Food. We need it to survive and prepping is the ultimate survivalist approach so it makes sense that we chat further about food storage & in particular long-life food types. So, what are the best long-life foods for prepping? How do we store food for prepping? Let’s find out about this basic prepping principle.
Water storage is pretty straightforward, but your choice of foods is a little more involved.
The best Long-life foods for prepping
Let’s start with the questions you need to ask yourselves before you go all gung-ho and stock up on 250 tins of spam. The decisions you make now will be the difference between looking at your stock and thinking “nailed it” or “why on earth did I buy a can of chilli that looks like dog food”.
Key considerations for stockpiling food
Ask yourself the following:
- Does anyone in your family have allergies or special dietary needs?
- Anyone vegetarian, vegan, etc?
- Does anyone need food supplements?
- Do you need food for infants, plus nappies, creams, etc?
- What about food for your pets?
The Essential Long-Life Food List
No messing about today we are jumping straight into it as I can sense you’re getting hungry. Below are the best long-life foods for prepping. With these in your storage you can rest assured you’ve got the basics down.
DRIED PASTA: (NOT the type made using eggs though. Type made from semolina, flour, and water are best) This can be kept almost indefinitely!
TEA: can easily be useable 6-12 months after its “best by” date
POWDERED MILK: can easily be useable 12 – 18 months after its “best by” date.
BEEF JERKY: can easily be useable 12- 24 months after its “best by” date.
TINNED/CANS: can easily be useable 2-5 years after its “best by” date. So long as the tins have not been subjected to intense heat, avoid dented cans and those with “swollen” tops, which could indicate bacteria build up inside.
STOCK CUBES: Little bouillon cubes like OXO used for stock or soups, if kept dry and well-sealed, can easily be useable many years longer than its “best by” date, although the taste will degrade over time
BAKING POWDER: A longer life as an alternative to yeast for bread making.
PEANUT BUTTER: If unopened jar, it can easily be useable 24 months plus after its “best by” date. After a couple of years, you may notice the oil separating and some loss of flavour. But will easily last far longer than 2 years after its “best by” date.
DARK CHOCOLATE: Because milk chocolate contains more diary, best store dark chocolate with a high cacao content and little or no milk. If stored in a cool place, it can easily be useable 5 years after its “best by” date. If white spots appear, this often means it got too hot. However, it is still safe to eat.
LIQUOR: Hard liquor and spirits can last almost indefinitely due to its high alcohol content. It is also considered as a preppers favourite “barter” item.
WHITE RICE: (not long-grain variety due to high oil content) White, Wild, Arborio, Jasmine, and Basmati Rice are the best types of rice to store indefinite shelf life if stored correctly (Avoid Brown rice, due to high oil content it only lasts a few months) However, take note, if tiny black bugs appear (weevils, common in ruining rice and flour). If these have got in, it’s ruined. So important to store in thoroughly dried airtight containers. But occasionally, they still appear as it’s possible their eggs got harvested with the rice itself, rare, but possible.
TIP: I have heard if you freeze it when you first buy it, that this will kill off any weevils or eggs.
EGGS: Rub fresh eggs all over with olive oil (stops air getting in), and they will stay fresh for up to a year unrefrigerated (turn the eggs monthly to stop the heavier yokes falling to the bottom and sticking to the shell). Powdered dried eggs are another good food store.
SALMON/TUNA, tinned: Shelf life is anything up to six years, and these offer very high amounts of quality protein and essential healthy fats.
VEGETABLE OIL: Best cooking oil to store due to its long shelf life compared with lard etc.
MEATS, tinned: Corned beef, SPAM, Chicken, Tinned Pies, etc.
Meals Ready to Eat (MRE): Meals Ready to Eat are popular with Preppers, Survival, and Bushcrafters. An MRE is simply a Meal Ready to Eat, most people think of military meals, but there are any numbers of civilian versions on the market. Good quality but can be expensive. More suited to “Bug Out” bag use as often light and easy to carry, compared to putting a dozen tins of canned food in your rucksac…But not necessary here for our HOME based preps and food stores.
DRIED BEANS and PULSES: If kept dry, these are pretty much indestructible. After about two years, they will lose much of their moisture and will require pre-soaking and often need longer cooking times to become edible again. Another long life, high protein food that is easy to store, though. They can be used to mix with all other foods, offering you a bulkier and more filling meal. Dried beans provide an excellent source of high fibre nutrition, including protein, as well as a source of iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Aduki beans / Black beans/ Black eyed peas/ Butter beans/ Cannelloni beans/ Edamame (soy beans) buy only organic or you will risk having GMO beans/ Fava beans/ Garbanzo beans/ Green beans/ Kidney beans – ideal for chilli/ Lima beans/ Lentils/ Navy beans / Pinto beans – staple for chilli/ Red beans/ White beans.
How do I estimate food stockpile quantities?
Now you know what you need, but how do you know HOW MUCH you need. Here follows the basic calculations below, to determine the amount of dry coffee that was needed for my personal 3-month prepper supplies:
I drink at least 8 cups of strong black coffee daily, no milk, no sugar
My favourite jar of coffee is a 300g jar.
I use a heaped spoon, so I spooned out a whole jar of coffee and discovered I get 130 spoonsful per jar.
130 divided by my average 8 cups a day = 16.25 days of coffee drank per jar.
3 months = an average of 91 days, divided this by the 16.25 per jar of coffeeDavid Pugh’s Coffee Calculations
So, the maths works out that I need 6 x 300g jars of coffee for my 3-month food cache.
Had I drank my coffee with milk and sugar, then I would need to do the same calculations for the milk and sugar also, based on powdered milk, though not your usual fresh milk.
I get through an average of 2 tins of baked beans a week, so typically over 3-month that equates to needing 24 can of baked beans.
So my planned 3 months’ food shopping list started with: –
6 x Jars of coffee
24 x Tins of Baked Beans
3 x 5kg packs white rice
(a 5kg bag works out sufficient to give you a serving of rice every day for one month, per person)
I hope this gives you some basic food types to consider & a simple way to determine how much to stockpile.
In my next blog I will introduce you to the EDC Bag concept…or now referred to as “Bag-Gate” after its airing on Channel 4’s “Married At First Sight Show”…So this bit is for everyone who expressed interest in what were the contents inside of this bag!!!! Coming soon 😊