Monday, January 20, 2014

Selecting Food Cans From Grocery Stores

          Whether you are a Prepper or just someone that likes to maintain a large pantry, selecting the best available type of metal can that your food comes in is very important.  Some cans simply have "rolled" top and bottom edges (ringed cans) and can shift easily when they accidentally get bumped or are on a shelf that is subject to vibration when someone walks across the floor.  This can cause them to topple over and possibly become dented.  We all know that we don't buy dented cans because they may compromise the safety of the food inside regardless of the best by date.  There is a type of can with a "socket style" base available in grocery stores which reduces and possibly eliminates dented cans due to toppled stock in your pantry or food storage.   The cans  may have been out there for awhile, but I just recently discovered them.  They are now the preferred type of can for my food storage pantry, which is a combination of a regular pantry and long term food storage.  Using my foods this way, I am able to keep my grocery store foods rotated.  There are some grocery store foods that have best by dates four years out from now.  If it's a food we normally eat, you can bet that I have a substantial amount of those canned products in my food storage pantry. 

          When I began building my food storage pantry I didn't pay attention to the actual different types of cans I bought.  However, while stacking my cans on my wooden shelf I accidentally bumped cans that were adjacent to what I was stacking and very easily knocked them over.  It was then that I realized the real benefit of the distinct differences in the construction of the food cans.  Most cans are of the metal edge "ringed can" style with the same type of ring around the bottom and the top that allows it to slide very easily, especially when stacked.  You almost have to stack them in an offset manner to keep them from toppling over.  But even doing it that way, there are only four tiny points of contact with the can below, which is what makes it so easy for the upper can to slide and then tip over and fall.

Non-Socket Style Cans

          To stack the ringed cans exactly on top of each other is almost impossible without having the top can tilt into the recess of the ringed can below it due to a vibration or a bump to the shelf unit.  Unless your shelf unit is on a concrete floor, you will need to frequently check the cans just to be sure they aren't close to toppling over.  There's nothing that stops the shelf from even the simple effects of vibration from someone walking across the floor in a wood framed house.  That vibration will make the ringed cans jiggle ever so slightly and over time, shift position unbeknownst to you until you find them toppled over. 

          I have decided to only buy cans that have socket style bases whenever they are available for the product I am looking for, regardless of possibly costing a few cents more.  This socket style feature is where the bottom of the can is designed to snugly fit into the recess made at the top of the can below it. 

(Notice the indentation on the bottom of the can)

          You can even stack them three high without fear of them tipping over from an inadvertent bump or vibration. 

Securely Stacked Cans

          Even if it costs a few cents more per can for the style with the interlocking base, I'm willing to pay it because it's well worth it to simply not have to worry about your food cans falling over and becoming dented.

          When I first became aware of the stacking feature of the socket style cans, I thought it was only a few brands that used that can design.  I'm pleased to have found that the following brands use the socket style base of the can design on some of their cans. Not all of them though, so you have to look for the socket style can for each product.

Here's a list of the ones that I have found so far:

  • Armour Star Treet
  • Double Q Pink Salmon
  • Hormel Corned Beef
  • Del Monte Vegetables
  • Chef Boyardee Pastas
  • Green Giant Vegetables
  • Sol-Mex Sardines
  • Beach Cliff Sardines or Fish Steaks
  • Star Kist Tuna
  • WalMart's Great Value Sliced Potatoes

          In summary, whether you are a new Prepper or a seasoned one, or just someone who likes to maintain a substantial pantry, you may want to seriously consider beginning to use only using the 15 ounce (average size) stackable socket style cans when available to help prevent damage to your stored food.  I haven't found any 29 ounce cans with this interlocking feature, but I'm still looking!
Have a great prepping day, and thanks for stopping by!
Bob Hotaling

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