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11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

Monday, April 4, 2011 16:38
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Headline: Bitcoin & Blockchain Searches Exceed Trump! Blockchain Stocks Are Next!

The following article has been contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition.

Editor’s Note: In our recent article Investments for Preparedness and Wealth Preservation That Your Financial Adviser Will Never Mention, we discussed a variety of strategies and reasons for investing in hard assets like precious metals, arable land, micro-livestock, alternative energy, skills development and bulk foods as a way to hedge against inflation, economic uncertainty and natural disasters. In the following article, Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition provides some excellent recommendations for bulk foods that should be in your preparedness larder – foods that are nutritious and have a shelf life of 20 years or more if stored properly. Now, more than ever, it is important to consider where food prices are headed, and what you might do if disaster strikes, be it natural or man-made. Our view is simple: Buy commodities at today’s lower prices, and consume at tomorrow’s higher prices. The benefit of holding physical assets like bulk foods in your possession is that you have no counter-party risk. Whether the threat we face is inflation, disruptions to our just-in-time transportation systems, a collapse of our Ponzi economy, or food shortages, you can sleep comfortably knowing that your investment is safe and sound, and easily accessible in your kitchen pantry or prep closet.

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!


Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)


Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides


Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).


Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Also From Ready Nutrition:

Best Practices For Long Term Food Storage

Essential Prepping Calculators

The Unprepared Population: A Statistic You Don’t Want To Be a Part Of

This article has been contributed by SHTF Plan. Visit for alternative news, commentary and preparedness info.

Read more at SHTF Plan

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Total 15 comments
  • Enigmanonymous

    Awww, I thought twinkies were immortal

  • Notes From The American Southwest

    No, they are not; however, a McDonald’s burger can last 10 years or more.


    The 2012 Safe Area™ will add that list of items to the purchase order list.

  • Will

    Store all food in basement with a dehumidfier and they will last a very long time,store flour in freezer

  • MountainHome

    Good information for everyone to know cause, even if the Mayan 2012 predictions don’t happen there will be something else bad happen so this list will help.

    Good article! Thanks.

  • E L E V E N

    Excellent post – great information. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    philosophical blog

  • Anonymous

    Great post! We just invested in Heirloom seeds so we can grow our own foods for years to come.

    Check out this company … … They have a deal going on right now where you get over 60,000 vegetable, herb, and fruit seeds all in one kit. It’s got Wheat, Corn, and everything else you need! You will not regret it!

    For those who don’t know much about seeds. Make sure to buy only Heirloom seeds. You will actually be able to collect the seeds after each harvest and use them again and again and again! Can’t do that with GMO seeds.

  • bigbytes

    God help the people who NEED the advice served up in this post and comments.

  • Azriel

    Yeah twinkies can last almost forever, but really, would you really want to eat one that is 20yrs old?? I shiver at the thought. I like the idea of a basement with a dehumidifier but, those use a fair amount of energy. Might be better to create a storage room in your basement that you can use a smaller dehumidifier for thusly using less energy. Also, larger containers that you can suck the air out of to create a vacuum and having silica packs in to make sure no moisture is left to oxidize any food stuffs would last for many years, until you open the container. With THAT in mind, ANYTHING that is dried can be stored indefinitely. Store water and juices in glass, NOT plastic as the plastic will release petroleum toxins into your water and even more so in your juices. Aluminum containers oxidize even faster so don’t think your energy drinks will be good after a year or more. Sodas in aluminum cans after two or three years will swell up with the oxidation of the acids and the aluminum and make good scare tactic /shrapnel grenades. Just throw and enjoy the effects!! Beer the same thing. When I was younger we had gone into an abandoned house and found some sodas that were bloated and took them out side and threw them towards the back of the house. We went and looked at what the exploded cans did and found that some of the aluminum was stuck deep into the wood wall of the house!! Just something to keep in mind.

