What Foods Have the Longest Shelf Life?

Peter Stec
April 19, 2020

For preppers, nothing is more important than having a stash of food ready and waiting if and when the unimaginable happens. You need to carefully choose the kind of food that you stow away, ideally food with long shelf life, indefinite if possible because you will never know just how long you need to survive on them.

To give you an idea on what kinds of food you should stow away, here are some that have an incredibly long shelf life:

  • Honey – As a testament to how long honey can last, there are actually jars of it found buried in Egyptian tombs, and they are still actually edible. The reason why honey does not spoil is because it is supersaturated with sugar; and because sugar attracts waters, anything that comes into contact with it becomes dehydrated, including bacteria that cause most other foods to spoil. Honey does tend to harden after some time, but once you put it over low heat, it will go back to normal.
    Nature Nate’s 100% Pure, Raw & Unfiltered Honey; 32oz. Squeeze Bottle; Award-Winning Taste
  • Uncooked rice – This staple food of most Asian countries can actually keep for years as long as it is kept in airtight containers and away from any moisture. Rice and other kinds of dried grains are considered as food with long shelf life because they are already dehydrated, thus making them an unfavorable environment for bacteria because they need water to propagate. Rice may taste a bit bland after a year or two, but at least it is still edible.
  • Beef jerky – Before refrigeration was discovered, drying and curing meats was the only way to make sure that they can last for a long time. Beef jerky is a prime example of how to properly cure meats; they have high salt content so almost all traces of moisture are drawn out, and it also prevents the growth of bacteria as well. Almost all kinds of meat, not just beef, can be turned into jerky; chicken, turkey, pork, and lamb can all be dried and cured for later consumption.
  • Dried pasta – As long as the pasta noodles are kept in airtight containers and away from the little insects that love to dine on them, they can actually last as long as dried grains. These noodles are completely dehydrated, so as long as they are kept away from moisture, the likelihood of mold forming on them is very low.
  • Instant coffee– Even though coffee is not a staple food, it can provide you with a boost in morale, which most survival experts say is almost as important as food and water. Instant coffee that is freeze-dried and placed in vacuum packed containers can be stored indefinitely as long as they are kept away from moisture.  There are lots of brands to choose from, but the old staples like Sanka and Nescafe sometimes have a particular stigma attached.  We like Starbucks Instant Coffee.  I can’t even tell the difference between instant and regular (that says a lot about Starbucks or very little about me!)
  • Salt– Although salt is prone to drawing in the moisture from the air if properly kept it can last for an indefinite amount of time. In times of crisis, salt will be a valuable commodity that you can use to trade and/or barter. Having a good supply of salt in your stockpile also means that you have a natural preservative on your hands.  You can get it almost anySalt Co.where and it’s pretty cheap.  In my option, I prefer whenever possible, to add maximum nutrition into whatever goes into my mouth at any time.  If I’m eating salt, I’d go for Himalayan Pink salt which is reputed to have more minerals and nutrients than sea salt.

When the unthinkable happens, it is best if you are somewhat prepared. Having your own stockpile of food with long shelf life can guarantee the survival of you and your family while you find a more sustainable food source. The foods mentioned above are great candidates for your emergency food supply because they have very long, even indefinite shelf lives, so feel free to buy them in bulk. Even if you have to bunker down for a long time until things cool down outside, you will at least have food to make your stay a bit more bearable. Read more KnifeUp articles such as: the best survival machete, best multitool, and best hunting knife.

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like KnifeUp.com every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

2 comments on “What Foods Have the Longest Shelf Life?”

  1. So tell me, are Karambit knives legal??? They have a blade that is usually in the shape of a crescent or a hawkbill type blade and at the bottom or “butt” of the knife it has a –“ring” that your pointer finger or pinky finger can go through– would this ring be classified as a single brass knuckle thus making it an illegal knife? look up the karambit knife if you don’t know what I am talking about, thank you greatly!

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