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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you love dill or sweet pickles? Or bread and butter pickles? This is a great food storage item for snacks or sandwiches.
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.
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.
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.
Having some popcorn stored gives us a yummy snack, and if we can grind it we can make corn tortillas.
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.
Grains: AdobeStock_173386899 by Phanuwatnandee