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15 Best Foods that Last for Years - Survival Fitness Plan

Discover the best foods to store for long term survival

15 Best Foods that Last for Years

In times of disaster, foods that last for years will help ensure your survival. These foods do not go bad and can still be eaten way past their expiration date. In this article, you will learn about the different long-lasting survival foods to store in case of a future disaster. 

What is the importance of disaster preparedness?

Disaster can strike anytime in any corner of the globe. Disastrous events are often unexpected in nature, which is why it is very important to allot time in planning and preparation for common disasters. We can refer to disaster preparedness as the measures taken to reduce the impact of a disaster.

Disaster preparedness usually involves securing the basic needs so that whenever a disaster strikes, your family will have resources that are readily accessible. Among these basic needs, two of the most important are water and food. In the next section, we will guide and help you pick the foods with the best shelf life. 

Eat and Replace

When creating your food stocks, use the “eat and replace” system to ensure nothing goes to waste. This means that you eat what is in your stores before it goes bad, and then replace it with the same thing.

The 15 Best Foods that Last for Years

Believe it or not, there are foods that, when sealed and stored properly, can last from a few years to even decades. Here is a list of foods with long shelf life that you should add to your disaster preparation stocks.

1. Honey

Honey has an indefinite shelf life, meaning it can almost forever. Foods go bad whenever bacteria and microorganisms infiltrate it. Honey, on the other hand, has sugar, which makes it hard for bacteria to affect it. It also has very low moisture, which makes it hard for bacteria to thrive. 

Although store bought honey has an expiration date, you can still eat it way past that date. The expiration date only refers to the time that the honey crystallizes and you can bring the honey back to its original form by heating it up. 

2. Rice

Did you know that uncooked white rice can last up to five years? If you are looking to keep rice in the basement for disaster preparation, keep it in an oxygen-free container. Doing this will make the rice last for 25 to 30 years. 

3. Wine/Alcohol

Wine and hard liquors such as vodka, whiskey, and rum will never go bad as long as you store them properly. However, there are other brands that contain dairy and cream, and these have a much shorter shelf life, especially when exposed to heat or direct sunlight. 

4. Dehydrated Meat

Consuming the right amount of protein is necessary for a healthy body. Dehydrated meat is an excellent source of protein which has a long shelf life. When dehydrated meat is packed with sodium nitrate, it can last up to 12 months. 

5. Instant Coffee

Can you imagine being in the basement during a disaster and having no coffee during breakfast? The good news is that instant coffee packets can last up to 20 years. And putting them in the freezer will make them last forever. 

6. Powdered Milk

It is not recommended to consume powdered milk longer than three months once it has been opened. However, if you keep it unopened in a cool dark place, powdered milk can last from three to five years. 

7. Canned Goods

Canned goods make excellent long-lasting survival foods and are one of the best foods for long-term storage survival. Canned foods can last two to five years from their manufacture date. Remember to avoid canned goods that are rusted, scratched, dented, or bulging because these goods might have a shorter shelf life than expected. Below are some examples of canned foods that last the longest.

Canned Poultry or Fish

Canned poultry and fish can last up to 18 months if stored correctly.

Low acid canned vegetables

Low acid canned vegetables are the longest-lasting canned foods. If these products are stored properly in a cool dark place, they can remain edible for up to 5 years. 

Canned Fruits

If you are going to store canned fruits and juices at room temperature, they can last up to 18 months. Canned fruits are high in acid, which is why their shelf life is shorter than canned vegetables with low acid. 

8. Energy Bars

Energy bars are one of the highest shelf life foods and can basically last forever. Energy bars are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help fill any nutritional gaps that your body has. Select those that are low in saturated fat and sugar. 

9. Hardtack

Hardtack is food that was popular as a ration during the Civil War. It is one of those foods that can be stored for years. To make hardtack, you need to combine flour, salt, and water. When the time comes to consume it, you just need to dip it in water or cook it with water to make it edible. 

10. Oats

Oats are one of the healthiest foods you can have on your prep shelf. This cereal grain can last up to 30 years, making it one of the foods with the longest shelf life. To further increase its shelf life, place it in an oxygen absorber packet and store it in a cool and dark place inside an airtight container. 

11. Cheese

Cheese can last for years depending on what type you store. Hard cheese can last up from one to three years. Parmesan, on the other hand, can last up to five years while aged cheddar can last up to ten years. 

12. Frozen Foods

Frozen foods can last for years as long as you don’t take them out of the freezer. Some frozen foods will lose their taste over time, but the nutritional value is still the same. 

13. Bouillon Cubes

We commonly use dried flavoring cubes in a lot of dishes and they are a good source of sodium. These ingredients can last up to a year past the expiration date. To maximize shelf life, store them in an area where there is little to no moisture.

14. Dried Fruit

Dried fruits can last up to 12 months when stored correctly. Dried fruits absorb flavor elements from its surrounding which is why they must be kept in a cool and dry place. 

15. Beans

Dried beans can last up to 10 years when stored correctly. However, most of the dried beans that are stored lose their vitamins around the fifth year. To prevent this from happening, you can put them in a Mylar-type bag with no oxygen and place them in a cold dry area. 


One of the major problems people face during emergency situations is that they are not prepared with food, water, and clothing. When it comes to long term survival you need to ensure you and your family are getting all the nutrients required, such as those contained in the long shelf life foods in this article.

Did you find this article about long lasting prepper foods useful? If so, please share it with your friends.

Article by Sam Fury

Sam Fury 3 png
Sam Fury 3 png

Sam Fury is the creator and owner of the Survival Fitness Plan.

He has had a passion for martial arts and outdoor pursuits since he was a young boy growing up in Australia.

As a young adult he joined the military and studied outdoor leadership in college. After that, to further his skills, Sam started traveling to learn from the best in the world in various fields related to the Survival Fitness Plan including various martial arts in China, SE Asia and Brazil, Parkour in Singapore, Surf Life Saving in Australia, and others. 

These days, he still enjoys learning new things, traveling and sharing what he has learned via the Survival Fitness Plan. 

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