Emergency Food Prepping: 20 Foods That Last A Long Time

When it comes to preparedness, there isn’t anything much more important than having a good supply of the basics that keep us alive, which is food, water, security, and shelter. The biggest struggle for most is finding the foods that last a long time. I had this when I first started making my own stores and it’s something I have been receiving quite a few questions about.

For water storage, whether you are doing your own water or buying bottled water, it’s pretty straightforward. And for security and shelter there are many different ways to set up your home security and use your own shelter or a bug out position, but for food, it’s important to know the range of choices we have and the foods that have the longest shelf life so that we don’t have to rotate our stock so much.

Choices in food matter. For myself, I wouldn’t want to be living off beans for a whole year if I knew there were other options I could easily purchase at my local supermarket that would last for more than five or 10 years, and I know you are the same. So let’s take a look at what can we eat that has the longest shelf life and the foods that last a long time.

20 foods that last the longest

1. Dried beans

Just like with rice, if you properly package dried beans they can last for up to 30 years. To get the longest shelf life out of dried beans they have to be stored in air-tight containers with moisture prevention to prevent the spoilage that happens in kept foods.

Sure, I mentioned above that dried beans every day might get a bit boring, but if you add these in with rice and a few different spices you can make a lot of interesting mixtures to have some contrast to your food stockpiles and the types of recipes you could create out of your doomsday stockpile.

For storing dried beans, it is recommended you stick with airtight sealable food storage containers and mylar bags which stop oxygen absorption for long-term foods

2. Rolled oats

Food Prepping: 20 Foods That Last A Long Time

Oats are amazing and a very filling food source that can be easily used in breakfasts and sweets. Sure, they are not as easy to cook as most other food types but can last upwards of 30 years if kept in the same manner as beans.

3. Pasta products

Pasta is a great shelf food as it is another carbohydrate item to mix with anything else to make a cold or hot pasta depending on what you are after. For most commercially-packaged freeze dried pasta they sit around the 8-30 year shelf lifespan.

Take a look at the packs in the supermarket as some Italian pasta varies quite widely in their expiry dates.

4. Dehydrated fruit slices

Dried fruits, or dehydrated fruits, are fruits that have been dried out such as raisins, apricots, apple and of course dates.

Most dehydrated fruits will keep well up to five years, but dates and raisins may keep a bit longer if stored in the same preserved way as beans but in a cooler temperature.

5.  Cheese

There are various ways to store cheese, such as cheese in wax, canned cheese from Bega or Kraft and freeze-dried cheese and can last for an incredibly long time for a dairy product.

6. White rice

Rice is one of the must-have foods for stockpiles just because it is cheap, easy to get and easy to store for a great long shelf life.

Rice can easily last for up to 30 years but again, should be stored with food-grade containers and food storage bags.

7. Dehydrated carrots

Dehydrated carrots last for up to 25 years.

8. Dried corn (10+years)

Canned corn and dried corn is cheap, tasty and has an easy 10-year shelf life.

9. Legumes: lentils and peas (4-5 years)

If you are stocking lentils, which most preppers already do, consider getting whole lentils and not split ones, as the whole lentils last much longer. These are also a great source of fiber and are very easy to cook on their own or to add to other dishes.

The shelf life for these is generally 4-5 years but if you add them into mylar oxygen absorber bags they can last up to 20 years.

10. Canned baked beans and canned spaghetti

I grew up on canned beans as a kid and absolutely love them. I keep small tins of these in my bug out bag and take them outdoors as they are super tasty and easy to eat hot or cold.

11. OvaEasy Powdered whole eggs (hard to believe it exists – these last for up to 7 years)

I would never usually eat these, and perhaps if you had a good source of chickens these would not be necessary, but as an additive, canned powdered eggs are a perfect shelf item as they can last up to seven years.

12. Pemmican


Pemmican is a survival treat invented by the Native Americans which was made from lean meat of local wild animals. The meat is dried over a fire, mixed with fat and flavoring berries and pressed into biscuit-sized snacks.

Bear Valley makes a range of pemmican products for outdoors regulars who are looking for a source of protein with a good taste and long shelf life.

13. MREs (Meals Ready To Eat)

Initially made for soldiers to have high-energy sources of foods that last a long time, MREs are essentially the basics of long-lasting foods that are made to be compact but carry 24 or 72-hours worth of nutrients.

These are great to throw in the bug out bag or any 72-hour survival kit as they always come with a lot of different meals in one pack which can be mixed or eaten on their own.

MREs are also great to use in short term scenarios such as in disasters where you need to rely on an emergency food source for a short amount of time. This is why most 72-hour survival kits will have an MRE or freeze-dried meal to go.

14. Twinkies

Even though they are sugar and fat packed, if you’re after a little bit of sweetness to add to the prepper’s pantry, Twinkies are the one dessert that have been proven to outlast a nuclear fallout.

In 2012, a science teacher finished an experiment to see how long they would last. He ate a pack of Twinkies that were 30 years old and aside from the bread tasting a little stale, they were completely fine.

Condiments to add to your pantry foods that last a long time

15. Salt/Sugar (indefinite)

While you can use honey as a type of sugar, which also lasts indefinitely, sugar and salts are great to add to foods and are basic ingredients in many recipes.

16. Baking soda (indefinitely)

Baking soda and baking powder last indefinitely, but again you need to think about if you actually want to be cooking breads or doughy items when the world is at an end. Some people avoid stocking too many items that require a lot of cooking.

17. Honey (too long 100 years+)

Honey, as mentioned above, is a great natural sugar and lasts forever.

18. Stock/bouillon (10+years)

This not only works for soups, but also potato or rice to add an extra flavoring to a dish.

19. Instant coffee, cocoa powder, tea (10+ years)

Depending on your water reserves, you might not want to be drinking too much coffee if you need to be relying on your prepper’s stockpile of food.

20. Powdered milk (20+ years. Should use a moisture absorber in their storage packs)

Powdered milk and even powdered protein supplements are a must-have for the pantry as the powdered milk can be cooked with or used in drinks and the protein powder provides a lot of nutrients you might usually not get.

Freeze-dried ready to go emergency foods that last a long time

Every prepper’s pantry should also have emergency food supplies that can be grabbed in a bug out situation, such as if your place was to be overrun with people desperate for supplies, or you need to leave because of a disaster or other threat.

There are some great emergency food supply companies that provide sets of food supplies such as:

How to start your own emergency food supply

When you first come into the world of prepping, there is a lot run through and it is easy to get lost. Here are some simple steps to help you draw up your own food supply and a way you can do it on a budget too.

  1. Make a food and water plan for you and your family
  2. Use this list to identify foods under $5 that have a long shelf life
  3. Store your water the right way

 

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