Canned Goods & MREs – A Michigan Survival Guide Installment

Given the insane rush to spend our future, it would be prudent to plan for several years of down time.  We may have a temporary up tick in jobs being created by the new stimulus measure, but as they will be primarily government jobs, the happy times will be short lived.

Inflation is on the way folks, so get your pantry stocked and make your purchases up front.  Rob the kids’ piggy bank, (as they would only have to give it to the government later for all this spending anyhow) and buy a serious amount of non perishable supplies. Your near future might not find you in an automobile, or even with a nearby local store to purchase foods from.

Russia survived, but I am sure there are those of you who recall the “60 minutes” segments in the early 80s, on how empty the shelves were under communist rule.  Though Michiganders have plenty of access to potatoes, Vodka, I suspect is not yet considered a staple..  I guess there is a time to start.. eh comrades?

OK the meat of the matter.. (umm.. can meat at your own risk – might be better to eat rats and donkeys later.)

Canned goods can enjoy shelf life far exceeding the expiration dates on store bought cans in most cases. I have heard stories of 10+ years after canning where the flavor is only marginally affected. Commercially canned goods are required to undergo a “botulinum cook” at 121 °C for a few minutes, and generally will not be as dangerous as your own “home” grown canning process.  However, home grown canning from gardens can provide you with great amounts of food which can be quite tasty, and also useful as trade tools in a collapsed economy.


  • Get your gardening utensils NOW while you can afford them
  • Start your garden in small containers INDOORS as Michigan’s
    growing season is a bit shorter than southern states. This will
    give you a head start and potentially a larger yield by harvest.
  • While the big chain grocery stores are having their canned
    good sales, buy what you can in case lots.
  • Keep your canned goods in a cool dry location. Shelf life
    can be greatly enhanced by keeping at 50-60 degrees.
  • Consume your own Canned goods first before hitting the commercially
    packaged storables.

MREs can offer you a bit more of a variety than your typical garden goods, but might require a bit more care in storage. Under proper care however, you still might be able to keep them through to nearly the end of this presidency. A shelf life chart is available for MRE foods here:

Planning ahead for your family should include the possibility that some canned goods will be lost to mishandling or early failure of storage. If canned goods exhibit signs of expansion or hiss when you open them, they should be thrown out. Gases which develop are a sign of bacteria which leave behind toxins that are extremely harmful. Some will argue you can still heat the canned goods and kill the bacteria and also the associated toxins, but I suspect you would have to be quite hungry to take that chance..