10 Foods That You Should Never Stockpile

It seems that there’s always some kind of disaster, either natural or manmade, that prove the value of being prepared.

Even if it’s not a Red Dawn scenario, there are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, and even job losses that just make stockpiling food smart.

But, there are some foods that you shouldn’t try to stockpile.

Some of these are foods that you just shouldn’t stockpile at all and some of them are foods that you have to stockpile in a certain way to keep them from going bad. It’s important to optimize your space, so don’t waste it on food that’s just going to go bad.

I’m going to skip listing fresh fruits and vegetables because that’s kind of a no-brainer. Bananas obviously aren’t going to store long-term. The exception is, of course, root vegetables if you have a cellar.

Eggs

This is one food that you just can’t store in raw form. You can’t can eggs or freeze them, and they only have a shelf life of a month or so, maximum, even if they’re fresh and refrigerated.

However, there are great dried-egg products that you should stockpile because eggs are so versatile.

These products are real eggs – they’re just powered using special equipment that just isn’t practical (or sometimes even possible) to use at home. That means you can use them in recipes or even to make scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Of course, it’s always a good plan to have chickens, too. That way you have fresh eggs and meat.

Dried Goods in Original Packaging

While sugar, flour, cornmeal, and rice are staples in your stockpile, you need to store them properly. All of them come from the store in packaging that’s definitely not air-tight, and are therefore susceptible to bugs and spoilage.

Most people don’t realize that flour has an expiration date, but it does; it goes rancid. This process is expedited when the flour is stored in the bag that it came in. Also, there are about a dozen bugs including flour weevils that will get into your dried goods, especially in flour and pasta.

And here’s something that I learned the hard way: roaches and other pests are attracted to the bags, especially the glue, just as much as they are the contents.

To combat this, store all of your dried goods in airtight containers such as 5-gallon buckets. Also, if you can, store wheat instead of flour and white rice instead of brown because brown rice contains more oil.

Finally, a word about brown sugar: it doesn’t spoil, but it does get hard because it draws moisture. Store it in an airtight container that’s appropriate for the amount so that there’s not a lot of empty space.

Bulk Oils

This is another food that many people may not realize spoils, but it does. If you think about it logically, vegetable oils, or animal fats for that matter, are organic, so therefore they go rancid. There really isn’t a good way to store oils so that they keep indefinitely but you can actually home-can butter and lard.

Oils that aren’t open usually keep for a couple of years, but once they’re open, they’re only good for a few months, tops. Therefore, if you’re going to stockpile oil, do so in smaller bottles that won’t result in waste.

Nuts

Nuts, too, go rancid. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve had a jar of peanut butter open for a while—it starts to smell strong and taste funky. In raw form, they’re the same way. Though they may not make you sick up to a certain point before they actually rot, they will taste bad long before that.

The same goes for nut butters such as peanut butter, as we just mentioned, though as long as they’re stored unopened, they’ll usually last in that form for a couple of years.

What many people don’t know is that you can home-can nuts, too!

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Saltine Crackers

If you’ve ever opened up a sleeve of old saltines, you understand what I’m saying here. They smell weird and taste even worse. That’s because they’re basically just flour and water, and flour goes rancid. If you have to store saltines, store them in airtight containers and rotate them out every few months.

Oxygen absorbers help too, if you really want to use them on storing crackers.

Breakfast Cold Cereals

Cereal is another food that’s stored in cardboard boxes and therefore don’t store well for long periods of time without spoiling or attracting roaches and other bugs.

I realize that they’re often cheap, especially if you coupon, but in a true emergency, you need to get the most nutrient bang for your buck, and when you combine the poor nutritional quality with the storage issues, you’d be better off storing foods like rolled or steel-cut oats.

Would you rather take up 3 square feet of your food storage space with 6 boxes of frosted fruit rings or canned  meat and vegetables?

Store-Canned Tomato Products

I have home-canned tomatoes that have lasted for years but store-canned tomato products tend to start to leak eventually. These aren’t necessarily something you shouldn’t stockpile, but be careful with them and rotate through them. Home-can them if you can.

Foods You Don’t Eat

I know this sounds like an odd thing to say, but I’ve volunteered for a few canned food drives, and a few of the top foods donated are stuff like lima beans, chick peas, canned spaghetti sauce and cranberry sauce because these aren’t typically foods that people buy.

My guess is that people comb through their cabinets and find foods that they’ve had forever and that’s what they donate. Which is fine, but from a stockpiling standpoint, it’s wasteful.

