26 Meals with a Lengthy Shelf Life

26 Meals with a Lengthy Shelf Life

Survival Foods

The Purple Cross and FEMA now suggest having not less than a 2-week meals and water provide at residence. They suggest non-perishable meals with lengthy shelf lives.

This long-term meals storage checklist of things with lengthy shelf lives — most of which might be discovered at your native grocery store — is a superb place to get began.

See additionally: Meals which don’t require refrigeration.

Meals Storage Record of Lengthy Shelf Life Meals

1. Commercially Canned Meals

canned foods shelf life
  • Canned meals are one of the simplest ways to go for folks simply getting began with emergency preparedness. You may get them within the grocery store; they received’t break like glass jars, and an enormous selection might be purchased in bulk.

Canned merchandise do have a “use by” date on them. Nonetheless, research have proven that canned meals are good for many years and probably perpetually. They could have some nutrient breakdown or get mushy, however they may nonetheless be secure and fit for human consumption. Be taught extra about canned meals shelf life right here.

Canned meals aren’t good for emergency preparedness, although. They’re often loaded with sodium or sugars. And a whole lot of canned meals style gross. So, attempt to embrace different meals in your stockpile as properly.

*Don’t neglect to stockpile a handbook can opener with the canned items! In a pinch, you should use one in all these strategies for opening a can and not using a can opener.

2. Sugar, Honey, and Different Sugars

Archaeologists have discovered honey in Egyptian pyramids which might be 3,000 years outdated and nonetheless edible. Likewise, refined sugar can final perpetually. It’d grow to be rock-hard or lumpy however will nonetheless be edible.


Right here’s what you may anticipate of shelf life from sugars: 

  • Maple syrup: About two years in an unopened glass jar.
  • Corn syrup: Without end shelf life, although the colour may change.
  • Molasses: Final 10 years in a sealed, unopened jar within the pantry. As soon as opened, it’ll final 1-5 years within the pantry.
  • Powdered sugar: Without end shelf life
  • Stevia: About 4 years

3. Freeze Dried Meals

Freeze Dried Strawberries

Freeze drying is when the moisture is faraway from meals whereas leaving its vitamins intact. The ensuing meals are scrumptious and crisp. You may eat them as-is or soak them in water to rehydrate.

All types of meals might be freeze-dried. These embrace meat, cheese, dairy, fruits, veggies, and even whole meals.

Nearly all of the “emergency meals” offered is freeze-dried. When packaged correctly (in an hermetic container with oxygen absorbers), freeze-dried meals can final 25+ years.

Need to get freeze-dried meals? Learn:

4. Dehydrated Fruits and Veggies

dehydrated vegetables

Dehydrating makes use of warmth to take away roughly 75-95% of moisture from meals. With out moisture, the speed of spoilage decreases drastically. Dehydrated fruits can final an extremely very long time as a result of their sugars act as a pure preservative.

With out particular packaging (reminiscent of storing dried fruits or veggies in Tupperware), they may doubtless final 6 months to 1 12 months. If you happen to take the additional step of packaging them in Mylar luggage with oxygen absorbers, dried meals can final 5-15 years. That is how emergency meals manufacturers bundle their dehydrated meals.

For extra, learn the Professional-Degree Information to Dehydrating Each Sort of Meals

5. Jerky

Deer jerky procedure

Jerky can also be made with a dehydrator. Nonetheless, dehydrating at house is trickier as a result of the temperature should be excessive sufficient to kill micro organism.

The jerky you purchase within the grocery store can final 1-2 years unopened in your pantry.

With do-it-yourself jerky, the shelf life is far shorter: anyplace from 1 week to 4 months. The variation in shelf life is determined by how a lot fats is within the meat, storage circumstances, and the quantity of moisture remaining within the jerky.

Learn: The right way to retailer beef jerky long run

6. Dried Beans

USAID says that dry beans have a shelf lifetime of not less than 1 12 months when saved in a cool, dry place however can final indefinitely. Beans will begin to lose nutritional vitamins at round 2-3 years. However, as long as they keep dry and don’t start to develop mildew, they may nonetheless be fantastic to eat.

Simply do not forget that dry beans take a very long time to cook dinner. If you happen to plan on consuming them throughout an emergency, be sure you have a technique to cook dinner them.

Learn the right way to retailer beans for the long run.

7. Jarred Meals (Commercially-Made)

The meals you purchase in jars within the grocery store is preserved by canning. It’s the identical technique that preserves meals in cans.

Basically, meals in cans will last more than in jars. Jars usually tend to have points with their seals, breakage, or deterioration from mild. Nonetheless, you may nonetheless anticipate jarred meals to final not less than 5 years.

Do not forget that the “Finest By” or “Finest Earlier than” date is just not a security date. It’s the producer’s estimate of how lengthy the meals will stay at peak high quality.

