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..

5 comments for “Canned Goods & MREs – A Michigan Survival Guide Installment

  1. February 12, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Buy anything that can be made with water, like rice, dry milk, ramon noodles, bouillion cubes, canned chicken, dry cereal and cereal like Malt-oMeal or oatmeal. Buy flour and yeast (freezing yeast keeps it much longer) canned chicken, dry soups, dry beans and peas.

    Drinking water can be made with any stream or lake water. A gallon at a time, let anything in it settle. Once settled, pour the clear water into another container and add 8 drops of bleach. Let it sit open so the bleach can evaporate and you have water that is safe.

    Make sure you are armed and have ammo. Make sure you have an emergency radio available. Ham radios and Cb radios are good too.
    Stock up on baby wipes and toilet paper.
    Thats the best I can think of right now to add to yours. 🙂

  2. jgillman
    February 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm


  3. Jack McHugh
    February 12, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Dudes – Here’s how to put away a year’s supply of food for less than $100/person!

    Rice, beans, flour, sugar, vegetable oil (I think olive oil does not go rancid). Corn and beans are complimentary proteins, so corn meal too.

    Where’s the real protein you ask? When the neighbors are eating each other you won’t complain about this diet, believe me! Seriously, shoot a deer. Or, add a few canned foods to this – cheap beef stew and such. Peanut butter is cheap protein.

    For water, get a backpacker filter with extra cartridges – Katydin, First Need, MSR. Stash a few bottles of bleach. Keep a waterbed in the basement (or in the bedroom).


    Old survivalist whacko who came of age in the 1970s.

  4. jgillman
    February 13, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Oh shoot.. you know one of the most important things.. Seasonings for the Jerky.. SALT (incredibly important) Pepper and agreed with both of you suggesting bleach for health reasons.

    These are inexpensive items, and can do so much to make for a more comfortable survival.

  5. John F
    February 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

    It is good that you develop a well thought out pantry stash. There will be fifty people to one who do not. Most homes are not defensible against an indignant mob of hungry no plan types. I wonder how the anointed one will keep his beef? A division of MRE laden National Guard’s perhaps.

Comments are closed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...