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Extremely Durable Foods for Survival (Lasting 10+ Years)

When prepping, it's important to plan ahead: Stock up on these foods that will last forever. By doing so, you'll be prepared for any crisis situation.

from Martin Gebhardt | Prepping | no comment yet | reading time 4 Min
Updated on 13 June 2024 269.077 views 97% found this guide helpful
Extremely Durable Foods for Survival (Lasting 10+ Years)

Martin Gebhardt

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


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • There are several foods that are extremely long-lasting, including rice, hard biscuits, salt, sugar, pepper, dried lentils, beans, peas, and various canned goods.
  • Storing these foods should always be done in a dark and cool place. Under the right conditions, they can be safely stored for at least 10 to 20 years.
  • It is important to regularly check the foods to ensure that they are still edible. Check the foods with your senses: How do they smell? What is their firmness and shape? Has mold developed? Have insects nested?
  • Freeze-dried food, also known as MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat), is an excellent option for survival food, as it is extremely long-lasting and offers a wide range of flavors.
  • Water should be bottled in glass or food-safe containers and stored in a dark and cool place. It is essential not to store it in plastic bottles, as the plasticizers in the plastic can gradually leach into the water.

Recently, I was lying awake at night.

I asked myself: Which food is almost non-perishable? Even after 20 years? Which foods are extremely long-lasting?

What do you think?

  1. Rice
  2. Hardtack
  3. Pasta
  4. Couscous

If you choose 1 and 2, I agree with you. Unfortunately, number 3 and 4 do not last forever, but still a very long time.

If a real emergency occurs (such as a blackout or EMP attack), I want to have food prepared.

Now, I will show you foods that REALLY last a long time.

Provided that you store and care for the food correctly.

Then they have a chance to never spoil.

Let's start with the basic foods.

Indefinitely Shelf-Stable Foods from the Pantry

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Semolina
  • Water (in glass bottles)
  • Salt, Sugar, Pepper
  • Corn syrup, Honey, Maple syrup
  • Dried lentils, beans, peas
  • Canned goods (glass and can) with various contents
  • Crackers, Toast or Canned bread, Hardtack
  • Vinegar
  • Cornstarch
  • Spirits, Wine
  • Nonfat dry milk
  • Freeze-dried coffee / Instant coffee
  • Tea

Now you already know which foods are extremely long-lasting. Let's look at the foods more closely because there are a few details to consider.

1. Basic Foods That Are Non-Perishable

Most importantly: Keep the food free of moisture and store it completely dry. Pack them in airtight containers, and they are incredibly long-lasting.

It's best to buy food that is already sealed.

Here are the two best foods for emergency preparedness:

Uncooked rice is non-perishable. The expiration date doesn't matter.

Uncooked rice is non-perishable. The expiration date doesn't matter.
Uncooked rice is non-perishable. The expiration date doesn't matter.

2. Other Survival Foods That Are Non-Perishable

The foods listed below are theoretically non-perishable.

However, the texture of the food may change over time. Perhaps they become thicker and harder.

Occasionally, the taste also changes, which doesn't mean the food is bad.

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Sugar syrup

Especially, frozen maple and sugar syrup are infinitely durable.

Sugar syrup is infinitely durable
Sugar syrup is infinitely durable

There are also:

Properly stored, many preppers swear by beans
Properly stored, many preppers swear by beans

However, science is divided on the issue of consumption. And reports from the internet show that beans are no longer edible after 5 to 10 years.

Dried beans will sprout in 5 years, but they will not soften when cooked. This doesn't work even with a pressure cooker or if you cook them for 12 hours.

Even peas that you store for 10 years have this characteristic that they don't soften anymore - no matter how long you cook them.

With lentils, it's probably different. They are still edible and soft after 7 years.

The problem with this: In an emergency, you can't afford to burn a lot of fuel (wood, gasoline, electricity, etc.) for a bowl of beans. That doesn't make any cost-benefit sense.

I would be very interested to know if you have already prepared old legumes? Write it in the comments.

Also read: Can you live on just beans and rice? Do they contain all the nutrients?

3. Survival foods that are not perishable when frozen

There are foods for emergency preparedness that have a long shelf life.

These include pasta (buy here) and dried fruits (buy here).

However, there is a trick to make them truly infinitely durable: freeze them.

Pasta is very durable if stored properly
Pasta is very durable if stored properly

Note on pasta: Don't choose whole wheat pasta. They have a short shelf life due to the higher fat content.

Note on dried fruits: Take what you can get, such as cranberries, raisins, plums, cherries, apricots, banana chips, mangoes, dates, blueberries, or figs. But be careful with dried fruits from the market, which often contain additives for moisture. So grab a food dehydrator. This way you make sure that all the moisture is removed.

4. Basic ingredients that are non-perishable

These basic ingredients are infinitely durable. Once purchased, they can easily survive for 20 years.

It is important to store the food dry and airtight.

  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
Cornstarch never spoils
Cornstarch never spoils

5. Spices that don't spoil

To add some flavor to your rice, you also store spices.

Spices are infinitely durable. However, the taste may diminish over the years.

The significant thing is to package everything airtight and store it dry.

Spices, salt, and pepper are infinitely durable
Spices, salt, and pepper are infinitely durable

6. Drinks that don't spoil

First: Fill water in glass bottles or in food-grade containers and store them in a dark and cool place. The water keeps for a long time until it goes bad if you keep it closed.

But do not store it in plastic bottles (like the ones you get at the supermarket). Because the expiration date is not for the water itself, but for the plastic bottle in which the water is bottled. Plastic contains plasticizers that gradually seep into the water.

