When preparing for a long term emergency, it’s good to have a variety of foods stored away for times when you might not be able to get to a grocery store for a while. “Food fatigue” is a real thing, causing people to choose to starve instead of eating the same thing over and over again.
Rice and beans again anyone?
I thought I’d search the internet for some different canned goods you can stock your pantry shelves with- you know, just to keep things interesting. In my digging I made a surprising, and somewhat nauseating discovery…
It’s crazy what you can put in a jar!
Not that I would recommend all of the following recipes, but it goes to show what the possibilities are. I have to caution, many of these recipes have not been “tested and approved”. When in doubt, store in the fridge if at all possible.
Disclaimer: Canning foods that have not been approved by the National Center for Home Food Preservation is accepting the risk of food poisoning. Proceed at your own discretion.
Some of these are pretty cool ideas… some… well, you be the judge!
1. Hot dogs
Find your favorite franks on sale at the super market? Why not stock up?! The freezer isn’t the only place you can store hot dogs long term. Pressure canning them will give you something similar to Vienna Sausages. Some people say they even taste like they’re grilled, right out of the jar! Watch the above video on how to can hot dogs to give you an idea of how to go about doing it yourself at home.
Who wouldn’t still want to have bacon for breakfast when the SHTF? This video shows how to pressure can pre-cooked bacon, wrapped in parchment paper to keep the strips from sticking together. This method would work for any variety of bacon… turkey, pork, whatever.
To be perfectly honest, this one kinda scares me. I’m not quite convinced that the center of the jar will get heated adequately in such a dense product. However, there are people who have been canning meatloaf for decades and have lived to tell the tale. The maker of this video pokes a hole down into the center of the meat to help it heat through better. It also looks like there would be quite a lot of grease in the jars, since it isn’t cooked beforehand and drained. Regardless, it’s an interesting idea.
4. Hamburger patties
In this article, Jackie Clay explains canning hamburger patties,
“Now you can make hamburger patties, using very low fat hamburger, lightly brown them, then pack them into widemouthed jars and process them with little or no liquid. But when you take them out to use them, the texture is not like that of a hamburger, but more like meatloaf. It is a smoother, more compact texture that some people don’t like in a hamburger bun. It depends on your family’s taste. I do use this method, but when I take the meat out, I arrange it on cookie sheets, put some catsup or barbecue sauce on it, diced onions and slices of green pepper and bake it. You now have little “personal sized” meatloaves that you can then slip onto a bun. “
To keep the patties from sticking together, you can put a piece of parchment paper between each layer to keep the patties from touching. You’ll want to pack them in wide mouth quart jars. Process for 90 min. at 10 lbs pressure.
There’s nothing really strange about meatballs in and of themselves, but people are often surprised that you can can them. Home canned meatballs are a delicious addition to your home pantry. Use them to top your favorite home canned spaghetti sauce, make meatball subs, enjoy them on a bed of steaming rice… so many possibilities!
6. Marinated Mushrooms
7. Flower Jellies
I wouldn’t call flower jellies strange, but definitely a unique idea. Honeysuckle is my family’s personal favorite foraged blossom jelly. I love the idea of going outside, picking a basket of edible flowers and turning them into a delicious confection. It’s a resourceful and frugal way to make jelly when fruit isn’t accessible.
8. Canned Quick Breads
Did you know you can store bread in a jar? Yes, it’s definitely possible. However, the jury is still out as to whether it’s safe or not to store unrefrigerated. MANY people have testified to storing quick breads on their pantry shelves for months and didn’t get sick, but as with many of these “unapproved” recipes, you are taking a risk when doing so. I love canning quick breads for a convenient snack, but I’ve started storing the jars in the fridge- just to be safe. Use your own judgement. You can use your favorite quick bread recipes: banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, apple bread, etc.
If you absolutely have no alternative to storing cheese (such as a fridge or cheese cave), and you really want to have it readily available, there are people who have been canning cheese for many years with good results. Again… and forgive me to reiterating this so many times… proceed at your own risk. Home canned dairy products are not “approved”.
Canning butter, or clarified butter (ghee), is an interesting idea. There are people who live without electricity who depend on canned butter to get them through the year, and have been doing this for many years. Read one homesteader’s account of how she cans butter and her thoughts on the process at The Last Frontier.
I feel it’s only fair to include this warning on canning dairy products to help you make an educated decision for yourself before attempting any of these recipes.
The volatile oils in nuts will cause them to go rancid over time if not properly stored. Dehydrating them is one way to preserve them for several months. Canning nuts is another way to keep them fresh, longer. Check out this YouTube video to learn how to can your favorite nuts.
13. Chicken Feet Stock
Chicken feet make some of the most nutritious broth. I know it sounds nasty, but if you can handle cleaning and cooking chicken feet, Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship has a great tutorial for making chicken feet stock. Once you’ve got your homemade stock nice and hot, you can process it the same way you would can homemade bone broth in a pressure canner.
I’ll pretend to be a hardcore homesteader and hide the fact that the idea of handling chicken feet totally freaks me out.
14. Pickled Pigs Feet
Speaking of nasty feet…
Why? Just… why?
I’m pretty sure I’ll never understand what would posses anyone to want to pickle pigs feet, however I must acknowledge it as something you can put in a jar.
I was talking to a Virginia gentleman this weekend about canning, and he shared with me that his family in Florida has recently shipped iced shrimp to him straight from the coast. 25 lbs worth! After he and his wife had gorged themselves on all the shrimp they could handle, he promptly pressure canned the rest. They’ll be enjoying that gift for many months due to his knowledge of how to preserve the abundance.
Here’s a good video tutorial for instructions on how you can pressure can shrimp at home.
While we’re discussing canning seafood, did you know you can process clams in a pressure canner to preserver them as well? Grind the clam meat for minced clams, or process them whole.
17. Boiled Peanuts
If you live in the South, no doubt you’ve likely tried the traditional treat of boiled peanuts. Some people love them, and some say it’s an acquired taste. Canning boiled peanuts in their shells is a great way to keep the harvest preserved and provides a protein packed snack that will last for months or even years on the shelf.
18. Snake Meat
Snake fanatics are singing the praises of home canned snake meat, particularly smoked Rattlesnake. Although I’ve never tried it myself and can’t recommend it either way, it’s good to have this knowledge tucked away in the back of your mind for a situation where that might be the only meat you have available to you. When preserving any kind of meat, make sure to follow Meat Canning Safety Guidelines to avoid food poisoning.
19. Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns
I always enjoy learning more ways to preserve wild foraged foods. Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns, made from the immature fronds of an Ostrich Fern, are a fun way to put away nutritious foraged goodies during Springtime harvests.
20. Cattail Pickles
My foraging hero, Linda Runyon, shares a recipe for Cattail Pickles in her book, The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide.
“Harvest cattails at the height of summer, when they have large stems about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. Cut the cattails at water level, remove seed heads, then peel the stem to the inner white core. Wash this pith under running water. Lay out on counter or board and slice into 6-inch pieces. Place pith pieces in pint jars, add your favorite pickling recipe. (Use hot cider vinegar and 2 teaspoon pickling spices (commercial) to each 8-ounce jar of vinegar.) Stems yield approximately 4 to 6 jars, depending on the diameter of the pith and the length of the stems.”
21. Cactus Pickles
Linda also shares a recipe for Cactus Pickles, which I had to offer here as well. This recipe can be found on the same page as the recipe above in her book, The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide.
- 2 quarts prickly pear fruits
- 2 cups honey
- 2/3 c. cider vinegar
- 1 small cinnamon stick
Put cinnamon stick in a cheesecloth bag. Place the prickly pear fruits in pint jars. Mix the honey and vinegar in a saucepan and add spice bag to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 min. Remove the bag and pour the liquid over the fruit to 1/4 in. from tops. Process in a hot water bath for 25 minutes. Makes 2 pints.
22. Poached Crickets
Since our friend David Goodman has thoroughly convinced us of the value of Eating Insects For Protein (yep, I’m frying up a few hornworms as we speak… uh-hem), why not can some of those yummy critters to get you through the long winter months? You can read a thorough evaluation of canning poached crickets and how they taste at The Future of Edible Insects.
Whadya say, David? You game? 😉