What to stock in a Prepper's Kitchen
Bread in a can? Butter in a can? Bacon in a can? Canned hamburger meat? Yes, it's all
available! In uncertain times, having a variety of foods will give your family a gourmet
edge on survival. Well fed, your family will be better able to deal with the gravity of the
situation and will fare better than others who are not prepared or to those who've
simply stocked rice and beans.
Mind you, rice and beans, when cooked together, form a complete protein and the
combination will ensure brain and muscle functioning to meet survival needs; however,
having comfort foods and foods that are as close as possible to what you were eating
before the catastrophe will give you a boost in morale. This is a psychological edge
that's very easy to attain with planning.
Did you know you can eat canned food right out of the can? You can also cook in the
can to save precious water for cleanup! Just remove label before you heat. If you're
amassing cans as part of your strategy, here is the best canned food for prepping list.
How to Fight Survival Food Boredom
- Try before you buy! The ultimate prepper rule is only buy shelf-stable foods you
will actually eat. Just about every prepper has jumped the gun a bit and
purchased food they don't really like, and then they learned the expensive way.
It's important to try a sample before you buy a case. Experiment with food
storage and then stock up when you find a can that becomes a family favorite.
- Create new recipes. Hawaii cooks with SPAM, above left, is a delight for SPAM
lovers looking for a taste of the island.
- Combine cans. Create "bunker stew" like Doomsday Prepper Allen Sostrin, by
combining your five favorite cans into one satisfying new combination. Make a
three or four bean salad by opening up a variety of cans and adding your own
seasonings. Make your chili a little different than you made it the last time: add
corn to it or macaroni to make a chili mac.
- Add condiments and food extenders. Think about what you'd serve with that
can of tuna! Stock up on macaroni and cheese in boxes (and the freeze dried
varieties if your family should accidentally eat them all). Pasta sauces will help
your stockpile of spaghetti noodles, but try new sauces, like a canned clam
Here are some canned food ideas to help you fight food boredom.
- Butter in a can: No way: they make butter in a can! Yes! Emergency canned
butter by Red Feather, includes 24 cans of smooth and creamy butter (not that
powdered stuff). Imported from New Zealand with an indefinite shelf life, the
ingredients are simply pasteurized cream and salt. That's it! Each can contains
12 oz of butter - which works out to three traditional sticks of butter. You'll also
find butter powder, below. Butter powder is an easy way to add the extra rich
taste of butter without any added fat or calories.
- Bacon in a can: Did somebody say bacon? We sure did! From Yoders comes
bacon in a can. Truly a prepper's miracle. With smoky flavor and a long shelf life,
you'll be glad to have this canned bacon in your preppers shelf. You get about
40 servings per can of fully cooked bacon, pre-drained of fat. This stuff has a 10
year shelf life!
- Cheese in a can: Preppers can be choosers with Bega canned cheese. This
processed cheese in a can is great-tasting cheese that you can slice or grate.
Imported fresh from Australia, it has a long shelf-life (up to 10-15 years when
- Mashed potatoes in a can: This isn't some freeze dried flakes that you add with
water. The mashed potatoes pictured immediate right are satisfying mashed
potatoes that come straight from the can.
Canned desserts can add variety to your meals and here are some to try:
- Ambrosia Canned Custard is an English tradition. Give it a sample if you like
- Try Almond paste if you like the taste of marzipan. You can roll almond paste into
shapes like Play-Doh to keep the kids entertained.
- Canned applesauce has other varieties. Look for applesauce combined with
- In addition to canned pumpkin for a pumpkin pie, be sure to add a sweet potato
- Canned fruits are excellent pie fillings. Go beyond your usual favorites: think
blueberry, or pineapples for a pineapple upside-down cake.
Canned Food Serving Suggestions:
- Shepherd's Pie: The mashed potatoes, pictured right, would be ideal for a
shepherd's pie. How yummy it would be to set aside a dozen Yoder's canned
hamburger with a dozen small canned peas, a dozen small canned carrots. That
would make 12 very complete and satisfying dinners. Remember the canned
gravy if you don't know how to make the gravy from scratch!
- Brown Bread and Beans: Brown bread in a can is a New England favorite! The
tradition is to serve canned brown bread, such as the B&M brown bread, with an
can of pork and beans. B&M brown bread has a base of molasses. There are two
- Canned tamales: Hormel Beef Tamales in Chili Sauce comes in a convenient 12-
pack from Amazon. Pictured right, these will make your rice and beans taste
much better. Add some canned corn, too.
How to store and sort your cans
Strategy: Have a food storage strategy for your canned goods: including proper
labeling, stacking, stock rotation, a bartering supply, and redundancy. Your food should
have multiple locations also because you never know how disaster might compromise
your reserves whether it's vermin, looters, building collapse, flood or other
catastrophe. Redundancy is okay. In fact, it's better to have too much than too little!
Expiration dates: Know that canned foods from the store generally have a two year
shelf life; some more, some less, but generally cans you buy from food distribution
centers that will last two years from the date of purchase. The shelf life has more to do
with the flavor and consistency than anything else. Canned food is actually
commercially sterile and can last well beyond the date if it's intact and not dented nor
bulging. Not that you'd want to eat your canned goods 25 years after the expiration
date, but it's good to know that you could eat the contents of the can if it has not
been compromised (swollen, dented or corroded)!
Temperature and conditions:
- Never store cans in a damp basement or garage, which can cause the cans to
rust. Store canned goods at 75° or below, in a dark and dry place. If you live in
Arizona and the air conditioner goes off, store your cans in the coolest place
- Store cans in a protected area. There's no use storing your cans in the garage
near the bags of rice, which will attract mice. Rodent droppings on your cans is a
serious health issue. Always wash cans before opening them.
- Consider storing your cans like fine wine, horizontally not vertically in large
sealed. One resourceful budget friendly idea, is to recycle soda can cartons to
accommodate your canned goods.
- FEMA advises to "Throw out canned goods that become swollen, dented, or
- Organize your cans by categories: meats, veggies, fruits, soups. This will enable
you to quickly find what you need in an emergency.
- Use a Sharpie marker to date cans. This will enhance your storage system.
- Sort cans by dates, so that you first use the items about to expire before you
dig into rations for later dates. Consider buying a can storage system that
enables you to rotate your stock.
A word about Sodium:
Check the sodium content of your canned goods. Salty foods increase your thirst, and
extra thirst threatens your water supply by depleting it faster than if you had low
sodium goods. Donate the foods with high sodium to food banks, and find alternative
Manual can openers:
Many Americans have electric can openers, which won't do any good if the grid goes
down. Stock up on them because can opener may be an excellent bartering tool! Get
extra manual can openers and store your canned goods with them at every location.
You don't want to be in a situation where you have all this wonderful supply of food
and no way to open the cans.
We're happy to hear your prepping ideas and survival food suggestions. We may even link to
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"The future belongs to those who
prepare for it." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
------------------------------------------------- Revised 8/27/14
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