Hard-core survivalists always talk about their stores of dried beans and freeze-dried beef stew, but if you’re just getting a food storage collection into place, that can be a little daunting. Storing mainstream canned goods is an excellent way to have a mix of healthy food on hand for any emergency. It’s easy, cheap and something any novice can understand.
What to Store?
Whether you’re storing for a 3-day power outage or planning for 6-months of major emergency, the basics are still the same. Choose a variety of proteins, starches, vegetables and fruits so you have a healthy diet and a mix of tastes to choose from with each meal. Get a supply like this:
- Soups, stews, chili
- Canned tuna or other fish
- Pasta with sauce
- Beans, lentils, other legumes
- A mix of vegetables
- A mix of fruit (preferably in water not syrup)
- Juices, both fruit and vegetable
Figure out the things you like to eat, and go from there. If you really can’t stand baked beans, don’t store any. The last thing you want to deal with in an emergency is food you hate.
How to Store Cans?
A cool place that isn’t too humid. Rust can be a problem if you have your can stash in damp quarters. You’ll need sturdy shelves to hold everything as cans are really heavy compared to dried food, and a few dozen of them are going to put some strain on flimsy shelves.
Keep your cans rotated and eat their contents as they near their expiration dates (many canned foods do last much longer than the official dates). That way, everything is fresh when you need it. You can also build your own canned food storage rack.
More Pros and Cons
Canned food is great because it’s easy to find, already packaged in very durable containers, and comes in a big variety of choices. Most canned food is precooked, which means you can eat straight out of the can, even if it’s cold. At least it’s safe to eat when you don’t have access to heat for cooking. And speaking of cooking, most canned goods have a lot of water in them.
But on the other hand, canned food is quite heavy and it has a relatively short shelf live. Yes, canned goods can last around 2 years but dried food will last 5 to 10 years (or longer). Two years isn’t that bad though. Canned food can be high in salt as well. If you feel you might have to survive on your stash for months, this can be an issue.