When I was growing up, the milk was delivered to our home by the milkman. He would leave it in the aluminum cooler on our front porch. As a backup plan, my grandmother always had cans of evaporated milk, just in case we ran out between deliveries. When grocery stores are overcome with shoppers and there is concern for the food supply, canned milk certainly makes sense.
Evaporated milk is not the same as sweetened condensed milk; sweetened condensed milk contains sugar. Evaporated milk is made by boiling down regular milk, removing about 60 percent of the water. It is then homogenized, sterilized and canned. Look for evaporated milk in cans and cartons. The shelf-life of regular milk is 5 to 7 days versus 18 to 24 months for canned evaporated milk. Once the can or carton is open be sure to refrigerate.
Evaporated milk can be used as a substitute for regular milk in most recipes and it tastes great in coffee or tea. Use it on cereal or in oatmeal. In a pinch, you can enjoy it with cookies too. If you are looking for a similar consistency as regular milk, then dilute the condensed milk 1:1 for example, 1/4 cup water plus 1/4 cup evaporated milk equals 1/2 cup milk.