Question about canned food?

I'm just a single guy who doesn't know a lot about cooking/food, who's wanting to put together a little bit of canned food to eat during emergencies. I'm looking for food that you can eat raw from a can. One that you can just take a can opener, open the lid, and eat raw. I'm going to name a few foods i like to eat from cans,that i currently heat/cook up, but would like to know if they are safe to eat raw. Some of which are

Green beans

re-fried beans

Brown/pinto beans


sausage gravy


14 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, all those are safe to eat raw. Pretty much all fruit, meats, veggies, and other foods are cooked before they are canned. I would look for calorie and nutritionally dense foods, like chili, refried beans, fish in oil (eat the oil or use it in cooking, like boiling rice), lentils, garbanzo beans. Cold-water, non-apex fish are great for B12. Canned corn is better than canned green beans. Some canned food doubles as a water source, especially fruit, then soups. Take it easy on high protein foods if you don't have enough water to digest them.

    I like the survival tips already given. Having a few P-38s around is good, stored with the cans, one on the key chain, some cans that don't need one, and one on the pocket multi-tool. The sacred order of survival is shelter, water, fire, and food because you can die from hypothermia in a few minutes, hyperthermia in a few hours, a few days without water, and a few weeks without food. See Tom Brown Jr, and Cody Lundin for more info, Dave Canterbury has a bunch of youtube vids that are fairly helpful on the basics. There is a whole prepping community out there; The Patriot Nurse has a great library, and medical info. National Geographic has done a series, The Doomsday Preppers, that gives the positives and negatives about different people's approaches with the odds of what they are preparing for. I don't care what the odds are, it's just generally a good idea to be prepared. There are always natural disasters, and a variety of things that can cause civil unrest, unlawful people, and wars. Spare food even helps during unemployment.

    Youtube thumbnail

    You should pay attention to the canned BB date too. Some last longer than others, like Top Ramen, canned and dried beans, nut butters, salmon, etc.. Top Ramen noodles and others like it are already cooked, so they can be eaten raw. Cooking thin pasta takes only a few minutes more. We can generally eat starches raw too. Oatmeal is famous in no-bake recipes. You can mix starch with cold water and drink it, or mix with water and fry a pancake; toss in a little baking soda for it to rise more, and little salt and sugar for more flavor (these last three keep forever). Baking soda has over a hundred uses.

    Search: baking soda uses

    There are other foods that last almost forever, so learning to cook a little is a great thing. Warming something up, can lead to boiling water. When you can tell that pasta, rice, or beans are done by trying them, then learning when to flip a pancake or burger is next. After that, just cut into a loaf of bread or cake to know. The next time, a timer will get you much closer.

    Some of the storage foods you don't need to cook in order to eat them, like oatmeal and lentils. You can simply soak them in water for a while. This is what ultra-light backpackers do who do not carry a stove.

    As long as you can find some wood, paper, cardboard, alcohol, you can have a fire to boil water. Have a fine cloth to filter the water, or used grass, sand, and charcoal. Boiling water will kill the bacteria. Distilling using two pots (YouTube), or a couple cans and a tube will remove many chemicals if they exist. While you're boiling water, you can add some rice or lentils for some easy cooking; the major advantage is these will last many more years, especially when stored properly. This is true for dried legumes, beans, grains, rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, pastas, herbs, spices, flours like cornstarch and arrowroot, etc.. Some of the foods that last forever are honey, white sugar and vinegar, soy sauce, hard liquor (fire starter, sterilizer), corn syrup, hardtack, pemmican, powdered milk, and salt (it's a rock/mineral that preserves other foods like Top Ramen and Spam).

    There are some foods that naturally ferment in healthy ways. You may take some fresh fruit to make wine, some barley to make beer, some cabbage to make sauerkraut or kimchi. They don't even need a fire; room temps will do the job. Fermented foods are great for adding flavor, like pickles. High acidic foods are better stored in non-metal containers, like glass.

