Long-term food storage is something that should be in the forefront of every prepared persons’ mind. Going a day or two without food is something you don’t want to do. Sure, you probably won’t die, but you won’t be in the best of moods either. Having some of these foods on hand, at all times, will ensure you can eat.
- Salt: Looking back through time, salt has been an always important commodity. Salt is great as a seasoning, to cure meats, and to kill bacteria! Various salts are used for canning and pickling, curing and for its multiple healing properties.
- Wheat Grains (will require mill): It may be good practice to always have wheat grains, which can be ground into wheat flour for bread and pancake mixes – and it’s cheap! Make sure that if you decide to stock wheat grains (or any grains) that you have a manual grinder on hand. You can get an electric version, but that will not work if a snowstorm takes the power out.
- Honey: Buy honey! I suppose unless you’re allergic, but even so, buy some honey! It is great for anything from baking, to cooking, to a snack, to healing, to trading. Honey is an invaluable necessity. Honey is packed with flavor, and it lasts forever!
- Rice: Rice should almost be number one, huh? As a staple in most diets, rice is a great way to get hit daily caloric needs, and there are so many different types! White, jasmine and some brown rice are cheap, but store a variety to keep meals from growing dull.
- Beans and Legumes: Beans and rice. Beans and rice. Another staple for a reason. Beans pack a punch with energy, fiber, and calories – all things necessary to the body and mind. Best of all, you can sprout them!
- Flour: Keeping pre-ground flour in the pantry is always a good idea, especially if you don’t want to bust out the grinder for a winter power outage. You can use flour in cookies, cakes, breads (a staple), for sauce/gravy thickening, or to coat/fry other foods. A very versatile and nutritious food. Be sure to look into keeping various types of flour – especially if you have certain dietary restrictions.
- Sugar: You will need both cane sugar and brown sugar for baking, and to keep morale up during tough times. Sugar in the raw is also a great option. Sugar can be susceptible to pests, so putting them in Mylar bags, buckets, or sealed glass jars are great options for keeping it fresh!
- Maple Syrup: If you don’t continuously heat and reheat the syrup, it will last indefinitely. Maple syrup acts as a natural sweetener, and can replace sugar in many instances.
- Baking Soda & Powder: Mostly used in baking, these two items are great to store. Make sure to rotate and use them though, as they have a relatively short shelf life (around 1.5-2 years).
- Powdered Milk: Milk is a great source of calcium and various vitamins, which will be in short supply if things get out of control. Having dehydrated or dried milk in hand will be helpful in baking, sauces, keeping up on much needed vitamins and minerals, and several other “luxury” items, such as supplements to tea or coffee, making cheese, butter, and various other items. This multi-purposeful item will be much needed from anything from camping to every-day-life.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar can be used in salad dressings, household cleaning, staying environmentally (and budget) safe, catching flyers, preserving, and is an awesome probiotic. Some people drink it while dieting, as it increases energy, while decreasing hunger – as a natural satiate. There are too many great uses to list!
- Dried Pasta: Dried pasta has very little fat or moisture, so it stays fresh for long periods of time. Like rice, it is filling and somewhat inexpensive, so keeping a variety in the kitchen is easy to do. Just add a few extra packages each time you go shopping, and you’ll have a stockpile in no time. Pasta is better with sauce, so make sure to pick up a few extras, but eating it plain, with butter, or various oils is great too! Remember, there are more types thant he standard spaghetti and macaroni – grab a variety to keep it from getting boring. You may want to check out gnocchi, too – they last a long time and are even simple to make!
- Ramen Noodles: While packaged Ramen noodles aren’t the most healthy thing, they are cheap and provide a comfort that may be hard to find in an emergency situation.
- Nuts (variety): Okay, okay, peanut aren’t really nuts (they’re legumes), but they pack a bunch of protein. While nuts may not last as long as the other foods on this list, they are still agreat source of fiber, energy, protein, and so much more.
- Bullion/Granules: These keep for a very long time, because many are mostly made up of salt. But they will be useful when making stews or soups, or adding flavor to other dishes. Sucking on one is also a good option if you need a fix or boost.
- Unsweet Cocoa Powder: Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, but it’s main thing is for morale. Baking up some chocolate chip cookies will be great in a situation where the normal things aren’t readily available. Keeping cocoa powder can also be put in drinks to boost energy and morale!
- Oats: I eat oatmeal on a weekly basis, opting oatmeal for breakfasts and lunches throughout the week. Not only is it low in saturated fat, but it is high in fiber, store (almost) forever, and is great with anything. You can use it to thicken sauces or extend meals.
- Quinoa: This is not an item you will usually find on this type of a list, but I like it and find it a very notorious (and nutritious) superfood. One of the many reason you may not find it on a list, is because it is prone to few geographical locations, is getting expensive, and has a shorter lifespan. Nonetheless, you should keep some on you – if nothing else than to mix up with the rice every so often.
- Popcorn (not microwavable): Popcorn is very versatile. Getting unpopped kernels is a great way to boost morale and keep extra “hidden” foods. Not only can you pop the kernels over an open flame, but you can also grind down the kernels into a wheat flour. Imagine how much fun it would be to pop some kernels and add some butter, salt, or even powdered chocolate.
- Almond & Peanut Butters: Both excellent sources of protein, fiber, and – you guessed it – calories! Look at the ingredients list. It should simple read peanut butter (insert nut/bean here), salt, and oil. An easier way is too look for the oil that rests on top. These are going to be the healthiest for you and your family.
- Cured Meats: Protein is something that take skill to gather, especially if you don’t have a small farm to get it from. Meat provides us with most of what we need to survive, and having canned or cured meats will give you peace of mind – especially if you don’t have a garden set up. 90% of plants are not edible or are poisonous to humans, so just going in the backyard and eating some leaves may do more harm than good.
- Powdered Proteins: Powdered proteins can be added to a meal, or as a dietary supplement in a drink. Either way, if you are lacking in protein, this will boost you up and fill in those nutrient gaps.
- Teas & Coffee: Not only do these two things have caffeine, which will help keep you awake after a long day, but they also give you a sense of normality. Coffee will surely give you both a mental and morale boost in dire situations.
Tea will also help with water taste, mental alertness, or can even give a soothing effect, depending on the type of tea. I stock various types, for everyday life and for being prepared – from herbal to white to green to black. Additionally, some teas have different healing properties, such as lowering stress, cholesterol, anti-cancer properties, of even aid in combating the common cold!
Perhaps coffee or tea isn’t your thing, try Tang, or otherwise like powdered/dried drink mixes.
- Butter: Has an extremely long shelf life and can be used in in baking and cooking.
- Potato Flour: Potato flour of the entire potato, just dehydrated, so it is an excellent source of fiber – and is naturally gluten-free. You can use it as a thickener, binder, for breading, or as an extender for other meals. Don’t you just love potato bread?
While this is, in no way, a complete list – it is a great starting point. Navigating this path is difficult to do by yourself, but reading here is one way to learn, grow, and progress in your journey.