It’s easy to get carried away by coupon specials and deals in bargain bins, but don’t buy something just because it’s dirt cheap or even free if you’re not going to eat it. It’s a waste of space and money. It’s great to save money on stuff you use, though.

Junk Food

Bags of potato chips and packs of cookies take up a ton of space and don’t keep for as long as you think.

While comfort foods such as these will be nice, don’t store more than you’ll eat in a couple of months. Save the space for food and supplies that you’ll really need.

Dented Cans

These are the ones that you’re going to find in a bargain bin. You’ll also find them on the shelf, but if the can is damaged, there’s a good chance that the seal or the internal safety lining in the can are damaged, too. It’s not a deal if it makes you sick when you eat it. Or if it leaks all over your food storage pantry.

Be careful and pay close attention to what you buy. Buy smart – that real estate in your stockpile pantry is precious and you need to make the most of it!

 

 

Regardless of what you have, organize it so that the newest buys are in the back and the older ones are in the front. Use the First In First Out method to cycle your food so that your stockpile stays as fresh as possible.

Can you think of any foods that shouldn’t be stockpiled, or do you have anything to add? If so, please share in the comments section below.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Do you have familiarity with the storage life expectancy of hardtack? As well as a dried taco to which oil is omitted in the preparing of it and the frying of it. it then becomes sort of a cousin to Hardtack, if not exactly the same thing, except maybe flatter.
    If it may make a difference whether the flour is ground or store-bought, please factor that into your answer.
    If it were stored in a stainless can with a stainless screw top lid (and taped at the lid seam), after being thoroughly dried, so that there was no light, moisture, oxygen (with absorbers) or pest penetration and kept in a cool dry place, then, How long might it last?
    And if it were carried in a backpack (no longer in a cool place) how long might it last?
    Your information on this subject (along with any references, if they are available, is appreciated.
    What about any ground flour (corn, wheat) with water added, and fried flat (like a taco) and even with no grease in a fry pan, and dried? Then stacked and kept dry in a stainless screw top container that eliminates light, moisture, and oxygen (with absorbers).. Warmth on hot days may be an issue if it is carried in a backpack. Thank you for any reply.

    • I’ve read of hardtack from the Civil War that is still edible. If stored properly, hardtack can last indefinitely. I recommend vacuum sealing to remove all air, then store in airtight containers. There are many YouTube videos, as well as a great article right here on Survivopedia about how to make and store hardtack.

    • Radarphos, thank you for your questions.
      Here are some info that might help:
      http://www.survivopedia.com/ho-to-make-hardtack-at-home/
      http://www.survivopedia.com/how-to-store-flour-sugar-and-rice-for-survival/
      Hope it helps, and ask again if there’s anything else left to clarify.

    • Instead of Hard Tack, consider making and storing Pemmican. Pemmican tastes better, easier to eat and more nutritious. You can actually live off of it for months. Pemmican is pretty simple to make and there are recipes all over the internet. Select one, download and print it out for reference.

    • Masa harina, corn flour, finely ground grits, will keep for a lot of years. It’s not completely bug-proof, but I found a ‘lost’ opened bag in the back of the pantry that was 4 years out of date. It’s also considered precooked, so you can make dough with only cold water, then cook with it. Cornmeal is best used fast because it still has the oil. Most tortilla chips are made with cornmeal, but those from mexico aren’t. Best way to make flour (non-corn) tortillas is some lard and boiling water added, made the dough and roast or fry. Any flour should be stored in air-tight containers and if you can, add a little dry ice (CO2) which kills bugs. that can be bought thru greenhouse supply stores. Chia is queen of the high-protein, light foods. Make certain it’s grown in the US or it’ll be irradiated, which can lessen shelf life from a decade to a few years, at most. To test, put some in a glass of warm water. It should sprout within 24 hours. Irradiated it dead, but still usable. Still life-saving. Native American slaves in Mexico and up here, the Spanish recorded, could survive for weeks on only a tablespoon or so as their daily ration. Agronomists studying seed banking (how long weed seeds could live if buried in the soil) found a bag of mesquite beans some-buddy left on a shelf for over 40 years. When the seeds were tested, 60% viability, meaning they were still alive and eatable. Mesquite was always the queen of the crop even after maize was domesticated. niio

      • Red, Thank You for all of that Amazing info!

  • How long will canned tunA last before it’s not safe to eat

    • I had some canned tuna in my pantry that was about a year out of date.When I opened it, it still smelled ok, but the texture had gone to mush. Not appetizing at all. I gave it to the cats! Newly stocked tuna and salmon have very long dates stamped on the cans, so when shopping, try to find the longest dates you can.

