Whether you want to stock up on food so you don’t have to go grocery shopping often and so you always have a wide variety of food to choose from, or you are worried about an impending disaster that will force you into a survival scenario, stocking up your pantry with the right foods is essential.
However, the problem is that most foods just don’t stay good for very long. Meats, dairy, veggies, and fruits all have very limited shelf lives, sometimes a couple of weeks and sometimes only days.
Therefore, if you want to be prepared for any eventuality, whether it’s next week or the next decade, you need to store the right kinds of foods in your pantry, and this is what we are here to discuss today.
Mind you, when we say, “forever-lasting foods,” this is a bit of hyperbole, and of course, we don’t actually mean forever. There are no foods that will stay edible until the end of time. Yet, there are foods that have extremely long shelf lives, sometimes up to several decades.
Forever-Lasting Foods for Your Food Storage Pantry
One of the longest-lasting foods that you can store in your food pantry is honey. Honey will stay good for 25 years or even longer if properly stored. Keep it away from light and moisture, as well as pests, and it should be fine for a very long time.
Honey is great for baking, you can put it on bread, mix it into your oatmeal, and you can sweeten coffee and tea with it too.
Although honey might not be the most nutrient-rich food in terms of vitamins, it does contain a lot of sugar, carbs, and calories that will supply your body with needed energy, not to mention that it also features a very long shelf life.
Dried Beans and Legumes
Although 30 years might technically not be forever, it’s about as close as it gets, and when properly dried and stored, legumes can last for several decades. Dried legumes ¾ beans, lentils, and peas have an incredibly long shelf life.
In terms of nutritional content, they are also very high in both fiber and calories, both things which the human body needs for survival and proper functioning. This is particularly true for things such as navy beans, kidney beans, and black eyed peas.
Dried Potato Flakes
Yet another food that features a super long shelf life of up to 30 years are dried potato flakes. Of course, dried potato flakes don’t taste as good as the real thing, but real potatoes will only stay edible for a couple of months.
Dried potato flakes are rich in carbs to keep your body going, and they can be used to make mashed potatoes, and they can be added to a variety of dishes. Just make sure to keep the potato flakes away from moisture and light, as they need to stay dry if you expect them to stay edible for any length of time.
Another food that can stay good for up to 30 years when properly stored is pasta. It really does not matter what kind of pasta it is, as long as it is properly stored. Pasta is very high in carbs which the human body uses for energy.
Also, if you go for whole wheat pasta, it will contain plenty of fiber and other nutrients too. Pasta does need to stay dry and cool if you expect that 30 year shelf life to hold true. That said, pasta is easy to cook, it’s compact and easy to store, and it can be used in casseroles, soups, as a side, and much more.
Meals Ready to Eat
Meals ready to eat, otherwise simply known as the MREs, is perhaps one of the best possible foods for long-term storage. The reason for this is because they are specifically designed to last for decades. They are generally made for the armed forces, but there are also many which are made for survivalists.
Now, there is no denying the fact that MREs can be quite expensive, but there is a good reason for the high cost ¾ due to their long shelf life and also because they are designed to be nutritionally complete, and often include ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, and they are always loaded with vitamins, fiber, sugars, fats, proteins, and everything else the body needs to survive.
Moreover, ready-to-eat meals are designed to be easy to heat up, and often don’t require any cooking or heating. The other cool thing about meals ready to eat is that they come in tons of variety.
Something else that you should consider for long-term storage are dehydrated fruits. When properly dehydrated, and stored in a cool, dark, and dry place, various fruits can stay edible for up to 30 years or longer.
Fruits such as apples, bananas, mangos, and anything else that does not have too high of a moisture content can easily be dehydrated. Although dehydrated fruits lose much of their Vitamin C content, most of the other vitamins and nutrients remain, plus dried fruits are also very high in sugars and carbs, both things which you need to keep going.
Salt and Sugar
Although these technically are not foods, both salt and sugar will last more or less indefinitely when properly stored. Both of them can last or decades, and if you manage to keep them away from light and moisture, particularly moisture, they can last for hundreds of years.
Although they may not be foods per se, the human body does need a certain amount of both salt and sugar to survive. Moreover, salt is essential for flavoring, and without it, you will be eating plenty of bland and tasteless food. Also, sugar can be used for baking, sweetening, and more.
When it comes to grains with really long shelf lives, dried corn is one of the best things that you can store in your pantry. When properly dried and stored away from light, moisture, and excess heat, corn can stay edible for decades, almost indefinitely.
Dried corn may not be the most nutritionally packed food, but it is a staple, it fills you up, and still has enough nutrients to keep you ticking. Also, dried corn can be used in a variety of dishes.
If you are looking for food that contains plenty of vitamins and nutrients for your survival pantry, one of the best vegetables to store and dry is the carrot. Properly dried and stored carrots can stay edible for up to 20 years or longer. Also, dried carrots can be used in soups, stews, casseroles, for other dishes, and can be eaten as a side as well.
Rice is a staple food in many countries around the world, and for good reason. For one, when properly dried and stored, white rice will remain edible for up to 20 years or longer. Next, rice is very compact and easy to store, it is easy to cook, and it goes a long way in keeping you full. Rice can be used in a very wide variety of dishes and is therefore an important component of any survival food pantry.
Drink Mixes and Water
Although these technically do not qualify as food, you do still need water to keep going. Remember that the human body can go for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Therefore, you want to store plenty of water.
Moreover, if you don’t want to drink just water, you can also store loose tea or tea bags, coffee, cocoa powder, and other drink mixes. Although you won’t get any nutrients out of them, they will provide you with a bit of variety in your everyday life.
Herbs and Spices
Although these also are not foods, herbs and spices can stay edible for decades when stored away from light and moisture. Herbs and spices can be used in cooking to add some flavor to meals you cook.
The bottom line is that there are plenty of foods that will last for decades, and although they may not last until the end of time, they might just outlast you. Of course, the whole point of these foods is to keep you alive, so choose wisely.