When it comes to emergency planning, many households struggle to know where to begin. Unknowns are hard to plan for, especially creating a food stockpile with limited information. Number 10 cans, also written #10 cans, are really useful to you.
There’s no telling what the problem will be. Is it an earthquake? Is it a storm? Disasters can cut off your food and water supply, and you may not know when it’s going to come back.
Food and water are the most important in those cases. You simply need to know how and how much to stock.
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Every family should have enough food and water for 72 hours. This is the minimum recommended, and in some cases, it will have to be enough.
Just for your drinking needs (not cooking, washing, or cleaning), you should have one gallon of water per day, per person. That means for a family of 5, you need at least 15 gallons of water on hand for drinking water.
Plastic 5-gallon survival jugs are easy to store. Now, for a month, you need 150 gallons of water. Something larger, like a few 50-gallon stackable tanks, or even 55-gallon water barrels, are needed to prepare for a longer time.
Many families don’t have enough room or money for more than that. Keep your capabilities in mind. If you can stock more, do it. If you can’t, then stock what you can and what you think you’ll need for a few days.
The first few are the most vital before help gets to you.
When it comes to food storage, people rely on several types. One of these options is the #10 can. This guide should give you an idea of how important they are and why you need those cans in your stockpile.
What Is the #10 Can?
Before you know whether you need #10 cans, you have to know what it is. When it comes to emergency preparation, you’re going to find a few different food containers, including the #10 can.
They are large metal cans with several servings of food inside. You may also see them as coffee cans or in bulk areas of grocery stores. Normally, this size of can contains about 109 ounces of food.
While that may help you understand the volume of the can, it may still be hard to visualize. The can is about seven inches tall and a little over six inches wide.
The reason this can is popular among emergency preppers like you is that it can contain about a gallon of food in one can. If you think of pantry organization, it’s easier to control fewer large items than several smaller items.
How Long Is the Shelf Life?
One question that is tossed around most often in regards to this large can is how long it is going to last. If you have a large stock of food, you don’t want it to go bad.
No one wants to waste money, time, or space on emergency prep.
The problem with nailing down a firm answer about this is that every food type is different. Some products have a longer shelf life than others do.
Normally, these foods are good for at least a several months. You should always check the labels on your products, in case the timeline varies significantly.
Now, if you open up a can but don’t finish the contents or if you need to split the can into smaller portion sizes, you can do this. As long as you have other containers — such as food saver bags or canning supplies — you can scoop out the remnants of the food and divide them into smaller sizes.
How to Store #10 Cans
One of the benefits of these larger cans is the ability to store them. Unlike glass jars, or even large plastic containers, they won’t shatter or crack easily if dropped. You can stack them, too.
You never know when an emergency is going to strike. Likewise, when something does happen, you may not have a clear timeline for how long it will last.
Your #10 cans should be put away in a dark place with cool temperatures, away from all rodents and insects. No, they can’t get IN the cans, but what they can do is …well, the “do.”
You don’t want rodents defecating or urinating on the can. Remember, wash the outside of the can thoroughly before opening it. You never know where it’s been, and opening it can push contaminants into the can.
What to Store, How Long to Store it
There is no food with an unlimited shelf life. Of course, your canned food may not spoil quickly, but it will begin to lose its nutritional value over a prolonged period. Dried beans will also become harder to cook.
When it comes to food storage, your first instinct may be to store as much as possible. After all, you can never have enough food.
Actually, the truth is that you can.
This is why you have to rotate your food on a regular basis. Many foods need to be switched out yearly, while some can store for up to 30 years. Here’s a list of good emergency foods to keep on hand, if you’re looking for one.
If you have too much food, then it is going to go to waste. It will be a loss of money on your part and a waste of food that you could have used. The important thing is to store what you’ll use, and use what you store.
It may not be the best idea to spend your money on foods that you would only eat if an emergency presented itself. Also, do not spend all of your money on high priced meals that you may never touch.
Stockpiling boxes of MREs, for instance, is a bad idea. It’s better to have enough food to last for an extended period of time, but that can also be eaten before it goes bad on the shelf.
With some #10 cans you may not have to follow the rule of using what you store. A few products can last for years in these cans. However, some of these products you may not want in your regular diet.
For instance, dried milk, canned eggs or meat, and emergency rations are ok while camping or during an emergency. However, you’re not going to want to add them to Sunday dinner.
Popular #10 Can Products
Now that you know about the #10 can, what do you store in them? Here is a list of some of the items you might find in a can:
- Egg powder
- Dry milk
- Bread mix
- Freeze-dried beef
- Dried cheese
- Mashed potatoes
- Freeze dried chicken
- Dehydrated fruit
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried veggies
These larger cans can hold many different types of foods. That list is by no means exclusive. They can hold full meals for a large group of people.
Do You Need to Refrigerate After Opening?
Once you open the can of food, you may have to think of other storage options. Of course, there are some cases where all you have to do is use the provided lid for the can and continue to store it.
If it’s a dehydrated product that usually is how you store them. These products, even after opening, can last up to 12 months. Of course, it’s a different story when it comes to reconstituted leftovers.
Those would have to be stored how you would any standard leftover. When cooking in a survival situation, measure out what you will serve to each person before you cook. Leftovers without refrigeration don’t last long.
#10 Cans Should Have a Place in Your Stockpile
These cans are sturdy, available in about any food type, from veggies and fruit to dairy and protein.
Canned goods storage is also convenient. The larger cans are easier for you to take inventory of and to move around. Consider the difference between having a few large cans compared to a dozen smaller ones.
Emergency preparation is not an easy task to undertake. However, it’s absolutely imperative that your family is ready for an emergency if it hits.
Storing food and water is a lot like buying insurance. You are not sure you’re going to need it, and you hope that you won’t. Still, you want to make sure that you have it just in case.
During emergencies, entire communities can shut down. People can have difficulty leaving their homes, much less getting their hands on food supplies. A backup plan will help your family stay safe.
Freeze-dried foods and powders in #10 cans can last a quarter of a decade. Cans with whole foods in them, however, do not last as long. Those need to be rotated out, at least once a year.
You should store any whole foods that you normally eat, if possible, in #10 cans. That way, you can rotate your older foods out if nothing happens, so it isn’t a waste of money either.
A #10 can is one of the best storage options because it allows you to hold a large amount of food for an extended period. This is true especially if you have more than 2-3 people in your home.
These #10 cans are a staple of food prepping, but so are freeze-dried staples in plastic, food-safe buckets, which we’ll cover in a later article. These cans hold a good amount of food and last long enough that when an emergency hits they’ll be there for you if you prepare well.