Getting Started with Canning Food for Survival: A Beginner’s Guide


In the realm of emergency preparedness, augmenting your food storage with pre-made survival food is beneficial, yet it can be quite costly and not ideal as the primary staple of your food reserve. Many preppers, known for their frugality, seek cost-effective solutions for long-term food storage without breaking the bank.

One effective method for extending the shelf life of your food is home canning, an excellent alternative to store-bought survival food. While it requires an initial investment for setup, home canning can lead to significant savings over time, preserving food effectively for months or even years.

The Advantages of Home Canning

Apart from its financial benefits, canning has the added advantage of not requiring electricity. This means that in a grid-down or emergency scenario, you can continue preserving food. Additionally, canning can be a communal activity, offering a chance for families to bond and prepare together for potential crises like supply chain disruptions or major emergencies.

Learning How to Can for Survival

In today’s digital age, numerous online resources, including videos and tutorials, are available to teach you canning techniques for free. The Latter-Day Saints community is particularly engaged in canning, operating many canning centers across the country. These centers are open to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation, and they offer a great opportunity to learn canning skills and use their facilities without initial investment in equipment.

Choosing the Right Foods for Home Canning

When you start canning, it’s important to select foods that are suitable for this preservation method. Some of the best choices include:

  • Soups: A practical option is to make a large batch, enjoy some for dinner, and can the rest for future use.
  • Salsa: Homemade salsa not only saves money but also has a longer shelf life when canned compared to being stored in containers like Tupperware.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: Canning vegetables ensures a steady supply of micronutrients, and canned fruits can boost morale in tough times.
  • Meat: While meat can be frozen, in a power outage, canned meat remains safe and consumable.
  • Beans: Both dry and cooked beans can be canned, providing a long-lasting source of protein.

The Safety of Home Canning

While canning at home is generally safe, it’s crucial to be cautious to avoid risks, particularly botulism. Botulism, a serious foodborne illness, can occur in improperly canned foods and is undetectable by smell or appearance. To prevent botulism, it’s essential to follow proper canning techniques, use the appropriate equipment, and err on the side of caution. Although cases of contamination are rare, they can have severe consequences for those affected.

In conclusion, canning is not only a practical method for food preservation but also a valuable skill for any prepper, offering a way to save money, ensure food safety, and spend quality time with family while preparing for the future.