The classic way to create a long-term supply of food is to store bulk staples such as rice, pasta and dried beans. It is cost-effective and works well, but can leave you faced with a pretty boring diet. That’s not good for morale and while well-chosen staples are expected to reduce the risk of malnutrition, you’ll easily find things that you neglect.
Now for some good news: You can quickly add a whole range of items to your collection to make it more interesting, tasty, and nutritious. While buying rice in 50 pound sacks, if you do your daily grocery shopping, you can also create an emergency fund by only picking up a few extra products each week. Here’s our list of top 24 hoardable foods:
1 – Meat
Fresh meat is a non-starter for emergency supplies, because it can’t be stored long-term without a freezer – and you can’t rely on your freezer surviving the apocalypse. Nevertheless, it is worth searching for alternatives, since meat is the best protein source. Canned fish and meat can last for years, it’s easy to prepare – you can eat it straight out of the can in an emergency – and it makes pasta or rice dishes even more interesting. Jerky is also healthy – it can be added to meals and soaked, or eaten as a snack.
2 – Eggs
Other great source of protein are the eggs, and they are very versatile. The problem is, they’re corruptible. In reality, eggs can be preserved for between nine months and a year by covering them in a thin layer of beeswax or baby oil, then stored in a cool, dark place, but there are also some refined egg products that will last for years safely. In certain applications, frozen-dried egg powders may replace fresh eggs – baked or scrambled eggs, in example.
3 – Whey powder
Cheese makers split curdled milk into curds-the thick portion that ends up as cheese – and whey. Fresh whey is a dark liquid, watery, low in fat but high in protein. Whey is in reality the basis of most protein supplements. Powdered whey is applied to your food store, it quickly dissolves and can be used to make protein-rich drinks, soups and sauces.
If you like cheese, it’s one of those foods that you would always miss when it’s gone. Fortunately, there are ways to store cheese without refrigeration in the long term. Canned processed cheese has at least two years of shelf life and typically much longer. Wax-coated cheese will also remain good for years if stored properly – Parmesan will last for 25 years or more!
5 – Fats
If you follow our advice on survival foods you have already stored a lot of oil to add a simple source of fats to your diet. Add to that some other fats will allow you to change your tastes and add more energy. Consider canned butter, ghee, lard – yes, and Crisco turns out to be safe. Olive oil is also good, but it only lasts a few years before it goes rancid.
6 – Breakfast cereal
Also in the worst of times, a bowl of your favorite cereal for breakfast will get to a comfortable day off, calming start. Cereal can be shockingly nutritious too. Wholegrain-based one’s like shredded wheat have a lot of fiber, even common sugar-based ones are a great energy source. In cold weather hot oatmeal is a great help.
7 – Dried milk
You can’t have cereal without milk, so stock up on powdered milk too. It can be stored for several years, and has lots of uses. You’ll usually get the best shelf life – and the best value for money – if you buy #10 cans.
8 – Potato flakes
If you have potato flakes and hot water, you can make mashed potatoes. These aren’t just a tasty addition to a meal – they’re also a great source of carbs (which means energy). You can also add potato flakes to stews and soups to add some extra body.
9 – Potato flour
More potatoes! But then, why not? Potato flour is made from whole potatoes (skin and all), so it’s quite nutritious. It makes a great thickener and you can bake with it, too. Potato flour is also useful if you are gluten intolerant.
10 – Cornmeal
Corn has more energy than wheat and more protein than rice. Cornmeal can be stored for two years or more and you can turn it into cornbread, pancakes, grits or polenta.
11 – Cider vinegar
Vinegar is practically a magic potion – it has a whole range of uses around the home and in an emergency. Apple cider vinegar tastes great, too. Mixed with oil and seasonings it’s a good simple dressing and it makes a huge difference to sauces.
12 – Chocolate
Compact, long-lasting, loaded with healthy antioxidants and energy dense, dark chocolate is a perfect survival food supplement. It also tastes amazing, which doesn’t hurt. Buy quality chocolate, avoid cheaper brands that contain hydrogenated vegetable oil, which is bad for your heart.
13 – Baking soda
If you have flour in your stores, or you manage to get some crops coming in and grind your own, you’ll need leavening agents to make bread rise. Baking soda lasts longer than yeast, because it’s a chemical and not a living organism.
14 – Honey
You probably already have sugar in your stores; but add some honey too. It lasts practically forever, tastes great and contains natural antibiotics – in an emergency you can put it on a would to prevent infection. Cover it with a dressing to stop dirt sticking to it.
15 – Molasses
Like honey, molasses is packed with energy. You can use it for baking or add a big spoonful to chili or stews.
16 – Pickling salt
Normal iodized table salt isn’t suitable for canning or pickling – it has too many added chemicals to fortify it or keep it flowing freely. If you plan on preserving your own produce, store the right salt.
17 – Dried fruit
Raisins, fruit strips and other dried fruit products have most of the nutrients and energy of fresh fruit, but they last for years and don’t take up much space. Avoid over-processed products and stick with all-natural ones. Best of all, if you have a dehydrator and vacuum sealer you can make your own.
18 – Jelly and jam
If you’re making bread, you’ll want something to put on it. You can also use jelly to make simple puddings – stir a spoonful into a bowl of cooked, sweetened cornmeal for a quick and tasty option.
19 – Peanut butter
This is also great on bread, with or without jelly, but it can make some great sauces too. You can make a basic satay sauce with peanut butter, sugar and soy sauce, it goes well with chicken.
20 – Coconut milk
If you like Indian or Thai food, coconut milk is a big help in creating tasty sauces. It has lots of energy, is a good source of healthy fats, and contains several essential nutrients. Like most canned goods, it should last at least two years but is generally fine as long as the can isn’t leaking, rusted or swollen.
21 – Powdered drink mixes
Staying hydrated is the top survival priority – but drinking plain water for weeks on end gets dull, and some people get nauseated by it. Add variety with hot and cold drink mixes. Hot chocolate and bouillon are excellent in cold weather, Tang or Gatorade are good for cold drinks.
22 – Seltzer water
Canned seltzer water lasts pretty much forever and adds variety to your drinking routine. It can also help treat constipation.
23 – Protein bars
If you need to bug out in a hurry you’ll need compact, high-energy food to take with you. Grab your chocolate, but some protein bars are good, too. They’ll make your diet a bit more balanced, and keep your stamina up.
Related: Homemade Fermented Honey Garlic
24 – Seasonings
Whatever you eat, the right seasonings will make it even more enjoyable – and that makes a difference. Eating bland food for weeks is depriming. You will have salt stockpiled, add some of your favorite herbs and spices as well as pepper – garlic powder, ground paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, dried oregano, and even a bottle of soy sauce.
Any food that can be stored securely can make a valuable addition to your reserves, so keep an eye out for promotional deals that may have a place in your store shelves. If you have any other food ideas that you should hoard, let me know in the comments below!