Best foods to can for survival – List included!

It is wise to be prepared for the worst. We all hope for the best, but that is not always what we get. For example, if some sort of natural disaster or a pandemic strikes that forces you to stay at home for weeks or months, you don’t want to starve because you were unprepared. Setting up your own food storage program will certainly take some time and dedication, but the peace of mind is well worth it. But what are the best foods to can for survival? This article answers that question!

Best foods to can for survival 

The following are some of the best food products to can for survival. 

1. Beans

2. Meat

3. Vegetables

4. Seafood

5. Fruits

6. Soups and stocks

7. Milk and dairy products

8. Nuts, seeds & grains

Why is it important to can foods?

While it is true that you can just store foods in airtight containers to preserve them for some time, there are certain benefits to canning foods. There are various methods of food preservation, but canning has some distinct advantages since it sterilizes the food during processing and then seals the contents into an airtight container that protects against pests and oxygen.

Canned goods are perfect for making quick dinners. Not just that, but this will also give you the peace of mind of knowing that your family won’t starve if all else fails. In a time of emergency, it is important to have food storage in case the worst should happen.  

In addition, canned foods have long shelf lives. Canning your own food is also an easy way to preserve garden crops that otherwise might go bad before you can consume them.

Whatever your reason for stockpiling is, you need to know which food items are ideal to can in case of an emergency. But before we move on to discussing the best foods to can for survival, it is important to discuss the factors that will help us determine what food should we get. 

What factors to consider before canning food?

Certain foods are better suited for canning, whereas others need a different preservation method. To determine which foods will work best for your food supply, here are some of the most important things to keep in mind: 

1. Nutrition value 

In general, canned foods have a lower nutritional value. While it is true that canning does preserve many of the nutrients in vegetables and meat, you cannot beat freshness when it comes to nutrition! Therefore, if you are going to stock up on canned food, make sure they are low in sodium. This will help minimize the effect of the reduction in nutrition caused by canning. 

2. Storage times and shelf life 

An important factor worth considering is how long some foods will last. It is best to go with items that store for a longer period of time so you won’t have to constantly replenish your inventory. Most canned vegetables and fruits, when canned, can last around nine months to 1 year before the nutritional value drops too much.

3. Pre-packaged vs. bulk purchasing

It may be more convenient and cheaper to buy pre-packaged canned foods, but there are times when it is preferable to buy bulk and then can the food yourself. For example, with seafood such as salmon or tuna, it might be more cost-effective to purchase a large amount of fish and then freeze the extra portions in small containers that you can keep in your freezer until you need them. 

4. Preference

Obviously, we want to go for products we know we will enjoy eating. For example, you wouldn’t want to stock up on canned food that you don’t like or can’t stand.

5. Easy to prepare

When canning items, consider how they will fit together in a larger picture and how you are going to make meals from them. It is ideal to have simple dishes on hand in case of an emergency.

Best Foods to Can for Survival

Now, let’s get down to business! Here are the top 8 best foods to can for survival:

1. Beans 

Beans are packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients. They are also very versatile, which makes them perfect for preppers who might be trying to make do with minimal cookware. Best of all, dried beans have a shelf life of around 30 years! That is why it is important that you use oxygen absorbers packets for your dried beans that will help retain their nutritional value over time. 

2. Meat 

Another great option is canned meat because it provides an all-around nutrition in an easily transportable form. Canned chicken is especially popular among preppers for this reason. All you have to do is drain the liquid from it, add some rice or noodles to make a soupy dish, and you are good to go. You can also cut the chicken into small pieces or strips, chunks, cubes, or use ground meat. The best meat to can includes chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, sausage, and pork.

3. Vegetables 

Canned vegetables are also an ideal food to have in your emergency stockpile because they will last for around one year. Best of all, not only are you getting vitamins and minerals from these foods, but you can also use them to make soups or even barbecue dishes. You can also use your them by either making their pastes or by canning them whole.

4. Seafood 

Canned seafood will last for around 2 to 3 years, so this means that you will have access to a variety of nutrient-rich foods even if you are stocking up for emergencies! The best seafood to can include clams, salmon, crab, trout, smoked fish, tuna, and oysters.

5. Fruit 

All kinds of fruit are good to have on hand in case of emergencies. However, make sure to store them properly so they don’t spoil easily. Canned fruits will last for about one year, but only if properly stored. You can do a lot of things with fruits. You can simply store them as a whole, or you can make jams, juice, pies, or jelly out of them.

6. Soup 

As mentioned earlier, you can turn vegetables into soups by cooking them with some meat or seafood. Best of all, they are delicious and will keep your family full even when there are no other food options available to eat! You can also can stocks so that they can help you prepare your meals during emergencies. 

7. Milk and dairy products 

Milk and dairy products are rich in protein which makes them excellent for prepping. Best of all, they can last up to 1 year! All you have to do is store them properly while following the best practices, so they don’t go bad.

8. Nuts, seeds, and grains 

Grains and seeds are suitable for preppers because they can last up to 30 years, so you don’t have to worry about replenishing them every month. Best of all, foods such as whole grains or flaked rice will help you boost your energy levels even when the food is scarce. Just make sure that you store them properly, so they don’t spoil easily! 


All in all, the most important thing about prepping is that you keep your goals clear. This way, you’ll be able to determine whether the food items you are buying will help you achieve your goals or not. With this list in mind, hopefully, you can stock up on the best food items for emergencies! 


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