So, either transfer your water or take it straight from the tap.

Water is essential to life and is more important than food. Calculate your required emergency water supply per person.

What other drinks are infinitely durable:

  • Spirits
  • Wine
  • Nonfat dry milk (buy here, 1.2 kg)
  • Freeze-dried coffee / instant coffee
Alcohol is infinitely durable when it is above 20% alcohol content
Alcohol is infinitely durable when it is above 20% alcohol content

When it comes to spirits, the following is essential: The alcohol content should be above 20%. There should be no eggs (eggnog), milk, or other dairy products (like Baileys).

Alcohol is great because it also has disinfectant properties (above 40% for wounds). It is medically usable.

About wine: Unopened, the shelf life varies widely depending on the grape variety and storage. It is significant to store wine in a wine cellar. It must be cold and dark. And store the bottle so that the cork stays moist (slight angle downwards). A wine without a cork is less than 3 years old.

Check your food

It is inevitable that some extremely durable foods will change their taste, color, and texture over the years.

However, this does not mean that the food is no longer edible. Eating most foods is safe.

But check the food with your senses. This is the only way to determine whether they are still edible.

  • What does the food smell like?
  • What is the texture and shape of the food?
  • Has mold developed?
  • Have insects invaded?

If in doubt, dispose of the food.

Also read

Prepping on a small budget? Have you made all the necessary preparations? - Will there be a power outage or other crisis? Crisis preparation doesn't have to be expensive. Prepping is about getting started before it's too late.

Tips for Storage

Food is extremely long-lasting if you respect these rules.

Your survival food must be stored properly to make it (theoretically) indefinitely durable.

The absolute best place to store a food supply is in a dark, cool, and dry place.

This place must be free of:

  • Moisture,
  • direct sunlight, and
  • extreme temperatures.

To achieve this, store your food in airtight containers. Or, better yet, in vacuum-sealed containers to extend the shelf life.

Here are two recommendations for a container and a vacuum sealer with excellent reviews:

Snapware Total Solution 6-Pc Plastic Food Storage Containers Set with Lids, 8.5-Cup Rectangle Meal Prep Container, Non-Toxic, BPA-Free with 4 Locking Tabs, Microwave, Dishwasher, and Freezer Safe

Data updated 10 hours ago

Snapware Total Solution 6-Pc Plastic Food Storage Containers Set with Lids, 8.5-Cup Rectangle Meal Prep Container, Non-Toxic, BPA-Free with 4 Locking Tabs, Microwave, Dishwasher, and Freezer Safe

  • 6-PIECE SET: Set includes (3) 8.5-cup rectangular plastic containers with lids. These are the perfect containers for meal prepping or storing leftovers, and ideal for work, school and home. They also resist stains, odors, and flavors.
  • HIGH QUALITY: Made from lightweight and durable BPA-Free plastic, these Snapware containers are an indispensable addition to your storage and organizing needs. The containers and lids stack to save space, so you can put them away neatly until needed.
  • NON-TOXIC LIDS: These Snapware containers feature airtight, leak-proof lids with 4 locking tabs that are BPA-free. They're also top-rack dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe. Save food for tomorrow or warm today's lunch with less worries.
  • LABEL YOUR FOOD: Built-in Write + Erase label on lids provide convenience and fun. When you have too much stuff, or just need to make sure that everyone knows which container belongs to you, simply write on the lid to avoid any confusion.
  • LIMITED WARRANTY: This item has limited warranty. Made in USA

$16.00

View Product
Nesco Deluxe Food VS-12 Vacuum Sealer, 130 Watts, Kit Bags & Viewing Lid, Compact, Silver

Amazon
Offer

-14%

Data updated 10 hours ago

Nesco Deluxe Food VS-12 Vacuum Sealer, 130 Watts, Kit Bags & Viewing Lid, Compact, Silver

  • OPTIMAL PERFORMANCE: 130 watt, 25. 1 InHG double vacuum pump for optimal performance. Ensures maximum air extraction when sealing larger food items
  • VARIABLE SETTINGS: Includes 3 settings - dry, moist and double. Plus, you can choose between normal vacuum pressure, or gentle, to keep soft foods safe
  • EASY-LOCK HANDLE: The easy-lock handle makes one-handed operation smooth and easy
  • DOUBLE HEAT SEAL: Optional doubleheat seal provides added strength and security when sealing liquid-based or moist foods
  • BUILT-IN STORAGE & BAG CUTTER: Conveniently stores any brand of vacuum sealer bags in unit, while the bag cutter helps to create custom bag sizes for your needs

$119.97
List Price: $139.99

View Product

Freeze-dried food as an alternative

Freeze-dried food, also known as MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat), is an excellent option for survival food because it is extremely long-lasting.

The technology involves freezing the food and then drying it under vacuum to remove all moisture. This preserves the nutrients and flavor while increasing the shelf life to up to 25 years.

The advantages of MREs as survival food are numerous. They are easy to transport, do not require refrigeration, and they last forever.

They also offer a wide range of flavors, so you won't get tired of them, even in a long survival scenario.

So freeze-dried food is an excellent choice for outdoor adventures, disaster situations, and anyone who needs long-lasting survival food.

Summary

At first, it may seem unlikely that there is food that lasts forever.

However, if you store food properly, it can be stored for 10 to 20 years with ease.

And when the shelf life expires, just eat it. Then buy new food that is long-lasting again.

It's best to buy in bulk for storage. Take advantage of discounts when food items are on sale.


What are the best long-lasting foods for you?

Let's exchange and share your experiences and tips with us!

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


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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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE