As preppers, we rotate our food storage so we always have what we need and what we will eat. However, it is also important to have foods with the longest shelf life on hand as well. You never know what can happen or how long you will be unable to go to the grocery store. Having longer shelf life items is a must in emergency situations.
Foods with the Longest Shelf Life
There are many foods that have a long shelf life. If stored properly, these foods can last for months or even years! Below, you will find the foods with the longest shelf life:
- How to store: Store potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place. Don’t store them next to onions since they will spoil faster.
- Shelf Life: Large white or russet potatoes can last 3 to 5 weeks.
- How to store: Like potatoes, you need to store onions in a cool, dry, and dark place. Additionally, keep them away from potatoes.
- Shelf Life: Most onions can be stored for 1 to 3 months.
- How to store: Peanuts are another food that needs to be stored in a cool, dark place. Place them in an airtight container.
- Shelf Life: Peanuts will be perfectly happy for about 2 months.
- Longer Shelf-Life: Most other nuts do better in the freezer.
- How to store: For a longer shelf life, store winter squash in a dark place that has a temperature of about 50 degrees fahrenheit.
- Shelf Life: If stored correctly, winter squash can last 1 to 3 months.
- How to store: Apples won’t last you long if you don’t store them in a humid place at lower temperatures. Store them in a humid spot that is about 30 to 40 degrees fahrenheit.
- Shelf Life: If stored properly, they will last up to 6 months.
- How to store: As long as the tea is not exposed to moisture or humidity, you can store unopened tea in your cabinets.
- Shelf Life: Tea can last 6 to 12 months PAST the “best by” date.
- How to store: Store powdered milk unopened in a cool, dry area.
- Shelf Life: Powdered milk can last 1 year to 18 months.
- How to store: Simply store unopened beef jerky in the cabinet.
- Shelf Life: Unopened beef jerky can last 1 to 2 years!
- Homemade Jerky: Doesn’t have preservatives, so please store in the freezer. I store just enough for eating the next 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
Canned Fruits and Vegetables
- How to store: Store canned goods in a cool, dry, and clean place. Make sure it’s not above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shelf Life: Canned goods can last almost forever. In fact, they can be good for up to 5 years past the expiration day. Please be careful with tomato-based products.
- How to store: For the longest shelf life, store dried pasta in airtight containers.
- Shelf Life: Dry pasta can last 1 to 2 years past the expiration date.
- How to store: Keep these little guys in their container and away from moisture.
- Shelf Life: The maximum shelf life is listed as 2 years, but if properly stored, they can last even longer.
- How to store: You can simply store unopened peanut butter at room temperature.
- Shelf Life: For the best quality, it should not be stored longer than 2 years. Peanut butter does indeed become rancid over time.
- How to store: Obviously chocolate melts, so you want to store it in a cool place. Make sure it is stored at temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shelf Life: Dark chocolate can last 2 to 5 years depending on the temperature at which it’s stored.
Canned Meats and Tuna
- How to store: Like canned fruits and vegetables, you want to store canned meats in a cool, dry area. Keep the temperature well under 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shelf Life: Tuna and canned meats can also last up to 5 years past the expiration date. Please keep in mind tuna becomes “mushy” after a year or so.
- How to store: Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry area.
- Shelf Life: Dried beans and lentils last indefinitely!
- How to store: Store honey away from heat or a heat source.
- Shelf Life: Like beans, honey has an indefinite shelf life.
- It can become “crystalized,” so I recommend storing honey in mason jars so you don’t have to chisel the honey out of a 5-gallon bucket. You can place a jar of honey that has crystallized outside in the sun to get it back to a liquid form.
- How to store: Store rice in airtight containers to prevent weevils from getting in. Additionally, keep rice away from moisture.
- Shelf Life: If stored properly, white rice can last indefinitely. Brown rice has more oil content so the shelf-life is about 6 months before it becomes rancid.
Best Survival Foods with the Longest Shelf Life
In addition to the above foods, there are a few survival foods that you should always have in your pantry. Here are the best survival foods with the longest shelf life:
Hardtack (forever bread)
- How to store: Store away from water and moisture.
- Shelf Life: Hardtack can be stored pretty much forever!
Related: How to Make Hardtack
Wheat and Flour
- How to store: Keep your flour in a bucket with an air-tight lid.
- Shelf Life: Unground wheat can last 25 years. Store-bought flour can last about 8-12 months.
- How to store: Simply keep Ramen noodles in its original packaging in a dry place.
- Shelf Life: Ramen will last a couple years even though it’s not the most nutritious.
Freeze-Dried Fruits and Vegetables
- How to store: If you buy freeze-dried food from reputable companies like Thrive Life, you can be assured it is processed correctly and you can store the cans in a cool dry location.
- Shelf Life: If properly stored, freeze-dried foods can last 15 to 30 years.
Dehydrated Potato Chunks
- How to store: Store in its original packaging in a cool, dry place.
- Shelf Life: Potato Chunks can last 15 to 30 years, depending on how they are stored.
- How to store: Seal in a ziplock bag with an oxygen absorber.
- Shelf Life: Packed with protein, Pemmican can last up to 50 years!
- How to store: Store in the original packaging in a cool, dry area.
- Shelf Life: Powdered eggs can last up to 1 to 3 years depending on which company processes and packages them. Check their label.
Ghee (Clarified butter)
- How to store: Ghee should be stored in a cool, dark place or in the freezer.
- Shelf Life: If stored in a cool, dark place, it will last 2 years. If stored in the freezer, Ghee will last indefinitely.
- How to store: Store unopened Jello in your pantry in its original box.
- Shelf Life: As long as it doesn’t come in contact with moisture, the Jello mix will last indefinitely.
- Sugar-Free: I haven’t had good luck storing sugar-free Jello, I recommend storing only the sugar kind. Warning, it gets clumpy like all get out!
- How to store: MRE’s are designed to be survival foods, so they can be stored in their original containers.
- Shelf Life: Depending on where you buy your MRE’s, they can last up to 5 years. I know people have eaten them a lot of older, but I won’t.
Other Food Prepping Posts to Read
In addition to this post, I would encourage you to read some of my other food prepping and food storage posts below:
- Tips on Storing Food Storage Safely
- Food Storage Secrets You Need to Know
- 20 Cheap Food Items You Should Store Now
Foods with the Longest Shelf Life
Although these foods can last quite a while, it is still important to remember to rotate your food supply. Make sure to put dates on what you are storing so you are eating the oldest first and replenishing as you go. Please keep prepping, we must. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Dried Legumes Deposit photos_395840788_s-2019