Surprising results with Canned Meat and Vegetables

Do you ever crave chicken salad and realize you don't have any chicken breasts? Or want to serve potatoes as a side and, again, forgot to pick them up at the store? I keep canned goods of chicken and potatoes for this reason. The canned chicken makes a great chicken salad. I rinse it, break it apart (it's like tuna in a can), add chopped celery, olive oil mayo, tarragon, red grapes cut in halves, lemon pepper and it is fantastic!
The potatoes are always a surprise to any of my guests. I drain the canned, whole potatoes, dry them, and add them to a pan that has melted butter and tablespoon of olive oil. Saute until golden brown. A nice crust forms around them. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and you have an interesting and delicious side dish.
Beets are another pantry surprise, rinse, dry, roll in olive oil, roast until outside is crisp. What do you do with canned vegetables? I'd love to hear new ideas. Thanks! BB

Question image


BerryBaby August 29, 2016
Just read about Salad Nicoise and I admit 'fresh is best', however canned can be great when that is all you have. I make this salad with canned tuna, canned potatoes, canned green beans and canned black olives. Toss it together with a bit of Italian dressing and I have an instant lunch that is satisfying and delicious.

I know canned food isn't for everyone but those of us who enjoy it, this is a very good option.
Zane August 24, 2016
It is a great question and also a great reminder for people to stock up on items that might not perish like in a fridge/freezer when something happens during an earthquake, flood, or tornado for example....freezers tend to not stay on during any of those scenarios.. Living in S. California I have so much at my doorstep to choose from but I also know that things can happen and a store might not be able to accommodate my purchasing items so I have a lot of canned meats, pastas, vegetables, water, medical supplies, etc. just for this purpose.

