Storage Jar with Food

Long Term Food Storage List – 12 Essentials Items in 2022

With the unstable conditions of the world we currently live in, there is no better time to prepare a good supply of necessities for our survival, just as the popular motto for the Boy Scouts – ‘Be Prepared’. These necessities are none other than the basic shelter, water, food and of course security and safety.

However, I do always find myself in a dilemma when dealing with food storage as they are the most versatile. I always question myself as to what food to store and how long could I store them before they go bad. What are the best methods to store certain foods to prolong their shelf life?

I start to ponder these queries as I couldn’t imagine living off the same food every day in times of crises or rainy days. Being in self-isolation or in quarantine (for that matter) doesn’t mean that your diet must suffer as well. Live life and eat well. Be creative, mix-and-match ingredients and you might just surprise yourself with what you can make.

With that being said, I did my homework regarding this and here to share my long-term food storage list with you. Use this list the next time you go for your grocery run, and I can assure you that you are pretty much set for much longer than you expect with a stocked-up and ever-ready pantry. If you aren’t looking for individual food picks, you can check our the best survival food kits in the market too.

You can choose to purchase 30-day food kits as well. This helps you manage expectations and costs, which will help a lot in your planning. Do check out our article on the 30-day 1-person food kit for more information.

Importance of Stocking Up

Crises and Emergency Preparedness

Having a stocked-up pantry and food storage is like having a shield of protection during difficult times of crises where public movement is restricted or halted. There are various factors which could cause this such as a breach in security, a viral pandemic or even power outages due to snowstorms. I am sure that these would be stressful times unless you have a backup plan, because I did feel that way when I didn’t have storage.

Food Security

Food storage also provides a form of security for you and your family. This is important especially during tough times such as becoming ill, job retrenchment and seasonal or fluctuating salaries. Having lots of food ready-to-go indirectly saves you stress greatly during these uncertain times. This means that you would never go hungry no matter what happens.

As a Cost Saving Measure

I feel that stocking up food is indirectly also a form of saving some money, as usually we would stock up in bulk quantities, and take advantage of bundle deals. Having food storage also saves trips to the grocery store, so you save money on transport and time. I personally feel that I did save some money with promotional packs, so it’s something you should consider doing too.

Saves Cooking Time

With most of the food in storage would be partially processed, pre-cooked or fully cooked, you could be ensured that some cooking or preparation time could be saved when whipping up your next meal. I feel that so much time is used up when dealing with fresh ingredients especially poultry and proteins which require a slightly longer time to cook. This generally refers to canned food and meals which are ready-to-eat.

Best Conditions for Long Term Food Storage

Temperature

Temperature plays an extremely big role in ensuring that your stored food remains fresh and edible for an extended period. Food stored between 50°F (10°C) to 75°F (24°C) would last much longer than at common room temperature which is slightly higher than the upper bound of this range.

Temperatures which are considered ‘warm’ which is around body temperature of 99°F (37°C) would encourage bacterial growth and decomposition of the food. At even higher temperatures, the food itself would degrade and lose its nutritional values. Therefore, a cool storage temperature is optimal for long term storage.

Humidity

The main objective of food storage is to prolong its shelf life as long as possible. Therefore, any form of moisture from the air should be eliminated with the use of silica gel or dehydrate the food from the get-go.

Presence of water (vapour) from the air could promote microbial and fungal growth on the food and making it inedible.

Oxygen

The use of oxygen absorber packets is important to ensure proper long-term food storage. These are commonly found in packaged food which are sensitive and turn bad easily due to microbial attacks from the air such as vitamins, dried vegetables and certain baked goods.

(Sun)light

Food in storage could degrade due to extreme exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, with additional heat, it promotes bacterial growth. Sunlight could cause food discolouration, loss of vitamins and denaturation of proteins. Therefore, the food storage area should be in low light conditions for prolonged shelf life.

My Food Storage List

Rice

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One of the most important staple food for a large portion of the human population. To me, rice is a cheap and versatile food which could be easily paired with most ingredients. These grains could be made into porridge/congee as well with excessive amounts of water.

Not to forget that uncooked rice has an extremely long storage life, depending on the storage conditions and type of rice. Rice in non-oxygenated conditions could last up to 30 years if stored correctly. Vacuum packaged rice obviously lasts longer (for 8 – 10 years), followed by rice in cans, then frozen rice.

I always have some stored in air-tight containers and refrigerated. I believe they could easily store up to a couple of years. There were so many combinations that I did with rice, even to make risotto. The best source of carbohydrates without breaking the bank.

Now comes the question of which rice is best suited for you. In general, I opt for white rice over brown rice as I personally don’t like the texture of being too grainy. However, brown rice is whole grain and has more fibre which improves digestion which is the healthier option. So, this boils down to personal preference.

  • Check out the 2.5 kg Acquerello rice bag which is vacuum-sealed to retain its freshness for at least 15 months without refrigeration. One of the best Carnaroli rice for making risottos.
  • Long-grained Brown rice pail from Augason Farms with 242 servings are excellent for bulk storage with an extremely long shelf life of up to 7 years. It is also certified gluten-free.

Pasta

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This is another staple food which most of us have in our pantry, as we should. Dry pasta is an ideal prep for long term storage as it has minimal moisture content. I always have a variety of pasta stored in my pantry (in air-tight containers with oxygen absorbers) so there is always something new to try.

I personally like penne and macaroni, so I have more of them stocked up. Others Italian pastas include orzo (rice-shaped pasta), linguine, bow-ties and rigatoni. There are also oriental pastas such as egg noodles, wanton skins, rice noodles and even soba which is made from buckwheat.

With simple homemade sauce to make aglio-olio, I always find it delightful to have a bowl of pasta on the table. Don’t forget that you could also oven-bake your pasta, so you get a nice crust on the outside with a smooth creamy texture inside. The possibilities are endless.

In general circumstances, dry pasta could last for a couple of years after expiry, while freeze-dried ones could last for tens of years.

Oats

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Oats and oatmeal fall comfortably in the list of prepping food with a long shelf life (safely up to 2 years, and much longer under deoxygenated conditions). With low levels in saturated fat and high in fibre they seem like an essential item in trying times, and they are in my opinion.

Oats are also versatile in many ways. Other than conventional methods of soaking it or cooking it with water, they could be pounded into baking flour or even toasting them. I sometimes grind them into coarse powders and cook them together with seafood such as prawns. Plain oats can be complemented with fruits (which is what I usually go for), dessert toppings or even sugar.

There are several kinds of oats which could be found easily in the market.

  • Rolled oats are oat groats which are steamed and rolled into flakes. They usually stay fresh longer and takes a slightly shorter time to cook.
  • Quick oats (instant oats) are oats which are cut into smaller pieces, rolled thinner and steamed longer. Therefore, with just boiling water, the oats are ready to eat.
  • Steel-cut oats consists of groats which are cut coarsely with a blade. After cooking, they retain a chewy texture rather than being mushy as in quick oats.

So, based on your preference and level of consumption you would consider these choices. We chose Quaker oats because they are well-known for providing high-quality and tasty oats. Branding is an important consideration, especially when it comes to survival food. You don’t want your food to spoil when shit hits the fan. Therefore, buying from the best survival food companies is vital.

  • Quaker has been ruling the oats game for a very long time for its exceptional quality and taste. The shelf life is comfortably above a year. Quaker Quick 1-Minute Oats consist of 100% whole grain oats are sodium-free and heartily nutritious.
  • Auguson Farms also have storage buckets of rolled oats with 181 servings with an astonishing 30-year shelf life so you can never go hungry.

Beans

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Another storage prepper’s dream are beans. It is the best ingredient other than those staple carbohydrates of rice and pasta. I stock up on beans as well. Any kind of beans – dried beans, baked beans in a can and even refried beans. The more types you have in your storage, the more flexibility you have when you really need them.

Beans in general provide lots of energy and fibre as well as some protein. They also add some texture to your food stockpiles. As a similar state as rice, dry beans can last for a very long time if stored in deoxygenated conditions. So, there is no reason for you to get extra in your next shopping trip.

I prefer canned baked beans which have a substantial shelf life, could be enjoyed hot or cold and could be paired with rice, as a side for sandwiches and eggs or even eaten plain with some spices. They are basically ready-to-eat whereas dry beans require some cooking and of course some soaking time.

  • Augason Farms Pinto Beans in No. 10 cans with 52 servings are great storage reserves with up to 30 years shelf life. They are rich in protein and high in fibre. However, some cooking is required.
  • Whereas pinto beans from Nature’s Greatest are ready-to-serve, which means that they are pre-cooked. Also comes in No. 10 cans with 24 servings

Canned Food

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This is quite a general category but yes, any canned food under the sun is practically good for storage with a substantial shelf life. Canned meat is quite popular for storage, and I can clearly see why. It’s the best source of protein and you can get them anytime in a can.

With current technological advancements, anything could come in a can these days. From fruits to vegetables, to meats, soups, tuna, eggs and even cheese. I always look out for beef jerky, or meat jerky in general. Meat chunks work well too, as a burrito filling or for stews.

I also tend to reach out for canned tuna as they are great cracker toppings and I could make tuna sandwiches out of them. There are so many variants, it is just impossible to try them all. Canned sardines are also another must-have in everyone’s pantry. This just comes to show how far food processing has come and we get to enjoy foods that we really want anytime of the year, and without the hassle of cooking fresh products.

