22 Survival Foods With the Longest Shelf Life Actually Worthy of Storing

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By Chris

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Preparing for emergencies and long-term survival situations is crucial in a world of uncertainty. As a prepper, one of the most critical aspects of your preparedness plan should be ensuring that you have a reliable food supply with a long shelf life that can sustain you and your family for an extended time.

The right survival foods can make all the difference during difficult times, providing essential nutrients, energy, and security. When choosing survival foods, it’s vital to consider factors like shelf life, nutritional value, and versatility in cooking methods.

In this blog post, we will explore 22 survival foods that have an impressive shelf life of 25 years or more and offer a well-balanced diet to keep you going during times of crisis. 

From grains and cereals to legumes, nuts, freeze-dried, canned foods, and specialty survival foods, these long-lasting food items will ensure you’re ready for anything life throws your way.

So, let’s dive in and discover the top survival foods you should have in your long-term food storage plan.

Grains and Cereals

Grains and cereals have a very long shelf life. They are a staple in many diets due to their high energy content, long shelf life, and versatility in meal preparation. In this section, we’ll discuss three popular grains and cereal foods, ensuring you have a reliable source of carbohydrates and essential nutrients in your survival food stores.

1- Hard red winter wheat 

hard red winter wheat

Wheat is at the top of our list of foods with the longest shelf life. To prepare it, you will need a quality grinder to produce flour. Buying a manual grinder is an added expense, but worth it when the SHTF.

Storage tips:

Store hard red winter wheat in a cool, dry place in an airtight container such as a food-grade bucket, sealed container, or Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers. The oxygen absorbers will keep bugs from hatching and creating an infestation in your food stockpiles. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.

Nutritional value: 

Hard red winter wheat is rich in dietary fiber, protein, seleniumand essential minerals like magnesium and zinc that help with metabolism. It’s also an excellent source of slow-digesting carbohydrates for long-lasting energy. 

Ways to prepare: 

You can grind hard red winter wheat into flour to make bread, pancakes, and other baked goods or sprout the grain for a fresh and nutritious addition to salads and sandwiches.

2- White rice 

white rice

White rice appropriately stored is a shelf-stable food. Stay away from brown rice. Brown rice has a considerably shorter shelf life than white rice.

Storage tips: 

Store rice in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, or with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

Nutritional value: 

White rice is a good source of energy-providing carbohydrates. It contains small amounts of protein and essential minerals like iron and manganese.

Ways to prepare: 

White rice can be cooked on its own or used as a base for various dishes like stir-fries, casseroles, and rice puddings.

3- Rolled oats 

rolled oats

Rolled oats are another food that has a long shelf life.

Storage tips: 

Rolled oats should be stored in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. 

Nutritional value: 

Rolled oats are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and essential nutrients like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They also provide slow-digesting carbohydrates for sustained energy. 

Ways to prepare: 

Rolled oats can be used to make hot or cold cereal, granola, energy bars, and as an ingredient in baked goods like cookies and bread. Add sugar or dehydrated fruits to enhance the flavor if needed.

PREPPING 101 GUIDE- WHAT IS PREPPING? HOW TO BE PREPARED FOR WHAT’S NEXT.

Dried beans and Nuts

Dried beans and nuts are:

  • Essential components of a long-term survival food plan.
  • Offering a rich source of plant-based protein.
  • Healthy fats.
  • Essential nutrients.

In this section, we will discuss three types of legumes and nuts that can be stored for 25 years or more, ensuring you have a diverse and nutritious selection of foods in your survival pantry.

4- Pinto beans 

dried beans

Storage tips: 

Store dried beans in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. 

Nutritional value:

Pinto beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Ways to prepare: 

Pinto beans can be soaked and cooked to make chili, soups, and burritos or mashed to create refried beans.

5- Lentils 

lintils

Storage tips: 

Store lentils in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

Nutritional value: 

Lentils are rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like iron, folate, and manganese. 

Ways to prepare: 

Lentils can be cooked without soaking and used in various dishes like soups, stews, and salads or as a meat substitute in dishes like spaghetti Bolognese.

