Best Foods with the Longest Shelf Life for Any Disaster

Woman holding a bag of pasta

Cultivating an emergency food stockpile can be essential for survival in crisis situations. You will want to begin by making a stockpile that will last your family 72-hours. From there, you can build out as your family’s budget allows. 

Luckily, there are many inexpensive foods that will keep you nourished in case of an emergency where you are no longer able to purchase food. While these items may not be gourmet, they are certainly going to keep you healthy during a crisis period. 

Best Foods with the Longest Shelf Life

Below, we’ve outlined the best foods with the longest shelf life so you can get the most bang for your buck while resting assured that you have enough food to survive.

Rolled Oats

These last up to 24 months if stored at room temperature, However, if you can eliminate moisture and oxygen, they can last up to 30 years

Dry Pasta

This can also last up to 30 years without moisture, although generally it has a shelf life of about 30 years

Ramen

This is a college classic for a reason. It’s cheap and can last for several years. It may not be the healthiest, but it will do the trick

Canned Beans and Legumes

Beans can last for up to 6 years, and legumes and lentils will also last you four to five

Dehydrated Fruits and Nuts

Dehydrated fruit can last nearly 30 years when it is dried properly and oxygen and moisture free

Dried Corn

Freeze dried foods are often good options, and freeze dried corn will last you nearly 15 years

Dried Meat

Dried meats such as beef jerky can last you nearly two years. This is a good way to make sure you and your family will have adequate protein sources. If you don’t want to buy jerky, you can also make your own!

Canned Meats

If dried meats aren’t an option, canned meats such as spam, corn beef, and tuna can last you two to five years. These are great protein sources that you can stockpile in advance

Pemmican

This is the holy grail survival food; it’s a combination of powdered lean meats and will last you 50+ years!

Olive and Coconut Oils

These can last two to five years as long as they are stored in a dark place. These are great essentials to add fat and calories to your dishes, as well as that you will probably find them useful in cooking

Soy Sauce and Vinegar

These are two more ways to spice up your foods, and they can last many, many years when unopened. Apple cider vinegar in particular has many health benefits and can be used as a dressing

Powdered Milk

This is another stockpile favorite as it can last nearly 25 years. It will also make sure that you’re getting proper vitamins.

Canned Foods

For canned foods at large, you want to keep them for three years at the most. However, with these products you want to make sure you’re carefully inspecting them before consuming, especially if you’re in a hot area. These cans will spoil when exposed to temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit

Powdered Eggs

You don’t have to give up your morning eggs! Powdered eggs can last up to seven years

MRE’s

While they may be a last resort, these are super easy ways to get all of the nutrients you need to survive. Most 72 hour survival kits have these, as they can get you back on your feet and keep you nourished

Twinkies

If you need your desert fix, twinkies are an unsuspecting option. They have been tested and taste testers have said that they are just fine even after more than 20 years

Salt and Sugar

Salt and sugar are two more kitchen staples that won’t go bad, but you will certainly find yourself reaching for them.

Baking Soda and Baking Powder

If you decide that you want cooking and baking supplies, these are two essentials that will not go bad

Honey

As far as we know, honey doesn’t go bad, and it’ll sweeten up your foods as needed

Instant/Powdered Coffee and Tea

Your use of these will depend on your water supply, but caffeine can increase mental alertness as well as boost morale, as many of us depend on our daily caffeine to wake us up.

Alcohol

Alcohol can be used for cooking as well as recreationally. Most will last several years as long as stored in a dark place

Hard Grains

These can last you nearly a decade. They include: buckwheat, dry corn, soft white what, spelt, durum wheat, millet, and kamut.

Beans

When they are without moisture, these can last almost a decade as well. Best options include pinto, kidney, lentils, lima, aduzki, garbanzo, mung, and black turtle beans

Dried Corn

This can also last for a decade if stored properly

Dehydrated Carrots

These are also unsuspecting, but can last 20 years

Popcorn

This is a great snack option that can last decades

Potato Flakes

These can be used to make mashed potatoes or on their own. When stored properly, you can make these last for 10 to 15 years

Vitamins

It is so important to remember to store vitamins with your food stockpile. While you will do the best you can, a vitamin will make sure that you’re getting all of the nutrients that your body needs to function. Tablet vitamins are going to last the longest, although there are no downsides to taking vitamins after their expiration date, with the only danger being that they might be less effective.

Food Storage Tips to Increase Shelf Life

Now that we’ve covered some of the best food options, here are a few tips to make these foods last as long as possible.

Store your food in mylar storage bags and oxygen absorbers.

This will make sure that you can double or triple your food’s shelf life in the absence of oxygen and moisture. This prevents bacteria and mold from growing.

Store everything in a cool and dark place if possible.

When it gets hotter out, our canned foods are in danger. If you have a dark place to keep your stockpile, we recommend doing so. If you are keeping your stock in your basement, you want to make sure it is ventilated to reduce moisture and make sure there isn’t mold or mildew.

Freeze your coconut and olive oils.

This may sound strange, but you can make your oils last even longer than five years if you freeze them.

Store raw ingredients rather than full meals.

Waiting to combine ingredients will often improve overall shelf life

Choose white rice over brown

We know that white rice lasts longer than brown, even if brown is regarded as a little bit healthier.

Dry foods can be stored in five gallon buckets

This will extend life to nearly 20 years

Make your own dehydrated foods

This will save you money as well as allow you to choose your favorite foods. You can use a dehydrator on veggies, fruits, milk, and meat.

Don’t Forget About Water Storage

On a final note, with all of this in mind, remember to also consider how you will be getting water, as we can survive for much longer without food than we can water. Therefore, each person should have enough water to last them three days in case the water is shut off or has become contaminated. 

A general guideline is that one person will need one gallon of water per day (including bathroom and hygiene purposes). Consider purchasing water bottles and investing in a water filter as well as water purification tablets. This way, if you have to resort to rainwater or a new water source, you can make sure you’re eliminating bacteria or chemicals that may be present. 

Since buying water bottles can get expensive, you can also begin filling empty bottles of Gatorade or juice with water and adding them to your stockpile as your family is going about business as usual.

Hopefully these tips on the best foods with the longest shelf life have helped highlight ways in which you can slowly start building your emergency food stockpile. In fact, with about $100, you can start your pantry by focusing on the dry grains, flour, sugar, canned vegetables and fruits,and pastas. Now get out there and stock your pantry!

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We’ve all been in an unforeseen emergency event and it’s only then that we realize how unprepared we truly are for these situations.This is exactly why Prep Plans was started. To be a resource for anyone that needs some help getting their bug out bag in order or creating a family emergency disaster plan.It’s not fun dealing with any type of emergency, but next time when SHTF you’ll be prepared.