Survivalists have long known that part of doomsday prep involves stocking up on foods and utilities that will last for years.
If properly sealed and stored correctly, some food can last for years or decades. Here are 14 foods that will last anywhere from a year to forever.
You can consume honey past its expiration date.
Honey is known to be one of the only foods that can last forever. This is largely due to the fact that it is made up of sugar, which makes it hard for bacteria or microorganisms to affect the honey.
“Honey in its natural form is very low moisture,” Amina Harris, executive director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute at Univeristy of California, Davis, told Smithsonian Magazine. “Very few bacteria or microorganisms can survive in an environment like that, they just die.”
The modern expiration date of honey usually refers to when it will start crystallizing, which is a regular process of honey that doesn’t make it inedible. You can make the crystals return to their former state by heating up the honey.
Uncooked rice can last 30 years.
Regular white rice or minute rice will last up to five years, but uncooked white rice in an oxygen-free container will last between 25 and 30 years, according to sources at the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food & Drug Administration.
Peanut butter needs no refrigeration.
With no moisture and plenty of oil, peanut butter can keep for at least from three to five years. The high amount of fat and vitamin E in the food “stave[s] off oxidation and prolongs PB’s shelf life,” Richard Faulks, a senior scientist at the Institute of Food Research told Scienceline at NYU.
“Rancidification,” which is worse than it sounds, can set in about nine to 12 months after purchase if stored improperly; the oxygen breaks down and the peanut butter’s flavor and odor can become less appetizing.
In desperate times, expired peanut butter “won’t hurt you if you eat it – it will just taste bad,” said Maribeth Cousin, professor of food science at Purdue University.
Alcohol won’t perish easily.
Unopened pure bottles of hard liquor like vodka, whiskey, and rum will stay drinkable forever as long as they are stored and sealed correctly. Just be careful about direct heat or sunlight, and any beverages that have added ingredients like flavoring and liquors that contain dairy and cream.
Dried beans last indefinitely.
According to Utah State University’s food storage researchers, when packaged correctly, “[pinto bean] samples that had been stored up to 30 years had greater than 80% acceptance by a consumer taste panel for emergency food use.”
Dried beans and lentils can last indefinitely and canned beans can last years if stored in a cool, dry place.
Energy bars are a must.
According to PBS Food’s guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse, they “basically last forever” and come in handy in a pinch. Have these ready-to-go bars for a quick fuel in an emergency. They travel well, most of the time.
Certain types of candy can last up to a year.
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The National Confectioners Association claims that most candies can last up to year. Hard candies, dark chocolate, jellied candies, and caramel can last the year, but candy corn, chewing gum, and milk and white chocolate should be tossed around the six to nine-month mark.
Fadi Aramouni, professor of food science at Kansas State University warns that “there is a difference between candy that is edible and candy that tastes good.”
Dehydrated meat can also last for a year.
A common topic on survivalist boards, dehydrating meats is a surefire way to get protein if you have limited access.
Homemade dehydrated lean cuts of meat with salt and hot pepper will last up to two months, according to the USDA. Using a dehydrator instead of an oven, vacuum-sealing it, and freezing the meat can extend its shelf-life.
Store-bought jerky is packed with sodium nitrate, extending its shelf-life to 12 months, according to the USDA.
Bouillon cubes can last past their expiration date.
These dried flavoring cubes, especially if they’re vegetarian, can last up to a year past their expiration date. As long as no moisture has seeped into the packets, they may be less tasty, but they will not be harmful.
Canned fruits, vegetables, soups, and even meats will last from one to five years.
Usually, with an expiration date of a few years into the future, canned foods will last even longer in your underground bunker. Everything from canned pineapples to pork will stay fresh for a while.
According to the USDA: “High-acid canned foods (e.g. tomatoes and fruits) will keep their best quality for 12 to 18 months. Whereas, low-acid canned foods (e.g. meats and vegetables) will keep for two to five years.”
Due to corrosion and rusting, canned foods do not last forever. To find out more about how long certain types of canned foods last, head here.
Powdered milk will last for a long time.
Spruce Eats reported that some survivalist stores sell non-fat powdered milk claiming it has a shelf-life of 25+ years.
Instant coffee will give you a caffeine fix.
Instant coffee packets stored in the freezer will last pretty much forever. Packets stored in the pantry will still last between two to 20 years, according to Eat by Date. There is no sugar, fat, wheat, or moisture of any kind inside this type of product.
Hardtack lasts longer than its ingredients combined.
Flour will only last a year, but flour, salt, and water can be combined to make hardtack, a type of cracker that was popular as a Civil War ration. Survival Life claims their recipe will last for a few years. The hard crackers should be dipped in water or fried with butter to make edible.
Pure vanilla extract will last forever.
To make some of your foods taste a little better, stock up on pure vanilla extract, which will last indefinitely and might even get better with age because it’s 35% alcohol, Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer at Nielsen-Massey, told Epicurious.
- Read more:
- 15 foods you can eat past their expiration dates
- 7 foods that you can leave out overnight
- 10 subtle signs your food has expired
- 4 foods it’s OK to eat moldy, and 6 it’s definitely not