Monday, January 14, 2019

A man, a Can, a Plan: Canned Corn as Survival Food

(Note: this article is an homage to a rather excellent book that I recommend as a gift for young adults leaving home for the first time. It even comes in board book format, so as to be durable enough to handle dorm life.)
Being a prepper, I am always trying to figure out my best options for emergency supplies. Having a background in accounting, I am inclined to literally make spreadsheets and compare the various options, sometimes exhaustively and late into the night. (We all need hobbies).

There are a lot of survival foods out there. Many of them are basically compressed pucks of shortbread that will keep you alive but not happy (through personal experience , I recommend drinking lots of water with it), although some survival foods can be fairly high-end freeze dried meals that are easy to prepare and taste about as good as a public school lunch: edible and surprisingly tasty at times, but not recommended as a primary diet.

With that in mind, I think I have found a good compromise between "tasty" and "cost effective" for survival food: canned corn.

No, really.

  • Canned corn is inexpensive. Like, really cheap: my local grocery store had a sale on it for less than fifty cents a can last week. Even at full price for a name brand, bought from a family dollar store it's less than two dollars a can. 
  • The corn itself can be eaten straight, which is nice in a canned good. Yes, you can eat canned soup without heating it, but it gets old real quick. 
  • If you happen to have rice on hand (another cheap survival food) the added nutrition from the water in the can is actually not a terrible addition. Use the drained water to cook the rice and then put the corn on top. Voila, instant side dish, allowing you to ignore the burned out remains of the city you are in and pretend you still live in civilized times. 
  • Soup or stew isn't that hard to make from scratch, and having canned corn on hand makes it that much easier. 
  • The corn can be used as bait for other food. Carp are by no means my favorite fish to eat, but they sure do love corn used as bait, and are a darned site better than nothing if you need protein. Heck, squirrels tend to love canned foods, so with a simple snare you can turn a can of corn into several meals. 
  • The can itself can be used to make simple tools, a stove being my personal favorite. Emergency cooking pots can be done, but try to make sure of what the can is lined with first; some of those liners are toxic. I have a tendency to save my cans and use them as small parts containers. And if you must, you can make a cutting edge out of the metal from the can; it's difficult, but possible. (I'm not counting the lid as you take it off.) 
  • Heck, it even makes a decent thrown weapon in a pinch: metal, compact, and heavy enough to do some damage... 

...which leads to the biggest con: it's heavy. There is no question, it will cost you in weight. so you may not want to do this if your plan is to bug out with a backpack. That said, if you plan to bug in, or if you plan to bug out in a vehicle, a few cans of this are probably not a bad idea.

In short, canned corn is cheap, easy to get hold of, and has a variety of uses. Not recommended for backpackers.

Good luck, and don’t forget to practice.

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