11 Forever foods for your food storage pantry By Zoey Sky for Ingredients
When looking for foods to add to your stockpile before SHTF, you can’t go wrong with “forever foods” like honey and rice.
The foods detailed below have a long shelf life and will almost never go bad. Read on to learn more. (h/t to TheSurvivalMom.com)
Baking soda is a versatile ingredient. It can be used as a leavening agent, for medicinal purposes, for cleaning and even for personal hygiene.
You need baking soda in your stockpile because it is almost impossible to produce at home. Luckily, baking soda is affordable so you can buy it in bulk before SHTF.
Ideally, your survival food supply should include at least seven to 10 pounds of baking soda per person. This amount includes three pounds for food preparation and cooking, two pounds for personal hygiene, one pound for medicine and first aid, five pounds for cleaning and deodorizing (per household) and one pound for miscellaneous uses.
Baking soda has an indefinite shelf life so you can store more than you need. If you have too much baking soda, at least you won’t run out and you can use it for bartering.
Use cornstarch to thicken gravies, sauces, soups and other liquids. As long as cornstarch remains dry, it has an indefinite shelf life.
Store cornstarch in a cool, dry area and always reseal it tightly after each use.
Cornstarch won’t go bad if you store it properly. And unlike baking powder, it doesn’t lose potency over time.
However, you need to make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with any type of liquid or the moisture can cause mold to grow. If you don’t normally use a lot of cornstarch, stock up on a few cans because it can double as a treatment for diaper rash and skin irritations of all kinds.
Cornstarch can also be used as a natural deodorant and talcum powder substitute. This gluten-free ingredient can be used to cool sunburned skin – just apply a simple water and cornstarch paste for quick relief.
Distilled white vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is versatile. Use it to make flavorful marinades and salad dressings, or you can use it as a non-toxic ingredient for DIY cleaning solutions or for doing laundry.
Distilled white vinegar will also last for many years if you close the bottle tightly after each use. Store the bottle in a cool, dark place.
Vinegar is one of those long-lasting foods that can be used for more than cooking. To make a multi-purpose cleaner, combine equal parts vinegar and water. Use the liquid to clean surfaces at home like mirrors and windows.
Did you know that hard liquor like gin, rum, tequila, whiskey and gin don’t spoil even after opening?
While the taste, color and aroma of hard liquor may fade over time, it’ll hardly be noticeable. If you plan on stocking up on hard liquor, keep the bottles tightly closed and store them in a cool area away from direct heat or sunlight.
Even if you don’t drink alcohol, it’s a good idea to stock up on hard liquor for bartering after SHTF.
Here are some of the survival uses of hard liquor:
- Disinfecting wounds – The ethanol in alcohol can act as a natural disinfectant when SHTF because it kills off the bacteria around wounds. Note that ethanol can also destroy cell tissue in the same areas, so use it sparingly. When using hard liquor for medicinal purposes, use grain alcohol.
- Disinfecting equipment – To disinfect medical equipment like scalpels and thermometers, you need to submerge them in alcohol. You can also use alcohol to disinfect your hands if you don’t have gloves.
- Disinfecting surfaces – If you need a clean surface to work with, like if you’re preparing food or for medical equipment, spray a surface with alcohol and wipe it down to disinfect it. Use enough alcohol to make the surface pretty wet, and then let it air dry before using it.
- Removing odors – It’s best to use vodka for this purpose because this kind of alcohol has no odor and is clear. Spray a bit of vodka in small rooms or on clothing to kill bacteria and get rid of nasty smells.
- Starting a fire – Soak tinder or a small piece of cloth in a solution that contains alcohol, such as hand sanitizer, if you need a firestarter that will work even when the weather is wet.
- Fuel for a lamp – If you run out of fuel for a lamp, add small amounts of alcohol so you can use it to provide heat or light to a small room.
- Fuel a stove – If you want to fuel a stove, you will need 100-proof vodka. It’s also better to use ethanol or denatured alcohol. This use is best for camp stoves.
Honey is one of the most popular forever foods. This sweet treat is great on toast, tea or as a sugar alternative.
Honey may get grainy or change color, but it’s still safe to eat thanks to its impressive antibiotic properties that keep it from spoiling. Keep jars of honey fresh by storing them in a cool area.
To improve the quality of crystallized honey, place a jar in warm water and stir it until the grainy parts dissolve.
When SHTF, you can use honey to treat scratches, scrapes or bug bites.
Maple syrup is amazing on pancakes or waffles. Fortunately, you can stock up on maple syrup because it won’t go bad if you refrigerate it or freeze it.
For long-term storage, seal maple syrup in an airtight plastic container and freeze it. You can stock up on maple syrup if you have plenty of maple trees in your backyard.
Pure vanilla extract
If you have a bottle of pure vanilla extract somewhere in your kitchen, it will last for a while because it won’t go bad.
Pure vanilla extract may be more expensive than its imitation counterpart, but its shelf life outweighs the extra cost. Preserve the vanilla flavor of pure vanilla extract by sealing the bottle after each use and storing it in a cool, dark place.
If you buy extracts for storage purposes, they should last for at least four years when kept in a dark, cool place. Most extracts contain ethyl alcohol, which has preservative elements and lasts for years. (Related: Let’s Talk Wellness Now: 10 Natural foods with a long shelf life for your survival stockpile – Brighteon.TV.)
White, wild, jasmine, arborio and basmati rice last forever, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad. However, brown rice is an exception because it has a higher oil content. You need to store brown rice in the refrigerator or freeze it to maximize its shelf life.
Once you’ve opened a bag or box of rice, keep it in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag to help it stay fresh longer.
Cooked rice may seem plain and unappetizing, but this blank canvas of flavor has many uses in the kitchen. You can use rice to stretch meals if your food supply is running low.
Here are some suggestions on how to cook rice:
- Serve plain rice with a tablespoon of butter.
- Serve plain rice with some olive oil.
- Drizzle soy sauce on rice.
- Stir in several tablespoons of minced fresh herbs with a bit of melted butter.
- Cook several tablespoons of minced garlic, leek, scallion or shallot in olive oil or butter until just soft. Add to rice while fluffing.
- Add lemon juice, butter and pepper.
- Mix in half a cup of grated or crumbled cheese.
- Mix in half a cup to one cup of cooked beans, with some of the liquid from the cooked beans.
- Add at least half a cup of dried shrimp or a couple of mashed anchovies.
- Season plain rice with any spice mixture.
- Replace all or some of the water with beef or vegetable stock.
- Top a serving of rice with some tomato sauce.
Whether you have basic table salt or sea salt, salt won’t go bad. Store salt in a cool, dry place.
Stock up on at least five pounds of salt per person. Note that moisture can make salt go bad so store it off the ground, away from outside walls and in glass jars or commercially sealed cans.
Brown, white or powdered sugar won’t spoil because it doesn’t support bacterial growth. However, sugar might harden into chunks if you don’t store it in an airtight container or seal it in a plastic bag.
If you don’t use sugar very often, store it in canning jars and sealed small Mylar bags.
Because the price of sugar has been rising, now is a good time to stock up on at least 40 pounds of your preferred sugar. Don’t add oxygen absorbers when storing sugar because it will become rock hard.
Whole wheat has a shelf-life of more than 30 years when stored in airtight containers.
If you grind whole wheat, you will have wheat flour for baking. You can also cook them whole for a filling, hot cereal.