Listed here are just a few jarred substances to contemplate on your emergency stockpile:

  • Jams
  • Applesauce
  • Pickles
  • Peppers
  • Pasta sauce
  • Child meals

8. Residence Canned Meals

canned food in jars

Canning is a technique to protect meals at residence, and it’s fairly easy with an excellent strain canner. Residence-canned meals received’t final so long as commercially canned ones, however they’ll nonetheless final 2-5 years.

9. Pasta

Pasta usually has a “finest by” date of 1-2 years. It can simply final 2 years previous this date in your pantry with none particular storage. Pasta will final 20-30 years in Mylar luggage with oxygen absorbers!

Learn extra about the right way to retailer dry pasta.

10. White Rice

White rice can final perpetually if saved in a cool, dry place. This isn’t the case with brown rice, although.

Not like white rice, brown rice hasn’t had its bran eliminated. The bran is comparatively excessive in oils, which go rancid pretty rapidly. That’s why brown rice will solely last as long as 1 12 months in your pantry.

Learn the right way to retailer rice for the long run.

11. Entire Grains

Entire grains nonetheless have their outer shell (hull) intact. This acts as a pure preservative, conserving out air and light-weight that may trigger degradation. The grains with more durable hulls (onerous grains) will last more than these with mushy hulls (mushy grains).

Like nearly each meals on this lengthy shelf life checklist, you need to retailer entire grains in Mylar luggage with oxygen absorbers. They’ll nonetheless final a very long time in a sealed container in your pantry, although.

Anticipated shelf life in a cool, dry pantry:

  • Wheat: 2 years
  • Barley: 2 years
  • Kamut: 2 years
  • Millet: 2 years
  • Rolled oats: 2 years
  • Rye: 2 years
  • Spelt: 2 years
  • Alfalfa: 4 years
  • Buckwheat: 2 years
  • Quinoa: 3 years – see the right way to retailer quinoa long run

Shelf life when saved in Mylar luggage with oxygen absorbers:

  • Smooth grains (reminiscent of barley, quinoa, and rye): 8 years
  • Arduous grains (reminiscent of wheat and buckwheat): 10 to 12 years

Like dry beans, entire grains can take a very long time to cook dinner. Keep in mind to plan a technique to cook dinner with out electrical energy for utilizing them.

12. Seeds

Seeds are a superb supply of vitamins. They’re loaded with protein, iron, magnesium, wholesome fat, and lots of nutritional vitamins. They’re additionally one of many meals with the longest shelf life with out you having to do a lot of something.

Most seeds will final 2-5 years in a cool, dry pantry. Do not forget that temperature issues for seed shelf life as a result of they’ve pure oils that go rancid from warmth. The USDA states, “Every 5.6oC. (10.08oF) drop in temperature doubles the storage lifetime of the seeds”.

13. Nuts

walnuts shelf life

Like seeds, nuts are loaded with vitamins and naturally have a protracted shelf life (particularly if saved of their shells).

The distinction is that nuts often have a a lot larger fats content material than seeds. This fats will ultimately go rancid, particularly in scorching, humid circumstances.   Fattier nuts like pistachios will go dangerous in a short time.

As a result of nuts are so costly, I wouldn’t attempt to retailer them for years as a part of a long-term meals storage plan. Nonetheless, in the event you maintain them cool and keep in mind to rotate them, they’re an incredible emergency meals.


  1. Nuts of their shell will final 25-50% longer than shelled nuts.
  2. Entire nuts final roughly 50% longer than nut items.
  3. Some roasted nuts could solely have ¼ of the shelf lifetime of uncooked nuts.
  4. The shelf lifetime of peanut butter is determined by whether or not it’s “pure” or has preservatives.

See the right way to retailer nuts long run

Shelf lifetime of nuts in months

In pantry at 50F In pantry at 68F
Almond, shelled 8 4
Almond, in shell 16 6
Macadamia, shelled 12 5
Peanut, shelled 9 4
Peanut, in shell 9 6
Pistachio, shelled 3 1

14. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is made by freeze-drying milk. It’s then saved in sealed packaging, which prevents air or moisture from passing via.

If you happen to maintain the powdered milk in its packaging, it’s a perpetually shelf-life meals. Even after it has been opened, it’ll in all probability final 2-10 years, as long as you retain it away from humidity and warmth.

Learn the right way to retailer dried milk for the long run and the right way to make powdered milk.

15. Salt and Bouillon

Salt is a preservative for meals, so it’s no shock that it lasts perpetually. As an alternative of simply stockpiling salt, you may additionally need to stockpile bouillon in your emergency provides. It additionally has a perpetually shelf life however has extra taste than salt alone – which might do wonders for spicing up bland emergency meals.

