Stage 1 Food Preps – Canned Food (With Recipe!)

Everyone wants to know “what is the first step in getting food preps?” They want to know freeze-dried or MRE’s? Dehydrated or Coast Guard Rations? This guy’s opinion: none of the above – get some canned food.

This is not a new idea, many others espouse the “buy double” at the supermarket approach, but I would like to expand on the idea a bit.

If someone is just getting into prepping, they will most likely not be in the position to jump into a multiple year-long-term food-storage solution. Because of this fact, the buy double and canned food ideas are a good stepping off point. Further, you and your family will be much more receptive to a can of steak stew instead of the freeze-dried variety.

Most incidents that will require a storage plan should last a short period of time. We are talking natural disasters, interpreted services, localized riots, and other like emergencies. You do not need a long-term solution for these type of incidents, you just need a good pantry.

Random Thoughts/Things To Consider
– You can calculate on how long your pantry will last by adding up the number of calories each can contains, and divide by 2,000 (the rough estimate on how much a person needs per day.) This way, of course, is a big pain in the ass. Alternately, I count how many items or cans I have, and divide by 2 (or 3 if you have big eaters.) This should give you a good idea on how many “person-days” of food storage you have. In an emergency, my family and I could definitely live off 2 or 3 cans of “stuff” per day.

– Have a few extra manual can openers around, this is obvious – but don’t rely on an electric opener or that all your stuff is “pop tops”.

– Make sure you have enough water stored, many things need water (such as pasta) to be cooked, and many canned items are high in salt which will increase your thirst.

– Have a plan on how you will cook your food. Know how long those things you have to cook your food will last. Quick story: when I was younger, I lived in a cheap studio apartment that did not have a kitchen. I liked to cook so I got some cheap Butane stoves (looked like this, just a cheaper version I got from a local Asian market) and a few cases of fuel. I cooked every meal with those little stoves, and each fuel canister lasted about a week.

– Canned food can be bland, store a selection of favorite spices to assist in flavor.

– Develop a FIFO (First In Fist Out) system that works for you. I have a basic system where I generally put my new cans behind older ones, bringing the oldest to the front. Then, every 6 months or so, I do a little status check/inventory to make sure everything is organized how I want and to get a good handle on whats coming up to its expiration date.

– Take it slow and buy things as you find them on sale, just be mindful of expiration dates, also those 99 cent stores are great, but be extra careful there for expired food.

– Most people are used to mixing canned items with fresh ingredients, try to develop some “pantry only” menu items that you and your family like. (I have a favorite recipe below.)

Quick List Of Suggested Canned Storage Items
Of course there are many other items you can get besides these listed, and always consider your families likes/dislikes and dietary needs.
– Corn
– Green Beans
– Tuna
– Spam
– Cored Beef
– Canned Chicken
– Tomatoes
– Pasta’s
– Pasta Sauce
– Canned Crab, Clams, And Other Seafood
– Rice a’ Roni
– Soups, Soup, and more soup
– Mac And Cheese Boxes
– Evaporated Milk (lots of mixes ask for milk, and this can substitute)
– Beans of Many Variety
– Mushrooms
– Hamburger Helper (I can my own ground beef, this makes a good quick meal)
– Mixed Selection of Fruits
– Cake Mix
– Pancake Mix (This stuff is awesome, I use it to thicken stews, make dumplings, biscuits, and sometimes – pancakes)
– Instant Mashed Potatoes

Three Can Mix

I realize that the ingredients are three cans and a box, but for whatever reason, this has come to be known as “three can” in my house. This is actually the base for many panty only meals, but with minor tweaks – such as changing the rice out for mashed potatoes, or adding mushrooms, or changing the corn for green beans (or just throwing them in.)

– Can of Corn
– Can of Chicken
– Can of Beans
– Box of Rice a’ Roni (any)

Make the rice as per the directions on the box, when ready, add in the other ingredients – done!

What are some of your favorite canned-food recipes?

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