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When disaster strikes, no one knows when things will return to normal again. In some cases, things may never truly return to normal. With this being the case, it’s a good idea to stock up on foods that are meant for the long haul.
Before we begin, it’s important to note that these foods will only last 20 or more years if they are properly stored in conditions that are dry with stable temperatures and limited light exposure. You can learn more about that in our list of 10 things that will destroy your food storage.
With that said, here are 20 survival foods that can last at least 20 years.
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1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another key baking ingredient with an indefinite shelf life. It’s most commonly used to help bake cookies, cakes, muffins, and similar desserts.
And like salt and honey, it also has many alternative uses. In fact, baking soda is one of the most versatile personal hygiene items, and can even be used as toothpaste.
2. Bouillon Cubes
Bouillon cubes have an indefinite shelf life, allowing you to add chicken and beef flavoring to your food long after the SHTF.
3. Cocoa Powder
Enjoying a cup of hot chocolate post-apocalypse will actually be a possibility thanks to the fact that cocoa powder will last 30+ years. Note that we’re talking about cocoa powder and not instant hot chocolate mix, which usually contains dairy.
Whether you eat it as-is, grind it into cornmeal, or store lots of popcorn kernels, corn is a great survival food and it has a shelf life of 30+ years.
5. Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables
If you own a dehydrator (or can make a simple one yourself) you have the ability to make fruits and vegetables last 25+ years.
6. Dried Beans
A survival food staple, dried beans can last 30+ years if they are stored properly. Beans come packed with proteins and can also be stored safely without refrigeration. They can also be paired with many other meals. For example, a simple bean and rice dish can be quite delicious.
7. Freeze-Dried Cheeses
You’ll get a little less mileage out of freeze-drying cheese, but freeze-dried cheese will still last 20+ years.
8. Freeze-Dried Fruit, Meats, & Vegetables
From fruits and vegetables to chicken and beef, you can make most foods last 25+ years if you keep them freeze dried.
Honey has an indefinite shelf life, allowing you to enjoy Nature’s sweetener even if the apocalypse lasts a lifetime. It also has several other uses.
10. Instant Beans
If you prefer your beans not to be dried, instant beans have a great shelf life as well, lasting 25+ years.
11. Instant Coffee
Stay energized post-disaster by stocking up on instant coffee. Stored properly, instant coffee will last 30+ years.
12. Maple Syrup
Syrup lasts indefinitely thanks to its high sugar content. Sometimes mold can grow on top, but all you have to do is scrape it off and boil the syrup to kill it all.
If you enjoy a nice bowl of oats for breakfast in the morning, we’ve got good news: rolled and whole oats are able last 30+ years in the right conditions.
Those who appreciate Italian food will be happy to hear that pasta can last 30+ years. What you find to season it with may be more of a challenge, but the pasta itself has a great shelf life.
15. Potato Flakes
You won’t be able to enjoy fresh potatoes long after a disaster unless you grow them yourself, but potato flakes will last 30+ years.
16. Powdered Milk
Unless you have a milk cow, enjoying milk post-disaster may be a challenge. Thankfully, powdered milk can last 20 years or more, but only if it’s nonfat.
You won’t ever have any problem sweetening your food and drinks as sugar has an indefinite shelf life.
White flour only has a shelf life of 10 years. Wheat, however, has a shelf life of 20 years, allowing you to make your own flour long after your pre-processed flower has gone bad.
20. White Rice
A large portion of the world gets by on a diet that is heavily dependent on white rice. After a disaster, the number of people sustaining themselves with white rice may increase even more since white rice has a shelf life of 30+ years.
Take note that you should avoid storing brown rice for SHTF purposes as it has a shelf life of only a few months even when stored in optimal conditions. This is a shame as brown rice is much more nutritious than white rice, but storing it for too long is a bad idea.
Making Your Food Last
It’s worth reiterating that all of these foods will only last as long as stated if they are stored properly. Even foods with an indefinite shelf life can go bad in days given the wrong conditions. That’s why ensuring suitable conditions for your food storage should be just as much a priority as storing enough of it.
The most important rule to follow in regards to food storage is to store your food at normal room temperature in a dry location and out of direct sunlight. Select an area that receives suitable air ventilation, is temperature-controlled to ensure it remains cool, and is also completely free of pests.
Examples of potential locations that meet these criteria include root cellars, bedrooms, pantries, and closets. Examples of locations that do not meet these criteria include most basements, attics, garages, outdoor sheds, bathrooms, and utility rooms. Never store your food outdoors. Here is a list of potential food storage locations.
Even if you do store your food in a location that meets the above criteria, you still need to be very careful how you go about it. Simply placing your food in its original, store-bought packaging may not be the wisest move.
Instead, purchase Mylar bags of varying sizes, plastic food grade buckets also of varying sizes, and desiccant packs. Pour your food into the Mylar bags, making sure that there is only one type of food per bag, and seal the bag using applied heat (such as from a clothing iron).
Take a sharpie and on the outside of the Mylar bag, write down the name of the food and the specific date that you stored it. Proceed to place the Mylar bags in the food grade bucket. Throw one or two desiccant packs into the bucket, then close the bucket tightly. Store the bucket in a room that meets the criteria we discussed above.
- Choose a well-ventilated and dry room at normal room temperature and away from direct sunlight.
- Put your food in Mylar bags.
- Seal the Mylar bags with heat treatment.
- Write down the date the food was stored on the outside of the bag.
- Place the Mylar bags in food-grade buckets.
- Place desiccant packs into the buckets to keep moisture out.
- Tightly close the bucket.
This strategy for food storage will go a long way to ensuring that it can last for many years while free of moisture, humidity, pests, and other factors that can cause it to go bad.
As long as you take the right precautions, these 20 foods will last 20 years or more, allowing you to ride out almost any disaster without going hungry.