There are few things that I am more proud of in my house than my pantry, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way. After bending over backwards to stockpile the essentials for when SHTF, it’s our pride and joy to see them neatly piled and knowing that if anything happens we won’t starve to death, nor will we rely on the supermarkets to feed ourselves and our families.
That’s why we’ve written some previous articles about the enemies of your stockpile and how to keep pests away from it. Now we’d like to share some of the best tips that we have to offer: knowing which foods will go a long way, even if the grid goes down and there’s no electricity to keep them cold.
I’m not talking here about preserving food by dehydration or canning; I’m talking about foods that will never go bad exactly as they are.
What’s simpler than buying, say, a jar of honey, and knowing that all you have to do is keep it in a cool, dry place and you’ll have it forever? Yeah, that’s right, I said forever! And honey is not the only item that will keep indefinitely. Read further to find out what other foods you can keep forever without fear of spoilage.
1. Honey. As I mentioned above, it only needs to be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dry place and it will last a lifetime. Did you know that honey was found in Egyptian pharaohs’ tombs and it was still as good as new? And don’t fret if your honey has crystalized; just place the jar in some warm water (without letting water enter the jar) and it will be smooth and good as new in no time.
2. Salt. An essential supplement in any diet, salt is also useful as a natural remedy and is a multipurpose household item.
It keeps well in cool, dry places and you can prevent it from clumping by dropping a few grains of rice at the bottom of the shaker.
3. Rice. Speaking of rice, it’s also one of the foods that, if kept in a cool dry place, will last forever. You will also want to make sure no bugs get to it; that’s why it’s best to keep it in air tight containers. The exception is brown rice which has a higher oil content than other rice and will therefore spoil eventually.
4. Sugar. Just like salt, sugar is another food that does not allow bacteria to develop. That’s why it’s used as a natural preservative when canning fruits, for example.
Any type of sugar will keep well in an air tight container, away from bugs and high humidity, but it might eventually become solid pieces. No need to worry though; a few hammer smacks will solve the problem for you! And you can learn to DIY in our article, here.
5. Maple Syrup. Just like honey, maple syrup’s high sugar content keeps it from ever spoiling. Keep it in a cool, dry place in an air tight container or freeze it and it will be good to go whenever you need to top your pancakes with streams of deliciousness. It might develop a bit of mold on top, but all you have to do is clean as much as you can off with a spoon and then boil the syrup to make sure you killed it all.
6. Pure Vanilla Extract. It will make for a great flavor boost when SHTF and the variety of foods is limited. Just keep in mind that “pure” is the key element for it to keep well for a long time. All you need to do it to keep it in a cool, dry place.
7. Hard Liquor. Vodka, rum, whiskey, gin, tequila and similar liquors will last forever if bottles are kept unopened and out of heat and sunlight. They might lose a bit of flavor, but it will take a long time before you notice that. Plus they will make for great disinfectants when SHTF.
8. Distilled White and Apple Cider Vinegar. Both will keep really well for a very long time. Keep them tightly capped after opening and store them in cool, dry places.
They are staples in the kitchen but they are also great multipurpose items. Plus you can learn how to make your own organic apple cider vinegar from our article, here.
9. Cornstarch. You usually don’t get to use a lot of cornstarch shortly after opening it, but there’s no need to worry: it won’t ever spoil as long as you store it correctly. Keep it in air tight containers in a cool, dry place and you’ll be able to use it for a long time. It’s great to use as a thickener.
10. Ghee. It’s a South Asian cuisine staple and it’s similar to clarified butter except the clarification process is taken to a higher level. The butter is boiled until all of the milk solids have settled on the bottom and all of the moisture has evaporated. This is what keeps it from spoiling.
Stored correctly it can last for centuries. It has been discovered in tombs and it was totally edible. You can learn how to make butter here, then all you have to do is cook it to make ghee, seal it in jars and enjoy it a hundred years from now!
11. Soy Sauce. It has a high salt content so that’s what keeps it from spoiling, though it will lose flavor after a very long period of time. Keep it in a cool, dry place and it will be a lovely addition to an otherwise not-so-special meal when things go south.
12. Bouillon Cubes. They are basically dehydrated vegetables and animal fat, with a high salt content.
They will elevate a plain meal to something more palatable in no time and they will keep well for a really long time. Just make sure to keep them in a cool and especially dry place, since humidity will affect their flavor and stability.
13. Corn Syrup. Though it has a bad reputation, corn syrup does have a plus: it keep forever. So keep it in the right conditions (cool and dry) and it will be a great sweetening option when sugar and honey may be limited.
14. Pemmican. It was invented by the Native Americans as travel food and the reason why it keeps so well is that fat and proteins are separated, processed, then put back together. It has a high nutritional value and it will fill you up when there won’t be much of anything else left to eat.
15. Powdered Milk in Nitrogen-Packed Cans. In an emergency situation it will make for an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D and it will last for years when stored correctly so that the cans are not damaged by humidity or heat.
16. Twinkies. Legend has it that after a nuclear apocalypse only Twinkies and cockroaches will make it. Whether true or not, some say they have tried 30-year-old Twinkies and they were as good as new. Would you give it a try?
There are a few other items that will keep really well for a long time, though they will lose their flavor considerably or spoil eventually. Dried spices, beans, tea leaves and dried pasta are some of them, and they should be considered stockpile essentials due to their considerably high shelf life. Spices and tea may also have tremendous value as barter items, too.
If we’ve missed any food that you know will never spoil or that has an exceptionally long shelf life, make sure to complete our list in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia.