Long-life foods: These 10+ foods last practically forever (even without refrigeration)

Get to know the ultimate long-term shelf-life foods that you can store for years without worry - without refrigeration or fear of spoilage.

from Martin Gebhardt | Prepping | reading time 7 Min
Updated on 18 September 2023 705 views 100% found this guide helpful
Long-life foods: These 10+ foods last practically forever (even without refrigeration)

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Store grains like rice in a dry and cool place - they are virtually indefinitely shelf-stable.
  • Dried fruits and honey remain edible for years with proper storage.
  • Canned goods, when properly sealed, are very long-lasting, even beyond the expiration date.
  • Dried legumes, pasta, and spices like salt are also very shelf-stable.
  • Store everything in a dark, dry, and preferably cool place to extend its shelf life.
  • Pay attention to the expiration dates and use your senses to determine if food is still edible.

Endlessly durable food is ideal for crisis preparedness and emergency supplies.

Here I show you 10 foods that are extremely long-lasting, almost indefinitely, even without a refrigerator!

The first overview of the top 10 long-lasting foods

Here is a table of the top 10 durable foods:

No. Food Reason for Long Shelf Life Storage Shelf Life Cost
1 Rice Drying removes water Cool, dry, dark Practically unlimited Low
2 Dried fruits Water removal through drying Cool, dry, dark Several years Medium
3 Honey Contains natural preservatives Cool, dry, dark Several decades Medium
4 Canned goods Preservation through heating Cool, dry Very long, beyond expiration date Low to medium
5 Salt Water removal and natural preservation Dry and airtight Unlimited Very low
6 Beans Dried Cool, dry Several years Low
7 Oatmeal Drying removes water Cool, dry Several months Low
8 Nuts Dry shell protects kernel Cool, dry, dark Several years Medium to high
9 Dry powder Water removal through drying Cool, dry Very long Low to medium
10 Pasta Dried Cool, dry Practically unlimited Low

1. Rice - everlasting

Rice is a staple food that is used in many kitchens around the world. It is not only versatile and easy to prepare, but also extremely durable and almost non-perishable.

brauner und weisser reis

Rice like white rice, brown rice, or wild rice can be stored practically indefinitely without spoiling if stored properly.

It is important that the rice is dry and protected from moisture. You can store both white rice and whole grain rice in stock.

Rice is a great source of carbohydrates and also contains some important vitamins and minerals.

2. Dried fruits - cool and dry, they last forever

Dried fruits are a delicious and non-perishable snack option without the need for refrigeration. They are made by drying fresh fruit and therefore retain many of the nutrients of the original fruit.

trockenobst unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

Dried fruits can be stored practically indefinitely without spoiling when stored in a dry and dark place. You can keep various varieties, such as raisins, apricots, or dates in stock.

3. Honey - never spoils

Honey is a natural sweetener that is extremely long-lasting.

honig lange haltbar wundversorgung

When stored cool, dry, and dark, honey is practically eternal and does not spoil. It contains a lot of sugar and little water. This stops bacteria and small creatures from growing.

You can store honey for years without the taste or consistency changing. This makes honey ideal for emergency supplies - it lasts forever.

4. Canned Food - Perfect for Your Food Supply

Canned goods are a convenient option for non-perishable food items without refrigeration. Canned goods are practically indefinitely shelf-stable for products with no fat content and in tightly sealed cans or jars.

notvorrat nahrung konserven

It is important that there are no foreign objects in the can and that the can is not damaged. Canned goods are ideal for emergencies - they stay fresh beyond the expiration date.

5. Spices, such as salt - practically endless shelf life

Salt is food that practically lasts forever. Perishable? Only after decades!

salz pfeffer gewuerze unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

If stored dry, salt is indefinitely durable and does not spoil.

Even sea salt is extremely long-lasting when stored properly (dry and airtight).

With salt, as well as with vinegar or sugar, the shelf life of many foods can be extended.

6. Beans - protein-rich provisions

Beans are another suitable option for long-lasting food. They are rich in protein, fiber, and various nutrients.

bohnen linsen erbsen unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

Dried beans can be bought everywhere and are then very long-lasting. You can keep various types of beans such as black beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas in stock.

You are a great addition to soups, stews, or as a side dish to various dishes.

