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Canned goods can help you cut grocery costs amid inflation

Canned goods can help you cut grocery costs amid inflation

Multiple cans of preserved vegetables like green beans, carrots, peas, kidney beans and corn. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / OlenaMykhaylova

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Inflation doesn't look to be going away anytime soon, despite easing slightly. Among the many essentials that have risen in price over the past year, food is one of the most distressing. Whether you're eating out or going to the grocery to get materials for a home cooked meal, you'll be noting the increase when you're reaching for your wallet. Canned food is a great way to cut back on your food spending.

While canned food hasn't been immune to inflation, it’s generally less expensive than other forms of food to begin with. We'll give you a primer on canned food and the ways it can save you money next time you go shopping.

The most expensive canned food

While canned food is one of most affordable types of food, not all canned food is created equal in that certain types are more expensive than others. While there are exceptions, canned fish is one of the most consistently expensive types of canned food. On the other side of the spectrum, beans and simple soups and broths are among the cheapest.

Where to buy canned food

If you're hoping to save money, then you shouldn't just focus on what to buy, but where to buy it. Canned food can pretty much be bought anywhere that food is sold, but budget grocery stores such Aldi and Dollar General can help you save even more money on your purchase. Additionally, be on the lookout for generic and store-brand food, as they're less expensive than their name-brand counterparts.

Have a wholesale club membership? Consider buying in bulk from BJ's, Costco or Sam’s Club. One of the downsides to buying food in bulk is the fact that the large amount is hard to eat in a timely matter, meaning that it's liable to spoil. However, this isn't the case with non-perishables like canned food as they have a very long shelf life.

How long canned food lasts

One of canned foods' most notable traits is how long it lasts compared to fresh food. Its long shelf-life is, in fact, the very reason canning was invented in the early 1800s, as the French government offered a cash prize to anyone who came up with a breakthrough in food preservation. In fact, canned food from a steamboat wreck had been discovered to be edible for over 100 years, though we don't recommend keeping yours for that long.

What we do recommend is to check the "best-by" date on the can, as it will tell you how long the food is good for. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), high-acidity foods such as fruit will generally last a year and a half, while low-acidity foods will last two-to-five years if stored properly.

How to store canned food properly

Canned good stored on wooden shelves in kitchen.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / Boogich

The safest way to store canned goods is between 50 to 75 degrees with securely sealed cans that are away from direct sunlight.

The USDA recommends that canned food be stored in a cool, dry place. Specifically, the ideal storage temperature for canned food is between 50 and 75°F. Food stored above this temperature for extended periods of time will see a higher risk of spoilage. Similarly, you'll want to mitigate the chance of rust, which can puncture the can and lead the food being spoiled. Some warning signs of cans with spoiled food include bulging, leaking and denting along with a foul odor when you open the can. When storing canned food in your pantry, the newest cans should go in the back to make sure you're cooking all your canned food before it goes bad.

Is canned food nutritious?

The simple answer is yes. Foods selected for canning are picked when they’re freshest and the process for canning them ensures that many of their nutrients are preserved. If that wasn't enough, a 2015 study found that adults and children who frequently ate canned food had higher nutrient intakes than those who did not.

The best can openers to open your canned food

Black and silver Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe Can Opener next to the red, white and blue package of the EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener.
Credit: Reviewed / Cuisinart / EZ-DUZ-IT

With the Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe Can Opener, you don't have to use nearly as much elbow grease as you would with a traditional can opener.

What good will your canned food be without a way to open it? If you don't already have a can opener in your kitchen drawer or if you're looking for an upgrade, then you have two options.

If you're interested in getting an electric can opener, then there's no better option than the Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe Can Opener. Cuisinart is a premier kitchen brand and we can see why through its can opener, which we found to be the best electric can opener of 2022. Its sturdy build and design can handle cans of all sizes with ease. Unlike the competition, it doesn't spill food or tear labels as it works its magic. While it leaves cans with sharp edges, this shouldn't be much of an issue as you'll be handling a can less than you would if you opted for a manual can opener.

And if you prefer to keep things simple and classic with a manual can opener, then you should get the best one on the market, the EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener. It's durable, affordable, easy to use and, most importantly, consistent, not catching or snagging on cans as you use it.

$24.95 from Amazon

$13.65 from Amazon

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.