One of the biggest concerns people have with food storage is shelf life. After all, nobody wants to dip into their emergency food supply during a real honest-to-goodness disaster and find that all of their “imperishable” goods have decomposed into brown sludge. It’s true, many foods such as canned goods and frozen meals don’t last as long as you might expect. But what can you do? Well, for starters, you can do some in-depth research into what you decide to store (which is probably why you’re here in the first place). For another thing, you can stock up on foods that really will last forever. Here are some of the longest lasting emergency food storage items available.
If there is a disaster and you happen to make it out alive, there’s a good chance supermarkets will soon be pillaged and you’ll need access to a steady stream of food.
That means you’ll need to pack your cupboard with shelf-stable ingredients that provide enough energy to help you rebuild society.
Here’s what to grab before the end of the world hits, or during all that looting that’s sure to follow.
How to store it: Keep in its original airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from heat sources.
Fun fact: In 5000 B.C., Babylonians used vinegar for food preservation and pickling. Because of its high level of acidity, vinegar is self-preserving, antimicrobial and can last for centuries. White distilled vinegar will not change in color or potency if you keep it in an unopened container. You may notice some hazing or discoloration in apple cider vinegar, but as long as the bottle has not been opened, it has an indefinite shelf life. After it’s opened, it will slowly lose its acidity. So you can use it, but you probably should get fresh stuff if you are canning or pickling.
How to store it: Keep in a cool, dark, dry place, where temperature remains constant.
Fun fact: Salt has been used a natural preservative for centuries (it’s a dehydration powerhouse), and both sea salt and table salt won’t expire when stored correctly. Keeping it stored at a constant temperature ensures it will stay edible forever.
How to store it: In its sealed, original bottle.
Fun fact: Soy sauce has been used as a condiment in China for more than 2,500 years. Because of its high concentration of salt, soy sauce will last forever-as long as it stays sealed. Once opened, soy sauce is safe to eat for two to three years when kept in the refrigerator.
Honey may crystallize over time, resulting in a heap of thick, sugary gunk at the bottom of containers, but in terms of safety, the golden liquid is practically immortal.
Honey can last for centuries if stored in a sealed jar, according to the National Honey Board.
Though it doesn’t pack the same nutritional value (in terms of vitamins and minerals) as other foods, honey can add extra flavor to food, provide simple sugars, and can also be used to treat wounds and burns.
Although not quite as long-lasting as freeze dried meals, dehydrated foods still have long shelf lives. This is because they follow the same basic process: moisture is removed and then the item is packaged. The difference is that with conventional dehydration techniques, only about 90% of the moisture is removed (as opposed to freeze drying, which removes approximately 98% of the moisture). Thus, dehydrated foods only last about 15–20 years before needing to be replaced. Still, that’s really not bad, when you think about it.
Invented by Native Americans, pemmican was traditionally made from the lean meat of large game like buffalo, elk, or deer. The meat was dried over an open fire, mixed with fat, and pressed into little cakes. Sometimes berries were tossed in for extra flavor.
Pemmican makes the perfect survival treat because they’re easy to make (there are only three basic ingredients), it’s a good source of energy and protein, and it does not have to be refrigerated, cooked or heated.
Today, US Wellness Meats in Missouri makes packaged beef pemmican snack sticks and bars, which they say last up to two years in the freezer.
Here’s a recipe for homemade pemmican — for when your post-apocalyptic-self butchers an elk — which can supposedly last forever.
Meals, Ready to Eat
Commonly known as MREs, these pre-packaged meals have been sustaining American troops on the battlefield since 1981. Each foil pouch, which can be easily carried, prepared, and eaten, contains about 1,200 calories.
It’s not just standard meat and potato dishes either. There are a wide range of entrees to choose from, including beef brisket, lemon pepper tuna, and vegetable lasagna for plant-eating preppers.
Depending on storing conditions, an MRE bag can stay fresh for up to five years. If you’re less concerned about flavor, the pocket-size army grub can hold up for more than a decade.
In a time of crisis, alcohol is a must-have.
Unopened bottles of hard liquor like vodka, whiskey, and rum don’t really go bad, though they may lose some of their “kick” as the years pass. Be careful about leaving them out in the sun though.
This is one of the more expensive items to have in your survival cupboard, but it has many practical uses besides drinking, like cleaning wounds. Having it available for a post-apocalyptic party doesn’t hurt either.
Creamy, chunky, or organic, peanut butter is a cupboard mainstay for many Americans. Kept in low humidity the thick spread will last for quite some time. A high amount of Vitamin E prevents peanut butter from spoiling.
This is the one situation where you’ll want to stay away from the all-natural stuff, which requires refrigeration because it does not contain preservatives.
Here are some of my favorite canning recipes. I guess they are my favorites because I grow many of these items myself in my garden and orchard. You can also find literally hundreds of canning recipes, and more information on canning techniques in The Lost Ways
How to store it: Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Fun fact: Corn syrup is derived from corn starch. It’s made after the starch has been converted to sugar through a process called acid hydrolysis. The longer the hydrolysis takes place, the sweeter the corn syrup will taste. Corn syrup’s high sugar content is the reason it keeps indefinitely when properly stored.
In a perfect world, we’d never have to worry about food spoiling, but if it’s not one of these long-lasting powerhouses, check out these six simple ways you can easily identify food that’s gone bad. Plus, here’s a master list of how long your favorite produce will last after purchased.
Canned or dried beans
Kidney, pinto, black, or Lima — take your pick. Beans are the ultimate survival food because they’re high in protein, easy to store, and come in many different varieties.
When combined with rice (another survival food) beans form a complete protein. That means the meal contains all of the nine essential amino acids to support your body.
- Pinto Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Lima Beans
- Adzuki Beans
- Garbanzo Beans
- Mung Beans
- Black Turtle Beans
- Blackeye Beans
Rice has long been a main food source for more than half of the world population. The hearty grain will continue to keep humanity strong and well-fed in the event of a disaster.
Rice is also dirt cheap, comes in many types, and is easy to prepare.
- Dry Corn
- Hard Red Wheat
- Soft White Wheat
- Durum wheat
- Oat Groats,
Powdered milk is a mainstay of fallout shelters and food aid supplies when fresh milk isn’t available. The dried stuff many not be very appealing, but it pretty much lasts forever and is useful for cooking and baking.
It’s also easy to tell if the product has gone bad. If your powdered milk turns yellow, it’s time to toss it.
The Japanese noodle is filling, easy to prepare, and light-weight. Some college kids even live on these squiggly pastas for years.
It makes sense: The dried bricks come with different-flavored packets and can be purchased for as little as 16 cents a pack. Mixed with some dehydrated vegetables, the noodles can make a nice meal.
How to store it: It’s essential to keep instant coffee dry. Keep unopened instant coffee granules in the freezer.
Fun fact: Instant coffee is made by spraying brewed coffee in a fine mist through very dry, hot air, which dehydrates the droplets into a powder. Because of its low moisture content, instant coffee could potentially last a lifetime if stored properly. After it’s been opened, it can last up to 20 years when stored in the freezer.
Freeze dried foods-
Freeze dried foods are made by rapidly freezing meals, and then leaching the water from them leaving only a frozen, dry substance that can be easily packaged and stored. Adding a little boiling water will reconstitute the food into something not only edible, but downright palatable and healthy. See, the freeze drying process is able retain the taste and nutrients of the original meal. Different freeze dried foods can be safely stored for varying lengths of time, but regardless of what you use, their shelf lives usually end up being about 20–30 years. Compare that to most canned goods, which only last for 3–5 years.
Remember… back in those days, there was no electricity… no refrigerators… no law enforcement… and certainly no grocery store or supermarkets… Some of these exceptional skills are hundreds of years of old and they were learned the hard way by the early pioneers.
How to store it: If you want these tasty cubes to last a really long time, just store them in a Mylar bag to keep out moisture, air and light. Or seal the package with a food sealer to ensure it’s super airtight. This will also keep out any bugs that might be looking for the stuff (yuck)!
Fun fact: Bouillon is packed with salt, which helps extends its shelf life much longer than traditional meat or vegetable stock, which is why it’s handy to keep around in a cooking pinch. However, it’s important to note that as time passes, the intensity of the bouillon’s flavor can change-it will still be safe to eat, it just might not taste as delicious.
Discover how to survive: Most complete survival tactics, tips, skills and ideas like how to make pemmican, snow shoes, knives, soap, beer, smoke houses, bullets, survival bread, water wheels, herbal poultices, Indian round houses, root cellars, primitive navigation, and much more at: The Lost Ways
Here’s just a glimpse of what you’ll find in The Lost Ways:
From Ruff Simons, an old west history expert and former deputy, you’ll learn the techniques and methods used by the wise sheriffs from the frontiers to defend an entire village despite being outnumbered and outgunned by gangs of robbers and bandits, and how you can use their wisdom to defend your home against looters when you’ll be surrounded.
Native American ERIK BAINBRIDGE – who took part in the reconstruction of the native village of Kule Loklo in California, will show you how Native Americans build the subterranean roundhouse, an underground house that today will serve you as a storm shelter, a perfectly camouflaged hideout, or a bunker. It can easily shelter three to four families, so how will you feel if, when all hell breaks loose, you’ll be able to call all your loved ones and offer them guidance and shelter? Besides that, the subterranean roundhouse makes an awesome root cellar where you can keep all your food and water reserves year-round.
From Shannon Azares you’ll learn how sailors from the XVII century preserved water in their ships for months on end, even years and how you can use this method to preserve clean water for your family cost-free.
Mike Searson – who is a Firearm and Old West history expert – will show you what to do when there is no more ammo to be had, how people who wandered the West managed to hunt eight deer with six bullets, and why their supply of ammo never ran out. Remember the panic buying in the first half of 2013? That was nothing compared to what’s going to precede the collapse.
From Susan Morrow, an ex-science teacher and chemist, you’ll master “The Art of Poultice.” She says, “If you really explore the ingredients from which our forefathers made poultices, you’ll be totally surprised by the similarities with modern medicines.” Well…how would you feel in a crisis to be the only one from the group knowledgeable about this lost skill? When there are no more antibiotics, people will turn to you to save their ill children’s lives.
If you liked our video tutorial on how to make Pemmican, then you’ll love this: I will show you how to make another superfood that our troops were using in the Independence war, and even George Washington ate on several occasions. This food never goes bad. And I’m not talking about honey or vinegar. I’m talking about real food! The awesome part is that you can make this food in just 10 minutes and I’m pretty sure that you already have the ingredients in your house right now.
Really, this is all just a peek.
The Lost Ways is a far-reaching book with chapters ranging from simple things like making tasty bark-bread-like people did when there was no food-to building a traditional backyard smokehouse… and many, many, many more!
And believe it or not, this is not all…
Table Of Contents:
The Most Important Thing
Making Your Own Beverages: Beer to Stronger Stuff
Ginger Beer: Making Soda the Old Fashioned Way
How North American Indians and Early Pioneers Made Pemmican
Spycraft: Military Correspondence During The 1700’s to 1900’s
Wild West Guns for SHTF and a Guide to Rolling Your Own Ammo
How Our Forefathers Built Their Sawmills, Grain Mills,and Stamping Mills
How Our Ancestors Made Herbal Poultice to Heal Their Wounds
What Our Ancestors Were Foraging For? or How to Wildcraft Your Table
How Our Ancestors Navigated Without Using a GPS System
How Our Forefathers Made Knives
How Our Forefathers Made Snow shoes for Survival
How North California Native Americans Built Their Semi-subterranean Roundhouses
Our Ancestors’Guide to Root Cellars
Good Old Fashioned Cooking on an Open Flame
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Preserve Water
Learning from Our Ancestors How to Take Care of Our Hygiene When There Isn’t Anything to Buy
How and Why I Prefer to Make Soap with Modern Ingredients
Temporarily Installing a Wood-Burning Stove during Emergencies
Making Traditional and Survival Bark Bread…….
Trapping in Winter for Beaver and Muskrat Just like Our Forefathers Did
How to Make a Smokehouse and Smoke Fish
Survival Lessons From The Donner Party
Books can be your best pre-collapse investment.
The Lost Ways (Learn the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive famines,wars,economic crisis and anything else life threw at them)
Survival MD (Best Post Collapse First Aid Survival Guide Ever)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Liberty Generator (Build and make your own energy source)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )
Family Self Defense (Best Self Defense Strategies For You And Your Family)
Survive Any Crisis (Best Items To Hoard For A Long Term Crisis)
Survive The End Days (Biggest Cover Up Of Our President)
Drought USA (Discover The Amazing Device That Turns Air Into Water)