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Survival Skills: Long Term Food Storage

None of us know what the future holds. If you find yourself worried about the decline of civilization, the best option is proper planning! in this case that means having an emergency food supply Many survivalists focus solely on a single event such as a EMP (electromagnetic pulse), or the collapse of the US dollar and many other scenarios that would lead to the fall of civilization. I choose to focus on simple survival in any scenario, while being able to feed my family no matter what.

What are the basics of survival in a doomsday scenario, water and emergency food supply are at the core of any human's basic survival needs. More often than not doomsday preppers will focus on the compound, a bug out location, and security, this is a huge mistake. While all these things are important, not having long term food storage and water will mean starvation for the family even in the most secure of locations, so focus on the basics of survival first.

This hub can benefit anyone wanting to stock up and to prepare for any hardship, even a seasoned survivalist could find valuable food storage information they may not be aware of. We have all been down and out before, so I decided there is a need to take a proactive approach in sustaining life for my family, I have acquired a wealth of knowledge on food preservation techniques and food shelf lives.

The main thing affected when any family has a hardship, is the ability to provide nutritious foods. Sure you could coupon and stock up on Ramen noodles since they are relatively inexpensive and you can make a darn good stir fry with them too. though they are not the most nutritious of choices - your body and abilities would suffer if this were your only food source. Instead understanding long term food storage and extending shelf lives should be a goal.

Knowing how to properly store grains and other foods for long term storage, is key to avoiding any spoiling food.

Knowing how to properly store grains and other foods for long term storage, is key to avoiding any spoiling food.

Doomsday scenarios

Preserving food, this used to be a way of survival for everyone. It is time we look towards the past to survive the future!

Preserving food, this used to be a way of survival for everyone. It is time we look towards the past to survive the future!


Dry Goods, Beans, Grains and More

Dry goods are an essential element to any pantry. Proper food storage is important and can lengthen the shelf life of many foods.

Dry goods are an essential element to any pantry. Proper food storage is important and can lengthen the shelf life of many foods.

A Great Choice For Long Term Emergency Food Storage and Survival

Knowing What Foods Last Longest

While you may very well be on your way to a well stocked pantry, knowing what items can be stored the longest and even indefinitely is crucial! Proper storage of these items is very important. All stored food items should be kept in clean dry areas away from sunlight!

I will list some items that can be stable for long term storage, some indefinitely if stored properly! There are four key things that effect food storage, and the ability for your food to remain stable and fresh. Temperature and moisture control, storage container and the containers atmosphere. For every ten degrees the temperature of the storage drops it adds double to the shelf life. As a reference 39.76 degrees F means a 50 year shelf life.

Soft grains such as barley, hulled or pearled oats, rolled oats, rye and quinoa stored properly (hermetically without oxygen) at 70 degrees will last 8 years. Soft grains have a soft shell that protect them so they do not last as long as some other foods.

Hard grains are buckwheat, corn, dry flax, kamut, millet, durum wheat, hard red wheat, hard white wheat, soft wheat, special bake wheat, spelt and triticale. Considered hard grains for their hard outer shell, and are well preserved naturally due to the shell. Hermetically sealed with no oxygen present these can last 10-12 years at 70 degrees F, considerably longer at lower temperatures.

Storing beans is a bit different. You may want to consider canning beans in lieu of storing them dry. The reason is that as beans age they resist water absorption and loose the natural oils. You can still use them in the dry state but may have to grind them into a paste instead of using in a soup or other recipe. These beans are lima beans mung beans, pink beans, pinto beans, small red beans, soy beans ,adzuki beans, blackeye beans, black turtle beans, garbanzo beans, great northern, kidney beans, and lentils. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen expect these to last 8-10 years at 70 degrees F. As with most thing proportionately longer in cooler temperatures.

Dehydrated dairy products store very well when oxygen is removed and they are hermetically sealed. Lasting for 15 years at 70 degrees F. Some examples are powdered eggs, cheese powder, cocoa powder, butter or margarine powder, whey powder and powdered milk.

Pasta will last for 8-10 years if it is, you guessed it hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen! Again at 70 degrees F and longer at cooler temperatures.

Flours and other products made from those hard grains and soft grains we discussed can be a little tricky. Many people think these will last forever, truth is if you are not storing properly anything you make from old flours just taste bad. Like Crocodile Dundee said 'you can live on it, but it taste like S#%$'! These only remain shelf stable for 5 years when hermetically sealed with oxygen removed, at 70 degrees F, maybe longer in cooler temperatures. This is because in order to mill the flour, you have destructed the outer shell that protects the grain.

Dehydrated fruit has a seemingly short shelf life of 5 years, when compared to its dehydrated counterparts. Sealed properly at 70 degrees, and longer in cooler temperatures.

Dehydrated vegetables on the other hand have a shelf life of 8-10 years when hermetically sealed at 70 degrees F without oxygen present. Longer when in cooler temperatures.

