Sunday, August 19, 2012

#10 Cans and How I Use Them

In the beginning when I was new to buying and stocking #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for long term storage, I needed a way to sample the contents and practice preparing meals using these new foods without the risk of spoilage after the #10 can was opened.

It doesn’t make sense to just buy these types of foods and place them in long term storage without ever trying them or experiment by using them in recipes. A disaster that requires you to depend on your stocks will probably happen without warning. That is no time to begin trying to prepare good tasting meals without knowing what you can do with them for the first time especially when you will be under stress.

Now in order to sample the contents of #10 cans they must be opened and immediately at that point the long term food life begins to degrade. There are 13 cups within a #10 can so if you have 6 or 8 different types of food that you need to practice preparing, a lot of time may pass during this practice time and spoilage of the remaining amount is likely.

I get around this problem by opening the cans and immediately transferring all the contents into one quart canning jars with an oxygen absorber in each jar. Now I can use one of the jars to take food from for my testing and everyday use while the rest is safely stored in an oxygen free jar to continue its long term storage.

There are 13 cups total volume in a #10 can, however that does not necessarily mean there is 13 cups of food in them due to settling/compacting during shipping. Check with your supplier to verify the actual amount of food inside so your planned amounts of meals in stock are accurate. You can also check the label/contents online for the weight of the contents, normally in pounds, the number of servings inside and the serving size. The serving size is normally in cups tablespoons, ¼ cup, ½ cup etc. but also includes the weight of each serving in grams. (There are 454 grams in one pound).

Yesterday, I opened a new #10 can of Vital Wheat Gluten and thought I’d show you just how I repack the contents. I do this for all the foods that come in #10 cans when I have to open one. The can in this photo is of course empty and in the 4 quart canning jars have the total contents of the can, about 3 ½ quarts. This is normal for foods in #10 cans.

One of the quart jars is only 1/2 full and that jar is the one I use first. It also shows a white plastic cap on it. This cap is made by Ball and I find this very convenient to use for everyday access but the standard two piece canning lids and rings work fine also, it’s just a personal preference for me.

The other three canning jars have the two piece lids and a 500cc oxygen absorber inside. These jars are now stored for the long term, just like an unopened #10 can. And yes, after a few hours from packing the lids do go “Plink” just like they do as if pressure canning.

Your probably asking, why do I use a 500cc oxygen absorber in each jar, isn’t that overkill? Yes it is, but here’s why I use that size. I prefer to keep all my preparedness items and methods as simple as possible, so I stock only one size of oxygen absorber, the 500cc size to use in all my storage containers. If I need let’s say, 1,000cc’s for my one gallon Mylar bag storage I simply use two of them, for five gallon Mylar bags I use eight of them. It does cost a few cents more this way but I find it is a small price to pay for this flexibility and almost all my storage today is in quart jars and one gallon Mylar bags. (I pack four, one gallon Mylar bags into one, five gallon bucket. I find this method works best for my needs.)

Quart jars filled from the #10 can.

Quart jars filled from #10 cans in the everyday storage shelves.

Hope this tip helps you plan for your future.


  1. I do the same thing with my number 10 cans once I open them. I have a foodsaver, so I also vacuum seal all but one, and that one I keep in front so it gets used first.

  2. Hi Laura,
    I believe that long term stored foods should be used regularly, mostly for practice cooking with them but in many cases to save money. This is a practical way to use and experience your #10 cans of stored foods conveniently without wasting any.


Your thoughts are welcome!