The Top 50 Survival Food Items You Need To Stock

The Top 50 Survival Food Items You Need To Stock

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I really want to share with you the top 50 survival food items you need to stock today. If you have most of these, I would love to hear from you. If you are working on your food storage stash, you rock! Please let me know how you’re doing. A few months ago a reader sent me an email and it really stuck with me for many reasons.

Here’s the deal, not everyone can afford to buy #10 cans of freeze-dried foods because of the price. I get it, I really do. Now, dehydrated food is a lot more affordable, but the shelf life is shorter, in most cases. Because of this sweet reader, I am going to hopefully help you start your food storage a bit more economically.

Keep in mind you don’t have to buy all freeze-dried or all dehydrated food. You can mix it up with a few #10 cans of freeze-dried or dehydrated and a lot of smaller cans. It all depends on your budget. Make a list of the most important things you want and what your family will eat.

50 Survival Food Items

1. Wheat

I know a lot of people have gluten issues, I feel bad for those who have to deal with it. But, you can barter with wheat because you can make so many things with this awesome grain. Here are just a few things you can do with wheat: grind it to make bread, crackers, biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and cereal.

2. Rice

White rice is the best for long-term storage. Brown rice has too much oil so you have to eat it within 6-12 months. I think I could feed my entire neighborhood rice for a very long time. I could eat beans and rice three or four times a week. Add some salsa and I’m happy.

3. Yeast

I only buy SAF yeast because it works for me. I make whole wheat bread, white bread, French bread, biscuits,  and cinnamon rolls often. I store my excess yeast in the freezer. Here’s a picture of the yeast if you are wondering what it looks like.

4. Oil

I store coconut oil, olive oil, and vegetable oil. I use olive oil for my bread, vegetable oil to fry my homemade doughnuts, and coconut oil for various dishes. Typically oils last about 9-12 months, with the exception of coconut oil. It has a longer shelf life, so check the expiration dates. Remember, oil does not last forever.  When in doubt, throw it out.

5. Sugar

The great thing about white sugar is the fact that it lasts forever, as long as it doesn’t get wet. But even then you can “chisel it” if you had too. Please remember, if you are storing sugar that you DO NOT use oxygen absorbers. You will have one giant hard chunk of sugar. I store my white sugar in 5-gallon buckets with Gamma Lids. Here is a picture of some Gamma Lids. You can make so many things with sugar: bread, cookies, pancakes, waffles, pies, biscuits, cakes, and so much more.

6. Honey

Do you love honey as much as I do? Honey will also last indefinitely as well. Please keep in mind you may want to store your honey in quart mason jars because you can set them outside in the sun and the crystallized honey will go back to liquid form. A tip I learned years ago is the fact you do not want to melt your hard crystallized honey in the microwave because you will lose those awesome nutrients.

Read More of My Articles  What Are 20 Basic Items in an Emergency Kit?

7. Baking Powder

This is one item you want to store and discard if it’s expired because your biscuits may not rise, for one thing. You can make your own baking powder by simply mixing two parts cream of tartar with one part bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder helps our biscuits, pancakes, or whatever rise. Love it!

8. Baking Soda

Baking soda lasts a bit longer than baking powder but is also a leavening agent. This means it helps our baked products rise. Like my Texas Sheet Cake!

9. Salt

We all need salt in most foods, like our favorite recipes, casseroles, biscuits, bread, and so much more. Salt will last indefinitely if it does not get wet. If it gets wet, you will have to “chisel it.” Please do not store your salt with oxygen absorbers, you will have a huge brick. Not fun!

10. Vinegar

Vinegar is critical for health reasons and great for making your own salad dressings and pickling pickles. Here is my post on Apple Cider Vinegar

11. Cocoa

Who loves cocoa? If it’s chocolate, I love it! You can make hot chocolate or hot cocoa with some of that water you have stored after a disaster hits your community. Plus, it’s awesome for making cakes and cookies.

12. Instant or Powdered Milk

I always have a #10 can of Instant Milk in the refrigerator so it’s available if Mark runs out of his regular milk for his morning cereal. You gotta love having some milk in case you run out.

13. Powdered Butter

This is a bit trickier because I have seen reviews saying this one company has a #10 can of powdered butter that tastes like Land O’Lakes. No way, my friends, let’s get real here. It’s only good for baking, in my honest opinion. I still have six cans for emergencies, keyword, emergencies.

14. Powdered Eggs

You can buy different brands of powdered eggs, but if you want some eggs that are REAL eggs, you may want to try OvaEasy eggs. They are REAL eggs. You can buy some cheap ones for baking. Here’s a picture of Ove Easy Eggs. They look orange when water is added to the dry mix, and once they start to cook they turn yellow and taste yummy.

15. Brown Sugar

I know you make your own brown sugar with white sugar and molasses, I just buy brown sugar. But, if you want to know how to make your own brown sugar, take one cup of white sugar and add one tablespoon of molasses, use a mixer to make it smooth.

