Survival Foods That Make Sense (and their Shelf Lives) – Quick Guide

Making Sense of Foods That Survive Long Periods of Time 

Food Shelf Life

What's In Your Pantry? How Long Will It Last?


When considering storable foods, think on a multi-use level.  It is important to consider the value of each food based on such things as:

nutritional value;

storage life;

barter value; and

other uses asides from eating (like healing properties).

In the event of an emergency where everything becomes scarce, bartering for and with food will especially become an instant option.

4 foods: can be stored for over 10 years; can add some flavor to your cooking and make excellent barter items. If stored properly they can probably last indefinitely:

  1. Salt
  2. Sugar – Brown or White
  3. Honey (raw honey lasts longer & has better healing properties)
  4. Alcohol – Whiskey, Vodka, etc…

Hard Grains: Stored properly hard grains have a shelf life of around 10 – 12 years.

Grain stores the longest in an oxygen-free environment.  Wheat keeps best stored at 70°F. or colder. The colder the storage temperature, the longer the grain will keep. The warmer the temperature, the sooner it will degrade, so don’t store it in a hot garage.

  1. Buckwheat
  2. Dry Corn
  3. Kamut
  4. Hard Red Wheat
  5. Soft White Wheat
  6. Millet
  7. Durum wheat
  8. Spelt

Soft grains: These soft grains will last around 8 years at 70 degrees sealed without oxygen.

  1. Barley
  2. Oat Groats
  3. Quinoa
  4. Rye

Beans: Sealed and kept away from oxygen the following beans can last for around 8 – 10 years.

  1. Pinto Beans
  2. Kidney Beans
  3. Lentils
  4. Lima Beans
  5. Adzuki Beans
  6. Garbanzo Beans
  7. Mung Beans
  8. Black Turtle Beans
  9. Blackeye Beans

Flours and Mixes and Pastas: 5 – 8 years, sealed & kept away from oxygen

  1. All Purpose Flour
  2. White Flour
  3. Whole Wheat Flour
  4. Cornmeal
  5. Pasta
  6. White Rice ( up to 10 years)


  1. Coconut oil – Coconut oil has one of the longest shelf lives of any kind of oil. It can last for over 2 years and is a great item to add to your survival food supplies list.

Other good survival foods: 2 – 5 years of shelf life

  1. Canned Tuna
  2. Canned Meats
  3. Canned Vegetables & Fruits
  4. Peanut Butter
  5. Coffee
  6. Tea
  7. Ramen Noodles – not the greatest food in the world but they are very cheap so they made the survival food list.
  8. Hard Candy
  9. Powdered milk
  10. Dried herbs and spices (click here to read Your Garden: Growing Herbs that Repel Insects and Other Critters)

Items that can be used for more than cooking:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Cleaning, cooking, and has antibiotic properties
  • Baking Soda – Cleaning, cooking, antacid, treats insect bites
  • Honey – Mentioned again for it’s antibiotic and wound healing properties

Non Food Items to stock up on at the grocery store: (think barter & need)

  1. Bic Lighters, waterproof matches
  2. Toilet Paper
  3. Soaps (it is said that Irish Spring Soap helps to keep mice & rats away)
  4. Bottled Water
  5. Vitamins
  6. Medicines
  7. Bandages
  8. Peroxide
  9. Lighter fluid
  10. Canning Supplies
  11. Charcoal
  12. Candles

This is by no means a full list, but it does make for a great quick guide.


7 responses to “Survival Foods That Make Sense (and their Shelf Lives) – Quick Guide

  1. Adding packages of assorted needles and some spools of thread to my list. Always needed for repairs and great for trade/barter. Simple things will have great value.

  2. Thanks for this list! It’s GREAT! We’re thinking of storing cigarettes and alcohol for bartering as well as medicinal (tobacco is great for stings). Any thoughts on that?

    • absolutely! if everything disappears, there certainly will be things people will miss terribly – that’s the kind of thing i’m storing! have a great day …

  3. Pingback: Survival Foods That Make Sense (and their Shelf Lives) – Quick Guide | Prepping Ideas - Are You Prepared Enough?

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