14 Amazing Survival Foods with Long Shelf Life

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There is a lot of talk about what foods to stockpile, with most people repeating more or less the same thing. Oh, there are exceptions, mostly where people talk about stockpiling the foods they used in pioneering days, like pemmican and hardtack. Then there are the few who say you should just stockpile whatever your family eats. But other than that, it’s pretty consistent, mostly consisting of foods we all recognize as staples.

Even so, there is a small group of foods, within this larger subset, which we should all pay attention to. These are survival foods with long shelve life and will store virtually forever, without any special preservation process. Either God or nature has created these foods with the ability to last for years; so we should take advantage of these survival foods with long shelf life and make sure they are part of our prepping stockpile.

Raw Honey

Raw HoneyHoney might crystallize over time, but that doesn’t mean it goes bad. Crystallized honey can be turned back to a liquid state by simply heating it. You might have to add a little water, but usually, that isn’t necessary. The only thing you have to watch out for with honey is that it is kept in a tightly sealed container, as bees and ants are both attracted to it, not to mention Winnie the Pooh.

As a food, honey has been shown to have many medicinal qualities and to be much healthier to eat than white sugar. So even though it’s more expensive, it’s a much better food for your family to be eating.

Pemmican

Pemmican BarsThis amazing superfood was invented by the American Indians, who used it both as a means to make it through the winter and as food for the warpath or other traveling. Explorers, mountain men, and later pioneers quickly caught on to the value of pemmican and used it extensively. Even the British caught on, issuing is as rations to their soldiers in the Second Boer War (1899-1902).

Pemmican is made from lean dried meat (jerky), mixed with fat and berries. Pressed into cakes and allowed to dry, pemmican was lightweight, easy to carry and packed a lot of energy.

Rice

White Rice Long Term Storage in bucket
Grain White Rice Pail, 42 lb – Up to a 30 YEARS shelf life!

Rice, especially white rice will keep indefinitely if it is kept from moisture. As long as it is dry, most insects basically leave it alone, with the exception of the weevil. However, this problem is easily solved by keeping the rice in a tightly closed container.

As a food source, rice provides a considerable amount of carbohydrates, which are bodies readily turn to sugar for energy. It is also very flexible, able to be mixed into a large assortment of dishes. The nutritional value and ease of use make rice one of the world’s most common survival foods with long shelf life.

Salt

Sea Salt
Nature’s First Sea Salt, Fine Salt, 10 Pound Bucket

The thing that makes salt a survival foods with long shelf life is that it is a natural preservative. Ants avoid it and bacteria are killed by contact with it. So there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong with salt, unless it gets wet. Our bodies need salt in our diet as well, as it is salt that holds water in our cells.

Sugar

Sugar
White Sugar Value Bucket

Like salt, sugar is another natural preservative. However, this one is a favorite of ants; so you need to take care in storing it in airtight containers so that they can’t get to it. As long as you do that, your sugar should stay fresh virtually forever.

Bouillon

Bouillon
Bouillon Cubes

I have a little bit of trouble calling bouillon food, as it is more of a seasoning. Basically, it’s dried soup stock. Even so, it’s an important thing to stockpile, as I suspect that we’d all be eating a lot of soups in a post-disaster world. While cubes are very common, bouillon powder is actually easier to work with.

Powdered Milk (canned in nitrogen)

Powdered Milk
2 pound jar Hoosier Hill Farm Whole Milk Powder

This one requires a bit of special packaging, but the nutrition it provides makes it worth it. Powdered milk is unlike other dry foods in this regard. Most are good if packed with oxygen absorbers, but powdered milk needs to be packed with nitrogen to stay fresh. But if that is done, it will last 15 years or more.

Ghee

Ghee
ORGANIC VALLEY Certified Ghee Clarified Butter

Ghee is essentially clarified butter; butter which the moisture has been removed from. As such, you get the same flavor, but without the risk of it going rancid. It’s also a great diet food, as the removal of the sugars and solids makes it lower calorie.

Hardtack

Hardtack
Commercially sold “pilot bread” or “ship’s biscuit” or “hardtack”.

This is probably one of the easiest foods to make yourself, although you can buy it commercially as well. Also referred to as “pilot bread” (giving it a nautical flavor), hardtack consists of wheat flour and water, sometimes with a little salt thrown in, that’s it. To make it, all you need to do is mix the ingredients together, roll them out and cut them up. Holes are usually made in the individual biscuits, to keep them from inflating. Essentially a hard cracker, and not really all that tasty, hardtack is still a great source of energy, which was commonly used in the Civil War era.

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup

Like honey, the high sugar content in real maple syrup keeps it from spoiling, by killing any bacteria which dare to invade it. Should a little bit of mold form on the top, it can be scraped off and the rest of the container will still be good to use.

Ramen

Ramen noodles
Ramen Noodles 20 pack

Anyone who has survived college knows what a great survival food Ramen noodles are. But they probably don’t know how long they’ll last, as they go through them too quickly. But as long as it is kept dry, it will keep just as good as when it was bought at the store. I’m not sure if this means that it’s already old when you buy it, or just that it’s virtually indestructible.

Dry Beans

Dry BeansFor many of us beans, like rice, are where our food stockpiling began. That’s a good choice for many reasons, including the long shelf life. About the only thing that can go wrong with beans is that insects like them. So you need to pack them carefully and not just leave them in the bags they come in. but as long as they are packed away in a bug-proof container, like a five-gallon bucket, they’ll survive longer than you and I will.

Canned Foods

Canned FoodCanners are deceptive about their products, putting what we understand to be expiration dates on them. But most canned foods will far outlast the drop-dead date stamped on the can. In fact, as long as the lid in the can isn’t budging, you can count on the contents to stay fresh. People have opened cans that were more than 50 years old and found the foods in them to be just as good as when they were packed.

There is one exception to this. Some food items, like applesauce and fruit juices, are canned in plastic jars and bottles. I’m not sure what they are doing in the canning process, but I have found that these do not keep for much over a year.

Twinkies

Twinkies
How about some Twinkies? 😉

While I have trouble actually calling Twinkies food, rather than a collection of chemicals designed to imitate food, it is something that people actually eat, especially the aforementioned college students. Amazingly, none of them die from it. So, while I really wouldn’t recommend Twinkies as an ideal survival food, I will note that people have found and eaten 30-year-old Twinkies, which were still fresh. Amazing, isn’t it?

 

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