8 Long Shelf Life Food You Can Store

by | Jan 14, 2024

Long shelf life foods

Long shelf life foods – a topic that’s as fascinating as it is essential for every savvy prepper. Imagine opening your pantry to find foods that could have been there since the pyramids were young! In the world of prepping, where the motto is ‘be prepared’, stocking up on foods that last almost indefinitely isn’t just smart; it’s a culinary adventure through time. From honey that never spoils to rice that could outlast your wildest expeditions, this blog post is your guide to the ultimate list of long-lasting sustenance. Get ready to stock your shelves with some timeless treats that are as enduring as they are delicious!

Food with long shelf life: Cans

Canned foods are one of the most popular and widely available long-shelf-life food items. They are affordable, easy to store, and can last for several years if stored properly. Canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and soups are just a few examples of the many types of canned foods available.

Canned fruits -Generally speaking, commercially canned fruits can last between 1 to 1.5 years when stored in a cool, dark place, although some can last much longer if unopened and stored properly. Once opened, the contents should be transferred to a different container, refrigerated, and consumed within about a week.

Canned meats– those could be canned chicken, canned salmon or tuna and even canned beef. The shelf life of canned meat can vary depending on the type of meat, the canning process, and storage conditions. Generally speaking, commercially canned meat products can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years if stored in a cool, dry place.

Canned soups– The shelf life of canned soups can vary, but they generally last between 1 to 5 years when stored properly in a cool, dry place. As with any canned product, it’s essential to inspect canned soups for signs of spoilage before consuming them. Check for bulging, leaking, or rusting cans, as these can be indications of bacterial growth or other spoilage.

Dried beans

Add dried beans to your food with a long shelf-life cupboard or storage space. It is second in the Preppers Outlast list. They are rich in protein, fibre, and various essential nutrients, making them an excellent dietary choice for sustaining energy and overall health. When stored properly, dried beans can have an impressive shelf life, often lasting up to 10 years or more. The key to this longevity is to keep the beans in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers are often recommended for the longest shelf life.

Despite their longevity, it’s good practice to rotate your stock of dried beans, using the oldest first and replacing them with newer stock. Also, keep in mind that over time, beans can become harder and may require longer soaking and cooking times. Always inspect the beans for signs of moisture, mold, or pest infestation before cooking. Overall, dried beans offer a versatile and nutritious option for long-term food storage.

Pasta

Storing and preserving pasta for long-term use involves several best practices to ensure that it remains in optimal condition. Pasta is important part of the long-lasting survival food list.

Type of Pasta: Opt for dry pasta over fresh or cooked pasta, as it has a longer shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration.

Packaging: Original packaging may not be sufficient for long-term storage. Consider transferring pasta to a more durable storage container such as vacuum-sealed bags, Mylar bags, or food-grade plastic buckets with airtight lids.

Oxygen Absorbers: To prolong the life of the stored pasta, you may also use oxygen absorbers in the storage container to prevent oxidation and spoilage.

Cool and Dry Environment: Store the containers in a cool, dark, and dry location to avoid any form of spoilage. Warm and humid conditions can lead to mold growth and spoilage.

Labeling: Clearly label each container with the date of purchase and expected shelf life to make it easier to rotate your stock and consume the oldest items first.

Pest Control: Store your food in a place that is inaccessible to pests. Also, consider using bay leaves or other natural deterrents to keep bugs at bay.

Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect your stock for signs of spoilage, moisture, or pest infestation. Replace or consume any pasta that is close to the end of its shelf life.

Rotation: Make sure to use older stocks first and replace them with new supplies to ensure that your stockpile remains fresh and effective for long-term use.

When properly stored, dry pasta can last up to 2 years or longer, depending on the specific conditions and storage methods. Following these best practices will help ensure that your pasta remains a viable part of your long-term food storage plan.

Rice

Rice is one of the best survival foods with a long shelf life. The shelf life is quite long—around 4-5 years—if stored properly. Brown rice has a shorter shelf life, approximately 6 months to a year, due to its higher oil content.

Storing Solutions

White rice is best stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. It’s advisable to transfer rice from its original packaging to an airtight container, possibly with an oxygen absorber, for extended shelf life. Food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, and vacuum-sealed bags are all good options.

What Happens With Rice After a Long Time

Stored rice can become harder over time, requiring longer cooking times. It may also lose some of its flavor. In extreme cases, improperly stored rice can develop mold, pest infestations, or become rancid, particularly in the case of brown rice. Always inspect stored rice carefully before cooking.

Rice Protection

Protecting your rice from pests is crucial for long-term storage, especially when prepping for emergencies. Here are some effective ways to ensure that your rice stays pest-free:

Airtight Containers: One of the best ways to protect rice is by storing it in airtight, food-grade containers. This prevents pests like weevils and mice from getting into the stored rice.

