Food is perhaps the second most important prep that a prepper can have (water and water purification would be the first).
Food is also one of the most daunting issues facing a new prepper, especially if that person has limited financial resources available.
One of the quickest, easiest and least “weird” way of prepping for food is to increase the amount of canned food in the pantry.
Canned food is generally dated in the US as a “Best By” system, which is often (although not exclusively) two years. This doesn’t mean that food older than the “best by” date isn’t safe to eat. In fact, it’s often just as good six months after the date as it was six months before it.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, check out this excellent shelf-life information from Skilled Survival in their article Canned Food Shelf Life: Read This Before You Throw It Out.
As a “canned food prepper” myself, I’d like to share six things that I keep in mind when choosing what food to store, and how long I store it.
- Don’t buy food you don’t like. There is nothing more expensive than food you throw away because you don’t want to eat it. Buy food that you already eat, and can incorporate into your weekly meal plan, so that we can rotate out the oldest food we have and rotate in new replacement cans.
- Buy what you will eat over the normal course of two years. Don’t buy eight cases of canned cream corn if you don’t eat creamed corn normally. Since we are incorporating our canned storage into our meal plans, it’s critical to have food we eat in that storage.
- Watch the sodium. Many types of canned foods are PACKED with sodium. We don’t want our arteries to explode from high blood pressure just because we are eating our storage food.
- Store lots of types of foods that are palatable right out of the can. If we are in an emergency situation, cooking may be difficult or more time-consuming than we would like. Foods like canned fruit, some canned meats like tuna, peanut butter and similar items are good to go right out of the can, as are things like pilot bread.
- Check the “good by” dates before you buy. Buy the newest, freshest cans they have on the shelf. If you choose food that isn’t a “high turnover” item, dates can be several months different.
- Have a rotation system and USE IT. Keep track of what you use as you use it, move the oldest to the front and put the replacement food in the back.
Canned food can be a great prepping option, inexpensive, readily available and it’s easy to keep your prepping private since nobody thinks anything about a cart full of canned goods.