Do you want to prepare for disasters and ensure that you have enough food on hand to survive?
You are smart and think ahead so you won’t have to resort to eating dog food, rats, or any of the numerous other things people have eaten to avert death by starvation.
The most obvious choice of emergency survival food is canned food.
Canned foods are cheap, readily available in supermarkets, and last a long time without special storage needs.
But canned foods also aren’t perfect for emergency preparedness. Here’s what you need to keep in mind about canned foods when stockpiling for disasters.
1. You’ll Need to Stockpile Trash Bags Too
Trash bags are something that everyone should have lots of in with their emergency supplies, along with these non-food items to stockpile. You can do a lot with those trash bags, such as sealing off a broken window or making an emergency bucket toilet.
As far as canned emergency food goes, you’ll need trash bags to dispose of the waste.
Imagine how stinky it would get after just a few days of leaving empty cans out. The dirty cans would start to grow bacteria and attract rats, cockroaches, and other pests.
In a longer-term disaster, it could be disgusting! So make sure you have a way to dispose of all those cans of emergency food.
2. You Still Need to Rotate Canned Food
I wrote an entire article on canned food expiration dates and how in most cases, the expiration date is entirely irrelevant.
Most canned foods will be safe to eat years after they go bad.
But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the expiration dates. Some foods do go bad faster in cans. For example, acidic foods like canned fruits spoil much faster than foods with less acidity, such as canned meats and veggies.
To play it safe, devise a can-rotating system.
3. Don’t Put Canned Food on the Basement Floor
Most emergency foods should NOT go in the basement because they are too susceptible to humidity and pests. Unless your house gets to freezing levels, it should be fine to store canned foods in the basement.
Just be warned that you shouldn’t put the cans on the basement floor.
The temperature of the slab floor will be different than the air temperature. This temperature difference can cause humidity buildup in the can and make the canned foods go bad. Put them on a shelf instead.
4. And Be Cautious When Storing Them in Your Garage
The garage is the worst place to store emergency food (Read: Where to Store Your Emergency Food to find out why).
However, many people have no choice but to store their food in the garage because of space constraints.
Like with the basement, don’t keep the canned foods on the floor. However, there are more issues with canned survival food in the garage than this.
Garages are prone to temperature extremes.
If the garage gets too hot, the canned food may spoil.
If the garage gets too cold, the canned food may freeze.
Frozen canned foods can probably be thawed and eaten safely BUT ONLY IF THE SEAMS ARE STILL INTACT. If the can has burst open, you need to throw out the food (Source). Read what happens if you freeze canned foods.
5. Canned Food Isn’t Enough for Disaster Preparedness
Canned food falls into the “nonperishables” group of survival foods, but having nonperishables isn’t enough to get you through a disaster!
What if you have to flee your home? How will you carry a bunch of heavy cans of food with you?
So, make sure you have all of the types of survival food stockpiled, including:
- Other types of nonperishables
- MREs and “camping food” – like these ones
- Survival food bars
- Long-term food storage buckets – Read more about Emergency Food Supply Companies
6. Know the Risk of Botulism
Botulism is caused by an odorless, tasteless bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. It used to be a significant problem before food canning standards increased. It usually isn’t a problem today. However, it is still possible for the botulism toxin to get into canned foods — especially if the canned foods get damaged (earthquake, anyone?).
If a can is bulging at the sides or top, the contents explode when you open it, or there are bubbles inside the liquid of the can, DO NOT EAT IT.
Read more about the signs of botulism in canned food.
7. Variety Is Key!
Have you ever heard of appetite fatigue? It is what happens when you eat the same foods over and over again. You get so bored with the foods that you lose interest in eating and can lose weight – not something you want to happen during an emergency!
So, while it may seem like a good idea to stockpile 100 cans of chunky tomato soup like Ted Cruz, you should diversify your selection.
Pretty much every type of food comes in a can. Consider going to ethnic grocery stores and seeing what canned foods they have.
I’ve got some yummy cans of salsa, water chestnuts, lychee, hummus, coconut milk, and a bunch more “weird” foods besides the common canned foods.
Best Canned Survival Food To Buy
Canned Meats and Other Proteins
- Green beans
- Beans and rice
Other Canned Foods
- Condensed milk
- Coconut milk
- Pate and spreads
Oh, and don’t forget to stockpile a few extra manual can openers or learn how to open a can without a can opener!
Are you stockpiling canned foods for emergencies? Let us know any tips you have in the comments section.