Emergency Food Prep: Canned vs. Dry


(ModernSurvival.org) – Food is one of the most important staples to include in a prepping stockpile. It’s essential to choose foods that can be stored long-term without spoiling. A common debate within survivalist circles is whether canned food or dry food is most appropriate for long-term storage.

The truth is both canned and dry foods are appropriate for survival stockpiles. This is pleasant news, as having a variety of options will be welcome if SHTF. In a disaster scenario, getting a wide range of essential nutrients is more important than ever, and having both canned and dry goods on hand will help accomplish this.

Long-Term Shelf Life

When properly stored, both dry and canned foods can last for years, even past their expiration dates. The key is ensuring that dry goods are kept properly sealed and away from moisture and pests and that canned foods are protected from damage.

Dry goods such as “Meals, Ready-to-Eat” (MREs), dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, rice, and dried beans have a robust shelf life. They take up less space than canned goods and provide many options for a varied diet in the event of an emergency.

Although there are many misconceptions about the shelf life of canned foods, they’re often safe for longer than one might think. According to the USDA, most foods that are shelf-stable are actually safe to eat for an indefinite period, sometimes long after they’ve expired. The trick is in inspecting their containers for damage, then examine the food itself.

If a food can is fully intact, properly sealed, and doesn’t show signs of denting or bloating, the food inside may be fine to consume. After opening the can, inspect the food, noting its smell and color, before consuming it.

In the following video, AlaskaGranny shares some tips for determining whether an expired canned food is safe to eat:

Expiration Dates are About Quality

According to the USDA, expiration dates on shelf-stable food refer more to quality than safety. The food is at its best quality before the expiration date and may be stale after a long period of time. Upon opening a can or container, an individual should be able to tell whether the quality of the food has degraded.

The USDA recommends using the FoodKeeper app for storage and safety information. Although the internet or cellular networks might not be available in the event of a disaster, this resource could help preppers to plan and store properly ahead of time.

Take time to occasionally check on the survival stockpile to ensure it’s still properly sealed and undamaged. It may be necessary to replace canned goods, and even dry ones, from time to time. With careful preparation and vigilance, it’s possible to survive a disaster scenario with plenty of healthy foods on hand.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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