When building up your food storage, you should select foods with the longest shelf life possible. Thankfully, there are several survival foods that last forever.
Some survival foods that last forever are:
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Jello
- Most Varieties of Rice
- Corn Starch
- Corn Syrup
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Hard Liquor
This article will discuss each of these along with several other foods that can last for at least 20-30 years if stored properly. I’ll also go over some things that you need to know about these foods to get the most from your food storage.
The first survival food that lasts forever is salt. Since it’s a mineral, it doesn’t ever go bad. Storing it in mylar will protect it from moisture and other contaminants.
When storing salt long-term avoid the temptation to add an oxygen absorber to the mylar bag before sealing it. Oxygen absorbers can cause the salt to clump up and harden. In addition, try to get natural salt without additives. The iodine in iodized salt can start to break down after about 5 years, so any iodized salt that you have should be rotated.
Sugar is another survival food that lasts forever since it isn’t a hospitable place for bacteria and other microorganisms to live. Like salt, sugar should be stored in a mylar bag without an oxygen absorber.
Pure Vanilla Extract
Pure vanilla extract also has an indefinite shelf life if it’s left unopened and this is due to its alcohol content. However, make sure that what you are purchasing is pure vanilla extract. There are many substitutes on the market that won’t last nearly as long.
Probably the most famous food that never expires is honey. Most of us have probably heard of the honey in the 3,000-year-old Egyptian tomb that was still safe to eat. Like sugar, honey is a hostile environment for microorganisms, which makes it excellent for long-term storage.
When selecting honey to store, you want it to be as raw and natural as possible. Processes such as pasteurization can shorten honey’s shelf life and remove some of its beneficial qualities. Your honey should be as close to what the bees did as possible.
In addition to being a superfood, honey also has medicinal benefits. You can use it to dress wounds to help reduce the chance of infection as well as to treat sore throats.
The next survival food that lasts forever is vinegar. Since vinegar is fermented and acidic, nothing harmful is likely to grow in it.
The best kind of vinegar to store long-term is white vinegar. It will keep its appearance and quality better than other types such as apple cider vinegar. However, those other types of vinegar will still be safe to use even if they lose quality.
Another survival food that lasts forever is powdered Jello. This is one that I didn’t know about until I started to do research for the Youtube video at the top of the page.
If stored in a mylar bag and protected from moisture, powdered Jello will last pretty much indefinitely. In addition to being used to make gelatin desserts, it can also be added to drinks for extra flavor.
Most varieties of rice will last forever if stored properly. White, wild, jasmine and basmati rice can be stored indefinitely inside mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Combining rice and beans will form a complete protein, which is important for your diet.
However, it’s very important that you do not attempt to store brown rice for an extended period of time. The oils inside of it will cause it to go rancid in as little as 6 months.
Corn starch is another survival food that will last forever. Like with other foods, it should be stored in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. It can be added to soups to help thicken them to make them feel more filling.
Corn syrup also has an indefinite shelf life. It can be used in the same way as other types of syrup on things like pancakes and when baking. It can also be used to help ease constipation due to the laxative effect it has.
Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup can also last indefinitely if unopened. Similar to other foods, you want it to be as natural as possible. Imitation maple syrup will not last nearly as long.
The next food that will last forever is hard liquor. Having such a high alcohol content means that virtually nothing can survive inside the bottle.
Hard liquor has other survival uses as well. It can be used as a fuel, most notably in alcohol stoves, and can also be used as a solvent. You can also use alcohol to disinfect wounds and surgical instruments.
Survival Foods That Can Last Decades
While the foods listed above will store pretty much forever there are other foods that will store almost as long. The foods discussed below have shelf lives of 20 years, and in many cases, more.
Beans can be stored indefinitely in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. However, it’s important to understand that they will eventually begin to lose vitamin content. Sometimes this can happen in as little as two years. However, they should still be safe to eat even if they aren’t quite as nutritious as they used to be.
Similar to beans, popcorn and other kinds of dried corn can be stored indefinitely, however, they will begin to show signs of age after around two years. You may notice that the corn doesn’t pop as reliably as it once did.
If you want to store popcorn long-term, make sure to get plain popcorn kernels. Bagged microwave popcorn won’t last nearly as long. You can get a popcorn pit popper such as this one to help you cook it over a fire.
Whole Wheat Berries
Whole wheat berries are a survival food that can be stored for 25 years or more in mylar with oxygen absorbers. Wheat berries are what is ground into flour. Storing the whole unground berry will greatly extend its shelf life. You will, however, need to purchase a manual grain mill such as this one, to process them into flour.
When stored properly, instant coffee can last for up to 20 years or longer. Since most varieties of instant coffee are freeze-dried, they can store for a while, even in their original packaging. However, storing it in mylar with oxygen absorbers can extend this greatly.
Dried pasta is another survival food that you can store for decades in mylar with oxygen absorbers. Under ideal conditions, they can last somewhere between 20-30 years. Their long shelf life and energy density are why different varities of dried pasta are commonly used in long-term survival foods such as those produced by Mountain House.
Another survival food that can last for decades is powdered milk. In good conditions, it can last for up to 20 years.
No discussion of long-term food storage would be complete without at least mentioning freeze-dried survival foods. Meals produced by companies such as Mountain House can store for 30 years or longer.
The main drawback to freeze-dried meals is that they are expensive. While they may not make up the bulk of your food storage, they are nice to have to give a little variety to your stockpile of beans and rice.