14 Must-Have Canned Foods You Didn’t Know Existed

Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch October 3, 2017 12:47

14 Must-Have Canned Foods You Didn’t Know Existed

There’s a reason preppers and even just people who like a well-stocked pantry purchase canned goods. They hold up for a long time, years even. They’re generally easy to prepare, many items requiring no more preparation than a quick warming in order to make sure the food is free from harmful microorganisms. Cans also come ready to store, no extra prep needed to sock them away for long-term storage.

Plenty of staples like beans, soup, veggies, fruit, and pasta are commonly found in the average family’s pantry, and found in great quantities in preppers’ stores. Those staples would get boring quickly, though. If you’re looking to add some unique and exotic foods to your food storage for either variety in your diet or for trading, read on for a look at the following canned goods you didn’t know existed.

  1. canned-brown-breadBread- Canned bread is totally a thing, and it’s available in several different varieties. While it’s likely more practical to store ingredients to make your own bread for the long-term, canned bread could be a tasty, quick way to a full belly and to get some carbohydrates into your system. You can find Original and Raisin Brown Bread by B & M in many stores or online.  Related: How to Make Amish Sweet Bread

  2. canned butterButter- Would you miss butter if you suddenly didn’t have access to the supermarket? No big deal, you can get that canned, too. There are a few brands of canned butter available, and it’s rather expensive since it’s not canned in the US. However, it’d be a lovely treat in a SHTF situation, and fat is a crucial part of the diet. For a less expensive canned butter, opt for powdered butter, instead.      Related: Making Butter at Home, Like Our Grandparents
  3. canned puddingPudding- Canned pudding is more often found in Europe, but you can find it in stores in the US, too, as any buffet or cafeteria worker attest. Whatever your favorite type of pudding, it’s likely available in a can. 

  4. canned cakeCake- A pudding in the European sense that refers more to a desert dish in general, you can get canned Spotted Dick made by Simpson’s. It’s essentially a sponge cake with spices and raisins. While it doesn’t quite fit into what we think of as a cake in everyday life, I bet it’d be an incredible birthday treat in a SHTF situation.                                                               

  5. canned baconBacon- Very few people don’t like bacon, so it’s great that Yoder makes it in a can for long-term storage. It’s salty, fatty, and flavorful, which makes it great for spicing up boring food made from more traditional prepper food items. You don’t need much of it to transform a pot of soup or some powdered eggs.

  6. canned cheeseCheese- While making your own cheese isn’t rocket science, there is a lot of actual science involved, and the raw materials needed may not be easy to come by. So, there’s canned cheese. While it’s not quite like what we think of as ‘real’ cheese, canned cheese has plenty of fat and flavor to be a worthwhile addition to your prepper’s pantry. Check out Kraft’s Prepared Pasteurized Cheddar cheese or Heinz’s Macaroni Cheese for reasonably priced options. 

  7. canned hamburgerHamburger- Generally, people think of canned hamburger being home-canned. However, it’s available in cans from both Yoders and Keystone. There are even pre-seasoned canned hamburger products available, like the taco meat by Yoders.        Related: Pressure-Canning Hamburger Meat for Long Term Preservation

  8. canned chickenWhole Chicken- Canned whole chicken, like those available from Sweet Sue, are good for more than just the meat. When the entire chicken is canned, all the gelatin and fat is preserved, allowing you to make a fantastic chicken soup.  Related:  How To Can Chicken (Step By Step Guide With Pictures)  

  9. canned sandwhichSandwiches- Also known as the Candwich, these canned sandwiches will be available in several different flavors. They haven’t quite hit the open market yet, but they’re coming! They come in a can about the size of a soda can with a peel off top. They’re perfect for on-the-go eating. 

  10. canned potato saladPotato Salad- Who knew this traditional, delicious picnic side was available in a can? Canned potato salad would be a good way to add a little flavor into your preps, and it can be eaten warm or chilled, making it a more versatile side dish than you’d possibly realized.                                  Related: How To Can Potatoes for Long Term Preservation  

  11. canned tamalesTamales- We’re talking whole tamales here. Simply heat these canned tamales up, maybe add some fresh veggies or canned cheese to them, and voila! You’ve created an entire meal by simply opening the can. These provide a ready-made meal in a solid form, which can have profound positive psychological impacts. While canned soup is great for filling you up and providing a decent balance, it’s simply not the most satisfying food out there. 

  12. canned cheeseburgerCheeseburger- Made in Switzerland, these rather expensive canned cheeseburgers aren’t very practical, but they’re a fun addition to your preps. You simply boil the whole can and open for a tasty (that’s subjective, of course) cheeseburger. 
  13. canned escargotEscargot- Even if you don’t care much for fancy seafood, there are plenty of canned sea food items that could be great for bartering. Apart from escargot, you can find crab, lobster, and other shellfish canned for long-term storage. 

  14. canned duck confitDuck Confit- Popular in France, canned duck with fat doesn’t seem terribly popular in the US. However, the high fat content in this canned dish could prove to be helpful in a SHTF situation. It’s great for soups and stews, and it adds a sumptuous touch that you won’t often find in the world of canned goods. 

Whatever you prepping goals, consider adding some non-conventional canned goods to your stores. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. We need a variety of foods to stay at our healthiest, and because of this, people generally want a bit of variety in their diet. The humor factor that many of the above items bring to the table shouldn’t be discounted, either. Psychological health will be remarkable important if society collapses, as well, so attending to our psychological needs shouldn’t be overlooked. As is always the case with canned good storage, be sure you’re properly storing cans and rotating your stock as necessary.

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Taylor Roatch
By Taylor Roatch October 3, 2017 12:47
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33 Comments

  1. Angus October 3, 15:01

    Escargot is NOT seafood. It is land food. Properly harvested snails.

    Reply to this comment
    • Cate October 4, 02:40

      THANK YOU!!

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck October 5, 02:41

      If you are interested in snails for food, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t eat them. Can 50 million Frenchmen be wrong? Don’t bother to answer. I know the answer.

      What I have read is that the snails need to be maintained in a bed of cornmeal for a week or so in order to clean out what they have been eating in nature. They should also be cooked before eating in case they have some parasites. No slurping them raw from the shell. If you look for snails in the grocery store you will see that the shells are sold separately from the snails themselves. The shells are reusable. They are not needed to eat the snails. I like my snails in garlic butter. In fact, I would rather just have French bread and the garlic butter, hold the snails.

      I have read the orange farmers in Kallyforniya supplement their income selling snails from their orchards to the folks who market them. It seems the snails like the oranges that fall to the ground. I have rather extensive orange orchards near my house, so if the EOTW arrives, I plan on not only harvesting oranges (assuming Farmer Brown isn’t around) and also any snails I find creeping around the trees. I guess I’d better lay in some canned butter so I can have garlic butter to go with the snails.

      Reply to this comment
  2. left coast chuck October 3, 15:07

    I sort of like Brown Bread. It is good with creme fraiche on it or soft whipped cream cheese. It tastes better if it is slightly warmed. It is quite rich and filling.

    I tried the canned bacon. While it had rave reviews on the website where I purchased it, I did not add it to my stored food. I guess I will just have to shoot one of the wild hogs that infest the central coast of Kallyforniya if I want bacon after the EOTW. Of course, if food is scarce, I might be thrilled to have a can of bacon or can of anything. It is interesting how one’s perspective changes during crises.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Wannabe October 3, 15:25

    Canned duck? Oh my.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Vince B October 3, 15:30

    Fantastic that you can keep providing the information that you do. It is wonderful that you are providing both the young and uninformed about Survival. Something not readily available in the past. Kurt Saxon was my Hero in the Seventies and Eighties, and I possess much of his literature. Keep up the good work. One last thing; Escargot is a Snail not Seafood. “BUT, Who Cares”?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Wannabe October 3, 15:40

    Has any one tried the candwiches?

    Reply to this comment
  6. Pokie October 3, 15:45

    Where can you buy this

    Reply to this comment
  7. ole fert October 3, 16:00

    great info i had not thought of.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Ski October 3, 16:15

    Some of the items were known to me. B&M brown bread made canned pork and beans a true treat when mom made them, Hormel tamales have provided some quick lunches for many years. Others worth a try if found are the canned chicken, turkey, salmon, and corned beef as well as the small peeled potatoes for a rushed lunch. A bit pricey for everyday, but not bad for a special meal once in a while. (If it was canned for the old C-rations, it probably is available somewhere in its civvies.)

