Emergency Food Storage For Long-Term Survival (2 Years To Indefinitely)

As a prepper, one of the first things you probably thought about was how to store food the right way so that is lasts a long time.  The image of having a pantry stocked to the brim with food for that just-in-case scenario makes us feel more secure.  Learning which foods will last you the longest will help you ensure that you and your family have a readily available supply of food that will keep you going when the odds are stacked against you.

Whether you’re concerned about short-term food storage options, long-term storage options, or both – this article will tell you what foods you should buy at your local grocery store and stock up on… the right way.

There are 4 factors that greatly effect the storage of dried foods, they are:

  1. temperature
  2. product’s moisture content
  3. atmosphere the food is stored in
  4. container the food is stored in


Above all of the other factors, temperature effects the storage of dried foods the most. The USDA states that each 10°F drop in temperature doubles the storage life of seeds, while a 10°F rise in temperature halves the storage life of seeds.  For the most part, 70°F is the ideal storage temperature for most of the items on this article’s list.  If you don’t have anywhere in your house at this temperature, you’ll need to rotate your storage so that you prevent food loss.

Product’s moisture content

Dry beans, grains, and flours usually contain about 10% moisture, according to the USDA. Excess moisture in your food will greatly accelerate the time it takes to spoil.  Although you don’t need to fully remove all of the moisture, if you plan on long-term storage for your grains, they should have a 10% moisture content or less.

Atmosphere the food is stored in

Since air has oxygen in it, the compounds in foods packed in air will oxidize the and spoil faster.  You can remove the air by displacing the oxygen by purging the air out of the container with an inert gas like Nitrogen (the most popular), or you can absorb the oxygen by using oxygen absorber packets.  If you are storing seeds for sprouting or gardening, however, store them in Nitrogen (seeds are living and if stored without air they will die).

Container the food is stored in

When choosing a container to store your foods in, make sure that it has an airtight seal and is food grade so that the materials that the container is made out of doesn’t infect the food being stored.  Some popular options are #10 cans, sealable food storage buckets, and sealable food quality metal or plastic drums.  Also, check out this article on WaterBricks, another great option for both food and water storage.

Here is the list of foods you should stock up on in order from shortest shelf life to longest shelf life.

2-5 Years (Short-Term Shelf Life Foods – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • peanut butter powder
  • peanut butter
  • dried herbs and spices
  • canned tuna
  • canned meats
  • canned vegetables
  • canned fruits
  • coffee
  • tea
  • hard candy
  • ramen noodles

4 Years (Garden/Sprouting Seeds – 70°F – Nitrogen, Store in air)

  • alfalfa seeds
  • triticale seeds
  • whole peas seeds
  • garbanzo bean seeds
  • soybean seeds
  • lentil seeds
  • broccoli seeds
  • radish seeds
  • adzuki bean seeds

5 Years (Foods Made From Cracked/Ground Wheat – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • all-purpose flour
  • bakers flour
  • unbleached flour
  • white flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • cornmeal
  • refried beans
  • cracked wheat
  • germade
  • gluten
  • granola
  • wheat flakes

5 Years (Dehydrated Fruit – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • apples
  • applesauce
  • bananas
  • peaches
  • raisins
  • strawberries

5 Years (Yeast – Refrigerated – Original metal foil container)

  • yeast (keep it in its original metal foil container, refrigerated)

8 Years (Soft Grains – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • barley
  • hulled or pearled oat groats
  • rolled oats
  • quinoa
  • rye

8-10 Years (Beans – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • adzuki beans
  • blackeye beans
  • black turtle beans
  • garbanzo beans
  • great northern kidney beans
  • lentils
  • lima beans
  • mung beans
  • pink beans
  • pinto beans
  • small red beans
  • soy beans

8-10 Years (Dehydrated Vegetables – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onions
  • peppers
  • potatoes

8-10 Years (Pasta – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • macaroni
  • noodles
  • ribbons
  • spaghetti

10-12 Years (Hard Grains – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • buckwheat
  • dried corn
  • flax
  • kamut
  • millet
  • durum wheat
  • hard red wheat
  • hard white wheat
  • soft wheat
  • special bake wheat
  • spelt
  • triticale

15 Years (Dehydrated Dairy Products – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • cheese powder
  • cocoa powder
  • powdered eggs
  • butter/margarine pdr
  • powdered milk
  • whey powder

15-20 Years (Textured Vegetable Protein – 70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • textured vegetable protein, made from soybeans

Indefinitely (70°F – No oxygen, Airtight seal)

  • honey (make sure it is additive-free)
  • salt
  • sugar

So there’s the list of foods you should consider buying at your local grocery store.  Stock up on them to ensure that you will be able to provide you and your family with food, even when a bad situation falls on you.