  • People should learn to salt and smoke
    Meats, The salt draws out moisture
    and kills bacteria, preserves meats for a while, but not forever. So learning
    to hunt and prepare resources is a skill to have

    • Salt the meat to draw out the blood, which decays fast. But, smoked meat drays ham weevils and rodents. It has to be kept constantly in smoke.

    • Salt doesn’t kill bacteria or parasites. Smoking kills most of both, but not all of them. Salt stops both from reproducing and destroying the food, but only up to a point. Salt also draws in atmospheric moisture. Sailors took barrels of salted meat, usually in brine, and still had the meat decay after a few months, and also problems with beatle maggots (pun intended 🙂 Meat dried in smoke and kept in light smoke stores for years. niio

  • I am currently using oatmeal that is two years old. No problems. I put my flour in the freezer and have kept it up to one year with no problems. Other than that I have flour, sugar, wheat, and white rice in food grade buckets packed for hopefully 25 years. I have eggs bought from long term storage that I am not sure about. Read they are only good for 5 years but have had them 6 years. Does anyone have experience with the eggs?

    • Check out James townsend and son, they are an 18th century store and have really great stuff and ideas that preppers can use.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUYgguMz1qI

    • do you use bay leaves when storing grain? most bugs hate the smell.

    • Our Scrambled Eggs from Thrive Life Foods are Crystallized not powdered & are good for 7 yrs unopened, 1 year opened. They are available in a #10 Cans or smaller Pantry Cans. They are good for baking or eating as scrambled eggs, omelets, breakfast casseroles… mlonsberg.thrivelife.som

    • Adding bay leaves if you have to store it on the shelf deters bugs for up to 6 months. Did you add dry ice to the buckets? Any greenhouse supply store will carry it for you. It’s CO2, and kills the eggs of pests. nnio

  • I think an article on the best products to buy to keep food dry and air tight would be highly desirable. Including preferred moisture absorbers. Good article. Thanks

  • Chico, corn flour is not corn meal.. grits are made from corn flour. the bran and germ are extracted, so it should last for years. we had part of a bag of corn flour on a back shelf for about 6 years and it was still good. Archeologists find a lot of it in digs. places where it was sheltered, some centuries old, still ‘look’ good enough to eat. We’re native American and can’t have gluten, when SHFT hits, folks will find out why wood ashes had a dollar value in the old days. Take any dry mature maize, soak it in a mild solution of lye water (mild meaning it can be washed with) for 24 hours. the germ and bran will pop off. the posole (maize) has to be used or dried, but it’s considered pre-cooked. And remember, smoked meats (cured or not) have to stored in air-tight containers or continuous smoke or smoke beetles will destroy it. God’s peace.

    • Thank you Rednig,. More excellent info. I Appreciate everyone here sharing so much. I have a home freeze-dryer so I’m using that and vac sealing everything I can. I would like to can some more stuff but it’s too heavy to move cases of jars. We live on ocean , Cascadia Event looms over all .

  • I would suggest that you look into egg storage a little more, for instance, waterglass (sodium silicate) will store eggs very well for better than 2 years, simply rubbing the egg with mineral oil will work for a year or more. We used to take eggs camping with us for up to three months simply by dipping them into boiling water for 30 seconds then chilling them in cold water before drying them off and packing them in a box of sawdust. Never had a bad egg with this but would not recommend it for long term storage. It is best to put any stored egg into water before cracking it as, if the egg has gone bad it will float, if it sinks it is still good. i also recommend cracking stored eggs into a separate cup or bowl then adding it to the others so you do not mess up several eggs if one has gone bad.

  • Theresa, hope you made it through Irma in good fashion!

  • Thanks for a great article.

  • an old time way to store fresh eggs is to put them in a strong solution of slaked lime and water, these eggs have been good for 20 years.

    check out james townsend and son, they are an 18th century store and they have great videos on cooking and food storage.

    • Great Video and thanks for sharing. We don’t have chickens but during the spring, quail nest all over our yard. I have a #50 bag of slaked lime in my garage I store for outhouse use but now I can store quail eggs! Yea.

  • Eggs can be frozen, just not in the shell. Break the eggs shell and empty the egg into the plastic ice cube trays which free individual cubes of ice and freeze. Once the eggs are frozen pop the frozen egg cubes out and place in a plastic container and keep stored in the freezer. We often have a few dozen eggs stored this way. The frozen eggs can be thawed and used in any way fresh eggs can be used, except as fried eggs.

  • Pecans can be canned, as I suspect other nuts can be processed for storage as well. we have some pecan trees and my wife cans as many of the excess pecans as we can shell each year. She will keep a bag in the freezer to bake with, and when those are exhausted, she will open a jar of her canned pecans for baking and/or cooking.

    The process authority where the canning recipe came from stated she has pecans she canned thirty years ago, which are just as good today as when they were canned. We have none canned that long, but none so far have been opened which have any rancidity to them.

    The commercial pecan processors keep the shelled pecan refrigerated to retard rancidity. Probably other nut processors do to, but I have no experience with any others.

  • brown sugar can be rock solid and still made soft again by using clay pieces that you can often buy where they sell brown sugar in bulk and you soak the clay piece in water for a time and then add them to the brown sugar in it’s container to soften it up for use works fine

    • lay a piece of fresh bread on the sugar it will soften up

      • I usually do this but the last time I did it and went back to use the sugar the whole bag was black with mold> First time in 50 years???

  • Have a recipe for dehydrated raw eggs.. Haven’t tried it yet but will when I have my own chickens. IT appears to be doable, the author never buys eggs when her hens stop laying.

    • LISA,
      DEHYDRATING RAW EGGS WORKS FINE. WE DO THAT EACH SPRING, WHEN THERE’S AN OVER-ABUNDANCE OF EGGS FROM THE FLOCK, TO TIDE US OVER DURING THE MOLT AND WINTER, WHEN THERE’S NEARLY NO EGG PRODUCTION. WE SPREAD THE WHIPPED RAW EGG FAIRLY THIN ON THE SILICONE SHEETS SO IT DRIES FAIRLY FAST. WE RUN THE RESULTING FLAKES AND CRUMBLY BITS THROUGH A GRINDER TO MAKE IT INTO POWDER. THE POWDER GETS ANOTHER DEHYDRATING SESSION TO TO ENSURE IT’S ALL REALLY DRY. SOMETIMES THE CHUNKS ARE STILL A BIT MOIST INSIDE.

      AFTER ALL THAT, THE POWDER IS PUT INTO HALF-PINT JARS (MANAGEABLE PORTIONS) AND VACUUM SEALED. THEY KEEP QUITE A LONG TIME THAT WAY.

  • The best possible storage method for anything is freeze-drying. Freeze-dried foods have a shelf-life of 30 + years. However, freeze-dried foods are horrendously expensive. It IS possible to freeze-dry food, yourself, although it isn’t cheap. A company called HarvestRight sells freeze-driers for home use. They come in four sizes: Small, Regular, Large, and Industrial. I purchased a Regular unit last year. I got it during a sale, but it still set me back over a thousand bucks. That said, IT IS WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD!!

    You can freeze-dry, virtually, anything: Vegetables and meat — cooked or raw. Prepared meals, soups, pasta dishes, eggs, fruits etc., the list is endless. I’ve even freeze-dried watermelon and cantaloupe. Eaten dried, they make a crispy, delicious snack with a 30-year shelf life.

    Once freeze-dried I seal the food in heavy mylar bags (the best ones are sold by HarvestRight ), after adding oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets. Then, I store the bags of food in six-gallon buckets with screw-down lids.

    I have been using the freeze-dryer for over a year and it works magnificently. It has probably already paid for itself in cost savings over buying commercially-prepared freeze-dried food. The best money saver is to buy marked-down meat at the grocers, cook it immediately, and freeze-dry it. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by doing this and my stockpile is loaded with plenty of meat for when the SHTF..

    It’s not cheap to get started, I’ll admit. Freeze-driers are expensive, but they’re the best investment a serious prepper can make.

    • and HarvestRight gives good customer support when needed.. The scroll pump is a big plus, but more bucks!
      Worth it. Running two of them on garden produce, meat, fruit, beans, etc. and my son is running three of them, same garden. Huge. What a blessing.

    • I would love to one day have a home freeze drier. Only thing to think about, though, is the need for potable water if you are going to reconstitute freeze dried or dehydrated foods. Make sure you have a water purification system in case you ever need clean drinkable water in a SHTF situation…

  • The best way to store any food is freeze-drying. Freeze-dried food has a shelf-life of 25+ years. However, freeze-dried foods are horrendously expensive. But, it IS possible to freeze-dry food, yourself. A company called HarvestRight sells freeze-dryers for home use. They come in four sizes: Small, Regular, Large, and Industrial. I purchased a Regular unit last year. I got it during a sale, but it still set me back over a thousand bucks. That said, IT IS WORTH ITS WEIGHT IN GOLD!!

    You can freeze-dry virtually anything: Vegetables and meat — cooked or raw. Prepared meals, pasta dishes, soups, eggs, fruits . . . the list is endless. I’ve even freeze-dried watermelon and cantaloupe. Eaten dried, they make a crispy, delicious snack with a 30-year shelf life.

    After freeze-drying, I put the food in heavy mylar bags (the best ones are sold by HarvestRight), add oxygen absorbers and silica gel packets, seal them with a FoodSaver vacuum sealer and go over the seal with a hot iron to doubly seal it. The vacuum sealer won’t vacuum mylar bags, but you don’t want to vacuum freeze-dried food, anyway. I just use the machine to heat-seal the bags. Then I pack the bags in six-gallon plastic buckets with screw-down lids.

    I’ve been using the freeze-dryer for over a year and it works magnificently. It has probably already paid for itself in cost savings over buying commercially-prepared freeze-dried food. The best cost savings is to buy marked-down meat at the grocers, cook it immediately, and freeze-dry it. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this way, alone, and my stockpile is loaded with plenty of meat for when the SHTF..

    Freeze-drying isn’t cheap, I’ll admit. It’s expensive to get started, but a freeze-dryer is the best investment a serious prepper can make.

    • I have also freeze dried eggs. One gets the hang of it so it is less messy the second time. And cheese, yogurt, etc etc etc

  • Without becoming involved in the many arguments surrounding food storage, I would like to share a plan I’ve used for many years for ONE PORTION of my storage plan. In addition to all of the other methods, there are those who like to include canned meats and fruits and vegetables in their system. We know, by their own admisssion, that the “use by” dates on canned goods are, primarily, a marketing system to keep foods moving off of the shelves. However, we also like the smug feeling that we’re storing things freshly made. SO, consider a two-year rotation cycle.
    If you are serious about food storage, -nd want to include canned goods, make a year=long shopping list : X number of cans of beans, X number of cans of Spam, X number of cans of peaches, etc. etc. Every time you go to the store, add one or two cans from your list to your stockpile. Keep that pile separate from your daily goods and take advantage of sales. If you keep at it, you will soon have a year’s worth of canned goods available. Once you have that, start over., building another year’s supply of basic canned goods.
    In my county, there is a big food drive to fill the food pantry, usually around the first of the year. That’s when I clean out my ready supply of canned goods left from the last year, donate it to the food bank and take a good tax write-off for donations. I have a full year’s supply on hand, plus what I’ve started collecting for the next year, I get the tax break and folks who aren’t as provident get good groceries. It has worked for me for almost 20 years as a part of my overall plan.

  • I’m confused about freezing eggs. In your article titled: “Food that freezes well, you listed that you can freeze eggs. I this article, you said you can’t. Can you please clear that up?
    Thanks.

  • Thanks, Theresa. I wish you would have mentioned coconut oil. It stores “forever” and doesn’t need refrigeration. This is good to remember for those coconut milk products. A half gallon of coconut milk cost no more than organic cow’s milk, but won’t go bad for weeks? I have never had a carton of coconut milk go bad. BTW, many that I have read say that coconut oil is also good for your brain. Veg oil, no. olive oil. OK. Coconut oil GOOD. And “water glass” is the old fashioned way to store eggs over the winter or molting season.

  • Coating eggs, fresh from the nest, with mineral oil will make them last unrefrigerated up to 8 months. Store them out of direct light.

  • Actually, real eggs in the shell do store for up to 6+ months but you have to do it correctly and cool store. You rub the egg completely with butter or oil, and suspend in 5 gallon bucket filled with something like Wheat bran, which is super cheap at your local health food store. I’ve also heard of people storing them in straw. Like all food it must be gently kept in a very cool place. I have done this, and it works. I will confess though when they go bad, they are truly foul, so they should be used as soon as possible. The oil seals the shell from allowing air or germs in. They were still edible and not harmful, tastier than powdered eggs, (though nearly everything is.)

  • Freeze drying is great but not inhighly humidareas.I found it nearly impossible to getcompletely dry in the humid summers here. I’m thinking of selling it.

  • One thing I’ve found out the hard way, is, don’t store rice, even fairly short term, in zip-lock bags. I had several gallon bags of white rice that I had bought in bulk stored in plastic bins. When I went to get a bag to use, I felt the bag getting sticky on the outside, and the rice on the bottom of the bag had turned brown with mold! The zip-lock bags start breaking down with time- I had to throw a lot of it away. I’ve since used plastic containers with airtight snap-on lids with much better results. Cleaned and dried two liter drink or juice bottles work well for storing rice and beans also.

  • Great article… But, the list that you put up about the food storage dates….absolutely wrong lol. Please don’t go buy those time frames. Whom ever wrote that up was high lol.

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