Granola, I see all the time that preppers store granola. I am not an advocate of granola because it can go rancid due to the oils in the nuts. The life expectancy of granola is only 6-9 months. Not to mention it can be an expensive item to purchase. I feel like this is a waste of money when planning for the long term. You could spend your money wisely and purchase corn, oats etc.

Here are some items that should be in every survivalist emergency food supply; honey, salt, and sugar. Why? They can last indefinitely! Keep in mind they must be stored free from moisture, and look out for honey with additives, pure honey is best. The honey may crystallize the older it gets but heating it up will dissolve the crystals and it is perfectly safe to eat even if you do not heat it. Your Great grand kids could potentially be eating honey that you stored today!

Before you start storing brown or white rice you should know they store very differently! Brown rice is only expected to store for 6 months because the essential fatty acids in brown rice quickly oxidize. While white rice will store for 8-10 years at the average conditions of 70 degrees F, and yes longer at cooler temperatures.

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Yeast is another one of those items with a not so long life expectancy. Since it is a living organism you should only store them in the unopened original container at the average temperature. You can expect it to store for two years this way. Now if you refrigerate your yeast it will last 5 years and in the freezer even longer.


Proper sealing of goods

In a survival scenario failing to properly store dry goods can lead to spoilage. I know the hub is getting lengthy, but this is very important. In most cases a double barrier food storage system is the best option, for ensuring long term storage. This means a food grade bucket, with a vacuumed sealed bag of your food inside it. So this way not only the bag protects your food but also the bucket. It will also add a little extra deterrent to any unwanted animals sniffing around. You should also include an oxygen absorbed pack into your bag of dry goods before sealing.

I hope this helps you as you begin to prepare for the unknown, or just to help you have a better understanding of a proper emergency food supply and how to store it.


Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 16, 2020:

I wrote this particular article years ago. Given the current state of things, and the amount of people who bulk purchased goods I do think that information here is currently relevant. Without proper storage a lot of the foods that people purchased in bulk will not remain fresh for consumption for the long term.

Sol Razo on March 16, 2020:

This is a very timely post, thank you for sharing such information !

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 15, 2020:

Same with me, I wish we were a little further into spring here so we were already in gardening season. I have my seeds waiting to be planted but still too cold here in West Virginia for me to start.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 14, 2020:

Prakhar Kasera, I agree now more than ever folks do need some basic understanding of what they should be preparing. I do hope the situation recovers swiftly, but it is better to prepare than to be caught off guard.

Elle on March 14, 2020:

I try to keep my pantry stocked with essentials, but I wish that I maintained a garden year round. I thrive on fresh produce. - Elle Em

Prakhar Kasera on March 14, 2020:

With the days of world struck and struggling with corona virus, food and water shortage has been felt in some parts already. So this post can be very useful for today, needs to be shared as much as possible.

Chelsea Sauve - Wandure on March 14, 2020:

Food really is medicine, so nourishing and the basis of our well-being. Thanks for sharing this insight!

Amanda Coates on March 14, 2020:

We need this with the corona virus going around and some even being confined to their homes.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on March 25, 2015:

Thank you Katie! I appreciate the comment!

Katie campbell on March 25, 2015:

I loved all the information, thank you!

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 24, 2015:

Thank you aliciaharrell! I do like to try and use the polls to see if people are actually reading or just skimming the information ;)! My only downfall, is having a lack of time to write, my son keeps me very busy most of the time!

Alicia Rose Harrell from Central Oklahoma on February 24, 2015:

Enjoyed this hub; well written and thought provoking. The polls were fun. They were an excellent way to see if people read your hubs too. ;) I am enjoying reading your hubs. :D

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 22, 2015:

Thank you Whitney Rose Wood! I appreciate it! I know what you mean about beans, it was one of the things I remember thinking lasted forever at one point! I have a small house so I understand the storage issues too. My kitchen is a nightmare! I have limited cabinets and only so much room in the cellar but I would rather have plenty of food than worry about it looking cluttered!

Whitney Rose Wood on February 22, 2015:

Wow, very informative. I did not know that beans can lose their oils over time. I will most likely re-read this article in the future when I get a place with some storage capacity. Voted up.

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 18, 2015:

Haha good point! I think the problem with eating zombies is the possibility of contracting the virus :). Not to mention most people frown upon cannibalism even in a survival situation. Thank you for reading and commenting!

poetryman6969 on February 18, 2015:

I still say once we learn to eat zombies all our problems are solved. Still you have some very good and detailed information here. Water is life!

Cynthia Hoover (author) from Newton, West Virginia on February 18, 2015:

You are very welcome! Having had a water crisis last year (our public water systems were contaminated with harful chemicals). I felt the need to learn as much as possible about alternative water sources. Food preservation has been an interest of mine since I was a little girl.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 18, 2015:

Thank you for sharing the very useful information about food storage. The details that you've shared are important for anyone who wants to preserve food and water.

hotnews24 on February 17, 2015:


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