16. Maple Syrup

I use Maple syrup for some baking dishes, and of course, to drizzle on pancakes and waffles. If you buy real Maple Syrup in glass containers it will last indefinitely. Once open, it must be refrigerated.

17. Pasta

I store multiple types of pasta: spaghetti, elbow, and Rigatoni. All I do is boil the pasta and add some spaghetti sauce. Yummy and cheap!

18. Spaghetti Sauce

When I was raising my family I made homemade spaghetti sauce and bottled it. I used a pressure canner and it tasted delicious. Now, with just Mark and I, I buy bottles of spaghetti sauce. Easy peasy.

19. Dry Beans or Cans of Beans

You can save money by purchasing dry beans, but you may want to store some ready-made cans of beans if you lose power. You can open the cans and eat them directly from the cans. Of course, you need to have a can opener or two in order to open the cans, unless they have a pull tab. I store pinto, black, kidney, chili, white beans, and any can of beans that is on sale. I love beans on salads, and in soups, and I make hummus with them. Yummy, and a great protein.

20. Powdered Cheese or Freeze-Dried Cheese

Please be aware that freeze-dried cheese is never going to be like freshly grated cheese. Nope, nada. The nice thing about freeze-dried cheese is that it needs zero refrigeration, awesome! If you want to hydrate it use cool water, not warm or it will “bake the cheese.” It’s great for casseroles and cheese biscuits or cheese bread.

21. Cans of Soup

I still buy Cream of Tomato Soup and Cream of Chicken Soup, I use it in so many recipes. I love tomato soup with a little milk and some crushed Ritz crackers. Sounds yummy, huh? I’ve tried every recipe for Cream of Chicken Soup and I haven’t liked any of them. I’m a Campbell Soup kind of gal.

Read More of My Articles  How To Stock Your Kitchen For Survival

22. Broth: Chicken or Beef

The broth is awesome for so many soups and stews, this is when I love my slow cooker. I bet you can smell the soup cooking right now.

23. Diced Tomatoes

I love diced tomatoes for making salsa. When I’m out of fresh tomatoes, I use these for chili and soup, love these!

24. Tomato Paste

I love tomato paste for making homemade spaghetti sauce at the last minute or to make a soup thicker.

25. Bread Flour

I buy bread flour because I make bread and cinnamon rolls. I use it for cookies, pancakes, waffles, and every recipe that calls for white flour. Please remember, white flour only lasts safely for 12-18 months at the most. When in doubt, throw it out.

26. Cream of Tartar

You can use this awesome spice to add volume to egg whites, and you can add 1/2 teaspoon to a pot of boiling vegetables to keep the vibrant colors of your veggies beautiful. I use this product in a few of my baking dishes as well.

27. Better Than Boullion

I love this because I don’t have to store containers of broth. You can buy it at most grocery stores. I like chicken and beef. Here’s a picture of it so you can find it.

28. Canned Tuna

Just think tuna with mayo on crackers or homemade bread. Easy lunch!

29. Canned Chicken or Turkey

If you have cans of chicken or turkey you can make sandwiches, or even casseroles.

30. Canned Beef

I make tacos or sandwiches with canned beef.

31. Mayonnaise

I started buying smaller jars of mayonnaise in case we have a power outage. If I had a large family I would still stock the quart jars. The pint-size jars work great for the two of us. If you want to make a sandwich, mayo rocks.

32. Mustard

Here again, I started buying smaller containers because if we lose power I can store the small jars in my emergency cooler for a frig. I don’t use a lot of mustard, but I use it in homemade sauces and salad dressings.

33. Miracle Whip

I buy pint-size jars because they will store easier in a cooler if we lose power. We use so little Miracle Whip that this small size jar works really well for us right now. This is my favorite dressing for tuna and chicken salad sandwiches.

34. Ketchup

Here again, I have started buying smaller-size containers. I still need some Ketchup for some sandwiches, meatloaf, and salad dressings.

35. Peanut Butter

This is a staple in our house. I make at least 4-5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a week.

36. Jams or Jelly

I purchase small jars of jam so I can have different flavors once or twice a week. Those big jars of jam are for families, but not for Mark and me. It seems like yesterday, I bought peanut butter in #10 cans. Wow, times have changed.

37. Pickles

Do you love dill or sweet pickles? Or bread and butter pickles? This is a great food storage item for snacks or sandwiches.

38. Olives

I always have olives because I love eating them and I still let my grandkids put the black ones on their fingers. It makes me smile.

39. Cinnamon

Oh, how I love cinnamon for cookies, cinnamon rolls and so much more. It’s a must-have in my house.

40. Chili Powder

If you make soups, stews or chili, this is one spice I have to have.

41. Cumin

This gives my refried beans a great flavor, as well as my chili and some soups.

42. Dried Parsley

I need this for my soups. I should add Sweet Basil but I will do that next time. I love using parsley and Sweet Basil sprinkled on my soups.

