Tin cans are excellent containers for food preservation because they are highly corrosion resistant.
But, once the canned food is removed, can you cook out of it? Is it possible to bring tin cans on a trip to the backcountry and use it as food and a cooking vessel?
Table of Contents
- Can You Cook out of a Tin Can?
- Is It Safe to Cook Out of a Tin Can?
- Can a Tin Can Withstand Heat?
- What Can You Cook out of a Tin Can?
- Final Thoughts
Can You Cook out of a Tin Can?
Tin cans can indeed be useful for cooking; however, you will need to take certain precautions to ensure your safety before using the metal. These include taking the necessary precautions against the potential BPA lining as well as cooking in an open tin can so that there is balanced air pressure.
Tin cans can be a great alternative to traditional pots; You can use tin cans for boiling, warming, baking, and many other cooking-related activities. When cooking with a tin, however, there are several factors to take into account. These are:
Most of the current tin cans used for canned foods include the use of BPA linings that pose a health risk should any of these components leach into the food. However, the BPA linings are useful in keeping the can’s metal surfaces from corrosion.
Therefore, when recycling your can for cooking purposes, you must preheat an empty can for at least 5 minutes. This will help remove the BPA lining before cooking using the can.
Cook in an Open Can
Metal materials have different air and water molecules, which when heated it expands and as a result may cause an explosion of the tin or shrink of the container.
So to avert all these, it is best to cook in an open can to be sure of maintaining the container by preventing pressure build-up. Therefore, considering the above factors, you can go ahead and use cook from your tin cans.
Is It Safe to Cook Out of a Tin Can?
Tin cans are safe to cook from, although your cooking method will affect the overall safety when using them. These cooking modes vary from fire to oven baking, and microwave heating.
Therefore, you can use the cans for all other modes except microwave heating because of the sparks that may arise from the blocked electromagnetic radiations.
Additionally, safe cooking depends on whether you are cooking food already in the tin can or recycling an old tin can to use for the cooking.
Cooking Food that has Already Been Canned
It does not matter whether the food content was in preservation in the can or not, you have to always check for the presence of any BPA linings.
If any, pour the food into a clean bowl and preheat an empty can to burn off the lining’s chemical components. Thereafter, clean the can with soap and lots of water before using it for your cooking purposes.
Cooking from a Recycled Tin Can
Tin can manufacturers always encourage recycling of the containers, and using them for cooking is one of the reusing measures. However, you may need to make sure the tin can is not a previous paint tin; the users of such tins may experience overly harmful health effects.
Therefore, after a thorough cleaning of this tin using soap and water, you may want to create what will serve as your holder when handling a red-hot tin.
To go about creating the tin holder, you should:
- Punch holes on opposite sides of the tin’s brim.
- Insert a well-folded wire on either of the sides and fold them in to form your handle.
- Suspend the wire far from the fireside and you are good to try out your new pot alternative.
Can a Tin Can Withstand Heat?
Most metallic cans are stainless steel products that unless lined with Tin; the surfaces can easily contaminate the food stored in them as well as corrode the metal surfaces.
The latest technological trend in the metal industry today has the tin cans lined with BPA, (Bisphenol A) among other plastic chemical compounds to prevent the corrosion of metal structures.
However, BPA has no assured safety with food, since it can leach into the food components contaminating it in the process.
Therefore, before going ahead with heating the tin can for cooking or warming your food, it is best to first check what lining is inside the can.
In case it has BPA linings, you can only heat the tin can for few minutes just for warming purposes. Using it as a cooking vessel for extended periods could result in an explosion of the can, especially if it is airtight shut in the heating process.
In addition, using tin cans with BPA lining for cooking purposes is a risk to the users’ health since the chemicals in the lining can leach into the food. So, whenever, you are using, any tin cans for heating purposes, it is best to always check the necessary lining materials first.
What Will Happen to Tin Can When Heated?
Whenever you heat a can, the heat expands the air and water molecules in addition to the container itself, stretching it to its limit. At this point, the only thing that can avoid the explosion of the can is any possible gap that can let out air from the sealed container.
As hot air escapes out through the gap, it begins the cooling process for the tin by reducing the volume of the relative molecules, thus regulating its shape amidst extensive heating periods; creating a vacuum to allow for more heating.
However, the tin can might not sustain air pressure outside the container. As a result, once the air and water molecules have reduced in the container, the exterior air pressure may overpower the container resulting in collapsing of the can.
This can only retain its shape with a balance of air pressures inside and outside the container.
Can You Heat a Can in a Microwave?
Microwaves are day-to-day appliances, useful for various kitchen services including reheating, cooking food, de-crystallizing honey, and roasting garlic.
However, despite the various uses of a tin can, you should never heat cook, or prepare any microwave meals using the metal, or any other relative material.
In microwaves, metal cans and tin cans shield electromagnetic radiation meant to interact with the food, which in turn results in sparks that can cause the appliance to catch fire.
Therefore, whenever you are using the microwave, it is best to use a microwave-safe bowl for any cooking or warming in the appliance.
What Can You Cook out of a Tin Can?
Depending on the size of your tin can, you can cook any food of your choice as well as bake cakes from the tin cans too. However, considering the density of the cans, you will have to check on any food you are cooking or reduce the heat pressure from time to time, to make sure it does not burn off.
Some of the foods you can eat from a Tin can are:
- Baked beans
- Ice creams
- Varieties of meat and vegetables
- Baked potatoes
- Roasted Chicken
The list of things you can cook in tin cans is endless; they remind me of a time when cowboys and pioneers roamed the great plains or lived in simple cabins in the country.
Cooking out of a tin can is possible, but in today’s modern world take the extra precautions to pre-boil your cans, and clean them before use.
In a survival scenario, a tin can of beans can act as a food source, a way to boil water, and a vessel for storage and carrying.
I hope this article helped, thanks for reading!