I’ve had several people tell me they don’t believe in food storage. When I asked why, its always for the same reason. The summed-up version: they bought a large supply of canned food, stored it for five to ten years, then threw it away. Have you ever thrown away canned food? It is more common than I realized. The most common reasons canned food is thrown out are:
- buying too much of an item that is not often eaten
- the cans look old and unappetizing
- the canned food has gone bad (8 signs to look for)
Learning how to store canned food and rotating it will eliminate the waste of food and money. Start by gathering recipes that your family regularly eats. Gather enough recipes to create a meal plan for two weeks. Then gradually stock-up only on the ingredients listed on your meal plan. Rotating food storage can be a challenge. Most homes weren’t build with space for food storage. So the challenge for many people is where to store it and how to tell the new cans from the older cans. Below are 4 canned food rotation ideas.
Storing Canned Food
1. Old Soda Box
Old soda boxes are great for storing canned food in tight spaces like under a bed or couch. I buy 12 cans of the same food and place them in an old soda box. I write the date that I purchased them on the box. When I find a sale and purchase more of the same canned food, I repeat the process and place the newest box behind the first box. I can fit four soda boxes in a row under the width of my bed and fourteen in a row under the length. I can stock newer canned food on one side and utilize the older canned food for dinner on the other side of the bed. The soda box can be easily painted as you see in the picture below. I just paint the sides and top of the box, not the bottom.
2. Cardboard Tray
Canned food is shipped on cardboard trays to stores usually in a pack of 24, as you see in the picture below. The cardboard trays make it easy to store and rotate canned food at the bottom of closets or on shelves. It would be very time consuming to rotate 48 cans if they were stacked on top of each other with out a cardboard tray. When I have the trays I can easy pick them up and place them on top of the new cans. I save the trays when they are empty and reuse them. To get these cardboard trays ask a store clerk:
- to get a case (of whatever you are buying) out of the back of the store
- for empty trays that are just going in the trash (this is easiest right before closing time when they are restocking)
3. Cupboard Rotation Organizer
When I lived in an apartment, it was not easy to rotate the canned food in the cupboards. I’d find a cans of expired cream of chicken that didn’t get moved to the front somehow. Using the cupboard organizers that you see below helped eliminate that problem. About eight cans fit in each box.
4. Can Rack Organizer
The first three rotation ideas use 8 to 12 cans. The rotation rack in the picture below is great for storing canned food items you don’t have a lot of (think 4 or less). It’s really useful for utilizing the floor space of a pantry.