Today I want to share with you some very practical advice on how you can take measures of preparedness in the event of an emergency. With the recent social unrest and the recent events surrounding Covid-19, I am reminded more than ever of how important it is to prepare for the unexpected. Here are 15 Emergency Canned Good Recipes to assist you in taking care of your family.
I prefer fresh food to canned food any day of the week. But in the event I found myself in an emergency, a food shortage, a natural disaster, or became severely ill, I would warmly welcome these pre-planned “Emergency Canned Good Recipes” which have a shelf life of one to two years.
If you didn’t know, I write world history for a living (The Mystery of History), which means I can’t help but pay attention to civil unrest and possible war. History teaches us to prepare! I hope to never “need” these emergency canned good recipes for my sole sustenance, but like insurance, I’m glad to have these just in case.
With that in mind, the following ideas are just that – ideas for how and what to set aside in canned goods (and some pre-packaged staples) in a practical arrangement for an emergency or sudden unrest.
On a lighter note, these are also good ideas for camping. Many of these dishes are one-pot meals that might be fun to heat outdoors in a cast iron pot around a fire pit or on a camp stove. (That’s one way to use up food that might otherwise expire.)
For convenient storage, almost every meal listed here will fit into a one-gallon plastic zipper bag. I add an index card to each bag with a neatly printed dinner name on it. (The meal is more appealing with a title and helps to avoid guesswork should someone other than you need to prepare these emergency meals!)
Large families will want to double or triple these recipes, which are otherwise designed to feed two people with possible leftovers. (I “grew” some recipes, like canned stew or chili, by adding extra cans of tomatoes, potatoes, etc. The additional cans add flavor and calories, as well as to enlarge portion size.)
In all instances, add to or take away from these ideas based on personal preference or what you have available. (Don’t like mushrooms or black olives? Leave them out! Do you have cheese on hand? Add it!)
When and if you can, add fresh foods to the side such as salads, a vegetable tray, or apple sauce (which stores well.) I did not list salt, pepper, and other common spices because you’re likely to have seasonings on hand. If not, most canned goods are loaded with sodium and may not need a thing.
Of course, you also need a heat source, and a manual can opener in a power outage! Keep that in mind. We have a propane grill, a fireplace, and a fire pit with a grill grate. We also have cast iron pots, long-handled utensils, and campfire oven mitts.
To keep up my rotation, I have a handful of the “oldest” emergency canned good recipes close to my kitchen to use for pure convenience about once a week on a non-emergency day (because they will expire.) Dozens of the “newer” meals are stored further away from the kitchen in out-of-the-way places.
Once the older meals are used, I replace them with newer meals. I then purchase a brand new canned good meal about once a week, when items are on sale, and store it away with fresher meals. In this manner of rotation, I can maintain several dozen canned good emergency meals on hand at any time—without stressing about food or rations in the middle of an emergency.
Along the way, I’m likely to switch out ingredients that we decide we don’t like or just phase out a meal if it didn’t work. If more meals are close to their expiration date than we can eat, I will donate them to a food bank. (Food banks do not accept expired foods, so keep an eye on those dates!)
You may notice that I haven’t listed rice and dry beans here. That’s because I have pounds of those in long term storage along with other staples that I suggest you have on hand: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, oatmeal, pancake mix, biscuit mix, dry milk, etc.
If you’re new to food storage, welcome! This is just the beginning, but it’s an excellent place to start if you’ve never done this before. I highly recommend you “shop from home” first (inventory your kitchen and make use of what you’ve got.) Then, see what is missing to make well-rounded emergency canned good meals and start buying what you need to complete at least 15. You can easily double the ingredients list (see the printable grocery list) and have 30 emergency meals in just a weekend or two of work. Should a true emergency arise, you’ll be glad you did!
Enjoy the printable you can access for your own family use! Do you have any emergency canned good recipes you already use? I would love to hear!
For the Sake of the Mystery, Linda Lacour Hobar
Author of The Mystery of History
Chronological, Christian, Complete World History for All Ages