Stocking up your pantry with foods that last a long time, will give you peace of mind and will save you money in the long term. Prepping for an emergency by buying cheaper foods with long shelf lives is the key to building up your stockpile. Currently, inflation has risen prices be mindful of the cost per item or unit. This list will help you decide what is worth buying when you see a great price.
What foods to buy for storage?
When buying foods for long-term storage purchase ingredients that you and your family love and will eat. Spoiled or uneaten food is just a waste of money. You also want ingredients that will be used and rotated with newer ingredients, so items are not in the pantry for 30 years untouched.
How to store food in the pantry for long-term storage?
Long-term food should be stored in airtight containers in a cool dry dark place at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit or below. In some cases, best in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
Be mindful of animals and critters getting into food stored in paper or thin plastic, like flour, rice, pasta, oats, crackers, or cereal. You can purchase food-grade buckets with easy-access gamma lids to easily store items more securely.
Best By vs Use By Date Expiration Dates
When a manufacturer puts a use by date and sometimes freeze by date, they indicate when a food product is no longer safe to eat. You will typically see these dates on dairy or meat products, like milk or even precooked sausage. If you freeze it and defrost it a week later, just make sure to consume it right away.
If a manufacturer puts a best by date, it's a bit more flexible within about 3 - 12 months. It can be consumed but the flavor and texture will not be as good. You will see these dates typically on cereal, cookies or crackers.
Remember these dates depend mostly on storage conditions, food must be stored properly for it to keep good or consumable. If food smells or looks not normal (ie discolored, slimy or moldy) do not consume it.
What foods last up to 1 year after their best by date?
- Oats (will lose nutritional value over time)
- White Flour (up to 6 months or 1 year in the freezer)
- Wheat Berries (up to 6 months in mylar with oxygen absorbers or 1 year in the freezer)
- Popcorn (up to 1 year in mylar with oxygen absorber)
- Peanut Butter or Nut Butters
- Jams and Jelly
- Commercial Canned Coconut Milk
- Baking Soda (Test by mixing with vinegar tablespoon of vinegar and it should fizz and bubble up)
- Baking Powder (Test by mixing a tablespoon of hot water and it should fizz and bubble up)
- Baking Mixes (up to 6 months)
- Vegetable Oil
- Jarred Pasta Sauce
- Jarred Pickled Vegetables
- Snack Bars
- Pudding or Jello Mixes
- Rice and Noodle Mixes
- Hot Sauce
- Dried Herbs and Spices
What foods last up to 10 years?
- Commerical Powdered Milk (up to 5 years)
- Commercial Canned Whole Egg Powdered (up to 7 years)
- Tea Bags (up to 2 years)
- Ghee (up to 2 years)
- Cocoa Powder (up to 3 years)
- Extra Virgin or Virgin Coconut Oil (up to 5 years)
- Dried Beans and Lentils (up to 3 years airtight in mylar with oxygen absorbers)
- Instant Potatoes (up to 2 years)
- Unsweetened Chocolate (up to 2 years)
- Dehydrated Fruits (up to 5 years)
- Commerical Beef Jerky ( up to 2 years)
- Protein Powder (up to 2 years)
- MRE’s - Ready to Eat Meals (up to 5 years)
- Commercially Canned Foods (Make sure to check cans for no rust, dents, leaking, or swelling) Foods that are more acidic will expire sooner like tomatoes, fruits, and meats can last up to 12- 18 months. While low-acid canned foods like soups and vegetables will last for a longer about 2-5years.
Check the USDA website here for more food safety information.
What foods last up to 20 years?
- Maple Syrup
- Hard Liquor/Alcohol
- Bullion Cubes
- Soy Sauce
- Whorceshire Sauce
- Corn Syrup
- Homemade Pure Vanilla Extract
- White Rice - (Airtight, Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers)
- Dried Pasta - With just semolina flour and water (Airtight, Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers)
- Freeze Dried Foods including Fruits and Vegetables
- Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
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