I do tend to enjoy canned chicken because it is very convenient for use in many dishes.
BerryBaby August 27, 2016
Happy to read you also enjoy canned chicken. Have you tried the canned turkey? That is one I haven't tried yet. Canned meat was used quite often when we were kids. Canned tuna was a staple. Spam was all the rage, I never really like it, but I'm willing to give it another try. I'm curious about the ground SPAM in a can, looks like Deviled Ham. We also had that as well back in the 50's. That product has a long history!
Greenstuff August 23, 2016
Such an interesting question! I confess to never thinking of buying canned chicken or potatoes. But I’m also going to disagree with my fellow Californians. When we moved here, I was thrilled to be in food paradise, but I was also aware that there could be times when an earthquake knocked out much of our world. So, I keep some canned products on hand. Tomatoes, coconut milk, various fish, a few beans in cans. Peppers, roasted artichokes, olives, jams and preserves in jars. Even some broth, as my freezer might fail. Now that I think about it, my list is pretty haphazard. So I’m all in on the 10-days of nonperishables menu.
BerryBaby August 23, 2016
Greenstuff, thanks! I've already started working on the 10-days of Non-perishables menu. If you or anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!
ktr August 23, 2016
We normally have a few freeze dried backpacking meals around. As long as you have access to water you can always make those. We have a generator to run the sump pump and freezers if the power goes out during the summer, and in the winter we can just put anything that can be frozen outside. In fact, I often put food on sheet pans on my deck in the winter to freeze and then repackage into freezer bags. Then I don't have to find room for a pan in my freezer and it often freezes much faster outside anyway.
Smaug August 24, 2016
Don't forget all these newfangled "shelf stable" and irradiated packages that are appearing- haven't worked much with this stuff myself, but there is some surprising stuff- unrefrigerated whiippinng cream? Hooda thunkit.
BerryBaby August 24, 2016
Yes, when living in areas that are prone to Mother Natures unexpected occurrences, it is important to have plenty of bottled water, personal supplies and LOTS of canned food (including a can opener) available. I want to expand on what can be made at the spur of the moment using canned (or jarred) items from your pantry. Growing up creamed soup was used as the base for many items, tuna casserole and green bean casserole being two of the most popular. Both used only canned products. It will be interesting to hear other suggestions. Kind of like a flashback in time with a 21 century twist.
Maedl August 22, 2016
I appreciate this discussion--I live in Germany and this morning, I noticed an article in the newspaper saying the government is recommending citizens to have 10 days of food (and water) on hand. Although this is an extreme recommendation, I was wondering just how I could store 10 days of non-perishable that would also want to eat. This gives me some ideas--and more variety than 20 cans of tuna. Thanks!
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
I'm so pleased you are finding this information helpful. Don't forget canned fruit. In the 70's gelatin molds were all the rage and using canned fruit was a very popular ingredient to add a little 'extra'. Fruit cocktail, pineapple, pears are a few of the fruits I recalled being used. Today we have more choices with tropical fruit blends and I love canned Mandarin oranges. Perfect on a spinach salad, on yogurt, in a fruit salad with shredded coconut, love them!
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
And you know, that is a great idea! Maybe a thread on "Ten Days of Non-perishable Meals" using canned food would be in order.
ktr August 22, 2016
I never thought to try to roast canned beets. I have several jars of home canned beets that I am going to have to give that a try with. Thanks!
We don't use many canned vegetables other than tomatoes, but I always have canned salmon, tuna, anchovies and sardines in the cupboard for quick meal options.
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
Here's another idea using frozen pearl onions...I know not canned but want to share. Quickly throw the frozen onions in simmering water for about 30 seconds. Drain, pat until very dry. In a skillet melt butter with a little olive oil add the onions and saute until lightly browned. Absolutely delicious!
HalfPint August 22, 2016
My mother makes a wonderful crab and asparagus soup (soup mang cua) that's primarily all canned, from the crab to the asparagus to the quail eggs to the broth. Surprisingly, she says that fresh asparagus doesn't work for this recipe. "Doesn't tastes as good" were her words.
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
I LOVE canned asparagus! Always have. One dish that has to have canned green beans is the traditional Green Bean Casserole at Thanksgiving isn't right unless I use canned green beans. Have tried it with fresh, but there is something about the traditional recipe that I so enjoy. Maybe reminiscent of my childhood? So many options with canned products. Always have canned olives, chopped jalapenos, soups of all kinds, SOLO apricot filling for pastries, canned black, pinto, white, kidney and garbonzo (chickpeas) beans (for toasting up as a snack). Yes, I use fresh beans, I grow garden vegetables (even potatoes), I shop farmer's markets, and buy fresh fish and meat. However, canned food can be interesting with a little imagination! JMO! :)
Smaug August 22, 2016
I don't use much more than the obvious- canned tomatoes and beans, etc. I do note that, at least in Northern California, Hawaiian barbecues, which feature a Spam based menu, have proliferated in recent years; I've no doubt this means something or another.
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
As a kid I recall having SPAM sandwiches in my lunch bag. Now there are over a dozen different flavors. When we went to Hawaii, the McDonald's serves SPAM. It is very popular.
There is a SPAM museum in Minnesota. I haven't used it in years, but have thought of giving it a try, maybe the Teriyaki flavor. There is a SPAM spread which reminds me of the Deviled Ham in cans that I use to love back in the 60's.
mountainnaan August 22, 2016
Hi BerryBaby... I, for one, appreciate your post even if others don't. I live at 8300ft in elevation and the nearest grocery store is 15 minutes away in slow season. Do I prefer to cook with fresh, seasonal ingredients and organic, grass-fed meats? Well, of course. Are there times when I just can't get to the store or just plain forget stuff? You bet. I was served a delicious potato dish recently at a gathering and when I asked the hostess about it she sheepishly admitted the potatoes were canned. I was completely shocked. Having grown up on a farm and being an avid gardener, I've always turned my nose up at canned meat (other than tuna) and vegetables but they do come in handy sometimes when you're in a crunch. Thanks for sharing a different perspective.
Susan W. August 22, 2016
I don't think anyone is saying BB's post isn't appreciated. For me, I was simply posting my routine and what I keep on hand. My freezer has taken the place of my pantry in many respects. I never thought to freeze little bags of cooked chicken until the last couple of years.
Susan W. August 22, 2016
Like CV, I keep my freezer stocked with meats both cooked and raw. I probably would grab a rotisserie chicken next door at Albertsons before I would stock canned chicken.

I do always have coconut milk, Cento San Marzano tomatoes and my favorite Bonito in olive oil that Zupans carries now.

Things would probably be different if I didn't have Zupans and Albertsons in my backyard.
BerryBaby August 22, 2016
Living in the PNW we have access to all kinds of fresh fish, produce, meat as well. There are times when using canned works well. Not everyone is as fortunate as we are and just showing there are options, especially during inclement weather when people can't get out.
702551 August 22, 2016
As a NorCal resident of the SF Peninsula, I have access to a stunning array of great seasonal produce, so I have zero inclination to stock canned veggies. My meat consumption is pretty minimal these days so again, no desire to stock canned meats or fish (apart from the occasional tin of sardines). Plus, there's a grocery store at the end of my street, plus two others within a mile of my house.

The only thing I make with canned goods is tomato sauce. Other than that, I can't remember ever purchasing canned veggies or meat in the past thirty years.

I do freeze some of my cooked food, so there's always something at home to eat.

If canned food works for you, that's great. Personally, I prefer fresh ingredients.
Recommended by Food52