    Reply to this comment
  9. Rick October 3, 17:41

    You forgot caviar.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Captbubba October 3, 19:01

    I m 55 years old been through a lot. Not really all that religious but I would guess spritual. I find these emails and websites fascinating. I actually check these emails out before my portfolio. I print a lot off and catalog them because I can’t remember all this stuff. I have the lost ways book. I plan on bugging in. Thanks guys I would hope we never have to use stuff but I try a lot out just in case.

    Reply to this comment
  11. EthanEdwards October 3, 23:16

    Noticed that a lot of the foods presented had pull tops. Read a couple of articles claiming that they could be a problem with long term storage

    Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck October 4, 02:32

    I have always wondered how hungry was the first guy who sucked a snail out of its shell. Did he say, “Hmm. This wouldn’t be too bad with some garlic butter”?

    I buy the canned chicken and canned beef from Costco for my stockpile. Both of those can be added to canned soup to make it more nourishing and used to make other dishes as well. Makes easy to make burritos. Makes nice creamed chicken with cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup. Add either one to vegetables and stir fry for Chinese style stir fry. Unlike the canned beef sold by Safeway and other grocery stores, Costco’s is canned in the USofA. Don’t know if that makes a difference in the food value and safety of the product but I figure it is a little fresher at Costco due to turnover and no ocean voyage from Argentina or Australia.

    Reply to this comment
  13. left coast chuck October 4, 02:47

    For those of you who do not have duck confit as a regular menu item in your house — and I am certainly one of those — duck confit is duck meat preserved in fat. Now this is the result of a quick on-line search, not that I am any kind of expert in preparing duck confit. But, according to my research duck confit predates the days of refrigeration in France. The duck meat, after it is is cooked to extract all the fat is then packed in the fat which acts as a preservative. You add a bunch of spices to disguise the flavor, I guess or enhance the flavor depending on your point of view. Might be well to jot down the following website which describes how to make duck confit: Republicfood.com/whatisduckconfit. While Republic Food strongly recommends storing your duck confit in the fridge, the French just stored it in some cool place prior to refrigeration becoming commonplace. Apparently ducks have sufficient body fat to make confit. Don’t know if chickens have enough fat. Handy to know that you can store meat in fat to preserve it. Could you do the same with pork? Beef?

    Claude: If you know someone who knows how to preserve meat by packing it in fat, it might make the subject of an interesting topic for this site.

    Reply to this comment
  14. left coast chuck October 4, 02:50

    Oops! I got the website wrong. It is Foodrepublic.com, not republicfood.com. Sorry about that.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Grammyprepper October 4, 05:29

    I have had the exact brand of canned butter shown in the article, and was not impressed. I prefer and use ghee regularly. It has a better ‘butter’ taste to it. It is clarified butter.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Grammyprepper October 4, 05:36

    We keep canned tuna, chicken, corned beef hash, beef stew. and the requisite italian stuff in our regular rotation…vienna sausages, spam…outliers are clams, shrimp, crab meat for a treat….there is also canned roast beef, hams, corned beef, and so on…important to have protein sources available…

    Reply to this comment
  17. Leo October 4, 10:40

    how long, just in general terms, would you all say a canned food is edible after the expiration date…. not including tomato products ( due to acidity)?

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck October 5, 02:30

      Leo, there is no single answer. The correct answer is: “It depends.”

      It depends on how it was stored. It depends upon the extremes of temperature although low temperature won’t have as much effect as high temperature.

      I have read that canned food was found in a shed near the arctic circle that had been left many years before by an arctic explorer. When opened it was still edible. It was not contaminated. It still contained food value albeit not as much as probably when originally canned.

      If you live in El Centro, CA and you store your canned goods in your uninsulated garage all year round, probably about three days after the use by date. If you live in Pacifica, CA where the temperature rarely gets above 70 and you store your canned goods in insulated boxes, they will probably last until after you are long gone.

      When I buy canned goods for storage I always check the can very carefully for damage. I do not buy any can that shows the slightest indication of damage. I always check the use by date on the can and buy the youngest can of what I am buying. I mark the use by date on the can with a felt marker and always use the oldest can when I am using my supplies. I had some cream of mushroom soup that was four years past its use by date. I used it to make other dishes such as creamed chicken or creamed string beans. I am still here, writing this post and I couldn’t tell if there was a taste shift. I suspect I would have had to take a sip of fresh cream of mushroom against the out of date stuff in order to be able to detect a difference in taste. If I hadn’t eaten in three days, I can tell you I would have scarfed that stuff down unless I couldn’t stand the smell it was so rotten.

      If, when you go to use a can that is out of date, look at the can. Is it swollen? Toss it. When you open it do you feel like you have just visited the landfill? Toss it. Does the odor make you gag? Toss it. That’s really the best you can do. If you are really worried, just eat a tiny bit, perhaps a teaspoon full. Wait 24 hours. Are you okay or are you bent over worshipping the porcelain god? If you are okay, it probably is good to eat. If it is option 2 or 3 which is the other end, I would toss it.

      If you think you might be raided for your food stash, leave the really out of date stuff out where it is fairly easy to find. If it is bad, you might have made the world a better place. It should also keep those particular folks from coming back for seconds. I would never just throw out of date cans out merely because they were out of date, even if they were ten or fifteen years out of date. You can always feed it to animals. You can leave it out for raiders as I suggested. You can give it to really shiftless beggars who come to your door demanding that you do something for them.

      Worst case, if it really reeks when you open the can, it can be used in your compost heap.

      Reply to this comment
      • Dixie October 6, 23:21

        Instead of tasting right out of the can, bring to a boil, let boil for 10 mins. This will kill most germs. It’s still not 100% that you won’t get sick but odds are ever more in your favor, lol.

        Reply to this comment
  18. Lucy October 4, 23:46

    You can buy real cheese, in about 1″ balls, packed in olive oil in glass jars at Middle Eastern markets. What I have is called “Labneh.” (Maybe all cheese is called “labneh in Arabic.”) One company that makes the cheese I have is Ziyad, the other is Sahadi. They come plain, with mint, or spicy — whatever that includes! It looks like hot red pepper. I have found labneh made of cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk.

    I don’t know what the optimal shelf life is. I have used them for years. Beats having to milk the animals!

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck October 9, 03:33

      I looked up labneh. It is a kind of cream cheese in a jar according to the website I consulted. I couldn’t find any to buy on line. There was one website that specialized in Middle Eastern food but their website was a bear to navigate and I gave up after perusing 20 some pages of a 72 page list of products. It didn’t have a search function you had to go line by line with maybe 50 products on a page. I felt my eyes rolling up into my head after 20 pages.

      Reply to this comment
  19. left coast chuck October 5, 02:47

    One item that is not canned, but is put up in jars is Cheez Whiz. There are varying urban legends about the shelf life of Cheez Whiz (I’m not sure of the spelling as it has been a long time since I have had any) Some of the urban legends are that it has a shelf life of 10,000 years due to the fact that everything in the jar is chemical. That might be a slight overstatement. The other is that you can throw it in the trunk of your car to bake and freeze and it will still be edible (assuming it ever is) whenever you take it out. I thought I would mention it to go with the other items on this list. It is at least as palatable as the canned bacon. That must be how the bacon is preserved in the can. I didn’t have that much grease on the wheel bearings on my boat trailer after I had just repacked them. It was bacon confit.

    Reply to this comment
  20. Mike October 5, 03:30

    Left Coast Chuck,

    I really appreciate your comments! Keeeeeeeep it up!

    Thanks,

    Mike

    Reply to this comment
  21. Softballumpire October 6, 18:35

    The Brown Bread and Hormel tamales were items with which I was very familiar. Some of the canned items I would put up myself, Seeing the canned butter did get me to thinking that is should be capable of being canned at home. If the glass jars were secured to a rotisserie spit and kept turning at a slow rpm like meat roasting while the jars cooled, the solids should remain fairly homogenized when it is fully cooled. It may require some experimentation to discern the correct RPM for best results. I am not currently set up for such experimentation but maybe someone out there is and can field test.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Diane in the woods October 9, 23:30

    People living on sailboats mark all their cans with a black permanent marker. Labels come loose, come off, and in their case make a wet paper mess that plugs the bilge pump so they take them off deliberately. Guessing games make some strange meals. Mice ate the labels of some of my canned goods. Wash the can well, food is still fine.

    Reply to this comment
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