16. Instantaneous Mashed Potatoes

Instantaneous mashed potatoes are one in all my favourite backpacking meals and nice for emergency prep. The flakes come sealed in packages, often with 2-4 servings per bundle. This makes them very straightforward to ration.

I additionally love that instantaneous potatoes might be made with straight-up water – no heating required. If you happen to don’t have an emergency range or can’t use it for no matter purpose (or it’s raining whereas tenting, and also you don’t really feel like cooking), add water to the flakes and stir.

In sealed packaging, instantaneous potatoes have a shelf lifetime of 5-15 years (regardless of what the “Use by” date says). As soon as opened, you may anticipate them to final 6-12 months in a cool, dry place.

Learn extra about storing potato flakes long-term.

17. Cocoa and Cacao Powder

Unsweetened cocoa powder can final 6 years previous its expiration date, although it’ll lose a few of its style over time. Simply don’t eat it if it has a moldy, disagreeable odor.

Learn: The right way to retailer cocoa powder long run

Cacao is a less-processed model of cocoa. It received’t final as lengthy, however you may anticipate a shelf lifetime of 2-3 years if saved in a cool, dry place.

18. Flour

Flour is created from ground-up grains. As a result of the hulls have been eliminated or destroyed, flours received’t final so long as entire grains. Nonetheless, you may nonetheless get a really lengthy shelf life.

White flour saved in a cool, dry pantry has a shelf life of roughly 1 to 2 years. Entire wheat flour, which accommodates extra oils, lasts just a few months.

White and entire wheat flour will final round 10 years in a Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers.

Learn the right way to retailer flour for the long run.

non perishable foods
TIP: Meals rotation is rather a lot simpler in the event you maintain it organized!

19. Cooking Oils

Most cooking oils will final not less than 2 years and doubtless for much longer in a cool place.

Warmth is the most important enemy of oils. Some oils – like coconut and olive oil – will rapidly deteriorate in scorching temperatures. You’ll discover a nasty odor. It’s higher to stay with sunflower, soy, and canola oils for emergency preparedness.

20. Herbs and Spices

shelf life of herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are usually dehydrated. With out a lot moisture in them, most will final 2-5 years with out particular storage. These are nice to incorporate in your emergency meals storage so as to add taste to boring survival meals.

Learn extra about storing spices long run

21. Crackers

Many grocery store crackers will simply final 6-9 months within the pantry with out particular storage. Some forms of crackers have even longer shelf lives. For instance, Hardtack biscuits have a perpetually shelf life and had been a major meals for sailors over the centuries. Learn the right way to retailer crackers long run.

22. Jell-O Combine

In its unopened bundle, Jell-O combine can probably final perpetually. When you open the bundle, although, you’ll want to make use of the powder inside 3 months.

23. Vinegar

The acidity in vinegar acts as a pure preservative, giving it a perpetually shelf life. You don’t must refrigerate vinegar to get this lengthy shelf life. Make sure you keep away from vinegar with herbs, as these herbs may ultimately go dangerous.

Additionally, see does vinegar go dangerous?

24. Some Condiments

Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce will final perpetually in your pantry. Ketchup additionally has a protracted shelf life and can final round 2 years previous the expiration date. So stroll down the condiments aisle and have a look at the shelf lives. You’ll discover a number of good gadgets on your emergency meals storage.

25. Baking Soda, Powder, and Yeast

There’s not a lot level in stockpiling flour in the event you don’t have a technique to make issues out of it. So keep in mind to incorporate some baking soda, baking powder, and yeast in your emergency meals stockpile.

These are all long-shelf life meals, even with out particular storage strategies. You’ll additionally need to search for some recipes for photo voltaic ovens for making bread loaves or discover ways to make flatbread in a skillet.

26. Instantaneous Espresso

Espresso isn’t a meals, however many individuals wouldn’t need to dwell with out it. The excellent news is that instantaneous espresso (made by freeze-drying) has a perpetually shelf life.

Learn the right way to retailer espresso long-term.

Earlier than You Start Stockpiling these Meals

All of those meals can final a really very long time. Some even have shelf lives of “perpetually.” Nonetheless, that doesn’t essentially imply they may final via a catastrophe. Nor does it imply you’ll have the ability to eat them throughout a catastrophe.

For instance:

  • Honey lasts perpetually. However it will likely be ineffective in the event you retailer it in a glass jar that’s smashed throughout a hurricane.
  • Pasta can final 5+ years however is ineffective in the event you don’t have water and an emergency range for cooking it.
  • Dehydrated meals don’t require cooking however might be ineffective if rodents or pests get at them

Making an emergency meals stockpile requires cautious planning. You’ll want to contemplate issues like:

  • The place will you retain your emergency meals
  • How will you bundle them
  • Dietary worth
  • Methods to cook dinner meals with out energy
  • Water required for cooking meals

We talk about this stuff in our mini eBook information, How to Build Your 30-Day Emergency Food Supply.

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