What’s in Your Pantry?
What kind of pantry do you have? Is it a “prepared pantry”? Or is it more of a grave yard for the unusual stuff you purchase for all those Pinterst recipes you never get around to making? Maybe it is it a collection of items you need for dinner this week along with things you didn’t use last week (and the weeks before that). Maybe it houses all those things the kids swore they were going to eat (watermelon pop tarts) but didn’t?
What do I mean by a “prepared pantry”?
I mean it is stocked with intention – intention to make certain meals. It means you can go to your pantry with the knowledge that you have all the ingredients on hand to make a good number of meals without going to the store.
Why would you want a prepared pantry? What would you have in such a pantry?
Why Should You Have a Prepared Pantry?
Be prepared for an emergency or natural disaster
If you lose power for a few hours, you won’t starve. But if you lose power for a few days due to a major storm, you will get tired of peanut butter and jelly really fast. Even if you have the good fortune to have time to gather some supplies prior to the event, you will go through your “storm snacks” really fast (don’t ask me how I know that!). And that’s IF you can even find anything left in the store by the time you get there.
Be prepared for the loss of a job
What about if you get laid off unexpectedly? Would you be able to provide for your family? Would you start rationing meat and cooking lots of beans? Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew your pantry had the makings for three months of food and you didn’t have to worry about what you were going to feed your family?
Why Cans Should Be the Most Common Staple in the Pantry?
Canned food is nutritious
Some nutrient levels may decrease as a result of the canning process, while others can increase. Overall, canned foods can provide comparable nutrients to their fresh or frozen counterparts.
Canned food has a long shelf life
Most canned food has a “best by” date of 3 – 5 years. However, that does not mean it is expired at the end of that period. Some argue that when stored in moderate conditions (below 75 degrees) and the cans are not dented, they are safe indefinitely. They will lose some nutritional value and may even lose some color, taste, and texture after a long period of time – but hey, when you are hungry?
Canned food is convenient
Many, many foods are available in canned varieties – fruits, vegetables, beans, soups, meats and seafood. It’s easy to store, open (don’t forget to store a can opener), and heat and eat cans. We will get into alternative fuel sources in another post.
Canned food is economical
Canned fruits and vegetables can stretch one’s food budget. Canned foods can cost 50% less than frozen and 20% less than fresh; and they are less likely to be wasted. I don’t like to use my freezer for long-term food storage because if the power goes, there goes my food storage. It is common for supermarkets to have great sales on canned goods. If you watch the sales papers, you can stock up.
Canned food encourages a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables
For the reasons listed above (nutrition, long shelf life, convenience, and economy), we are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables in their canned form. You don’t need to read all the studies that inform us that Americans don’t get the recommended daily servings. Anything we can do to encourage ourselves to eat more is a good thing. I don’t know about you, but I think that opening a can of green beans for my green bean casserole is a lot easier than buying a bushel to wash, trim, and cut. Same for the peaches for my peach cobbler. Sometimes, I just don’t have time to wash and peel a bunch of peaches.
How You Should Incorporate Cans Into Your Pantry
Organize them so you know what you have
Don’t you just hate it when you find three cans of tomato paste that fell down in the back behind everything else – right after you just bought three more? If the cans would all stay stacked nice and pretty, we wouldn’t have this problem. I’ve found the best thing to keep them organized and from falling over is one of those racks that let’s you roll them in at the top and take them out at the bottom. This also helps with FIFO.
First In First Out (FIFO).
To keep things fresh, you should always eat the oldest first – this means what is put in first, should be taken out first, known in the food storage world as First In First Out (FIFO).
How You Can Have a Prepared Pantry
Collect recipes for cooking with cans
The best way to make sure you can have the food necessary to feed your family for a month or two in the event you lose a job or power is to preplan a rotation of recipes that can be made with non-perishible items – primarily canned goods; then purchase all these items for your pantry.
Decide how many days, weeks, or months you want to be prepared to feed out of your pantry and how many people you want to feed per meal.
Make a shopping list of ingredients needed per meal then multiply it times how many times you plan to serve it. This is your master plan.
Being Prepared with Cans
And now we come to the purpose of this site! I will find, prepare and review such meals and provide you with a spreadsheet of meals (including ingredients and quantities) prepared from food storage and show you how Cooking with Cans can feed your family during hard times!
I look forward to sharing my finds with you and we can stock our pantries together.
Cooking with Cans,