April 20, 2024

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

If you have eyes and ears, you know things are not good. Having a stockpile of food is an absolute necessity. Maybe you’ll never actually need it, but the peace and comfort you’ll have knowing it’s there if you need it makes it all worth it. No parent wants to tell their child they don’t have anything to feed the.

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Food is energy. Energy is survival. You are going to have a lot of tasks that require manual labor. You’ll burn through calories pretty fast. If you don’t have calories to do things like chop wood, haul water or take care of your garden, you’re not going to make it. It’s dire, but it’s true.

When you are stockpiling food, you need to think long-term. It’s better for your budget. Foods that only last a few months or a year are not a good use of your money. Don’t you dare stock up your freezer, either. Shelf-stable foods that don’t require refrigeration are the way to go.

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1. Bouillon Cubes

Ignore the expiration date on the container. They’ll last if stored correctly. A bouillon cube can take a cup of water to a cup of broth. It takes a bland stew up a notch. Bouillon cubes are used to flavor gravies, soups and even rice or bean dishes.

To store the cubes, the key is to keep them absolutely dry. You can open the sealed container, divide them into Ziploc bags and add an O2 absorber. For extra protection, put the bags into a sealed container with another oxygen absorber.

2. Canned Foods

It doesn’t necessarily matter what kind of canned foods you store. However, some meat and tomato products are not going to store as long as veggies. Fruits will typically be okay but you’ll want to watch your canned goods close to check for any signs of spoilage. Any leaking or bulging cans go straight to the trash. Don’t touch and don’t open.

One of the benefits to canned goods is you can eat whatever it is straight out of the can. Cooking isn’t required. It might improve the taste, but it isn’t necessary. It’s easy to make a meal without needing to wait or using precious water to put it together. Cans need to be kept in a room temperature space away from sunlight.

3. Cornstarch

This is probably not going to be something you eat, but it is a thickening agent. Once again, a bouillon cube, cornstarch and water and you have a gravy that you could add to bland potatoes, meat or just about anything. Gravy makes anything better.

It is also a good thickener for a stew or sauce. Because cornstarch is typically sold in a box, it’s going to be susceptible to moisture. Putting it in a gallon-size bag with oxygen absorbers and then sealing in an air-tight container gives it the best shot at longevity.

4. Dried Beans

Beans are a prepper staple. It’s up to you what kind of beans you store, but pinto beans are the cheapest and you can change the taste and texture with very little effort to keep things fresh. Beans are filling and packed with protein. They are a no-brainer. You want them. If you’re more inclined to go for black beans or another type, go for it. They are easy to store for twenty, thirty years or longer.

The best way is to buy in bulk and then divide them into a few cups in a mylar bag. This prevents you having to open and close a container, exposing the beans to air. Air is moisture and moisture is the killer of any food. To give your beans a little extra shelf-life, add an oxygen absorber. The Mylar bags should be vacuum sealed. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, there are some other ways you can achieve the same effect. It’s a quick Google search. It doesn’t hurt to place the sealed bags in a bucket with a lid.

5. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits are great for snacking. You can eat them straight out of the container or rehydrate them to make a fruit pie or other dessert. They can be nutritious and satisfy a sweet tooth. To store them for long-term, it is absolutely imperative they are dry, like very dry. Any moisture and it will mold. It’s important to keep oxygen absorbers in every bag. Store them in small bags to avoid having to open them often.

6. Flour

White flour is a critical item to have. Whole wheat flour is healthier, but it won’t store as long as bleached flour. You can make bread, pancakes, tortillas and so many baked goods. A little flour and water and you’ve got something to eat.

The key to storing flour is putting it in the freezer for a week or two before you divvy it up into your containers. Mylar bags are a perfect option for this. Add an O2 absorber and a bay leaf to repel bugs. Seal the bags and store in a sealed bucket or on a shelf.

7. Freeze Dried Foods

These are awesome. Fabulous. But expensive. If you can afford to stock your pantry with freeze-dried foods, go for it. If you can afford a freeze dryer, that’s another option to freeze dry and store your harvest. Freeze dried foods needs water to reconstitute.

This is one of the downsides to the freeze-dried option. Water is a precious commodity and you don’t want to have to use a lot just to eat a meal. However, the meals are good and there is a large variety. There isn’t much to the storage, just keep it dry and away from the heat.

8. Honey

Honey may not technically be a whole meal, but add it to a dry biscuit, some fruit or a cup of tea or plain hot water for a calorie boost. Raw honey has amazing medicinal qualities as well. To store it, you can use mason jars with sealed lids. Keep it in a cool, dry climate. Even if it gets hard, it’s not bad. Just cut a chunk out and heat it up and it’s honey.