    Nutrtional data, glycemic index & load, ORAC values, nutritional density

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    Hope these helped. Take care and have fun!

  • Helios
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    First thing to know in an emergency is that it's OK to fast. Generally if you're in good shape, you can fast easily for three weeks. So first off you need nothing or very little. You do need water however - that's a problem. So think about water.

    As for food, the highest calorie, salt and fat food you can get is Spam.... and you can get 8 cans of it at Costco for about $20 or so. This is month's supply if food if you really ration it out. This saved a LOT of lives in WW 2 as a can will feed a whole family for a couple days. And it won't spoil once it's open as there's so much salt in it.

    So for emergency food, don't worry about anything like green beans which are low calorie. You want HIGH calorie - lots of salt and fat - just the stuff they tell you that you're not supposed to eat otherwise.

    Water.... remember that there's 2 or 3 gallons water in the toilet tank - and there's 40 or 50 gallons in the water heater. So in an emergency, you shut off your water supply which might be polluted - and isolate these two sources of water at least. If you can, you fill up every jug, jar and bathtub with water before you shut down your supply.

    In a real emergency, the water will often be diseased - with perhaps cholera which is deadly if there's no doctor. So you want just a tiny bit to eat - stuff you don't have to cook - and as much clean water as you can keep.

    Think ammunition too... 9 mm is good - .22 is good. You can use it or trade it for more food.

  • 5 years ago


    Source(s): Modern People Paleo Guide :
  • Roddy
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    All canned foods have been processed and are safe to eat without heating. Some of the better tasting unheated foods are tuna, vienna sausages, pork & beans, and even corn. Of course it's a matter of personal tastes.

    Many foods can be heated to an acceptable level with simple tea lights. Get a metal coffee can and put five or six of the little candles in the bottom. Poke a few holes near the bottom for air flow. Sit a metal cooling rack on top and put your pot on it. A bag of fifty tea lights will cost you around five or six bucks. You probably can't fry with it or boil water but you can raise the temp of your food quite a lot.

    If there's no power or gas to cook with you will probably need candles anyway. Just don't buy the scented ones.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago


    Source(s): Food That Last Forever
  • Shay
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Almost everything that is in a can was pre-cooked before it went into the can. This means that most foods in a can could be eaten without cooking or heating. If you are not sure, read the labels. The foods that require cooking will say so on the can. Don't forget to keep a hand operated can opener with your emergency supplies. Not every can has a pull top.

  • 6 years ago

    If you are in survival mode or even if you just lost electricity for a week, you still need balanced nutrition, so have a variety of canned goods available.

    Good canned foods to eat right out of the can are:

    tuna fish

    any canned fruits


    vegetables (all)


    soups and stews

    canned chicken

    Other nonperishable foods include: nuts, raisins, dates and don't forget, candy or candy bars with chocolate. Chocolate may discolor over time, but it still tastes good.

    Another thing to keep in an emergency kit is water. I bought a few 5 gallon containers from Dick's Sporting Goods and always keep them filled. I change the water every quarter to be sure my supply is fresh. You should too.

  • 6 years ago

    Add crackers to your list for a bread substitute, they keep well in a sealed jar or plastic container after opening. Canned Boston Brown Bread is good, also canned sliced potatoes or sweet potatoes. If you're concerned about long-term, go the freeze dried food route and have plenty of water and the materials for a small stove. They just require the addition of hot water. There's always the military MRE's too.

  • 6 years ago

    I would say that all canned foods can be eaten straight from the can, but that some are terrible to eat that way. Some of the meats like Spam are actually surrounded by cold fat which needs to be heated and drained off


  • Anna E
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Anything you can buy in a can has already been cooked and can be eaten without cooking or heating. It may not be very palatable but it won't hurt you. This also includes canned meats like tuna, salmon, ham, roast beef.

  • 6 years ago

    all canned foods are safe to eat right from the can due to the in can pasteurization/cooking process all canned food goes through. be sure to get a few can openers and preferably none of the ones that have moving parts.

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