When we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot leave the house, and happen to see a bare refrigerator staring back at us, have no fear- canned goods are here! Or at least they should be. Here’s a list of the top 10 best canned foods to stock up on, in case of an emergency.
These canned foods are great to have on hand; they’re versatile, tasty, and nutritious. One item can be used several different ways, in several different dishes. For some extra yummy pantry dinner ideas, check out 5 Pantry Meals To Make This Week.
1. Tomato Paste
What is tomato paste? Well it’s basically concentrated tomatoes. What exactly does that mean? Tomatoes are cooked down, their seeds and skins have been strained out, and the tomatoes are cooked once more. What you’re left with are dense tomatoes, or tomato paste.
The beauty of tomato paste is that a little bit of it goes a long way. So if you’ve ever wondered why tomato paste cans are so extra little, it’s because the tomatoes are so concentrated. You really don’t need to use much of tomato paste to pack a nice punch of tomato flavor into a dish.
How can I use tomato paste? You can cook the tomato paste in some olive oil, caramelize it and replace the raw tomato flavor with caramelized tomato flavor you’d find in your favorite pasta or pizza sauce. Add basil, oregano, and any other favorite spices and the result is an incredibly fresh tomato sauce to pour over pasta.
Tomato paste is a great addition to a soup as a base, excellent in sautéed veggies and braised meat dishes.
2. Condensed Milk
What is condensed milk? Condensed milk is cow’s milk, with the water removed from it. What’s left is a thick milk, often with sugar added for sweetness.
What can I make with condensed milk? You can make a delicious caramel sauce from condensed milk by simply removing the label and boiling the can in a pot of water for several hours.
Sweetened condensed milk is often used in desserts like pie, cakes, and pudding. Condensed milk is great as a coffee sweetener as well.
Craving some cereal but realize you’ve ran out of milk? Combine water with condensed milk to regular cow’s milk consistency, add your cereal, and you won’t even tell the difference.
3. Baked Beans
There is no shortage of meals you can make with a can of baked beans. Baked beans mean that there is virtually no cook time required, and you can buy them in various flavors.
Here are a few examples of ways you can use baked beans: beef and baked bean chili, baked bean casserole, and baked bean nachos. Serve baked beans in chicken quesadillas and tacos, alongside veggies and meat, or by themselves with shredded cheese on top.
What are sardines? Sardines, also known as pilchards, are small oily forage fish. They’re part of the herring family. These fish may be little, but they pack a ton of big flavor!
Sardines are super affordable, sustainable, and they work in just about any dish that contains big fish. Grilled sardines on avocado toast can be a delicious, quick and easy lunch. While sardines in tomato sauce atop angel hair pasta serves as a hearty dinner.
Tuna is a superfood; it’s packed with protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna is versatile, while staying fairly low calorie and low carb. Fortunately, tuna comes canned! And canned tuna is a must in every pantry.
Between tuna salads and best toasted tuna melt sandwiches, it’s one of my all time favorite proteins. You can also grill up some tuna patties and assemble delicious tuna burgers, or even make tuna ceviche.
6. Canned Chicken
When you think of canned proteins, tuna is usually in the spotlight. But have you ever considered keeping canned chicken in your pantry, too?
When you need to make a quick dinner, canned chicken saves the day! It is excellent in a cold chicken pasta salad, can easily be transformed into a chicken burger patty or cutlet, and even tastes delicious in melted quesadillas.
Canned chicken sautéed with some butter and olive oil is the perfect pair with wild rice. You can even make some chicken and white bean chili in the crockpot with it.
What is spam? Spam is a precooked pork product in a can. It may be eaten hot or cold. Back in 1937, spam gained popularity globally after it was consumed often during World War II. Today there are 13 different types of spam. From jalapeño to hickory smoke, cheese or black pepper, there is a spam for all taste buds.
Spam is super affordable and has an amazing shelf life: keep unopened spam in your pantry for 2-5 years!
So what can you make with spam? Well it may not be the most glamorous of meats, but it does taste a lot like ham. Spam and eggs grilled in a skillet is a delicious and filling breakfast. “Spam and cheese” is an awesome take on a classic ham and cheese sandwich.
8. Diced Tomatoes
Diced tomatoes, like tomato paste, and any canned tomato product is pretty much limitless. Canned tomatoes are picked and canned immediately, so their sweet flavor remains year round, unlike regular tomatoes which are the sweetest around august.
What can you make with canned tomatoes? Add them to macaroni and cheese for a zing. Cook meatballs in diced tomatoes. Make salsa, chili, or a fresh pizza sauce with them. The possibilities are endless.
Anchovies are small forage fishes from the Engraulidae family. There are more than 140 different species of anchovies, swimming through the Atlantic, pacific, Indian oceans, and in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
The traditional method of preserving anchovies was to gut them, then salt them in brine. When the anchovies were cured, they would then be packed in oil and preserved.
Anchovies combined with garlic, capers, and pasta present a flavorful dinner. Blend anchovies in a blender or food processor with black olives, and spread on crostini. Umami fish flavors are also common in various salad dressings, and wouldn’t be the same without these flavors. Anchovies as one of the toppings on a pizza is amazing too.
10. Green Beans
For those of us without vegetable gardens, canned green beans are a great solution to vegetable cravings when you can’t get them fresh. They’re affordable, and can be used in many different ways.
Make a green bean casserole, steam green beans as a vegetable side, or add green beans to stews and soups.
Canned goods are incredibly useful and helpful, and can be life saving. They have a long shelf life so when there is little else available, a full pantry of these 10 canned goods can be essential to survival.
Just be sure to check all your cans prior to storing. If you notice some cans have dents on them, consume them immediately as the weak areas may cause rusting. Very damaged canned goods should be thrown out rather than risking food poisoning.