Humans can live for up to three weeks without food, but the effects of hunger and starvation begin to affect us within days after we cease consuming calories. This is why food storage is critical when preparing for any emergency, be it short or long term.
When planning a food storage system it is advisable to select foods that you will not have to rotate on a regular basis, such as this list of foods that will last at least two decades.
When storing food, the key is to keep your stores in a cool, dry, and dark place. This will mitigate the enemies of food stores that are heat, moisture and sunlight.
The other enemy to food preps is oxygen, so using vacuum sealers or an oxygen absorber in Mylar bags or buckets, will extend the shelf life of your precious food supply by many years.
This list of foods is complied in no specific order.
Pemmican is the ultimate survival food and it is something that you can absolutely make yourself in your own kitchen.
Pemmican is pulverized lean meat mixed with equal parts of rendered fat and dried crushed berries.
It is said to be able to last for multiple decades, but as with any other food on this list, you must store it appropriately in order to achieve the full shelf life of this near perfect survival food.
2. Freeze Dried Foods
Freeze drying food is not something that the average homeowner can accomplish without specialized equipment. Fortunately, there are a multitude of companies that offer freeze dried foods both in bulk and also in meal sized packages.
These foods are a staple of the backpacking community and usually don’t taste half bad. Every company is different but most state that their freeze dried food will last over 20 years.
When we are talking about honey for your survival food stores, we are speaking about raw honey not the stuff in the cute beehive bottles at Walmart.
Raw honey’s shelf life is generally considered to be indefinite so twenty years is a walk in the park for this food.
Archaeologists have found jars of honey in Egyptian tombs that was thousands of years old and was still good.
4. Rolled Oats
Not all oats are created equal, so the ones you want to be looking for are old fashioned rolled oats, and you are not going to want to be using the packaging that the oats come in.
Instead seal the oats in airtight containers using a vacuum sealer or oxygen absorbers, and store in a cool dry dark place. If handled properly rolled oats will last up to 30 years.
5. Dry Pasta
Dry pasta can last beyond 20 years but you can not expect that to happen if you store it in the store bought packaging. Sealing in a vacuum sealer or Mylar with oxygen absorbers, and keeping in the usual cool, dry, and dark places is the key here.
Dried pastas such as Macaroni, Penne, Fusilli, etc are better for vacuum sealing because they are less likely to break during the process.
6. Dehydrated Fruit and Vegetables
Dehydrating fruits and veggies is not enough to get decades of storage life out of them, you must store them in a moisture and oxygen free environment.
This is where vacuum sealing or Mylar and oxygen absorbers come into play again. If stored correctly and great care is taken to keep them free of moisture, there is little reason that dehydrated fruit and veg will not last decades.
7. Jello Mix
Jello mix is not much of a food per say, but is worth a mention here anyways because the apocalypse shouldn’t stop us from having a sweet treat.
Jello’s shelf life in an unopened box is considered to be indefinite.
While not a food, water is still a vital part of your food preps and as long as it is kept clean and free of contaminants it will never go bad.
9. White Rice
No survival food list would be complete without the staple food for billions of people around the world.
White rice should be stored in the usual cool, dry, and dark locations in airtight containers with oxygen absorbers to get the maximum shelf life out of it. Stored correctly it will last indefinitely.
Ghee is clarified butter which has been processed to remove all the milk solids from it. If it is stored appropriately like most of the items on this list it could last indefinitely but realistically will remain edible for a few decades.
11. Whole Wheat Grains
Whole wheat grains if stored in sealed food grade buckets with oxygen absorbers or vacuum sealed, can last for over 20 years. Not all whole grains are created equal, and you need to do your research to find the right ones for your diet and for the longevity of the food storage that you are wanting.
12. Sugar and Salt
No kitchen is complete without either of these staples.
Both of them have a shelf life that is indefinite.
You must still store them appropriately. It is imperative that these dry goods remain dry.
13. Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder does not spoil but will loose its flavor potency over time. Even with a shelf life that is indefinite you will find that after two or three decades, you’ll need more of it to get that same amount of chocolate flavor that you would have gotten on day one.
14. Potato Flakes
Depending on the method of storage, potato flakes can last 25 to 30 years; but like everything else, needs to be stored properly.
15. Sourdough Starter
This takes some time and effort, but a sour dough starter when maintained and fed will last a lifetime and is something that all of us should have on hand.
A sourdough starter can also be stored in the refrigerator to reduce the frequencies of feedings. This is a great source of long term yeast, but requires a consistent supply of flour to maintain.
16. Soy Sauce
When stored in unopened bottles in the appropriate conditions, soy sauce will last indefinitely.
17. Worcester Sauce
Just like soy sauce, if left unopened this condiment will last forever.
18. Maple Syrup
You’ll only want to store 100% pure maple syrup in glass bottles for your food preps. If stored correctly and unopened, it will last for decades if not indefinitely.
Once opened though it will need to be refrigerated or kept somewhere that is very cool like a root cellar.
19. Green Coffee Beans
Instant coffee has a long shelf life, but I hate instant coffee and if the zombies are upon us, then I’m going to need a good stiff cup of joe in the morning.
Turns out the best way to store coffee for the long haul is green coffee beans. Stored in Mylar with oxygen absorbers it should last 20 years, you will need to secure a way to roast and grind them in order to get that cup of wake up juice.
Vinegar is considered to have a pretty much indefinite shelf life.
Vinegar is also an item you should have on hand because of its multiple uses from food preparation, cleaning, food preservation, and even medicinal uses.
Before storing any foods long term, it is critical that you not only invest in the right equipment and storage space.
Also do all of your research and due diligence to make the right and most informed decisions possible.
This list is a collection of some of the foods that have shelf lives beyond twenty years. There are many more out there for you to discover. What would you add to this list?