We preach it all the time in the prepping community, you must store what you plan on eating and actually cycle through that food in order to keep things as fresh as possible. While not a huge deal for long term freeze dried items with a shelf life of 20-30 years, canned food items with a shorter manufacturer recommended shelf life of 2 – 3 years are prime candidates for food storage cycling. In other words if you store what you wouldn’t mind eating once the expiration date approaches you simply eat that food and buy more to replace it, basic FIFO inventory management. I will toss in a caveat, I did write an article which brings into question the validity of the manufacturer recommended expiration dates on many canned food items, basically stating that shelf life is probably double or triple what is printed on the can. Take that for what it’s worth.
Yesterday while down in my basement I decided to make a meal utilizing samples from my own food storage. I was pretty hungry so I needed something which would not take too much prep time, so I headed for the canned food shelving unit. A can of chicken, corn and diced new potatoes were selected and I headed up to the kitchen.
I’m one of those guys who prides himself on “grill skills.” Lump charcoal (propane what???), some smoke, ribs or chicken…it’s on like donkey kong. My skills diminish once I transfer over to the stove but how difficult could be it to throw a bunch of canned food into a pan while shaking some spices all over it? I diced up some onions and threw them into the pan with some olive oil, once they were cooked down I added the new potatoes. At this point I started reaching for whatever was in the spice cabinet: garlic salt, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, pepper, and maybe a few other things. The only rule was this: a minimum 10 shakes over the food, go hard or go home.
The chicken was added next and shortly thereafter the corn joined the party. Cook all over medium heat until it looked done, whatever that means as I could have eaten the stuff cold out of the can regardless. At some point I started to think to myself that the concoction looked pretty dry (chicken is notorious for that in most instances) so I reached into the cabinet and grabbed a big bottle of Worcestershire sauce, problem solved.
I’d have to say that despite how it looked, for a meal that probably cost me under $5 to make it wasn’t that bad at all. Of course I served it on a big paper plate (the flimsy foam kind) and ate it with a serving spoon, it’s the only way to do it. Cycling through your storage food doesn’t have to be a intricate task which requires lots of effort, give it a go sometime and I think you’ll be pleased.