What Food Never Expires?
Almost every food designed for human consumption has an expiration date. And what that date is will depend on a dozen or more factors: open or sealed, raw or cooked, refrigerated or frozen, ground or whole, dry or wet, etc., etc. But did you know that there are a few foods—we’re using that term loosely and you’ll find out why below—that may never actually expire?
We’ve talked before about foods that last up to 10, even 25 years when stored properly, but you may find that these foods that never expire could make a great addition to your emergency food supply.
5 Foods That Never Expire
What does a food’s expiration date really mean? It means that everything from the greying raw hamburger at the back of your refrigerator to the seemingly acceptable-looking jar of grandma’s home-canned peaches—they always looked that slimy, right??—has a time limit. Before the expiration date, we can generally expect our foods to treat us fairly well. After the expiration date...all bets are off.
That said, there are a few exceptions to the expiration date rule, and you’d be wise to prepare your emergency food supply with a few of these survival foods that never expire.
- Dried Beans: A great source of protein, fiber, and nutrients, dried beans definitely qualify as one of the best survival foods that never expire. They have even been proven in studies to maintain their protein over decades, making it a no-brainer to add them to your emergency food storage staples. Just make sure to have ample water to soak them in for rehydration long before dinner time.
- Non-Fat Powdered Milk: If you take the fat and water out of milk you’ll get yet another food that will never expire if stored in the freezer (more on that caveat below!). It’s a great calcium hit, and not just as a rehydrated glass of milk. You can add it to other dishes to thicken a sauce or enhance a soup broth, too.
- Honey: They call it liquid gold for a reason! It’s high-calorie survival food, it provides quick energy in an emergency, and it can add flavor and sweetness to other foods. And if you don’t believe that it lasts literally forever, take it up with the archeologists who unearthed perfectly edible honey that was 5,500 years old.
- Uniodized Salt: Because of its complete lack of water and additives, natural salt is another food that does not spoil. Salt can help keep up your mineral supply, and it promotes healthy hydration and electrolyte balance. Plus, it makes the rest of your emergency food taste way, way better.
- Vinegar: Another survival food that does not expire is vinegar. Not only is it great for quick pickling to extend the life of fresh foods acquired in an emergency situation, but it doubles as a handy cleaning agent as well because of its acidic nature. Opt for white distilled vinegar if you’re picky about color changes or sediment appearing over time.
Other Emergency Foods With A Long Shelf Life
When you’re building the best emergency food supply, a few things are essential—you need enough food to feed your family (for at least 2 weeks, according to FEMA), quality foods that will provide proper nutrition, and enough variety to help everyone enjoy and not just endure meals during an already stressful time.
That means that, while the above-mentioned foods may never expire and they’re good to have in the mix, you’ll need more than some beans and honey to get your loved ones through! So here are some of the best survival foods that last a long time—we’re talking 10 to 25 years and beyond—that will be perfect additions to your emergency food supply.
(Oh, and keep in mind that we’re going to steer you toward dry goods simply because they are proven to last longer, and might even shock you by tasting great!)
- White rice—should last indefinitely if stored properly (and is a secret nutritional powerhouse!)
- Freeze-dried vegetables—critical for nutritional value and added flavor for 25 years+ if packaged and stored properly
- Freeze-dried fruits—another 25 year+ food you won’t have to worry about, plus it’s awesome for healthy and delicious snacking between meals
- Instant potato flakes—like the ultimate comfort food that can last up to 10 years
- Wheat and corn—make sure you’ve got a way to grind them into useable meal but these long-lasting grains can open the door to baking during an emergency
- Powdered whole eggs—a big protein and nutrient hit that are super easy to prepare and easy on the tummy, lasting around 10 years
- Powdered peanut butter—can be rehydrated or left as is for a protein-based snack, and can last up to 15 years
- Pre-made mixes—just think how excited the kids will be to get some pancakes or chocolate pudding again
- Freeze-dried meals—these babies are absolute food storage staples for their variety, extreme ease of preparation, deliciousness, and legitimate cost-effective nature
- Condiments—super important for adding a little variety to your meals, add things like vanilla, maple syrup, and bouillon...all foods that basically never expire
- Powdered beverages—instant coffee and cocoa can last many years if stored properly, and they may just keep you sane when the rest of everything feels out of control
After you’ve made sure you’ve got plenty of the above, feel free to add in some of these other great survival foods that will expire within a couple of years but are great to rotate through your household meal plan when it comes time to replace them in the freezer or pantry.
- Frozen butter
- Frozen broth
- Frozen nuts
- Popcorn (not microwave prepared)
- Canned chicken and tuna
- Canned vegetables
- Peanut butter
- Hard candy
When it comes to food you should stockpile, remember that it’s about quantity, quality, and variety—and then the whole preparing and storing it properly business. So make it easy on yourself by letting someone else do the hard part for you. Hibernate’s job is to help remove the stress from extremely stressful situations by providing your family with perfectly prepared, high-quality foods that last for decades, all in stackable kit buckets—like our fan-favorite 1-month emergency food supply. Plus, they’re all super light, easily transportable, and ridiculously delicious, because emergencies suck...but your food shouldn’t.
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