Oxygen Absorbers: Using oxygen absorbers in the storage containers can create an environment where most pests can’t survive. This also helps to preserve the quality of the rice.

Mylar Bags: Storing rice in Mylar bags that are then sealed and stored in buckets is an excellent method for long-term storage. Mylar is resistant to moisture and can be sealed tightly.

Vacuum Sealing: A vacuum sealer can remove most of the air from the bag where the rice is stored, making it difficult for pests to survive.

Freezing: If you’re concerned about pests that might already be in the rice, freezing the rice for 48 to 72 hours before transferring it to long-term storage containers can kill off weevils and their larvae.

Bay Leaves: Some people find that adding a few bay leaves to the rice can act as a natural deterrent against pests. This won’t protect against all types of pests but can be an added line of defense.

Regular Inspection: Make it a habit to regularly inspect your stored rice for any signs of pest infestation. Check for holes in the packaging, look for insect droppings, and so on.

Rotate Stock: Use the older rice first and replace it with new stock, which ensures that you’re not storing any one batch for too long a period, reducing the risk of pest infestation.

Proper Location: Store the rice in a cool, dry place away from the floor and walls to minimize the chances of pests reaching it.

Pest Control: Keep the storage area clean and consider using traps or other pest control measures to keep potential pests at bay.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of pest infestation and ensure that your rice remains in good condition for extended periods.

Quickest Way to Cook Rice With Minimal Water

The quickest way to cook rice with minimal water is likely the absorption method:

  • Measure the rice and water. Generally, use a ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water for white rice. (Note that older rice may require a bit more water.)
  • Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
  • Add the rice, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Cook for approximately 12–15 minutes for white rice. Do not lift the lid during this time.
  • Check the rice. If it’s tender and the water is absorbed, it’s done. If not, you can cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Sweet long Shelf Life Food: Honey

Honey is an excellent food item to include in your disaster or “when SHTF” (Shit Hits The Fan) prepping plan for several reasons:

Long Shelf Life

One of the most remarkable properties of honey is its indefinite shelf life when stored correctly. Its natural composition makes it resistant to bacteria, mold, and spoilage, so it can last for years or even decades. Make sure to store it in a cool, dark place and in airtight containers to maximize its longevity.

Nutritional Benefits

Honey is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It provides quick energy due to its natural sugars and can be a valuable food source in a disaster scenario.

Medicinal Uses

The antibacterial properties of honey make it useful for treating minor cuts, burns, and skin infections. It can also be used to soothe sore throats and as a natural cough suppressant.

Versatility

Honey can be used as a sweetener for other stored foods like oatmeal or pancakes. It can also be used to improve the palatability of emergency foods that may not be as tasty on their own.

Compact and Easy to Store

Honey is calorie-dense, meaning you get a lot of nutritional and energy value in a relatively small package. It’s also easy to store in various sized containers, from small jars to larger buckets, depending on your needs.

Points to Consider

  • While honey is generally safe for adults and children over one year, it should not be given to infants under one year due to the risk of botulism.
  • If you’re storing large quantities, keep in mind that honey can crystallize over time. This doesn’t mean it has gone bad; you can re-liquify it by gently warming the container in hot water.

Jerky

Jerky is another excellent laddition to the longest lasting food list. Here are several reasons why:

Long Shelf Life

When properly prepared and stored, jerky can last from 1 to 2 years without refrigeration. Some commercial brands with added preservatives may last even longer. Storing jerky in vacuum-sealed packages or airtight containers can extend its shelf life significantly.

High Protein, Low Fat

Jerky is an excellent source of protein, which is crucial for maintaining muscle mass and overall health, especially in emergency situations where physical exertion may be necessary. Unlike other meat products, jerky is low in fat, which is beneficial because fats can become rancid over time.

Portability

One of the biggest advantages of jerky is its portability. It’s lightweight, compact, and doesn’t require any special storage conditions once the package is opened. This makes it an ideal food for bug-out bags and mobile emergency situations.

Easy to Consume

Jerky requires no cooking or additional preparation, making it an incredibly convenient food source. It can be eaten straight from the package, making it perfect for situations where cooking may be impractical or dangerous.

Versatility

Jerky isn’t just limited to beef. There are various types of jerky available, including turkey, chicken, and even plant-based options. This variety can provide some welcome relief from potential food monotony during long-term emergency situations.

Points to Consider

  • Always check the expiration date if you’re buying commercial jerky. The preservatives used can vary, affecting shelf life.
  • For homemade jerky, ensure that you follow all safety guidelines to prevent bacterial contamination during the drying process.
  • Jerky is generally high in sodium, which is something to consider if you have health conditions that require a low-sodium diet.

