Pre-made survival food can be a great way to augment your emergency food supplies. However, it’s expensive and generally isn’t the best thing to make the base of your food supply pyramid. Still, there’s a problem of long-term storage when prepping for disasters and most people don’t want to spend a mint solving it. Preppers are notoriously thrifty types.
Fortunately, there are a variety of methods you can do yourself at home to help you extend the shelf life of your food stocks. One of the best of these is canning.
Unlike pre-packed survival food, canning costs a few bucks to get set up but can pay dividends over the months and years as you save hundreds and thousands of dollars canning your own food.
Perhaps best of all, canning doesn’t require any electricity so if the grid goes down during a SHTF scenario, you’ll still be canning and prepping even though the power is out. Maybe even better than that is the social aspect of canning – you and your family can spend valuable time together while getting ready for supply chain disruptions, EMP attacks and nuclear blasts.
How To Learn Canning For Survival
It’s the age of the Internet, so there are tons of videos and tutorials online available to teach you how to can your goods for free. What’s more, the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) community is very, very into canning. In fact, they operate hundreds of canning centers around the country.
These canning centers are available to absolutely anyone – you don’t have to be LDS to use them. In fact, they’ll be happy to help you learn how to start canning properly. You can utilize these facilities to get your feet wet in the world of canning without investing money into a canning rig until you feel confident enough to use it on your own.
The Best Foods To Can At Home
Once you learn how to can food you’re going to be presented with the problem of which foods you’re going to can up. You can save just about anything in a can, but that doesn’t mean that you want to.
Here are some of the best foods for home canning:
- Soups: Make a giant batch of soup, eat it for dinner and can what’s left for later.
- Salsa: You can save a ton of money by making salsa at home and it will stay fresh much longer inside a can than Tupperware.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Vegetables are a great way to ensure that you’re getting all of your micronutrients after the end of the world as we know it and sweet fruits can help to raise morale during tough times.
- Meat: Meat stays good in a coffin freezer for a long time, but when the power is out that’s not going to matter. Most meats can be safely canned for later consumption.
- Beans: An excellent source of protein, beans can be stored for an incredibly long time in a can. Dry beans can be canned as well as “wet” beans.
As you can see, a variety of different foods can be canned for the purpose of eating when the supermarket shelves are bare and not getting replenished anytime soon.
Dangers Of Home Canning
Home canning can be safe, but it can also be very dangerous if you don’t do it properly.
The main thing that you need to worry about is botulism, which can make you and your family extremely sick if you’re all eating from the same tainted can. Assuming you survive, you’re going to suffer and all those little chores you have to do when the SHTF are going to be 10 times as hard when you’re all sick and laid up.
Botulism in a can has no look or smell, so don’t assume you’re just going to “know” that your food has become contaminated.
Preventing botulism in your home canned food is mostly a function of knowing proper canning techniques, using the right equipment for the right food and erring on the side of caution. Of the millions of homemade cans made every year, very few are contaminated… but those few are going to make a big impact on the people who eat them.
All told, canning is a great way to prep while spending time with your family. It is an essential skill for any prepper.