  • I totally recommend the tuna chunks from StarKist. They come in small cans with various flavours (low sodium, in water, in oil). I could assure that they are of premium quality and delicious. Furthermore, they are wild-caught, gluten-free and dolphin safe. Has a substantial shelf-life of 3 years.
  • Another crowd favourite is Campbell’s Chunky chicken noodle soup. The heart-warming and comforting food for the soul is best enjoyed during winter or during rainy days (literally). Who could say no to that? Campbell’s also has various canned soup meals which cater for everyone with shelf life of at least 2 years from processing time.

A great tip is to always buy canned food in bulk (6-pack or 12-pack) so you could save some money.

Cheese

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Cheese can also be considered a long-term food storage option, which could be used as a topping or eaten as is. There are various kinds of chesses which are also stored in various ways. Some of which are freeze-dried cheese, cheese in wax and vacuum-packed cheese. Usually cheeses encased in wax or vacuumed packed last extremely long unopened and refrigerated.

I usually opt for the common types of cheese either in grated or powdered form, as they are easier to handle compared to thick cuts. These include the basic cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella variants, which are great for sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, dips and even to thicken soups. A hot and fast-moving item in my household.

Although cheese is considered a dairy product, you would be amazed as how the storage technology of cheese has extended its shelf life by leaps and bounds. A must-have in the common pantry or refrigerator.

  • I highly recommend the powdered cheese in-a-can by Augason Farms due to its extremely long storage period of up to 10 years, whilst maintaining its flavour and it is certified gluten-free.
  • Another variant which I currently have is the 100% grated parmesan cheese by Kraft. The flavour is excellent and has an approximately 1-year shelf life. However, it could be frozen to maintain its flavour and thawed when needed. Good stuff.

Dried Eggs

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This item is unique, and immediately caught my attention when I saw it in-store. Fresh eggs which have been processed (dried) to extend its shelf life for up to 10 years. How amazing is that?

There are even different variants such as scrambled eggs mix, egg whites, egg yolks and powdered eggs. With these, you don’t have to worry of your eggs going bad, and you can get them anytime. Variants such as egg whites and yolks are usually used in baking and as thickeners for other savoury dishes.

I usually get the scrambled eggs mix because it is one of my personal favourites during the morning. Just these and some salt and pepper, its just heavenly. Plain and pure, packed with protein, just like the real eggs.

  • Judee’s Whole Egg Powder are packed in bags which are suitable for both camping and storage, with a shelf life of 12 months. Each pack is large, and contents have an equivalence of 52 whole eggs which are less than 30 days old. The eggs are pasteurised which kill bacteria whilst maintaining freshness and its nutritional value.
  • The scrambled eggs mix from Augason Farms is one of my recommendations. It has an astonishing shelf life of 10 years unopened. It is certified gluten-free and only needs water for consumption. During preparation, I used less water than prescribed to get a firmer texture.

Food & Fruit Bars

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Not only are these snacks great for backpacking, but did you know that they are great for storage too? These dry goods could fill up any small space in a pantry and could even replace main meals in times of emergency. They usually have a substantial shelf life and can be prolonged if stored in dry and deoxygenated conditions.

Food bars in general come in various forms, such as protein bars, common breakfast bars, fruit bars and pemmican (biscuit-sized snacks made of lean meat from local produce). It is good to have a variety of these stored up so that you won’t get bored of eating the same thing.

In general, food bars are high in protein as they usually have a nut component as the base. I sometimes reach out for the nut bars as I enjoy the crunchy and nutty texture and replaces my breakfast whenever I am on-the-go. I also usually have a couple in my bug out bag and during my travels.

  • CLIF Bars are what I usually have extra in storage as I pack them for my travels and have a shelf life of about 18 months. They come in a wide range, which I have yet to cover them all. I am currently addicted to the peanut butter and banana flavoured bar. Excellent source of protein and energy with non-GMO ingredients. One of my favourites.
  • I also recommend the fruit bars by a brand called ‘That’s It. The fruit bars are made with 100% real dried fruits which come in several variants. I believe that these would be a hit with the kids, as they are slightly sweeter but has an overall fresh taste. Also has an approximate 18-month shelf life.

Instant and Pre-mix Drinks

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Having powdered or pre-mix drinks are great to add some flavour in your life. These include, but not limited to coffee, chocolate, fruit juices and milk (mostly in dry form for longer shelf life). These instant drinks are the next best bet as you may not have access to your daily dose of Starbucks.

Isotonic drink powders are great to have around as they can provide electrolytes whenever you need them, such as after sports. Powdered milk is also good which could be used as thickeners during cooking and baking. Of course, not to forget as a great source of protein for drinking and a very long shelf life.

On top of that, powdered drink mixes are excellent to enhance your drinking water, with majority of them with high Vitamin C, calcium and fibre contents. There are so many brands out there, it’s difficult to try them all.