7. Oatmeal - long-lasting and healthy

Oatmeal is not only a healthy breakfast, but also a long-lasting food.

haferflocken

You are rich in fiber and contain important nutrients such as iron and magnesium.

Oat flakes can be stored dry and are therefore long-lasting. You can use them as a base for muesli, oatmeal, or for baking.

8. Nuts - delicious not only when camping

Nuts are not only delicious but also very nutritious. They contain healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals.

nuesse

Nuts can be bought in their shell or shelled and are then long-lasting.

You can keep various types of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or cashews in stock and use them as a snack or as an ingredient in salads or other dishes.

Due to their higher fat content, they must not be missing in any long-term storage.

Also read

Seeds and Nuts: What is the Difference? - Are you curious about what distinguishes seeds from nuts? This guide will explain everything to you, and you will learn why the peanut is not a true nut.

9. Dry Powder - infinitely long-lasting

Dry powder such as milk powder or cocoa are also durable food items. They can be stored for a long time and are then available when needed.

milchpulver

Dry powders can be used as an ingredient in various recipes or simply prepared as a beverage. They are an adequate option to always have some milk or cocoa on hand without them spoiling.

10. Dry Pasta - loved by most family members

Dry pasta such as noodles or spaghetti is also extremely durable and should be included in every emergency supply.

nudeln unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

Dry stored, they are practically indefinitely durable. Even after the expiration date, they are still edible for a long time. Pasta can be quickly prepared and combined in various ways.

So these are 10 foods that are ideal for your emergency supply and crisis preparedness. Properly stored, these foods are practically indefinitely shelf-stable and will not spoil - even without refrigeration. With these, you are well-prepared for any emergency!

More long-lasting foods that are suitable for long-term storage

11. Sugar

Sugar is also one of the foods with practically unlimited shelf life. Household sugar is practically indefinitely durable when stored in a dry container.

Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild
Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

Furthermore, brown sugar, coconut blossom sugar, and other dry cane sugar are extremely long-lasting and do not spoil when stored in a dry place. Forget the expiration date: Sugar is indefinitely shelf-stable when properly sealed.

Read also

10 astonishing survival uses for household sugar - Sugar is available in every household. And especially in emergencies, one must be resourceful. I will now show you tricks on what you can do with sugar.

12. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a staple food that is known for its extremely long shelf life.

Dry and cool stored, cornstarch is practically indefinitely durable. It does not spoil nor does it lose its typical properties. Cornstarch can be used versatile for cooking and baking.

maisstaerke unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

13. Vinegar

Vinegar has a very long shelf life due to its acidic properties. Its varieties like white wine vinegar are practically indefinitely shelf-stable when stored in a dark, cool place. Vinegar kills bacteria and therefore does not spoil. It can be used for cooking and preserving.

apfelessig

14. Liquor

High-proof alcohol like liquor is extremely long-lasting due to its high alcohol content. Liquor practically never spoils when stored in a dark place. Even opened bottles can still be enjoyed for years. Liquor is therefore ideal for emergency supplies.

alkohol wein unverderbliches lebensmittel prepping

15. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a natural sweetener that is known for its extremely long shelf life. It is extracted from the sap of the maple tree and contains no additives. When stored in tightly sealed containers, maple syrup is practically indefinitely shelf-stable at room temperature.

ahornsirup glaeser

According to a study by Cornell University, no adverse changes in ingredients or taste were found even after four years of storage. I believe that even after 10 years, you will still not notice any changes.

Read also: The Liquid Gold of Trees: 16 Trees You Can Tap for Syrup

16. Rusk or canned bread

Crackers and canned bread are both very long-lasting and therefore suitable as emergency supplies for times of crisis. The advantage of crackers is that they can be enjoyed without any further preparation.

Canned bread, on the other hand, must be consumed quickly after opening the can. Zwieback, on the other hand, is easier to portion. However, canned bread is cheaper and has an extremely long shelf life of up to 5 years.

16. Water - bottled in glass bottles

Water is the most important food for emergency supplies. Experts recommend storing about two liters of drinking water per person per day for at least two weeks (calculate your exact water emergency supply here).

Ideal for bottled water in glass bottles.

Glass bottles are tasteless and 100% leak-proof, so no pollutants can penetrate. The natural mineral water remains pure and unchanged. In addition, glass bottles are sturdy and reusable.

Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild
Bitte beschreiben Sie das Bild

Unlike plastic bottles, there is no interaction with the water in glass bottles. There is no diffusion of ingredients into the water.

Bottled mineral water in 0.7 liter glass bottles has proven to be ideal for emergency supplies. The bottles are stackable, space-saving, and easy to transport.

If you want to be on the safe side, store mineral water in glass bottles in a cool, dark place. This way, it will stay fresh for years and will be readily available in case of emergency. Regular checking and refilling are important.

Also read

How long can water be stored before it goes bad? - Learn everything about storing water: When it goes bad, how often you need to change your water for emergencies, and how to keep it fresh.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about long-lasting food

What does "last forever" mean?

With "last forever" I mean that these foods can be stored for a long time without spoiling. Of course, durable foods also have an expiration date that you should pay attention to. But compared to fresh foods, these durable foods are much longer lasting and can therefore be kept in stock.

How should I store durable food?

It is important to store durable food properly to maximize its shelf life. Most durable foods should be stored in a dark and cool place - that is, in a location protected from sunlight and moisture.

You should also make sure to seal the packaging properly - to make it airtight - to prevent the entry of air and moisture.

bohnen lagern

How long are durable foods really durable?

The exact shelf life of durable food varies depending on the product. It is important to check the expiration date on the packaging to ensure that the food is still edible. However, durable food can generally last for several months to years as long as it is stored properly.

Can I eat durable food even after the expiration date?

The expiration date on the packaging indicates until when the food maintains its best quality and freshness.

After the expiration date, the food can still be safely consumed as long as there are no signs of spoilage or mold formation. However, you should always be cautious and use your senses to check if the food is still edible.

Are durable foods healthy?

Durable food can be a suitable option to have something edible on hand in emergencies or in case of an empty refrigerator.

They often contain important nutrients and can support a balanced diet. However, you should also make sure to include fresh foods in your diet to obtain a variety of nutrients.

What are some other durable foods?

In addition to the aforementioned foods, there are many other non-perishable foods. Some examples include brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, peas, lentils, canned fruit, canned meat, dried herbs and spices, granola bars, jerky, dried fish, and much more. You can choose various non-perishable foods based on your preferences and needs.

konservenfleisch

How to extend the shelf life of food in emergency supplies?

To extend the shelf life of food in emergency supplies, you should consider some basic tips.

  • It is important to store food in a cool, dark, and dry environment to maximize its shelf life.
  • Avoid storing food near heat sources or direct sunlight as this can lead to premature aging.
  • Furthermore, it is advisable to store food in airtight containers to protect them from moisture and pests.
  • It is also important to follow expiration dates and use products within their recommended shelf life.
  • Canned and packaged foods generally have a longer shelf life and are therefore suitable for emergency supplies.
  • A rotation system, where the first purchased foods are consumed first, also helps to ensure the freshness and quality of the emergency food supply.
trockenfleisch 2

Which Forever Foods are quickly inheritable?

Some foods spoil faster than others and should therefore be consumed immediately after purchase or stored properly.

The following foods are not intended for long-term storage.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those with high water content like berries, tomatoes, and salads, tend to spoil quickly.
  • Dairy products like yogurt and cheese, as well as meat and fish, are also susceptible to quick spoilage due to the proteins and bacteria they contain.
  • The same goes for eggs, which should be stored safely in the refrigerator.
  • Baked goods, especially those prepared fresh and without preservatives, can also mold within a few days.
  • Cooked meals and leftovers should be consumed within two days to avoid potential bacterial contamination.

Proper storage and handling of these foods, however, can help extend their shelf life and prevent food waste.

Eggs included? Then it won't last long!
Eggs included? Then it won't last long!

Conclusion: extremely long-lasting food can be found everywhere

In this article, I have presented to you 10 long-lasting foods that you can always have in stock.

These groceries are a great option to always have something edible on hand without it spoiling.

You can use them for emergencies (Blackout, Flood, Gas crisis, etc.) or simply as a convenient option for when you don't have time to go shopping.

Remember to store perishable food properly and check the expiration date to ensure they are still edible.

So fill your pantry with these durable foods and always be well-prepared.

Matching this, I recommend two guides and calculators:

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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