32 Foods that Last Forever


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Survival of the fittest doesn’t exclusively mean survival of the ones that can hunt the most, it includes the survival of the ones that can prepare properly long before anything happens. Many people have safe spaces where they can safely store any amount of food but are not always sure what they can put in these spaces. 

Foods that are vacuum packed, frozen, or canned will last forever when there is no fresh air introduced to them. These foods can be eaten for many years as long as they are never introduced to extreme constant temperature changes or just extreme heat. Canned foods are especially robust and will be able to be enjoyed straight out of the can if they are kept in the right conditions. 

Many types of foods can be kept in airtight containers that will see the food last almost forever, it can be hard to tell when most of these would expire. However, there are a few substances that we know will last forever, like honey, which is known to still be edible from vases kept in the pyramids. To understand what foods can be kept contained forever, and why they will last forever, you need to see which foods are capable of lasting almost forever. 

Why would food last forever?

Before we take a look at all the foods you should be keeping in your bunker, shelter, or just emergency kit you must understand why these foods would last forever. These foods will last forever for three quite different reasons, each one preserving the foods in different ways that you should apply properly if you plan on making your foods last longer. 

The most common way to make food last forever is by either canning them or pickling them, this is the art of processing the foods and putting them in airtight containers. These containers are usually either filled with nitrogen gas or no air at all is allowed in, this prevents the foods from going rotten in almost any way possible. 

When it comes to vacuum sealing foods, this is usually done with meats and vegetables to allow them to last significantly longer. Doing this prevents most of the foods from going rotten. However, there is the last method of preserving food that is usually combined with vacuum packing, which is freezing the food. This allows the food to last significantly longer, as long as nothing causes the foods to thaw out and then to be refrozen. 

What are the dry foods that would last forever?

Dry foods are not necessarily dried out foods, these are the foods like flour and rice that can be kept in airtight containers for several years without going rotten. It is advised that you vacuum pack these foods to ensure that they will last significantly longer. But even without doing so, they can last a few years when they are being kept on the open shelf, away from sunlight or extreme heat. 

  • Bouillon Cubes: These are cubes of fats and bones that have been cooked until nothing is left of what they were originally, then cooked a bit more until most of the liquid has boiled away. If you make these at home you will have frozen them in the fridge, or you can buy them from most stores. These will last several years if they are kept in the fridge or freezer. 
  • Corn Starch: A basic element of all types of cooking corn starch is an easy way to make any dish more filling and healthier. To store these for several years put them in vacuum packed bags that can be kept in a close cupboard or fridge where the corn starch will stay fresh for several years. 
  • Salt: The go-to way to preserve most meats is to make it salted meat, and salt is a great condiment to add to your shelf. Something that will last a long time even if exposed to open air regularly salt is vital to ensure you are staying healthy when you are going long periods without entirely fresh foods.
  • Sugar: Similar to salt, sugar is a great way to preserve quite a few foods. As such it can be preserved for a long time if kept properly, as long as sugar does not get wet through condensation or spillage it will be perfectly usable for almost forever. 
  • White Rice: Rice is one of the most versatile foods in the world and can be kept in many ways to ensure it has a long shelf life. To ensure that your rice lasts forever be sure to vacuum pack smaller meal-sized bundles. This way you can prevent exposing all of your rice to fresh air when it is not needed. 
  • Pasta: Pasta may not always be easy to make but if you add in some preservatives and pack them into a sealed container they will last forever. Many foods that you will be able to make will revolve around the fact that you have some pasta at hand, either some that you made or some that you have saved. 
  • Dried Beans: There is more to the bean world than baked beans and dried beans are a great way to have some variety in your storage. Similar to rice, if dried beans are kept in airtight containers they will easily last almost forever. The only danger that you may face with dried beans is exposing too many of them to oxygen at once, introducing the possibility of mold growing on them.
  • Oats: Oats is a versatile grain that can be used to make anything from a hearty breakfast to emergency glue. Keeping these in airtight Tupperware will usually allow the oats to survive for an eternity if they aren’t eaten up by you or something else looking for a good meal. 
  • Chia Seeds: Chia seeds should be put together in the nut family as they are versatile enough to replace several taste sensations that you may need to have with your daily meals. Chia seeds can easily be stored in Ziploc bags or even better in vacuum packed bags, doing this will allow them to last forever.

What are the fruits and vegetables that can last forever?

Seeds, beans, and grains are a good way to get your daily number of calories during an emergency. However, just surviving on those can quickly lead to malnutrition and scurvy running rampant. If you want to be healthy you will need to eat fruits and vegetables, and you may not be able to gather these in the wild. 

The best way to preserve these is usually by keeping a small plantation going, however, if you do not have the space to do this you will need to vacuum pack them. Usually, after vacuum packing these, it is a great idea to then also freeze them as this allows the food to stay fresh forever. 

