we’ll give you some tips on what to include in your canned food storage stockpile.
What To Consider
The most important thing to remember when shopping for canned foods as part of your emergency survival kit is that you need healthy and high calorie foods. These characteristics are important for a couple of reasons:
- The high number of calories helps to keep you full longer, which is important when you’re rationing food
- Healthy foods that meet your nutritional needs helps to make sure that everyone stays healthy and no one ends up in poor health
You’ll also want to take into account the weight and packaging of the foods. Why? Because you may need to flee the home where your food stash is and you need to be able to carry your food supply without it weighing you down or slowing you down too much. This means that you should definitely avoid items that are stored in glass jars, since they can easily break.
You should also focus on canned foods with easy-to-open lids, like some canned meats and soups, because you may not have access to a can opener when you need it most.
As for weight and size, stick with smaller cans instead of the large, family size canned foods. Though the larger sizes are cheaper in cost, they also take up more space and you might not want to eat all of that food in one sitting – and you won’t be able to reseal it!
Best Canned Canned Foods With A Long Shelf Life
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for your food supply, we can give you some tips on the foods that we recommend. We suggest that you include all of the items listed below in your emergency food supply (unless you have an allergy).
- Meats – this includes chicken, ham, and pork. You can even find canned ground beef! The protein you get from these will be vital for helping you keep your strength up during hard times.
- Fish – this includes everything form tuna to sardines. These are light weight and pack a lot of protein in a small serving. Plus, you can eat this right out of the can without needing to cook it, which is the most important reason to include it.
- Peanut butter – though technically this comes in a plastic jar (avoid the glass jars!), it is another good choice because it offers protein, in addition to having a high calorie content while offering nutritional benefits.
- Butter – I know it sounds crazy, but you can actually buy butter in a can! The Red Feather brand comes from New Zealand and has a very long shelf life. While this may not seem like a necessity, having it on-hand to give your meals a little extra fats and flavors can go a long way in curing food fatigue when you’re having to live on your survival food supply.
- B&M Brown Bread – depending on where you’re from, you may have grown up eating this canned bread with B&M baked beans. You can actually get this in two different varieties – regular and raisin bread.
- Cheese – if you’re anything like me, then cheese will be the #1 thing that you’ll miss eating when you can’t get refrigerated foods. Fortunately, there is a decent substitute available with canned cheese, like WSU Wazzu Creamery Cougar Gold Cheddar. If you don’t like cheddar cheese, you can find other varieties of canned cheese available.
- Fruits – you can find pretty much any type of fruit in cans, so be sure to stock up on your favorites. These are great for the nutritional benefits. Plus, they make great desserts!
- Veggies – just like with the fruit, you can find almost any vegetable in canned form. Stock up those that you like and you’ll get some awesome nutritional benefits from eating them.
- Beans – while you need to have a supply of dry beans since they have a longer shelf life, you can still stock up on some cans of beans. This is recommended because you can actually eat beans from a can without cooking them, if you need to. We suggest black beans and garbanzo beans, but choose whatever beans you prefer to eat.
- Coffee and tea – if you enjoy drinking coffee and tea, then you can certainly add a few cans of each to your stash. Just keep in mind that you will need clean water to make it.
- Chili – though can store meat and dry beans separately, we’re still a fan of including some cans of chili in our stockpile. Choose your favorite varieties and when you have to eat it, you’ll end up with a good amount of protein and some nutritional benefits. This will be a very filling meal with just one can.
- Soups and Stews – while these tend to pack too much sodium to be considered healthy, you still may want to include some of these. We suggest looking for low sodium options and varieties that are heartier, like stews.
- Tomato paste and sauce – on their own, you won’t get rid of much hunger with these, but they are great for adding to pasta, meats, or even beans. In addition to adding flavor, they also give you some decent nutritional benefits. Just don’t buy too many of these cause they are acidic, which means that they have a shorter shelf life.
- Cooking oil – you should be able to find some sort of cooking oil in a can or plastic jar. You can use something like lard or look for olive oil in a can – just make sure that whatever you get can be re-sealed after being opened. While lard will be cheaper, keep in mind that olive oil actually offers some nutritional benefits, so it is actually the better choice.
Always store your canned food items so that those with the shortest shelf life are located in front. This helps you make sure that nothing expires before you get to eat it. The general rule of thumb is:
- Juices last about one year
- Acidic foods, like tomatoes and pineapple, last about two years
- Meats and other can foods should last you about three years
Regularly check your food supply to look for items that may be close to expiration. Replace those cans with newer cans so that your supply is always current. You’ll also want to inspect the cans for any signs of spoilage, such as rust, swollen areas, or dents. If you come across any cans showing those signs, then you should throw them away because they may be spoiled and unsafe for you to eat – even in an emergency.
- Activist Post – 10 best survival foods at your local supermarket
- Survivalist Boards – Best canned food/meal to stockpile
image credit: Flickr/Julie & Heidi CC2.0 license