Prepping for the future is a smart move, and stocking up on essential foods is an important part of the process. But what foods should you stockpile? And how should you store them? In this article, we'll provide an expert guide to prepping food for the long-term. Storing food correctly is essential for long-term storage. You'll need Mylar bags, O2 absorbers, and food-grade cubes with Gamma sealing lids.
For a detailed guide, read our article on how to store rice for the long term and apply the same steps to other pantry staples. The downside is that freeze-dried foods are expensive. To get started, we suggest stocking up on rice and beans. These two staple foods provide a wide variety of essential nutrients and are easy to store for the long term.
Rice can last up to 30 years if stored correctly. This means you can make some initial purchases and set up your pantry with ease. Rice is also one of the cheapest prep foods out there. It's hearty and easy to prepare, so you don't have to worry about baking bread.
With enough time in hot water, rice is ready to eat. While you wouldn't want to live on rice alone, it's a solid staple food. Fill your everyday pantry with the food you already eat, then add some rice, beans, and salt for long-term storage. Once you're ready, consider adding some freeze-dried foods.
Look for sales to stretch your money - freeze-dried food manufacturers often make revolving agreements. White rice, beans, split peas, and lentils last for decades. You can freeze the rice for a week after buying it to kill any eggs that are already there, but if you keep it in airtight containers, you shouldn't have any problems. It's hard to give an exact shelf life for other foods - wheat berries can last 30 years or more according to the LDS Church, while Be Still Farms says they last about a year in the fridge and the Whole Grain Council says six months is the maximum.Grains should be one of the “anchors” of your prep pantry - they are versatile, nutritious and store well.
Peanut butter is also a great source of energy - it's packed with healthy fats and proteins and doesn't need to be refrigerated after opening (unless the bottle says otherwise). Choose multi-grain cereals that are individually packaged so they don't go rancid after opening.My mother used to preserve large pots (15-20 gallons or more) of kraut from season to season - she said it would sometimes taste a little different but was still good. Whole grains (in general) have an excellent shelf life - much longer than ground flours.If you store unprocessed wheat such as red durum wheat, it will last longer but you need to be able to process it. Places like Emergency Essentials sell grain and grain mills (electric and manual).
Chia seeds have a shelf life of 4-5 years for dry seeds - they have essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, B vitamins, calcium and protein.They can be used to make uncooked drinks and desserts as well as add nutrients to baked goods and milkshakes. Germinated seeds also have a great storage life - usually 2 years or more - they are usually high in vitamin C and may also contain other antioxidants and essential nutrients.Coconut oil, lard and tallow will be kept for at least 12-18 months (probably longer) in airtight sealed containers kept in a cool area. Buy 25 or 50 pound bags and divide them into mylar bags depending on how you use them.Honey can be easily stored for more than a year - possibly decades - older honey may need to be heated. Archaeologists have found edible honey in tombs over 1000 years old! Processed honey should be stored between 64-75°F (18-24°C) - minimize temperature fluctuations and avoid storing honey near heat sources.Raw honey should be stored below 50°F (10°C) - ideal temperature for processed/unprocessed honey is below 32°F (0°C).
Cooler temperatures better preserve the aroma, flavor and color of raw honey.Sugar causes immediate damage to cells to help repair and sugar prevents bacteria from growing as it is a preservative. Sauerkraut in a jar is very easy and reliable - place shredded cabbage tightly in a quart jar and leave it for about a month in a cool dry dark place.Eggs can be stored as is if you plan to keep them for a while - they're one of the most basic foods out there! If you're lucky enough to have an underground shelter or bunker, you might not have to worry about storing large quantities of food.