Cheap Food With Long Shelf Life

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Cheap Food With Long Shelf Life

There are certain foods you would expect to have a long shelf life, like dried beans and grains, but there are also those things that really shouldn’t be able to last as long as they do. Looking at you, Twinkies.

Well, whether you’re in fear of the zombie apocalypse or just too lazy to grocery shop on a regular basis, here are some foods with ridiculously long shelf lives that will be your new best friends.

1. Salt // Forever

Those souls who braved the Mayflower and salt-cured all their food knew what was up. Not only does salt have the ability to preserve or cure foods, but it is also heavily used in cooking, cleaning, and first aid.

Since it’s a mineral, salt essentially has an infinite shelf life, and because our body needs it, that makes it a critical commodity. So if you keep your salt in an air-tight container, you could probably pass it down to your grandchildren. Honestly.

2. Honey // Thousands of Years (Possibly Longer)

Archeologists digging through tombs in Egypt were surprised when they discovered preserved honey that was still technically edible. How does it keep for so long? Chalk it up to a mix of low moisture combined with the presence of hydrogen peroxide that helps keeps bacteria away.

It’ll probably crystallize over time, leaving a strange-looking ball of gunk at the bottom of the container, but it can easily be scooped out and reheated back to its normal consistency.

3. Worcestershire Sauce // Indefinitely

Worcestershire Sauce dates back to the 1800s when two chemists, Lea and Perrins, created the sauce accidentally. And while nobody can agree exactly on how it should be pronounced we should all be thankful.

Left unopened, Worcestershire Sauce can last forever. It’s terrifying to think something you would use to cook or marinate meat can still be okay in ten years, but the sauce is known to gain more flavor as it ages. Just make sure your bottle is authentic and kept somewhere cool and dark.

4. Hard Liquor // Nearly Forever – Unopened*

If you’re stuck inside your home with limited options for sustenance, you should know that it’s perfectly safe to grab that bottle of vodka you bought back in 2008 and started chugging to cope with your current situation. Since hard liquor will last nearly forever if unopened, there’s just one more reason to stock your bar.

*If you do plan on keeping alcohol for an extended period, just remember to keep it away from light, heat and definitely oxygen, because once air gets in, you may as well get boozing.

5. Canned Beans // 30+ years

Dried beans stored properly will last indefinitely, but canning is another food preservation method that dates back to the 1800s. While some canned goods last longer than others, beans should stay good for up to 30 years.

The best part is it doesn’t matter whether it’s kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, or Lima beans, they’ll still keep the same. Just throw some rice — which can last up to 25 years — in there and you have yourself a balanced meal.

6. Ramen Noodles // 10+ years

It’s no mystery why Ramen noodles are so popular. They’re super cheap, taste great, and last forever. Well, more like ten years, so not forever, but long enough. The only thing from college that will last longer is your student loans.

The dried out noodles help the situation, but even the flavor packs, made from dehydrated vegetables, can withstand the same amount of time.

Survival Foods With Long Shelf Life

1. Canned Meat

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These are the ultimate survival food for any survival situation. They usually have a shelf life that ranges from 2 to 5 years, depending on the type of meat and storage conditions.

Canned meat will supply you with the much-needed nutrients and energy. We recommend you buy different types of canned meat, such as spaghetti with jumbo meatballs, canned fish, spam, smoked ham, Vienna sausages, chicken breast, cured ham, potted meat, roast beef hash, luncheon meat, and any other good option you will come across.

Note, however, that once opened, canned meat can last just three to four days. So, it is wise to pick just the right can size to avoid wastage. Small cans are more convenient because you can consume one at a time without any leftovers. 

2. Beans

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Beans are among the best all-around survival foods. Did you know that these dried bipolar seeds are more nutritious than rice?

There are about 15 types of beans that are loaded with calories and can last a long time in storage. 

Adzuki, mung, pinto, kidney, cannellini, pigeon, cranberry, garbanzo, pink, lima, navy, black, black-eyed, black turtle, and freeze-dried split pea can last up to 30 years in storage. Dehydrated soybean, on the other hand, can last 10 to 15 years.

One cup of boiled adzuki beans provides roughly 294 calories and more than 15g of protein. Dehydrated soybean provides about 298 calories and more than 20g of protein. So, beans are also a great source of protein.

You should buy 4 to 5 pounds of dried beans on every visit to the store and stockpile them in a dark, cool place.

3. Lentils 

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Lentils are a pretty functional food, thanks to their exceptional dietary composition. They have an amazing nutritional value and they taste pretty delicious.

These are great food because they’re packed with protein and available in one-pound bags. When you prepare lentils, they increase in size. They are also easy to cook because you don’t have to soak them. Just add them to boiling water and they will cook in approximately 25 to 30 minutes.

Lentils have an incredible shelf life. If stored properly, they can last up to 30 years. Traditionally, they were stored in clay pots for use in famine as well as harsh winter conditions.

You can buy them already packed in bags or you can get them in bulk and store them in airtight containers and jars.

4. Rice

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This might come as a surprise to you, but rice is indeed one of the best foods you can stockpile for survival situations.

This grain, a staple of any good emergency food storage, can be cooked in different ways. One of the most popular ones is steaming, which can be done on any given type of stove. 

Uncooked rice has a very long shelf life when properly stored. When sealed and stored properly, white rice can last up to 2 years. Brown rice, however, has a shorter shelf life of around 6 months.

Rice is also a very convenient choice for serving with different types of beans.

5. Canned Fruits & Vegetables

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Surviving on carbohydrates or proteins alone isn’t going to supply you with a balanced diet in those trying times. This brings us to the next important food item in our listing: canned fruits and vegetables.

It’s common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are an essential part of any diet. But fresh fruits or veggies will hardly last a week when stockpiled. That’s why we recommend canned fruits and veggies to get the nutrients you need in any survival situation.

When shopping for canned fruits, get the ones that are packed in water or their own juice. Avoid canned fruits that are stored in artificial sweeteners, salt, syrup, or sugar.

Canned vegetables include corn, peas, green beans, mixed vegetables, potatoes, spinach, carrots, and many more. Any canned vegetable you buy shouldn’t have oils, sugars, or fats in the ingredients list.

Canned fruits and veggies that are properly stored can last around 1 to 2 years. But the shelf life may deteriorate pretty fast after opening, approximately 2 to 7 days. 

6. Dried Fruits

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Dried fruits come in almost as many varieties as fresh fruits.

But apricots, prunes, dates, figs, and raisins are the most common dried fruits on the marketplace. Local markets and health food stores provide many more choices, including papayas, mangoes, berries, pineapples, and dried apples.

Dried fruits are rich sources of nutrients, bioactive compounds, and carbohydrates. The most calorie-rich of these fruits are raisins and dates. Dried fruits are also good sources of sugars, including glucose and fructose.

Dried fruits can last roughly 6 to 12 months. So, it is advisable to rotate them to make sure you don’t end up with spoiled fruits in a survival situation.

7. Flour

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Having flour in storage for survival is a good thing. You can use flour to prepare just about anything. You just need a few ingredients to make quick foods like banana bread, vegan naan, pancakes, and scalloped potatoes among others.

All-purpose flour (regular), white cake flour, white bread flour, and self-rising flour can last up to 12 months at room temperature. But the shelf life of whole-wheat, whole-grain, and oat flour is slightly shorter at 1 to 3 months.

What about coconut and almond flour? These alternative options to starchy flours also have a short shelf life of about 3 months. 

You can also store wheat, which you can then process with a handy wheat grinder when you need flour.

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