6- Almonds 

almonds

Almonds are well known to have health benefits and should be in your emergency food supplies.

Storage tips: 

Store almonds in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. 

Nutritional value: 

Almonds are an excellent source of healthy fats, plant-based protein, and essential nutrients like vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. 

Ways to prepare:

Almonds can be eaten raw, roasted, or used in dishes like trail mix, granola bars, and almond butter. They can also be ground into almond flour for baking or as a coating for meats and vegetables.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried foods offer an incredibly long shelf life, retain most of their original nutritional value, and are lightweight, making them an ideal choice for long-term food storage.

In this section, we’ll discuss three categories of freeze-dried foods that can be stored for 25 years or longer, ensuring you have access to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and meats when fresh options are unavailable.

7- Freeze-dried fruits 

freeze dried fruits

Storage tips: 

Store freeze-dried fruits in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

Nutritional value:

Freeze-dried fruits maintain most of their original vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, providing essential nutrients for a well-rounded diet. 

Ways to prepare:

Freeze-dried fruits can be eaten as a snack, rehydrated, added to recipes like oatmeal and smoothies, or used as a topping for yogurt or ice cream.

8- Freeze-dried vegetables 

freeze dried vegetables

Storage tips:

Store freeze-dried vegetables in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. 

Nutrition: 

Freeze-dried vegetables retain most of their original vitamins, minerals, and fiber, ensuring you have access to a diverse range of essential nutrients. 

Ways to prepare:

Freeze-dried vegetables can be rehydrated and used in recipes like soups, stews, and stir-fries or added directly to dishes like casseroles and pasta.

9- Freeze-dried meats 

freeze dried meats

Storage tips:

Store freeze-dried meats in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

Nutrition: 

Freeze-dried meats maintain their original protein content and essential nutrients like iron and B vitamins, providing energy and nutrition. 

Ways to prepare:

Freeze-dried meats can be rehydrated and used in recipes like stews, stir-fries, and sandwiches or added directly to dishes like pasta and rice.

Canned and Preserved Foods

Canned foods and preserved foods offer an extended shelf life. They are an essential addition to any long-term food storage plan.

In this section, we’ll discuss three types of canned foods and preserved foods stored for 25 years or more, ensuring you have access to various nutritious and easy-to-prepare meal options during emergencies.

10- Canned meats 

canned meats

Canned goods offer meats like canned tuna, chicken, and beef. The canned meats can hold you over until hunting expeditions to acquire fresh foods.

Storage tips: 

Store canned meats in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. Keep an eye on expiration dates and rotate your stock accordingly. 

Nutritional value: 

Canned meats provide an excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, and nutrients like iron and zinc, making them a valuable addition to your survival food stocks. 

Ways to prepare canned meat: 

Canned meats can be eaten directly from the can or used in recipes like soups, stews, casseroles, and sandwiches.

11- Canned fruits and vegetables 

canned vegetables

Having a stockpile of canned fruits and vegetables will enhance your meals for the short term. Canned beans

Storage tips: 

Store canned vegetables in a cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. Monitor expiration dates and rotate your stock to maintain freshness.

Nutritional value: 

Canned vegetables offer a convenient source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, ensuring a well-balanced diet during times of crisis. 

Ways to prepare: 

Canned vegetables can be eaten directly from the can, heated and served as a side dish, or used in recipes like soups, stews, and casseroles.

12- Honey 

honey

100% raw honey has an extremely long shelf life. Pure honey will have a longer shelf life than processed honey from the local supermarket.

Storage tips: 

Store honey in airtight containers such as glass jars in a cool, dry place. Keep away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Crystallization is normal and can be reversed by gently heating the honey. 

Nutritional value:

Honey is a natural sweetener that contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, contributing to its long shelf life. It’s often referred to as a superfood.

Ways to prepare:

Honey can be used as a sweetener in beverages and recipes, as a spread on bread, or as an ingredient in homemade energy bars and granola. It can also be a natural remedy for sore throats and coughs.

Specialty Survival Foods

Specialty survival foods are specifically designed and packaged to withstand long-term storage while providing essential nutrients and energy during emergencies. Dehydrated foods and preprepared foods with long shelf life are great options for storing food.

In this section, we’ll discuss three types of specialty survival foods that can be stored appropriately up for 25 years or more, ensuring you have access to a variety of convenient and nutritious options when traditional food sources may not be available.

13- Powdered milk 

powdered milk

As a kid, my granny always stored several boxes of Carnation powdered milk. I thought it was crazy at the time. It wouldn’t be that crazy if an emergency situation were to arise. Who knew granny was a practical prepper back then. It makes sense with here being born out of the Great Depression.

Storage tips: 

Store powdered milk in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.

Nutrition: 

Powdered milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamins A and D, providing essential nutrients for maintaining strong bones and overall health. 

Ways to prepare: 

Powdered milk can be reconstituted with water to replace fresh milk in recipes, beverages, or as a stand-alone drink. It can also be used as an ingredient in baked goods, smoothies, and sauces.

14- Dehydrated potato flakes 

dried potatoes

If you’re like me, you’re a meat-and-potatoes type of person. Dehydrated potatoes are a good energy and filler food during times of shortages.

Storage tips: 

Store dehydrated potato flakes in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures.

Nutritional value: 

Dehydrated potato flakes are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin C.

Ways to prepare: 

Dehydrated potato flakes can be rehydrated with water or milk to make instant mashed potatoes or used as a thickening agent in soups and stews.

15- Emergency food bars

 The emergency food bars are one of the best survival foods with long shelf life. Although their shelf life is shorter than the other foods on our list, they’re a great option. One bar is enough calories to last throughout the day. They are small if you are limited on prepping room.

They typically have a shelf life of up to five years.

Storage tips: 

Store emergency food bars in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. Monitor expiration dates and rotate your stock to maintain freshness. They typically have a shelf life of 5 years.

Nutrition: 

Emergency food bars are formulated to provide a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and essential nutrients to sustain energy levels and overall health during emergencies. Bars come in various calorie levels, 1200, 2400, and 3600, broken down into 200-calorie servings. 

Ways to prepare: 

Emergency food bars are ready-to-eat and require no preparation. They can be consumed as a meal replacement or snack during times of crisis when access to traditional food sources may be limited.

Spices

Sugar and salt are essential items to include in your long-term survival food storage due to their long shelf life, versatility, and importance in cooking and preserving foods. Let’s explore the storage tips, nutritional value, and ways to use sugar and salt.

16- Sugar 

sugar

Storage tips:

Store sugar in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets or resealable bags. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to prevent clumping and maintain freshness.

Nutritional value: 

Sugar is a source of quick energy, providing carbohydrates that can be used by the body during increased physical activity or stress. However, it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

Ways to use: 

Sugar can be used as a sweetener in beverages, baked goods, and other recipes. It can also preserve fruits through canning, jam-making, and fruit dehydration.

17- Salt 

salt

Salt has an infinite shelf life when stored in an airtight container and in a cool and dry place. Stick to any non-iodized salt. Iodized salt products have a shorter shelf life.

Storage tips: 

Store salt in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags in a cool, dry place. Salt has an indefinite shelf life when stored properly. 

Nutritional value: 

Salt is essential in maintaining fluid balance and nerve and muscle function. However, it should be consumed in moderation to avoid health issues associated with excessive sodium intake. 

Ways to use: 

Salt can be used to season and enhance the flavor of dishes and for food preservation through methods like pickling, brining, and curing. Making brines with salt can help when surviving on fox and coyote meat to make it a little palatable.

It can also be used in homemade electrolyte solutions to replace lost sodium during dehydration or physical exertion.

18- Black pepper 

black pepper

You can’t have salt without pepper. Simple as that.

Storage tips: 

Store black pepper in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags. Whole peppercorns will retain their flavor longer than pre-ground pepper. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to maintain flavor and freshness. 

Nutrition: 

While black pepper is primarily used as a seasoning, it does contain small amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin K, iron, and manganese. It also contains piperine, a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Ways to use: 

Black pepper can be used to season and enhance the flavor of a wide variety of dishes, including soups, stews, meats, vegetables, and salads. Grinding whole peppercorns just before use will provide the best flavor and aroma.

19- Ground onion powder 

onion powder

Storage tips: 

Store ground onion powder in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to maintain flavor and freshness. 

Nutrition: 

Ground onion powder contains small amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. It also has antioxidant properties, which can contribute to overall health. 

Ways to use: 

Ground onion powder can be used as a seasoning and flavor enhancer in various dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, meats, vegetables, and marinades. It is a convenient and space-saving alternative to fresh onions in your survival food storage.

20- Garlic powder 

garlic powder

Storage tips: 

Store garlic powder in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to maintain flavor and freshness. 

Nutrition: 

Garlic powder contains small amounts of essential nutrients like manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. It also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, which can contribute to overall health. 

Ways to use: 

Garlic powder can be used as a seasoning and flavor enhancer in various dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, meats, vegetables, and marinades. It offers a convenient and space-saving alternative to fresh garlic in your survival food storage.

Including sugar and salt in your long-term survival food storage will ensure that you have essential cooking and preserving ingredients and contribute to the overall palatability and enjoyment of your emergency food supply.

Including ground onion, black pepper, and garlic powder in your long-term survival food storage will ensure that you have versatile and flavorful seasonings to elevate your emergency meals, making them more enjoyable even during challenging times.

Absolute Must-Have-

If you are like my wife and me, then you know coffee isn’t a luxury. It’s a way of life. After all, we don’t want to survive but rather thrive.

Coffee is another excellent addition to your long-term survival food storage plan due to its long shelf life and convenience. Let’s explore the storage tips, nutritional value, and ways to prepare instant coffee.

21- Instant coffee

instant coffee

Storage tips: 

Store instant coffee in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to maintain flavor and freshness. 

Nutrition: 

Instant coffee contains small amounts of essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and niacin. It is also a source of caffeine, which can help improve mental alertness and reduce fatigue during emergencies. 

Ways to prepare: 

Instant coffee can be quickly and easily prepared by dissolving the coffee granules or powder in hot water. You can adjust the strength of your coffee by altering the amount of instant coffee and water used. It can also be used as an ingredient in recipes like tiramisu or coffee-flavored baked goods.

22- Baking soda

Baking soda is one of the most valuable items on our list of foods with long shelf life. Although it’s not food, it’s critical in a

Storage tips: 

Store baking soda in a cool, dry place in airtight containers such as glass jars or resealable bags. Keep away from direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures to maintain quality and effectiveness.

Nutrition: 

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) does not provide significant nutritional value. Still, it plays a crucial role in various cooking and baking processes due to its leavening properties.

Ways to use: 

Baking soda can be used in various cooking and baking applications, including:

  • As a leavening agent in baked goods like cakes, cookies, and bread.
  • As a tenderizer in recipes that require a long cooking time, such as stews and beans.
  • Combination with acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice creates a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide, which can help lift and lighten recipes.
  • As a cleaning agent for pots, pans, and surfaces.
  • In personal care, such as toothpaste or as a natural deodorant.

Final Thoughts on Long Shelf-Life Foods-

In conclusion, preparing for long-term survival requires careful planning and stocking up on various nutritious and long-lasting foods. By including grains and cereals, legumes and nuts, freeze-dried, canned and preserved foods, specialty survival foods, and convenient items like instant coffee in your storage plan, you can ensure that you and your family will be well-fed and energized during times of crisis.

Remember, the key to successful long-term food storage is to maintain a cool, dry, and stable environment, use airtight containers, and rotate your stock to ensure freshness. With these 22 survival foods and the practical tips shared in this blog post, you’ll be well-equipped to face any emergency or long-term survival situation with confidence, knowing that your food supply is secure and nutritious. 

Stay prepared and stay safe!

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