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The Best Canned Foods For Your Pantry

Want to get a home-cooked meal on the table even faster? I keep my “Cantry” well-stocked with my favorites–diced tomatoes, crushed pineapple, black and garbanzo beans, and other canned foods that fit right in to my family’s favorite recipes. 

Many canned fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients as their fresh or frozen counterparts (according to a study at the University of California, Davis). I was thrilled to hear that since I use cans regularly in my cooking.

We’re going to talk about canned food recipes, how long you can keep canned food around, shelf life of canned goods, and even some tips and tricks for canned food storage. This is your one stop shop for all things canned food recipes!

This was originally a sponsored post on behalf of Mom it Forward and Cans Get You Cooking.

Meal planning is easier when you include canned food in your pantry. Get ideas for dinner recipes using canned food favorites.

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Choosing cans over fresh may also save you money. Did you know that 73% of Americans throw away spoiled fruits and vegetables on average twice a week? I hate wasting food (and money) that way!

With their extended shelf life, canned foods can help you avoid that waste, and you can make some delicious canned food recipes with them.

Canned Food Favorites & Canned Food Recipes To Try:

Diced Tomatoes

These are my ultimate “convenience” food. I use canned diced tomatoes in Pork Ragu & Fettuccine, Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad, and Taco Cornbread Casserole. Other versions of canned tomatoes (crushed & paste) are the basis for this easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.

Canned Corn 

Canned corn is the centerpiece of Black Bean & Corn Salsa, or it can take the place of frozen in recipes like Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup and Corn & Potato Chowder.

Crushed Pineapple

Crushed pineapple is the key to Pineapple Pork Chops, but I also buy pineapple chunks for my kids’ lunchboxes (much less expensive than the individual packs).

Canned Beans

Beans, beans, the glorious fruit (as my kids would sing) — we use them daily for breakfast burritos (refried) and as the protein in slow cooker bean soup. If you’ve never tried them, Roasted Spiced Chickpeas are a surprising treat!

Diced Green Chiles

Green chiles are just the right level of spice for my kids, perfect for Green Chile Chicken Casserole or to throw into a slow cooker with a can of diced tomatoes and your favorite taco meat to shred (chicken, pork or beef). They also add a nice little kick and boost of flavor to a lot of regular, everyday recipes as well.

Canned Pure Pumpkin

Use it for pancakes, muffins, or gluten-free bread for an extra hit of flavor and fiber. Canned pumpkin is also really good for dogs so if you have pets it’s something worth keeping on hand as well.

Black Olives

Black olives are always in my cantry. We put them in Spinach & Feta Pasta Salad and on homemade pizza.

Meal planning is easier when you include canned food in your pantry. Get ideas for dinner recipes using canned food favorites.

How long does canned food last | Canned food shelf life

All cans are printed with a “best by” date that you can use for keeping your pantry full of fresh and delicious canned goods. Most are good for about 2 years and in all reality they’re safe to use long after that but their appearance may not be the best after that time.

If you store them in a cool, dry place the cans will keep for much longer than the printed shelf dates. I usually try and stock my pantry from the back to the front so that we’re using things up before they have a chance to get close to their 2 years in storage.

If you are trying to store canned goods for long periods of time you just want to make sure that they are kept in a controlled environment and that the cans are not damaged! Keeping your cans properly stores will extend canned food shelf life and allow you to store healthy foods for longer!

Are canned foods healthy?

Canned foods often get a bad rap and it’s unfortunate because they’re actually fine substitutes for fresh foods when you can’t keep fresh or frozen on hand.

If you are worried about the sodium in canned foods you can always purchase the no salt added alternatives…or rinse them before use! If you rinse canned foods under fresh running water before use you can wash away a lot of that sodium content according to this study.

All in all canned foods have a lot of the same nutritional benefits as whole, fresh, or frozen options and they’re more convenient for a lot of people. They’re also quite a bit more budget friendly so if you are shopping on a budget you’ll notice that cans are a much better solution!

Variety of canned foods: green beans, corn, carrots, mushrooms, beans and tomatoes - how long does canned food last

Canned Food Storage Tips:

Canned food storage might seem simple because they’re in cans and don’t need refrigerated right? Wrong! You should actually always follow some simple tips to keep your canned goods stored properly so that they last to their “best by” date and beyond.

Store them where it is cool, dark, and dry. You don’t want the cans to be dirty or wet because they can erode over time.

Canned foods and jarred foods should never be stored over 95 degrees so make sure it stays cooler than that wherever you store them. Think about keeping cans stored away from hot water pipes, the oven, range, furnace, etc.

Keep your canned food organized with plastic or metal organizers so you can find what you need easily.

If you are looking for some tips on organizing and designing your pantry this post will help!

Looking for more great posts to check out?

Here are some other awesome posts I think you’ll want to check out! Learn more about budgeting, meal planning, grocery shopping for healthy foods and more!


Friday 20th of September 2013

My cantry isn't complete without coconut milk, I use it for smoothies, curries, baking, soups, pretty much anything I can :)


Monday 30th of September 2013

I've only used it for baking. I'll need to get more exciting!


Thursday 19th of September 2013

I tend to avoid cans because of the high levels of BPA found in them.