Guest Post By Jackie from Mom on a Mission for Christ.
In case you didn’t know, a No. 10 can is typically used by chain restaurants, hotels, and larger families. It holds more than 100 ounces or six to seven pounds. Most shoppers bypass this large size, assuming it’s too much for a small family. However, utilizing a different mind-set (and your freezer) a No. 10 can will work for small families, too.
For example, this No. 10 can of diced tomatoes is priced $2.99 in NC at Sams wholesale. This is equivalent to six regular size cans. A brand-name standard size can typically costs .99. Six cans at .99 is $5.94. By purchasing a No. 10 size, you’re saving at least $2.95.
Most grocery chains stock No. 10 cans on the lower shelves with vegetables. Wholesale stores stock a wider variety of No. 10 cans, as well as overstocked and discount stores, like Go Grocery, Big Lots, Dickies, and Amazing Savings in our area. Look for further reduced prices in these chains.
How we use a No.10 can.
1. Open it up
2. Add the item to a freezer inventory
3. Freeze the contents in quart size bags as 2-cup portions (standard can size) for future recipes
4. Thaw bags on a plate or in a bowl in the refrigerator to catch condensation; or cut the zipper top off, slice straight down the middle, and drop into soups, stews or crock pot recipes.
I like to drop frozen bags of black bean, corn, diced tomatoes and cooked seasoned taco meat to make easy Southwest chili on a cold day.
Jackie Brown, is a freelance writer and non-profit founder feeding her family of six through freezer cooking while extending her hands to the poor and needy. You can visit her freezer cooking education blog at Mom on a Mission for Christ.
Markus Marklar says
There are some brands, supposedly, that will keep for 25 years. Mountain something and Honeyville for survivalists. Good for church cookie bazaars.
Markus Marklar says
Be prepared the Boy Scouts teach. Buy two at a time and save three years worth of food. I like this for dinner guests and the kids guests and maybe for foster kids situation or tailgating. Invest in air removal and gas removal bags and machines and plasticware. Bring extras to work. Donate some to a shelter. Go Big. Go usa!
I always buy my cans from Costco – the huge cans. They are way cheaper than buying the smaller ones. I separate them into freezer bags, or freezer containers, and throw them in freezer. Much cheaper, and so handy to have on hand!!
I’ve used them to make my loaded spaghetti sauce with all sorts of veggie purees added to it. The large batch means I can invest the time to can or freeze the sauce. I use the same mixture for pizza sauce too.
Can you taste the spinach? I’ve added shredded carrots before and even zucchini but we don’t eat a lot of cooked spinach. Also, never thought to puree. I learn so much here!
I love garlic and add plenty to the sauce. So no, I don’t taste the spinach specifically, but it adds a lot to the overall taste. Evidently my picky-eater kids don’t notice the taste because they gobble it up, but won’t touch spinach usually.
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says
Thanks! I personally am so excited that maybe now we can fit black olives into our budget. Your post motivated me to check on freezing olives and it looks like it’s possible — Yippee!!
Judy @ Contented at Home says
I use a #10 can of tomato sauce ($2.97 at my local Walmart) to make a big batch of pizza sauce for about 1/4 the price of pizza sauce from the grocery store! It’s simple to make, and it freezes great! My big batch recipe: http://contentedathome.com/2012/02/perfect-pizza-sauce/
Thanks Judy! This sounds perfect.
Judy @ Contented at Home says
I hope you like it, Debbie! I’d love to hear how it turns out. 🙂
I am very excited about this! Love finding out ways to save. Thank you so much.
I thought that you could wash and reuse bags as long as they didn’t hold meat. Anyone else do this?
I wouldn’t keep reusing over and over. In fact, our family is switching over to glass and it brings me great piece of mind to know that the plastic isn’t leaching into our food.
Jenny V says
I do the same thing but freeze mine in small canning jars. They are reusable so you don’t have the expense of the freezer bags to consider. I always freeze tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and strawberry freezer jam in jars.
Do you need to put the jars in a hot canner to seal them before putting in the freezer?
Annette Holbrook says
I’d be interested in knowing the answer to this question too… I’m brand new to the idea of freezer cooking. Thanks!
Judy @ Contented at Home says
There is no need to seal the jars if you are going to freeze them. Just one or the other–can or freeze. 🙂
The Prudent Homemaker says
We do this all the time. I spoke a couple weeks ago at a Single adult conference about the price difference of the bulk sizes, and many singles were interested in buying the bulk size just for themselves, and freezing the rest for quick and simple meals later.
We save SO much money buying in #10 cans and larger sizes (25 pound and 50 pound bags). It’s been a huge savings for us.
I do this with tomato paste for spaghetti sauce. Make a huge batch of suace (freezing some) then freeze the rest of the paste for another batch so much cheaper this way!
We use these big cans sometimes, usually when I am doing freezer cooking to make big batches of casseroles and soups, then whatever is remaining in the can I portion into mason jars and stick in the fridge or freezer for day to day cooking. This way there is no cost for the storage since I use the jars over and over and I feel better about not using too many plastics around here. We are a family of 6, soon to be 7, so I only open up a big can when I can use a good amount of it right away in a recipe and then the rest of it we easily use within 1-2 weeks.
Andrea Q says
I am slowly accumulating canning jars so I can do this. Glass jars are one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
For freezing tomato products, I also reuse spaghetti sauce jars and salsa jars.
Do you use the canning lids and rings with the jars? How do you seal them?
Andrea Q says
You can use lids & rings or the plastic covers that Ball sells. There’s no need to seal them like you do when canning. The food will stay good for 3 to 6 months (maybe more), depending on the food and the temp of your freezer.
I freeze chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, strawberries, mashed bananas, celery, cooked tomatoes and other things this way. I also use the bigger jars to freeze portions of soups and chili to have as lunch on the weekends.
I do this as well! Our cans at Costco run closer to $2.50! We buy them and make and can large batches of spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and salsa. I also just open the #10 can of diced, and put the tomatoes in smaller jars and water bath them. That way I can throw them in the pantry and I don’t have to wait for them to thaw when I need them.
We’ve been doing this for a while with tomato sauce. I make a crockpot full and divide it up, 2 cups for spaghetti and some 1/2 c servings for pizza sauce. It’s been working great for us! I also used one of the #10 cans of diced tomatoes to make tomato soup. We ate some and froze the rest for later use. Awesome!
I do this, too. I was thrilled to find Muir Glen organic tomato paste in the big cans because I go through a lot of it when making homemade sauce with our garden tomatoes.
I’m wondering once the cost of ziplock bags is factored in, how much of a savings it would be? This is something that I have overlooked, especially when I’m getting a great deal on bulk meats. I’m sure it would still be a significant savings, but not as much with the added price of ziplock bags. Loved the tip to store food in smaller size bags and then in one reusable gallon bag.
You can wash ziplock bags and use them many times. I avoid the ones with the slider because they can come off but normal zip closure bags can last years.
Andrea Q says
Ziploc bags cost 5 to 8 cents each if you buy them with coupons.
I freeze some tomato products (and tomato based soups) in empty pasta sauce jars (the glass ones that Prego and Ragu come in). You can use glass salsa jars, too, which are smaller.
D G has name brands for only $1 and with coupons = cheap or free bags.
I recommend using canning jars. You can get them for pretty cheap. Also, freezing thinner plastic is not recommended, especially if you rewash and reuse. The washing/freezing breaks down the plastic and you might be getting some chemicals leaching into your food. Glass is breakable, but it’s safe and better for the environment 🙂
I did this some 30 years ago when I HAD to find the cheapest way to eat. I was shopping at either Costco or BJs recently and saw the large cans of a few things & thought to myself that next time I needed to stock up I was going to be buying them.
If you dehydrate, you can also dehydrate some of the items like the mixed veggies & green beans for soups and I havent tried it but I bet if they have whole potatoes you could slice & dehydrate them quite well.
Also, if you dont have much room in your freezer, you can can the extra tomatoes, katchup, and other similar products.
I couldnt be putting much of anything in my freezer right now. 😀
Sarah S says
Here in AZ at Costco, those cans are even less expensive! Gotta love $2.39-2.79 for one depending on the type of cut/preparation of tomatoes! 🙂
This would be a great tip, but I don’t think the healthier options come in industrial sized cans. I avoid most canned veggies because DH can’t have that much sodium, and I avoid most canned fruit because none of us need that much sugar.
You can practice the same principle with frozen though ;-D
Get gallon size freezer bags- but pay a little extra to upgrade to the kind with the sliding zipper. (I use Hefty- sometimes you can catch them on pretty good sale at Walgreens) Buy your frozen veggies in the “Family Size” section- usually 3-5lbs in a package. Open them up & pour them in the gallon bags when you get home. Measure out however much you need to cook. When the freezer bag is nearing empty, just refill it with a new package.
i don’t understand this. We use the family size bags of frozen veggies but don’t separate them. we just use what we need and clip the bag with a clothes pin and put it back in the freezer. Some of them even have a zip closure. Why waste money on zip lock bags and time separating it out?
Depending on where you have them in the freezer and how fast you use them, they can get freezer burnt or stuck together in one big lump. By separating them out, they stay a little nicer. I think if you use them pretty quickly or have them in a deep freeze, that might not be a problem.
I’ll admit, I feel really silly for never thinking of this! I am always freezing things, but for some reason this never crossed my mind! I haven’t looked at the canned tomato cost at Costco, but we use a ton of them, and I’m sure it would be much cheaper. Thanks for the tip!
Pat N says
The Costco stores in Westminster and Arvada aren’t selling #10 cans of paste and sauce. I always bought them, but they said there’s not enough calls for them.
I also bypass these larger cans. Now I think I will try this with not only the tomatoes, but the No 10 cans of corn and green beans too!
Don’t make the mistake I did when freezing soup in a large zip freezer bag. While I put it flat on the shelf, I neglected to realize that the shelves were wire. The bag sagged a little between the wires and froze that way! Now it is stuck on the wires in my freezer. I guess I will take my hair dryer to it.
I always lay a flattened cereal box down first before laying a bagged meal to freeze. This helps them freeze flat. Once frozen, I remove the cardboard box.
Also, I would put a piece of thin cardboard or even wax paper between multiple bags. I’ve had them freeze together.. And I’ve had stuff frozen thru the wire racks too.. You only do it once.. lol I bet you never forget it in the future. 😉
You’re not alone- I’ve done this before too.
The #10 can of Heinz Ketchup at our Sams is about $3.50 – If you have kids that love ketchup like mine think how much money this will just save you on ketchup alone! I just refill plastic ketchup bottles and stick them in the freezer (you have to leave a little room at the top for expansion when it freezes).
Sams also has the #10 can of Ragu Pizza Sauce very inexpensively priced, it is much cheaper than me making my own even if I buy the ingredients on sale plus with coupons.
I also recently bought two #10 cans (that’s 12 pounds!) of canned pumpkin from a grocery store for $1 total! The grocery store was closing and moving to a new location and they used these cans in recipes made by their bakery and deli department. I just put it all in freezer bags in the freezer and have made LOTS of pumpkin muffins!
Judy @ Contented at Home says
Love the ketchup tip! And what a great deal on the canned pumpkin. 🙂
I make pasta sauce with it-makes 4 jars of sauce plus what i refridge! I love the #10 cans!
Great tip! I’ve done this with fruit but love the idea for the crockpot. I do the same with cooked, shredded meat so it would be easy to do the same with veggies.
I can’t believe I never thought of this. Thank you for sharing! We go through so many cans of diced tomatoes in the winter and it adds up quickly. This will save us a bunch of money.
Parenting and Money says
Thanks for the tip. This is a great idea. I mostly do this for meat when I buy in bulk but didn’t think of this.
We started doing this recently with canned fruit. We can buy a large can of canned pineapples for about 1/3 what it costs to buy the smaller cans. We just freeze individual portions, and then thaw as needed. Plus, the frozen pineapples (or peaches, or whatever) make great smoothies!
How do these come out after thawing? Does the fruit get mushy? I would love to do this.
It hasn’t been mushy at all–just the same consistency as canned fruit usually i. We have even used pineapples on pizza and it was just fine.
Canned mandarin oranged freeze well too. I drain then, line a baking sheet with wax paper, spread them out onto the pan, throw into freezer for a couple hrs. After frozen, I break them up and dump them into a bag and freeze. I use them in smoothies, but are good as a frozen snack too!
Country Girl in the City says
My kids go through ketchup like crazy; I know…not very healthy…but at least they eat their food that way. The last time I bought ketchup was in a number 10 can from Cost-co. I filled our squeeze bottle with it and then emptied the rest of the can into a BIG canning jar. We used it up within 2 months and it stays good in the fridge.
I used a No. 10 can of crushed tomatoes to make a BIG batch of pizza sauce! It is delicious and, of course, frugal.
Hi the recipe you posted doesn’t use a #10 can. Am I missing something? I really want a perfect sauce!
So sorry Debbie! I forgot to add the part about how if you use a No 10 can of crushed tomatoes you need to multiply the rest of the ingredients x6. My bad! Hope you like the sauce!
So you use 22 ounces of crushed tomatoes instead of the 16 oz can of tomato sauce and 6 oz can of tomato paste?
I’m not being very clear…sorry. Too much allergy meds.
I use 1 No. 10 can of crushed tomatoes and then use 6 times the number of all the other ingredients…6 cans of tomato paste, 6x the amount of garlic, etc…that the recipe calls for.
Does that make sense?
Thanks, what a great idea! It seems so obvious, but it’s not something I would have come up with on my own. Great tip! I like Bethany M’s suggestion of dumping bags into a larger freezer bag, too.
What a great idea! And Bethany M.’s suggestion is excellent as well. I’ll be using both ideas very soon!
Bethany M says
To save on freezer bags, I package a lot of smaller amounts in sandwich bags and then dump all the sandwich bags into a gallon-size bag that can be reused over and over since none of the food actually touches the gallon-size bag. I’ve had a lot of success with this method.
The Prudent Pantry says
Great idea! I have done this with dry mixes but never thought about doing this in the freezer.
I do this too! I make 10-15 pounds of barbeque pulled pork at a time. I then package it up into lunch-sized portions sealed in sandwich size baggies. I mark my husband’s larger portions with his initials and my smaller portions with mine. Then I put all of my husband’s baggies into a gallon freezer bag and mine into another. The freezer bag helps keep it from losing quality in the freezer while allowing us to reuse the larger bags. In the mornings, we can grab a bag as we walk out the door. It has thawed by lunchtime and is ready to be warmed up. So easy and so good!
Oh but be sure to lay the bags out flat and freeze them to maximize your freezer space!
Bethany M says
Yes, and a good idea with expansion because if little bits of baggie get into grooves of other baggies, they will be wedged together pretty good. Sometimes I lay flat to flash freeze and then put in the larger bag.
That’s a great idea! Thanks!
Andrea Q says
Yes! This works very well. I sometimes use the snack size baggies for little bits of veggies and often for hot peppers.
I am getting away from the plastic bags little by little by buying canning jars. The 1/2 pint jars are perfect for some things and easily stack in my freezer.
The jars are ok in there? I havent ever thought to use those…
Andrea Q says
I haven’t had a problem. Leave some space for expansion at the top of the jar. And be careful when loading up your freezer. I have a couple of plastic bins that I use to hold the jars and I put some on the door of my freezer, too.
Genevieve (MamaOnABudget) says
Check the jars when you buy them (if buying new) – boxes will be marked it the jars are okay for freezing.
YES! Thank you! I too have been trying to get away from plastic and disposable stuff (saves money AND better for health and environment!) Mason canning jars work great in the freezer!
P.S. I also wanted to mention that some of the “non-freezer” plastic baggies are not entirely safe in the freezer. The plastic breaks down and you don’t know what kind of chemicals might get into your food. Glass is breakable, yes, but it is pretty safe for your health 🙂
I’ve always overlooked those cans before, but you can be sure I’m going to give them a second look. I’ve always thought they were too big, but if you break them down and freeze them, I can see where you wind up saving. Thank you!!
I have looked at those large cans so many times. There are just two of us at home now and never felt that it would be a plausible purchase. I am going to rethink this. Thanks for sharing your tips.
Great idea! I usually pick up my diced tomatoes at Costco and get the pack that comes with 8 cans. But this is a great option 🙂