43. Garlic Powder

If you have fresh garlic that’s awesome. If you don’t, garlic salt or powder will work in soups and stews.

44. Onion Powder/Dried Onion

If you are out of fresh onions, just add some onion powder or salt to your recipes.

45. Dehydrated Carrots

If you have dehydrated carrots, you will never run out of carrots for your favorite soup you want to make at the last minute.

46. Dehydrated Celery

I love having dehydrated celery or freeze-dried celery in case I don’t have fresh celery from the grocery store. You just add it to soups and casseroles.

47. Kool-Aid or Tang

If the water that we have stored needs a “facelift” then some Kool-Aid and Tang with some sugar may brighten our day after a disaster.

48. Popcorn

Having some popcorn stored gives us a yummy snack, and if we can grind it we can make corn tortillas.

49. Crackers

If you can’t make bread, learn to make crackers or buy crackers you can store for making sandwiches if the stores are closed and you are unable to buy bread.

50. Green Chilies

I always have a case of those four-ounce size cans of green chilies. I add them to enchiladas, chili, soups, and stews.

51. Chocolate – Yep I added an Extra One

What can I say, I love chocolate and I will pass it out to my neighbors after a disaster. That’s if I haven’t eaten my stash.

I hope my 50 survival food items (actually 51) help you towards your food storage stash. Please toss in an extra can or two every week in your grocery cart and you can survive a disaster. May God bless this world.

Copyright pictures:

Grains: AdobeStock_173386899 by Phanuwatnandee

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  1. What size pantry do you suggest for a family of 4, to stock up like this?
    Or do you store food elsewhere?

    I’m looking on building myself a bungalow, and am unsure over where/how to store bulk supplies.

    many thanks, Jill

    1. Hi Jill, this is an interesting question. Here’s the deal, it all depends on how much food your family of four eats daily, weekly, etc. I store my main food storage in a pantry that is 9-feet tall. Here is a link to show you: I also store food storage in #10 cans here: I would build the shelves accommodate the food you have right now and make room for expansion. If you are like me, I’m rotating, using and adding new cases of food as my budget allows. I hope this helps, Linda

      1. I’m so glad you put a link for your pantry….I don’t have one but am turning the hall closet into a pantry and the guy is coming tomorrow! So glad I saw this so I can reorganize how to organize it! Thanks Linda!

        1. Hi Kimmy, oh I’m so glad you saw the link. I added soooo many shelves. The cabinet guy brought a bunch of shelves and he did my entire kitchen with extra shelves. Have fun organizing!! I love hearing you are turning a hall closet into a pantry!! Woohoo! Linda

  2. Linda… I’m so happy to say that I have all but 17 items in my pantry and those 17 are the baking items and spices. Now that I have the list of what I need I will start to purchase on a monthly basis! I’m really encouraged by this!! Thanks so much for teaching us and helping us grow in the area of preparedness!!!

  3. I also swear by the Campbell soups. For cooking, I stock Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom, Campbell’s Tomato and Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soups. Lets me make lots of casseroles with other shelf-stable ingredients. My go-to casseroles are tuna noodle and of course, mac and cheese (but I add stewed tomatoes for more flavor.) Tomato soup is primarily used for making my family’s version of American Chop Suey – add in hamburger meat, chopped onions and some diced garlic and serve mixed into pasta, normally elbow macaroni. This has been a standard Halloween meal in my family for over 40 years since it holds in a pot so well once everything is mixed together. Yum!

    1. Hi Dmwalsh, Oh I love hearing someone else loves Campbell soups! Oh my gosh, I forgot about the American Chop Suey!!! I need to make that ASAP! It’s so funny because if I get down to say six cans I panic just a little, I like to have a case of these. Great comment!! Linda

      1. Oh my gosh, I’d be freaking out if I get down to 6 cans! That’s only two meals worth! 🙂
        I keep a slot in my Harvest can-rotation rack filled for each of the tomato, cheddar cheese and actually two for the cream of mushroom soups. (pretty sure it’s 17 cans per slot but I’m not home right now.) And every time they go on sale I’ll get a bunch and leave them next to the rack to fill in the spaces as I rotate items up into the kitchen. I’ve already tested cooking a tuna noodle casserole in the SunOven, so I’ve got a delicious meal that will take no fuel and shouldn’t give off much odor while cooking…

        1. Hi Dmwalsh, The sun oven will be one of the best investments you have when our grid goes down. I even cook pasta in water in the Sun Oven, no pot watching! I picked up a case of cream of chicken today, yay! Life is good if we can make a meal without ever having to leave the house. Keep up the good work, Linda

  4. This is a very comprehensive list. Besides weather-related emergencies, local or regional electrical grid failures we now increasingly face product shortages, supply train issues, increasingly frequent civil disturbances, and a politically unstable world wracked with local and regional wars and unanticipated consequences. Additionally, purpose-made, long-term emergency food kits are expensive. Since many of our common groceries are shelf-stable for a year or more, they can serve well before resorting to the longer-lived kits. Thank you.

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