Emergency Food Items With a Long Shelf Life

 Emergency Food Items With a Long Shelf Life

When choosing food items for your stockpile it is important to choose those with the longest shelf life where possible. the food items that we are going to look at here have a very long shelf life but in order for them to actually last, you must be sure that you store them correctly. The best place to keep your stockpile is in a dark, cool, and dry spot, free of humidity, moisture, direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures.


In most cases, honey has an indefinite shelf life. In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible. If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change. It’s the properties of processed honey that keep it from becoming a hotbed of microbes and other things that may spoil or contaminate it. As long as those properties aren’t altered, processed honey has a virtually indefinite shelf life. However, unprocessed honey (like the kind found in a beehive) hasn’t had its impurities filtered out and removed. This means that it is more susceptible to being spoiled, and will spoil after about a year. Store in a cool area and keep tightly closed. Revive crystallized honey by placing the opened jar in warm water and stirring until dissolved.


Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite. You will notice when you purchase salt that it will have a best before date but that is not an expiration date. You may safely use table or sea salt for your flavoring needs and your body needs after a best before date has lapsed. The best way to store salt is in its original air tight container in a cool dark place like the pantry. It should remain dry at all times. A constant temperature is also best, away from the stove or dishwasher.


Remember that sugar, like a lot of other baking products, may not have any printed expiration date or it may have a best before date, but not an expiration date. Because of this, you may safely use it after a best before date has lapsed. White, brown or powdered — it never spoils because it doesn’t support bacterial growth. Keep sugar in a cool, dry area. To prevent sugar from hardening after opening, place it in an airtight container or cover the original package in a heavy-duty plastic bag and seal tightly.


Raw white rice keeps indefinitely with proper storage. Even polished white rice stored in oxygen-free and cold temperature conditions can stay fresh for up to 30 years! Brown rice, on the other hand, has a short shelf life of 6 to 12 months; its higher oil content causes it to go rancid more quickly. It’s best to keep rice in a sealed, airtight container and store in a cool, dry place.


Some forms of vinegar can remain intact forever. This is unsurprising since vinegar contains a low pH and is technically a preserved food. Ancient Babylonians were using vinegar before 5000 B.C. as both a condiment and a cleaning agent.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk was once a staple of the fallout shelter supply cupboard because of its indefinite shelf life. If fresh milk were unavailable this would be a decent substitute for cooking and baking.

Dried Beans

Dried beans can last almost indefinitely in the absence of oxygen and light, but gradual moisture loss will affect its taste and texture. Old beans may need longer soaking and cooking times; try adding acidic ingredients or salt toward the end of the recipe to avoid toughening up the skin.

Pure Vanilla Extract

When stored and sealed and in a cool dark place, pure vanilla extract can last forever. In fact, it will continue to age like fine wine and slightly improve in flavor. Store in cool, dark cupboard and keep tightly closed when not in use.

Instant Coffee, Tea, Cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale. Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried. So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last. Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.


Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world. This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population. Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vitamins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.


Spaghetti, macaroni, fettuccine, lasagna… all this stuff will last for decades if stored properly. I recommend everyone store lots of pasta. It is very filling and can be used for all kinds of delicious meals.

Maple Syrup

Pure maple syrup not only makes your pancakes special, it adds tremendous flavor to a whole range of dishes. Best of all, it keeps forever in the freezer. Refrigerate after opening. For long-term storage, freeze maple syrup in airtight plastic containers.

Dried Corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn. Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season. To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Canned Foods

Canned foods vary from fruits, to veggies, fish, meats, beans, soups, etc. Look for canned foods without added sugars, sodium, or preservatives. However, canned foods which contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are recommended. Canned foods can be a great source of almost any nutrient, and can last for a very long time. Store canned vegetables in an airtight container away from light and heat. Home canned vegetables should last about a year. For commercially canned products, check the date on the can. A general rule is they will last 2-5 years.

Dark Chocolate

There is some debate about whether chocolate goes bad. The addition of milk to chocolate may reduce its shelf life. But dark chocolate appears to last better, despite not always looking like it has. This could be because, if it is not stored at a constant temperature, the fat can rise to the surface, leaving a bloom that looks a bit like mould. If stored at a constant temperature, however, chocolate can last for two years or more.

1 Comment

  • That’s good to know that dark chocolate would have a long shelf life. I would think that would be a good way to add something sweet to your diet in an emergency. I’ll have to consider getting some of that and some other foods to put in a storage unit so that I could have it in case of an emergency.

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