9. Instant Coffee

You might think of a cup of Joe, which it is, but it’s also a useful baking ingredient. It can be used to flavor meat or used to make oatmeal just a little more flavorful. You don’t need to do anything special for storage for instant coffee. Just keep it cool, dry and out of direct sunlight.

10. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is amazing on pancakes and waffles, but it’s more than that. It can make boring veggies sweet and savory. Use it as a marinade for meats or add a little something to plain white rice. It’s a natural sweetener for baked goods.

Drizzle it over a salad for a burst of flavor or add some to fresh fruit to make it a dessert. Real maple syrup, not maple flavored syrup will last for decades. Again, store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

11. Oats

Oats, old-fashioned oats, will last for decades. Oats can be used as a thickener for stews, used to make bread or as oatmeal. Oats are also good toppings for fruit dishes in place of granola. Use oats to create a breading for meats. Buy in bulk and divide into Mylar bags. Same drill, add O2 absorbent pack and seal.

12. Pasta

Pasta in a variety of forms can be a meal in itself. Because pasta is flour based, you’ll want to drop it in the freezer for a week or two before you store it. You can leave it in the box it came in, but you’ll want to store it in a foodsafe bucket to make sure it stays dry.

13. Powdered Milk

Powdered milk can be used as it was intended, a glass of milk. But beyond that, it can be used in baking, as a coffee or tea creamer or added to hot chocolate. Powdered milk can also be used to make yogurt or ice cream.

Adding a little to soups or stews can help thicken the product as well as add a creamy texture. You’ll want to pour the powdered milk into a plastic or glass container or into a Mylar bag. Don’t store it in the box it comes in. Add an oxygen absorber to each container. Store in a cool, dry place.

14. Rice

White rice will last for decades. Brown rice might be more nutritional, but it won’t last very long before it goes rancid. White rice is one of the prepper favorites. It’s filling and versatile. It all comes down to seasoning.

Add a little soy sauce, which will pretty much last forever and should be on your shelf or eat it plain. Add some spice for a new flavor. Use as a thickener for stews and soups. Grind the rice to make rice flour which can be used in baking. Rice pudding or some sweet rice makes a nice dessert. Blending cooked rice and water makes rice milk which is a substitute for cow’s milk.

Rice should be divided into smaller packages. Every time you open a container, you are introducing moisture. Once again, Mylar bags are a great option. You could also vacuum seal in Foodsaver bags or standard Ziploc bags with an O2 absorber will keep it nice and dry and extend the shelf life.

15. Salt

Salt isn’t necessarily a food, but it is an absolute necessity to the diet. Salt really does make just about anything palatable. Salt is a useful meat preservation tool as well. Ideally, you’ll want to remove the salt from the container. Pour it into an airtight container or small Mylar bag. It’s absolutely crucial the salt stays dry.

16. Sugar

Sugar is a lot like salt. You need it to hep balance your electrolytes. It’s a necessary ingredient in many baking recipes. It can be used to flavor drinks, stews, or even rice dishes. It’s also a big part of marinades and meat rubs. Sugar will be destroyed if it gets even a little wet.

Sugar is prone to weevils. Unfortunately, unlike flour, you can’t put it in a freezer to kill the larvae. To store sugar for the long term, it will need to be transferred to an airtight container. You’ll need desiccant bags, aka oxygen absorbers to keep the moisture away. Store the sugar somewhere it won’t freeze or get too hot. It should never be exposed to direct sunlight.

17. Whole Wheat Berries

Wheat is more nutritional than standard flour. However, to store it for long term, you need to store wheat berries. These are the unprocessed kernels of wheat. Wheat berries are very versatile. As is, they can be used as a healthy breakfast cereal. Use a mill to make into flour as needed for baking or making pasta.

Cooking whole wheat berries makes a nice side dish. Ideally, you should store your wheat berries in an airtight container. As with everything else, it has to be kept dry. Using the oxygen absorber in every container or vacuum sealed bag helps ensure that.

It’s also a good idea to add a bay leaf to the bag or container to repel pests. Some people will add a layer of diatomaceous earth to the bottom of a large bucket and put the bags or other containers of wheat berries on top and seal it up.

As always proper rotation is the key to keeping your food stock in good shape. Regularly check on it to make sure you haven’t had a pest invasion or water intrusion into your storage area. If you’re in a particularly humid area, it would be a good idea to keep a dehumidifier in the area during humid months. Adding open boxes of baking soda on the shelf with your food supply can also help remove moisture.

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