Buy shelf-stable foods to save money

Shelf-stable foods can reduce food waste and grocery bills.

With food costs on the rise, consumers may be considering stocking up on food. Freezing is a viable option, but canned goods are likely to be less expensive and easier to store if you’re short on space. Considering what foods will last the longest leads us to foods that are shelf-stable.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), shelf-stable foods must be treated to have all bacteria killed that may cause foodborne illness or allow the food to spoil. Foods must also be packaged in sterilized, airtight containers. Examples of foods that are shelf-stable are foods that do not require refrigeration until they are opened like canned and bottled foods, rice and pasta. We can purchase these items on sale or in bulk to save money now.

Space is important to keep in mind, as is the life of your shelf-stable food. These foods may last for a very long time, but not forever. A few factors would be that cans can rust, can be dented. Food stored for several years my cause taste changes or nutritional value of the food as the USDA shares under “Will Commercially-canned Foods Last Forever?” High temperatures can also harm canned goods.

It’s recommended that canned foods be stored in a cool, dry place with a stable temperature variation. Also, be sure to check periodically and use the canned goods you’ve had for a while. Rotate canned goods by arranging older cans and packages in front for first use.

Using shelf-stable foods, like canned goods, can help you save money. It allows you to purchase items on sale and to keep your panty well-stocked.

For more information on preparing for the rise in food costs and shelf-stable foods, see the Michigan State University Extension article “Begin budgeting for higher food costs now.”

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