People often make fun of me because I am what some may call a “mini-prepper” of sorts. By no means am I prepared for a long term food or water shortage, but my family is prepared to hold out for a few weeks. I simply do not have the space or financial resources to create the type of prepper setup that some folks have out there. Ours is limited to some MREs (meals ready to eat), water, and bare necessities in the event of a short term disaster, power outage or food shortage.
After seeing the way that things were during Hurricane Sandy, I knew that we needed to prepare. After only 3 or so days of shortages, people in NYC were becoming desperate and dangerous. My stash is not huge, but I suppose it is better to have something small, than nothing at all. For those of you who may be thinking about pillaging my home in the event of a disaster, I will also add that I have the means to defend my provisions. I’m just saying, don’t try and rob us!
All that being said, the following is a list of foods that you can acquire for long term storage, or simply if you don’t cook that often. These foods will stay edible for a very long time!
Not all rice is created equal. You would expect that brown rice and white rice would both last for a very long time. However, you would be wrong. Due to the oils found in the brown rice bran layer, it will last at best 6 months. However, white rice can last up to 30 years! Wow, that sounds like an easy decision to me! Although I would question how it can last so freaking long! That’s going inside of us! Woah! In order for this product to last the projected 30 years, you want to keep it in oxygen-free containers in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Allegedly the oldest jar of honey that has been discovered is 5,500 years old! Say what, who knew that honey could last this long? Well that is correct. The flowers and bees come together to produce this amazing concoction called honey. It is highly acidic and very low in moisture which creates an environment that is not very conducive to bacterial growth. Although honey can take in moisture from the air, when heated, strained and sealed properly, it can last indefinitely. This one is new to me, and I need to pick some of this stuff up! I can use it to sweeten up those dried MREs I mentioned before!
This one should be a given, I mean we use salt to preserve other foods after all! It is only logical that the salt itself could last for a long time. The commercial salts that we buy can only be expected to last about 5 years or so; this is due to adding iodine. Although who would go longer than 5 years using the same salt in an emergency type of scenario? 5 years should be more than enough time to sort things out, or get eaten by zombies.
This is another item that should come as no surprise. Soy sauce’s shelf time is debatable depending on what is added to it, but even after being opened, it should keep for years in the fridge.
The recurring theme here seems to be moisture. Sounds to me that if we can keep the moisture out, the food can last longer. That being said, how you store the sugar, and how much moisture it interacts with will determine how long the sugar will last. However, experts state that even old sugar is still edible once softened up. So hey, pour some sugar on me!
Now, I know from my own personal experience growing up in a poor household that these can last for a very long time. Whenever it was time for food, and we were in a bit of a financial pinch (which was often), we’d soak these in water for a few hours, and then cook them. Researchers state that even after 3 decades, though the quality of the beans may have decreased, they can still be edible! 3 decades, people! If any emergency lasts longer than 30 years, we have bigger problems than running out of food.
Pure Maple Syrup
Words like “forever,” should not often be used. Our time on earth is so limited in the grand scheme of the universe, and forever is a mighty long time. However, that doesn’t stop Utah State University from stating that pure maple syrup could pretty much last forever. The makeup of this and other sugars ensures that it resists microbial growth better than many other food items.
Though not as yummy, this product will last much longer than fresh milk. We all have probably smelled ‘milk gone bad’. It happens relatively quickly, so it’s worth trading in some taste for duration. Such is life, and I doubt that you will be too worried about taste during a global emergency!
I learned this one through my own experiences as well. Don’t ask me why, but I often drank the flavored drinks as opposed to the pure hard stuff. However, I realized that the ‘fruity’ drinks would quickly become gross, while the real deal stuff would keep! It makes sense, adding fruits and the like would then put the liquor at the mercy of those items’ shelf lives. Keep the hard stuff, and so long as you are ready and willing to take a shot, the shot will be there for you!
Now here is an item that I never heard of until recently. Sounds like beef jerky to me, but it’s called Pemmican. The Native American tribes invented Pemmican. Powdered dried meat, mixed with berries, and rendered fat produces a food that you could eat raw, stewed, or fried. Of course, given today’s health standards and so on, the recipes have been modified. Personally, I’d go for the dried meat by itself, but many swear by the staying power of this product.
If you’d like to try something other than MREs, these are some foods that you can add to your emergency stash. If you have any to add, please share them with me via Twitter! For further details on these products check out this article!
Featured photo credit: Phillip Stewart via flickr.com