Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Canned for the Apocalypse

The best thing about sheltering in place during any apocaplyptic event or large-scale disaster is that you don't have to lug around a bunch of gear. Being in one place means you get to have access to ample storage space. If you've prepared adequately ahead of time, that means you should have plenty to eat. 

When choosing what foods to stock for a shelter-in-place scenario, there should only be one real consideration: what's the shelf life?

When it comes to shelf life, the absolute reigning challenge is canned food. The reason is simple--cans are not gas permeable, meaning oxygen can't get in. Canned foods can easily last 25 or more years, assuming they're stored in a cool, dry place. Moisture is a can's only real enemy, as most cans will rust. The food inside a can can survive for a very long time, provided the can isn't heated. 

When picking can foods for your shelter, you should consider several things:

1. Is the food a whole meal or a component? (soup vs vegetables)
2. Does the food in the can require cooking? (soup vs fruit)
3. Will you eat the food?
4. Does the canned food also require water to prepare? (Condensed soup)

For obvious reasons, many manufacturers produce meals-in-can; Raviolis, Chili, and Stews, to name a few. Most of these could probably be eaten at room temperature and keep you alive, but who wants to be miserable in the apocalypse? Food is, after all, one of the comforts we can provide ourselves for emergencies. 

Canned fruits, which don't require cooking, might be one of the best things to stock in addition to your heartier choices like stews or chilis. Sweet and often in a sticky juice within the can, they could prove a tasty way to start another day below ground. 

The best thing about canned foods though, other than their long shelf life, is their price. A can of chili--which could be stretched to provide a meal for two people--often costs less than $2 a can. Throw in a sleeve of crackers and maybe some parmesan cheese, and you've got a meal that costs considerably less than any MRE or freeze dried product on the market. And, unlike MREs or freeze dried goods, canned foods are only a short drive away, lining the shelves of your local grocer. 

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