  • I highly recommend the powdered drink mix from Crystal Light. They have several flavours such as fruit punch,  raspberry lemonade and fruit teas. I really like the classic orange flavour. Has a comfortable shelf life of 2 years, no artificial flavouring and low in calories. Super refreshing.
  • Check out Judees’ whole milk powder which consists of 100% pure whole milk powder from a Kosher-certified dairy farm. The product is gluten-free and a great choice for cooking as well as for drinking as liquid milk. Minimum 2 years shelf life.

Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables

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With advancement in food processing technology, brands like Augason Farms technically freeze-dry most of their food products, hence trademarking their foods’ 30-year shelf life and freshness. Without any water or moisture, bacterial growth and food decomposition is reduced or completely halted for a prolonged period, therefore food remains fresh longer.

Fruits such as apples, berries and even pineapples could be found in their freeze-dried forms. Common vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, chillies and peas can be easily purchased freeze-dried too.

I personally have a few cans of freeze-dried fruits stored just in case I need then for my next pie-making day. I also store some dried vegetables for soups and stews. You will never know when you will need them, and due to their long shelf-life, you don’t have to worry about them.

You could also DIY these yourself. Basically, any fruit or vegetable could possibly be dried. All you need is a food dehydrator to remove all the moisture content in the food. Lay them out on a try and you get the dry version after a few hours.

  • For other freeze-dried food and meals, check out this article where we reviewed the best freeze-dried meals according to categories, which are not only limited for backpacking.
  • I recommend the deluxe vegetable soup blend by Frontier Co-op. Each pack contains a plethora of dried vegetables which are ideal for soups, stews and other savoury dishes. The vegetables are sustainably grown and is kosher. If stored in deoxygenated conditions, I believe that they could last up to 10 years.
  • Also do check out the freeze-dried food collection from Mother Earth Products. They have a wide range of fruits, vegetables, soup mixed and even beans. Worth to check them out with their wide range of products. The products have a 25-year storage life and possess high level of nutritional values.

Biscuits and Crackers

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Dry foodstuff like biscuits and crackers are essential in everybody’s pantry. Not only that it has a long shelf-life, but it also versatile in many ways. They could be eaten plain, dipped, dunked or even crushed and added to cereals.

Generally, these crackers have a long shelf life to begin with, so nothing new there. Therefore, I would be highlighting MRE crackers and pilot crackers which have extremely long lifespan for long term food storage.

MRE crackers are specially packed individually and crafted to withstand extreme conditions and that includes extreme long storage periods. Pilot crackers last as long, as it is freeze dried and packed in No. 10 cans.

Usually, I would get the MRE crackers in bulk cartons or boxes as they move quite quickly in my household. Perfect for snacking and to bring out in my bug out bag. They taste just the same as normal unflavoured crackers. One of my food storage essentials.

Usually, I would get the MRE crackers in bulk cartons or boxes as they move quite quickly in my household. Perfect for snacking and to bring out in my bug out bag. They taste just the same as normal unflavoured crackers. One of my food storage essentials.

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

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And yes, of course a plethora of spices and condiments which not only aid in cooking but may be ingredients for home remedies as well. Sugar, salt, pepper, honey, tea leaves or tea bags, baking powder, paprika, parsley, dill, turmeric and so much more.

I would also like to throw in stock cubes and powdered bouillons which are great for flavouring soups, making sauces and savoury dishes. They are basically indirect flavour enhancers when poultry is unavailable to produce a hearty dish or meal. Stock these up too.

These ingredients basically do not expire at all and have indefinite shelf life. In my opinion, I feel that these are pantry and storage essentials which require no further explanation.

With that, here are a simple home remedies which you could try with these condiments.

  • Damp tea bags contain tannic acid which aids in soothing mouth ulcers
  • Gargling warm salt water loosens thick mucus in the throat and reduces inflammation
  • Drinking a mixture of baking soda and water could neutralise stomach acid and aid in heartburn
  • Sugar could help in soothing a burning mouth after consuming spicy food
  • Rosemary water could fight off dandruff
  • Herb-Ox Bouillon Chicken are worth giving a shot. I have tried them in soups and a simple vegetable stir-fry, and I have never changed it since. Individually wrapped to maintain freshness and made with real chicken.
  • For other remedies, check out this book full of home remedy techniques. Sometimes, that simple spice you have in storage could save a you a trip to the doctors. Less hassle, more convenience and more savings.

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, the 12 most essential foodstuff that are the best for long term food storage. I believe that majority, if not all of us have a pre-existing pantry with various ingredients stocked up.

Hopefully, this list could be a comprehensive checklist for you to complete your pantry, so you are forever prepared. These essentials could definitely last a long time with proper storage conditions.

I would love to know other essentials that you have which are unique in your pantry, and why it is important to know. Maybe I could update my own list in the next revision.

Stay safe out there!

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