Overall, the long shelf life, high protein content, and ease of storage and consumption make jerky an excellent choice for emergency food storage. Whether you make it yourself or purchase it pre-made, including jerky in your disaster preparedness kit can add both valuable nutrition and a bit of culinary variety.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a versatile and nutrient-dense food that offers several advantages for disaster preparedness or “when SHTF” (Shit Hits The Fan) scenarios. Here are some of the reasons why peanut butter is a smart addition to your emergency food supply:

Long Shelf Life

Unopened jars of commercially produced peanut butter can last up to a year or longer when stored in a cool, dry place. Once opened, a jar will usually remain good for about three months without refrigeration. This extended shelf life makes it an excellent choice for long-term storage.

Nutrient Density

Peanut butter is rich in essential nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. This nutrient density can be particularly valuable in emergency situations where you need sustained energy and optimal nutrition from limited food sources.

High Caloric Content

Peanut butter packs a lot of calories in a small amount, providing quick energy without taking up much space. In situations where carrying capacity is limited, like in a bug-out bag, this can be a significant advantage.

Versatility

Peanut butter can be consumed in various ways: straight from the jar, spread on bread, or used as an ingredient in other dishes. Its creamy texture and rich flavor can also make other emergency foods more palatable. Moreover, peanut butter is available in various forms, such as crunchy, smooth, and even powdered, which has an even longer shelf life.

Easy Storage

Commercial peanut butter comes in various packaging, including plastic jars that are lightweight and unbreakable, making them ideal for on-the-go situations. The product’s resistance to spoilage also means that you can store it almost anywhere that’s cool and dry, without needing special storage conditions.

Points to Consider

  • Peanut butter can be allergenic. Make sure no one in your household or group is allergic before making it a staple in your emergency food supply.
  • The high fat content in peanut butter means that it can eventually go rancid, so always check for off smells or flavors, especially if you’ve had it for a while.
  • If possible, opt for brands with fewer additives and preservatives to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.

In summary, peanut butter’s long shelf life, nutritional benefits, and versatility make it a fantastic food item to include in your emergency preparedness plans. Whether you’re planning for short-term emergencies or preparing for a longer-term disaster, peanut butter is a reliable source of quick energy and essential nutrients.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is a highly versatile and long shelf life food item that deserves a spot in any well-thought-out emergency preparedness plan. Here’s why:

Extended Shelf Life

One of the standout features of powdered milk is its long shelf life. Properly stored, it can last up to 2 years or longer, making it ideal for long-term food storage. Ensure it’s kept in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for maximum longevity.

Nutritional Value

Powdered milk is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, protein, and certain vitamins like A and D. These nutrients are crucial for maintaining bone health, muscle function, and general well-being, especially in stressful scenarios where nutrition can be compromised.

Easy Preparation

Preparing powdered milk is as simple as mixing it with water, which can be especially beneficial in emergency situations where resources may be scarce. It can also be used as an ingredient in cooking, offering a way to add nutritional value and flavor to other foods.

Space Efficiency

Because it’s dehydrated, powdered milk takes up less space and weight compared to liquid milk. This makes it convenient for storage and transport, whether you’re keeping it in a home pantry or including it in a bug-out bag.

Points to Consider

  • While powdered milk provides many essential nutrients, it may lack the fat content of regular milk, so it might not be suitable as a complete substitute in all recipes.
  • Always check for signs of spoilage like discoloration or an off-smell, even though it generally has a long shelf life.

In summary, powdered milk offers a long-lasting, nutrient-rich, and versatile food option ideal for emergency preparedness. Its extended shelf life and ease of use make it a valuable addition to any emergency food supply.

Long Shelf Life Food Ingredients

Flour

Flour can have a long shelf life of up to two years when stored in a cool, dry place and sealed tightly to prevent moisture intrusion. Whole-grain flours have a shorter shelf life, so it’s essential to store them in the fridge or freezer to extend their usability.

Sugar

Sugar has a virtually indefinite shelf life if kept dry and sealed in an airtight container, making it ideal for long-term storage. The sweetener is resistant to microbial growth, which helps maintain its quality over time.

Salt

Like sugar, salt can last indefinitely when stored in a dry, airtight container. Its natural preservative qualities make it an essential long-term storage item for both seasoning and food preservation.

Baking Powder

Baking powder can last up to 18 to 24 months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Beyond its expiry date, its leavening power decreases, so it’s a good idea to check its effectiveness before using it in recipes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda also has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months when stored properly. While it may lose its potency over time, it can still be used for cleaning purposes even after its effectiveness for baking has waned.

Which Is The Food With The Longest Shelf Life?

The food known for having the longest shelf life is honey, which can remain edible indefinitely under the right conditions. Its unique composition and low moisture content prevent the growth of bacteria and microorganisms, allowing it to preserve its quality over centuries. Archaeologists have even found pots of honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that were still preserved and safe to eat after thousands of years.

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