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When it comes to stockpiling food, shelf life is by far one of the most important factors that preppers must pay attention to. While most foods will have a limited shelf-life, there are a few foods that can be safely stored for more than one hundred years.
If you are looking for foods that you never have to worry about going bad, check out these seventeen survival foods that can last a century.
However, before you go out and start buying them, keep in mind that these foods will only last a century if they’re stored properly. Be sure to read the food storage section at the end of the article for more information.
Note: A lot of people have pointed out that many of these aren’t actually foods; they’re ingredients. I guess by food, I meant anything that you can ingest. If you can’t eat it by itself, you can at least use it in a recipe.
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As most people know, wine gets better the older it gets. However, over time the fruiter flavors will fade leaving behind the non-fruity flavors, which could be good or bad, depending on the wine. Base liquors (brandy, gin, vodka, whiskey, etc.) will last indefinitely. Beer, on the other hand, will not last 100 years. At best it will last a few years if refrigerated and only a year or so when not refrigerated.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is an important ingredient in a wide range of recipes as well as a versatile product that can be used for everything from cleaning to personal hygiene. Here’s a list of uses for baking soda.
When stored in airtight containers, baking soda won’t ever go bad. Transfer your baking soda from the cardboard carton it comes in to a more permanent container and keep it in a cool, dry place.
Specifically, dried beans, which are listed as having an indefinite shelf-life when stored in airtight containers. However, dried beans do begin to lose their moisture after a few years in storage, meaning they might not have the same taste and texture after a certain point.
Nevertheless, they will remain edible, making dried beans a great survival food to stockpile.
5. Corn Starch
Cornstarch is a great ingredient for thickening sauces and adding flavor to various dishes. It also never goes bad.
However, since most cornstarch is sold in cardboard cartons that will break down over time, you may want to transfer your cornstarch to a more permanent container before storing it.
6. Corn Syrup
Corn syrup might not be the healthiest food, but it is a great sweetener that never goes bad.
Store your corn syrup in a cool, dry area and it will have an indefinite shelf-life.
Ghee is a form of butter that originated in South Asia. Unlike traditional butter, ghee never goes bad since all of the moisture is evaporated out.
Store your ghee in a cool, dry place and you will always have a tasty butter substitute available.
Honey may crystallize and begin turning to sugar over time, but it never really goes bad. Simply heating the honey in warm water will dissolve these crystals in a matter of minutes.
Stored in either plastic or glass jars, honey has an indefinite shelf life, meaning you can enjoy a sweet treat no matter how many years have gone by.
9. Instant Coffee
If you are one of the many people that rely on a cup of coffee each morning to kickstart your day, you’ll be happy to know that instant coffee never spoils when stored properly.
To keep instant coffee from going bad, you will have to store it in vacuum sealed bags that are kept in a freezer.
10. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is similar to honey in many ways. It can be stored indefinitely without going bad when kept in a cool, dry place, but may begin to crystallize over time.
As with honey, a little warm water is all it takes to dissolve the crystals.
To be honest, making this one last a century might be difficult. It needs to be plain popcorn kernels without any seasoning, and it needs to be completely vacuum sealed and kept cool and away from any moisture. But technically, it’s possible to make it last for decades or even longer.
Rice is a staple survival food, thanks in part to the fact that it is cheap and filling. However, rice is also an ideal survival food thanks to its indefinite shelf-life.
Before they are opened, bags of rice will last forever when stored in a cool, dry place. After opening a bag of rice, you’ll have to transfer it to a freezer to keep it from spoiling.
Salt will last an eternity in storage – which makes sense given that salt is often mined from the earth after resting beneath the ground for untold amounts of time. However, make sure you get non-iodized salt. Even though the salt lasts forever, the iodine will go bad after five years.
Simply store your salt in a cool, dry area and it will never go stale. Be sure to get sea salt, which retains more nutrients than ordinary table salt.
14. Soy Sauce
Due largely to its high sodium content, soy sauce has an indefinite shelf-life, so long as it remains unopened.
Simply store your soy sauce in a cool, dry area and it will never spoil.
Despite the fact that cells survive on a form of sugar – glucose – sugar itself does not support the growth of bacteria.
This means that all forms of sugar – including white, brown, and powdered sugar – will last forever when kept in an airtight container and stored in a cool, dry area.
16. Vanilla Extract
This stuff is essential if you like to bake or make pancakes. When stored properly, pure vanilla extract will never spoil.
However, it is essential to ensure that you really are purchasing pure vanilla extract as opposed to artificial vanilla extract since the artificial stuff only has a shelf-life of three to four years.
If you purchase the real thing and store it in a cool, dry place, it won’t ever spoil.
17. White Vinegar
White vinegar is a necessary ingredient for many recipes and a versatile cleaning supply as well. It has lots of uses around the house.
It also lasts forever when stored properly – which entails keeping your vinegar in a tightly sealed container and storing it in a cool, dry place.
Food Storage Tips
Did I mention storing your food in a cool, dry place? This is incredibly important.
- Do not store your food in the garage, attic, shed, or any place that will get hot in the summer.
- Do not store your food near windows or anywhere with direct sunlight.
- Do not store your food in the laundry room, basement, or any room with lots of humidity.
- Do not store your food in places that could get mold or pests of any kind.
Obviously, there are many ways to store food, but for the dry foods listed above, your best bet is to put them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and put those in food grade buckets with lids. (The liquids can stay in their bottles; just put them in a location withe criteria listed above.)
To store your dry foods, do the following:
- Pour your foods into the Mylar bags until all your bags are almost full (leave an inch of space at the top).
- Write the names of the foods on the sides of the bags so you don’t forget what’s what.
- Use an iron or a hair straightener to start sealing the bags, but only seal them about 2/3 across.
- Open the pack of oxygen absorbers and put one or two into each bag, depending on how many you have.
- Use a vacuum hose to suck as much air out of the bag as possible, then finish sealing it.
- Repeat the last step with the rest of the bags.
- Put your sealed bags into the food grade buckets. Fit as many into the buckets as you can.
- Use a rubber mallet to pound the lids into place.
As long as you do these things, the foods listed above should last at least a century. One more thing, don’t forget to rotate your food.
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