  • Potatoes: Potatoes grow everywhere and in even the harshest conditions, there have been potato famines in Ireland and one movie even explained how to grow them on Mars. Having a few of these vacuum packed and frozen in your freezer is a sure way to ensure you will always having something filling to eat. 
  • Canned Beans: Canned beans will last forever if the can stays sealed and away from any high temperatures there is nothing that would cause these to go bad. Many people that are in extreme survival situations soon find themselves almost entirely living off of canned beans. Just be sure that you have a variety of canned beans as not every type of bean has the same type of nutrition values. 
  • Canned Soups: It may seem obvious once pointed out, but canned soups can be a wealth of healthy nutrients that will last forever. This is because most canned soups are ready-made soups with everything in them needed to make a fulfilling meal. Many canned soups will be able to easily last forever, even longer if they are kept in temperatures close to 0 degrees Celsius. 
  • Frozen Vegetables: Whether you are vacuum packing them, or simply buying frozen vegetables from the supermarket, these will last you for close to an eternity. Usually effectively lasting forever as long as they are never thawed out and refrozen. Freezing any type of vegetable is a good way to keep it edible for a long time, however, vegetables may lose some nutritional value as they are being frozen. 
  • Frozen Fruits: Frozen fruits will never taste good once they are unfrozen, usually because the skin has been damaged during freezing and the juices are now too watery. However, if you have several frozen fruits in your freezer you can easily add them to cooked dishes to enjoy them. Many smoothie recipes call for frozen fruits, which allows you to store them forever. 
  • Nuts: Nuts are the greatest things on earth when it comes to storing anything for a long amount of time. However, they can be extremely tricky, as they are prone to growing molds if even a whiff of normal air has been introduced to their packaging. If vacuum packed or preserved nuts can last forever and still introduce a wealth of nutrients to your diet. 
  • Ginger: Unlike most spices that you may be familiar with, ginger is a type of root that can be prepared in many ways. Dried out ginger can be kept on a shelf for several years without problems, while fresh ginger can be pickled or frozen to last almost forever. 
  • Canned Vegetables: A strange addition to the world of canned goods, vegetables have become popular to be canned owing to the benefits that can them brings to the front. Most vegetables that you know in your day-to-day life have been canned and will last almost forever if just kept on a shelf away from the sun. If canned vegetables are kept in climate-controlled areas they may last forever. 
  • Dried Fruit: You may see it as a healthy snack to have instead of cookies or other goods, however, dried fruits are almost impossible to get rotten. Having vacuum-packed dried fruits is a healthy way to introduce fruits that can last forever to your emergency kit. Many preppers have stacks of dried fruits as they provide similar nutrition and energy levels as normal fruit without taking up nearly the same amount of space. 
  • Onions: Onions are underrated powerhouses of any kitchen and it is the same for prepping, onions can be vacuum packed in the same ways as potatoes without ever going rotten. Just having onions in a fridge can increase their usability by several months if frozen onions will last forever. Many times, you can freeze an onion for several years, and then using the right techniques you can have the onion sprouting to have it grow more onions later. 
  • Canned Corn: A popular addition to any kitchen, canned corn needs to be mentioned in its way. Few people realize that corn can be kept in most of its states for several years without going even slightly off. To have your corn stay edible forever you should be sure to have it in a climate-controlled location away from sunlight. However, it will usually last forever and can be prepared in almost any way imaginable. 
  • Popcorn: It may seem odd to add this into your shelter but popcorn that has been vacuum packed, or better frozen will last forever. It may never be as nutritious as other meals you can store but it can give you a large boost of energy. Even in normally sealed containers, un-popped popcorn can last for several years, usually being thrown away because no one in a family eats it rather than the popcorn going off. 

What are the sauces and liquids that will last forever?

Now that you know what foods you will have in your cupboards you will have to focus on the types of sauces and liquids you can keep forever. It may seem odd, but most sauces are already preserved in some way from the manufacturer, with even ketchup kept unopened in a fridge lasting almost forever. 

To have the best experience with your sauces and liquids you will have to ensure that most of them are kept in cool places. These will react extremely fast with any sunlight or heat that is applied to them, usually fermenting, or simply going bad, except a few. 

  • Honey: Honey is the greatest, strangest substance we know of when it comes to preserving itself. Many people have mistakenly thrown away their honey thinking that it has gone off when it starts crystallizing. However, this is just the honey preserving itself, with no one being entirely sure how long honey will be able to last if kept inside perfectly sealed containers. 
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: Vanilla beans have caused countries in the past to go to war, an extremely valuable ingredient in making anything taste amazing. When you are planning on adding some of this to your shelves you should secure pure vanilla extract, which can be frozen to make it last forever. Just be sure that you never take a sip of this as it will cause your entire mouth to feel like it is on fire. 
  • Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is gathered from maple trees, usually in Canada, and has become popular for its sweet taste. Preserving maple syrup can be a challenge but if frozen and kept away from extreme heats it can easily last forever. Many people would still prefer to have fresh maple syrup though, even when they know all the trees have died. 
  • Distilled Liquor: The one thing that can be so easy to preserve you may not even be aware that you are preserving it. Distilled liquor usually refers to rum, whiskey, or scotch, three types of alcohol that can are desired more when they get older. If you have a few bottles of these kept shut and in a cabinet away from any high temperatures you can easily have alcohol for the rest of your life. 
  • Distilled White Vinegar: This is something that you can store almost entirely without care, simply placing it in your cupboards will allow it to stay usable forever. Alternatively, you can take some bottles of white wine and store them improperly, allowing them to turn into vinegar as they age. 
  • Beer: Beer is one of the more complicated substances to have last forever, usually because they do have a use-by date that needs to be adhered to strictly. If you have a below freezing fridge you can store the beer for slightly longer as long as it does not freeze the beer. However, many preppers will know how to create their beer using certain ingredients, if you want to have beer forever you can use the beer you stored to jumpstart production. The higher alcohol content your beer has the longer it can be stored, with international brands usually being able to be stored for a year or more. 
  • Most Condiments: When it comes to condiments the world is your oyster, as you should be able to store most if not all condiments once they have been frozen. Freezing the condiments stops all the microbes that would usually cause them to go off to function. If you freeze your condiments you can have something to put on your food for seemingly forever. 

Which are the meats that will last forever?

Fruits, vegetables, and condiments can provide all the nutrients you may ever need to survive in the wild. However, you may way want to have a bit of meat ready to be eaten when you want to add some taste to your food. Many preppers make the mistake of thinking they would be able to hunt everything they need, however, there may be situations that prevent you from leaving the house.

In these situations, a good method of adding proteins and magnesium to your diet is by having a fridge filled with meat that has been prepared properly. Some of the best food that will last forever comes from the meat family, with some techniques as old as the man that can still provide some use for you in the worst scenarios. 

  • Dried Meats: Dried, or salted, meats are some of the most important foods you will have in your arsenal of prepping. If done properly even meat that is kept on the shelf will last almost forever. If you want your dried meats to last forever vacuum packing and keeping them in the fridge or freezer can have the meat last lifetimes. 
  • Frozen Meats: You should always keep a stack of frozen meat in your freezer, however, if you are planning for a doomsday situation you should have dedicated fridge space for your meat. If you have a fridge that is well below freezing and kept closed 90% of the time you can store meat from chicken, cow, or wildlife for several years without the meat turning bad. 
  • Frozen Fish: Fish is one of the trickiest things to keep edible for extended periods, usually because fish can decompose immediately upon death. If you are catching your fish or buying frozen fish, just remember that keeping them frozen well below freezing point will keep them edible for almost forever. In more extreme times it may be worth looking into processed fish, as these will have preservatives added to them to make them last much longer than normal fish.
  • Canned Meats: The ultimate way of preserving fresher meat is by having them canned, usually because this involves some method of pickling the meat as well. It is thought that a can of pickled sardines may be edible even thousands of years from now if it was kept in the right conditions. 

Why should you not open the food to make them last?

While it can be extremely tempting to open each container of food as you receive them it is highly advisable that you barely look at them as you are packing each one into your shelter. If you see any punctures or bends in your cans you can be assured that the food will not be able to last forever. 

When a container of food that needs to be preserved has been opened then oxygen and bacteria have been introduced. This starts the process of the food either fermenting, decaying, or just being eaten by whatever entered through the opening. This is the last thing you want to have happened when you are spending several months in a shelter that should feed you and your loved ones. 

This is part of the reason why you should only have smaller portions of all the foods that you are using, as bigger containers will usually go rotten long before you can finish them off. Most preppers prefer to have military ration packs for their foods, as these are already perfectly proportioned for one person to eat. 

Why is forever not forever?

When people talk about food lasting forever you may be confused why they are talking about foods that will only last a few years and not literally forever. This is because shelters are not meant to keep you safe for the rest of your genealogy, having your great-great-grandchildren still living off the food you stored. 

Forever usually refers to a period of 10 to 50 years, which is the only reasonable amount that most foods will be able to last if the perfect temperatures are kept up. There are vaults around the world in some of the coldest locations on earth where foods are expected to last several hundred years. However, these vaults are meant to be kept shut and not used regularly should anything ever happen. 

Your shelter should be rigged to allow easy access to the foods without compromising the food storage as a whole. If you are alone in your shelter the food should only last until the end of your life, if you are sharing the shelter the food should last long enough for you and your family to safely secure new foods after everything has hopefully settled down. 

Conclusion

Storing food properly can be an extremely tricky adventure with many preppers having their unique way of prepping their foods. If properly prepared the food in your shelter will easily last long enough for you and your loved ones to find a new source of food. 

Just remember that if you are eating the food too fast no amount of prepping can save you, sticking to a controlled diet is vital to making the food last forever!

Shanna

Shanna is the 2nd half of Top Outdoor Survival. Like Forest, she has a passion for guns and knives. They love to go on a survival trip at least once a year. They love to go camping, hiking, and traveling.

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