  • Joseph Zrnchik for 5th Estate Media Email:

    Instead of stocking up for the coming disaster, why not stop it from occurring?

    Google: “Day of Rage in Washington D.C. on 6/30/11″

  • Azriel

    Well now, we tried to stop the viet nam war with demonstrations and got beat up and some killed. Did it stop the war? NO! It took viet cong kicking yankee butt that did it. And how can your demonstrations stop natural disasters? Or stop other countries from committing war?? And lets see how your demonstrations will hold up when the Islamic countries invade the usa? Now, maybe a civil war will change things but it will also leave us very weak so another country comes marching on in. You are in a “no win scenario” as far as stopping the coming crisis is concerned. And this is not star trek where you can afford to not believe in the “no win scenario”. Reality check here, it is coming and you can either be prepared or suffer the consequences, your choice.

  • whitebear

    Honey- An absolute necessity

    Salt- Only good quality Sea Salt – forget the adulterated versions

    Sugar- sugar, I remember when they used to call it Sugar Diabetes. A real waste of space.

    Wheat – all varieties (Organic)

    Lentils and Pinto beans are on my list. Can’t believe they’re not here.

    Dried corn – If you can find Organic, Beautiful- All other corn is Genetically Modified as are all Soy Products

    Baking soda – If you must, not necessary

    Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa – Might be nice but certainly Not necessary.

    Non-carbonated soft drinks – Are you for real? Complete waste of space and absolutely NOT good for you.

    White rice- beautiful- But really any (Organic) rice is great.

    Bouillon products- All are loaded with MSG- a proven neurotoxin

    Powdered milk- check your source… Organic?

  • Anonymous

    This is good list and I have them all. I wasn’t sure about the life of bouillon, so good to know. Thank you. I realize the article is not “necessary items” but dried beans really should be included. Hard red wheat is the best [most nutritious] and if what I’d have if I could have only one thing for storage (sprout it).

    Gotta reply to some of the comments-
    Azriel, silica packs do nothing to remove oxygen; food should be low moisture before storing (10%), if not, it would take a whole lot of silica packs. The oxygen absorbers are what’s needed and they’re too easy, safe and cheap. I sincerely hope you store some water in something besides glass because it breaks (earthquakes can happen anywhere). Food grade plastic is better than no water at all.
    > Baking soda also is an excellent detox and in my first aid AND food supply.
    > Bouillon, Not all of them have MSG! We buy it at the local store but here ya go:
    >Sugar is important to have for one important reason- as an emergency-last-resort infant formula if a mom can’t nurse (likely scenario in emer situation), sugar can be used where honey most definitely can NOT!!! internet search for details but a little oil, lil sugar, instant milk and water of course.

    Store sugar; if not for you, then someone else that needs it. Honey is fine for some things, like tea, but I prefer sugar to sweeten up the coffee and cocoa. It requires very little space for its value. Sucanat is in my storage too… yum!

    The simple pleasures are important if it comes to living off food storage. Who wants to eat just rice and beans. Hope we never have to but better prepared than not; food storage is the most important insurance. Economic collapse is just a matter of time.

  • Azriel

    @ Anonymous, true about needing the food stores to be dry in the first place. But as there is always at least 1-5% moisture in even the most fried out foods, the silica paks work great. Alleged “food grade” plastics are found to emit poly phenols, not as much as regular plastics, but still release them anyway. Glass containers can be stored in milk crates that have foam padding, crumpled news paper(good fire starter) , wood chips (can be used later for fuel), or hay ($2.00 / bale and great for growing potatoes later or as garden mulch) which will insulate against breakage. Baking soda is great for detox, yes, and so it Epsom salts that also can be a nice organic additive to your garden to enhance root growth and strengthen the stalk of plants. if storing vegetable oils, store in a dark dry, VERY cold spot as it goes rancid very quickly when around light and heat. Olive oil in steel cans is the best way to go as you could also freeze it and it will last much longer. The waste oil from cooking can be used as fuel to get more for your money.

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