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It seems there is a celebration for just about everything! While many people may think of February is only for Presidents, hearts, and chocolate, we can also recognize it as a time to add to our pantry. Canned foods are convenient, quick, portable, and have an extended shelf life. In honor of National Canned Food Month, you’ll often find case sales in February that make it a great time to buy.
Canned food is a good option when buying fruits and vegetables that are not in season or do not readily grow where you live. I’m a fan of keeping a variety of canned food available, but I’m also choosy about what I add to my pantry. Canned foods may be high in sodium and other preservatives. It’s important to read labels, looking not only for salt but things like monosodium glutamate and sodium citrate.
Remember! Eat what you store, store what you eat. Buy only foods you are comfortable with the ingredient list or will use sparingly.
While I like to can my own meat, vegetables, and fruit, which gives me full control over the amount of salt and other ingredients, commercially canned foods play an important role in my food storage and pantry. We keep a variety of canned foods such as soups, vegetables, fruit, and fish on hand.
Many canned foods, such as ready-to-cook soups, can be enjoyed simply after heating. Others shine best when part of a dish. Below, I share a few of my favorite food storage canned goods and then recipes to help you use these cans in your kitchen.
Also remember, even though canned goods have a long shelf life, rotation is important. To help with the first in, first out method, I not only put new purchases at the back, but I also write my purchase date on the top of my cans to help ensure they are used in proper order.
Canned Food for Your Pantry
- Vegetables such as corn, green beans, carrots, peas
- Tomatoes. I like to keep a variety of stewed and diced in various flavors (such as with chili peppers added) along with tomato sauce and paste. You may also wish to consider dehydrated tomatoes for your pantry. I like both tomato flakes and tomato powder.
- Fruit such as peaches, pineapple, fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, applesauce, and pumpkin
- Soups. A combination of condensed and ready-to-eat (see this post and this post to read more about why I keep soups that don’t need water)
- Coconut milk
- Sauces, salsas, and gravies. I always check the sodium and sugar content in these. Some are better than others.
- Beans. While I prefer dry beans, we keep a variety of canned beans on hand for quick meals.
- Jams, jellies, and peanut butter
- Fish such as tuna, salmon, maceral, sardines, and anchovies
- Canned chicken breast, a few canned hams, and Spam (side note: my son loves Spam; he’d eat it daily if I’d let him)
- Miscellaneous items such as mushrooms, olives, water chestnuts, capers, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, pimentos, green chilis, broth, etc.
- Assorted condiments
Recipes Featuring Canned Goods
- Creamy Corn Casserole
- Scalloped Tomatoes
- Green Bean and Bread Cube Sauté
- Salmon Cakes
- Spicy Bean Burgers
- Potato and Salmon Patties
- Tuna Patties
- Taco Soup
- Creamy Sardine Salad
- Spam Musubi
- Garbanzo Bean Curry
- Puttanesca (I keep anchovies, olives, and capers on hand specifically to make this quick dish)
- Pantry Enchilada Chicken Skillet
- Crockpot Nacho Chicken Dip
- Smoky Salmon Spread
- Thai Peanut Sauce
- Design a Soup or Stew (Not sure what to make from your cans? Use this method as a guide)
- Coconut Soup
- Easy Pumpkin Soup with Canned Pumpkin
- Peach Cobbler
- Applesauce Custard Pie
More Articles You May Enjoy
- February Meal Plan Ideas – Wholesome Goodness for Your Honey and Honey Drops
- Easy No-Cook Meals & Food Storage Items
- Anatomy of a Blended Soup
- Introduction to Food Storage: Heat and Eat Bin
- Stock the Real Food Pantry
- April Meal Plan: Pantry-Friendly Meal Ideas