32 Important Foods With Long Shelf Life For Your Pantry (or Off-Grid Living)

It is not possible to produce a constant quantity of food throughout the year. Food is plentiful in some seasons and becomes scarce in other seasons.

For instance, people produce more food just before winter. They then store it to have enough during this harsh season.

Different types of foods have a definite shelf life if not processed in any way. If you are living off the grid, then you should learn how to naturally preserve food.

But above all, you should know some foods with long shelf life. So, you do not have to think of freezers and refrigerators.

We all know canned foods last longer and are ready for consumption at any time, but they are out of option for off-grid living. Refrigeration or freezing is also not an alternative.

You need to know the foods with long shelf life. Such foods can keep their taste and nutritional value.

In this article, we will list the best foods that can last longer without processing. They allow you to eat better and stay healthy because they remain fresh for a long time.

Natural Food With Long Shelf Life, Not Canned Food

Natural Food With Long Shelf Life, Not Canned Food

Natural foods have benefits over canned or processed foods. They are nutritious, fresh, and chemical-free. Canned foods, on the other hand, have chemicals and preservatives that can have side effects. They are also likely to lose taste.

Natural foods are the best option for off-grid living and healthy living. Such foods have high fiber content, low sugar, rich in healthy fats, have antioxidants, and are affordable.

You are better off producing your own food and only resort to canned food as the last option.

Some canned foods have a long shelf life. That means you do not have to opt for the canned ones.

Just proper storage and natural food preservation methods are good enough to keep them fresh. The following are some of such foods:

  • Tuna
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Maple Syrup
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Tomato Sauce

In this article, we have compiled information about 32 natural foods with long shelf life. They can stay fresh for many days, weeks, or even months without going bad.

Also, they do not lose taste and nutritious value, unlike when refrigerated or stored in a deep freezer.

32 Foods With Long Shelf Life

32 Foods With Long Shelf Life

Potatoes

Potatoes have a long storage life of about 2-5 weeks, depending on the storage conditions and the variety. They should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place to avoid sprouting and rotting.

Yukon gold, red, and fingerlings are some potato varieties that can last for about three weeks.

Larger white, russet, and sweet potatoes last for about five weeks. All potato varieties should not be stored next to onions because the moisture and gases produced by each one of them can make them go bad faster.

Onions

Bulb onions should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place to prevent sprouting and spoilage. If this is observed, you can expect your onions to last for about 1-2 months but should never be stored next to potatoes.

Winter Squash

Winter squash can last for about 1-3 years. This is a wide variation because of the different varieties available. On the list of the most durable winter squash, we have Hubbard, kabocha, spaghetti, butternut, acorn, etc.

These are the options you need to grow for the future.

Tea

So far, tea is one of the foods with a long lifespan. It can survive for about half a year to a whole year if properly stored.

Dry the tea leaves, put them in sealed containers or tea bags, and then keep them in a dry and open place. However, we have to warn you that tea may lose its flavor if stored for long.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk can last somewhere between one year and one and a half years. You might see a change in color, flavor, and/or texture, but powdered milk will still be safe for use 18 months later.

Dried Pasta

Dried Pasta has a shelf life of about 1-2 years if properly stored. There are two ways of making pasta.

The first recipe involves mixing semolina flour with water and then drying the mixture. Ensure you drive out all the moisture from the mixture.

Another approach involves making it even a more nutritious dried pasta. Eggs are added to the mixture, which makes this version more perishable.

Bouillon Cubes

Bouillon cubes are ready meals, but you can store them to be used 2 years later. Storage involves sealing them in a container where they do not get oxygen and moisture. If that is observed, then they can last for over two years.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolates can last for about 2 to 5 years. Chocolate with high cacao content and little or no milk lasts much longer than one with high milk content.

Dark chocolate should be kept under low temperature with a thermometer reading of about 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

These are the recommended temperatures for much longer life and should never exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Liquor

Liquor can last a lifetime if stored under the right conditions, often improving in taste over time.

However, it can also spoil when kept in very hot or cold conditions. If the storage bottles are not airtight, then oxidation can water down its taste.

Liquor naturally preserves itself because of the high alcohol content. This is true for non-sugar liquor that will never lose taste.

If you like sugary liquors, expect them to become less sweet with time because sugar precipitates when stored for long.

Cider Vinegar Apple

Cider Vinegar Apple is acidic. This property gives it a shelf life of about two years when stored in a sealed can and one year in an open can.

This staple food is best stored in a cool and darkroom. Its greatest enemy is sunlight. So, if you want it to last longer, keep it in a pantry or just away from light.

White Rice

White rice has an indefinite shelf life. Unlike brown rice with high oil content, white rice has very little or sometimes no oil.

If kept in a dry place, it will last forever. Their only enemies are the rice pests, usually getting into the storage container or the rice grains were harvested with them.

The only remedy to these notorious rice weevils or flour bags is keeping the rice in an airtight container to prevent them from getting in. If they are already there, there is not much you can do apart from discarding the rice.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruits can last for more than one year, depending on the particular fruit and storage method. They are better stored in airtight packages or containers.

Dried fruits are nutritious snacks but can also be used for baking. You can dry cranberries, apricots, and many others.

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Oats

Oats can last for up to 2 years. Storing them is very easy; just put them in an airtight container. These can be used for making oatmeal, cookies, and granola even two years later.

Oils (Coconut, olive, peanut)

Oils stored in a sealed container in a dark room can last for about two years. Once you break the seal, ensure to use them within the next few months.

Grains

Most grains have a shelf life of 8 years but should be kept in sealed containers to keep away pests. Production of grains, such as millet, barley, flax, and others, is a better strategy for off-gridders. You can enjoy a few years of food without worries.

Molasses

Molasses can last a decade in a closed container and five years in an open container. Just fill a can with molasses and close the lid tightly and then place it in your pantry.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee can last up to 25 years in a sealed container. If you are producing a lot of coffee, storing some for future emergencies is a brilliant idea. There is no need to go to a coffee shop because your store got depleted.

Corn Starch

Conn starch has an indefinite shelf life. Store it in an airtight container and place it in a cool and dry place. With no moisture, corn starch will last forever.

Dried Beans, Lentils & Legumes

These foods also have an indefinite shelf life. Even if you want to keep them for your grandchildren, you can do so, provided they are kept in a sealed container.

One point to note about dried beans. Lentils and other legumes get drier as time goes. So, expect them to be harder than they were at the storage time.

Powdered Jell-O

Powdered Jell-O joins other food on our list that lasts forever. They are easier to store than any other foods we have on this list. Just put them in the boxes and stack them up in your pantry.

Raw Honey

Provided your raw honey is kept moisture-free, it will last a lifetime. You are safer if you harvested the honey yourself. Fake honey in the market will not hold to this lifetime expectation.

Raw CoCoa / CoCoa Powder

Cocoa powder can last more than 30 years. This should be a raw cocoa powder and not a chocolate mix, which contains dairy products.

Salt

Salt lasts forever. To maintain its texture, keep it in a cool and dry place, where the temperature remains relatively constant. Changing temperatures are likely to cause condensation.

Sugar

Sugar has an indefinite shelf life if stored in a dark and dry place, probably in an airtight container. Brown sugar lasts as long as white sugar but is likely to harden over time.

Pickles and Pickled Vegetable

These foods will last for about four years in a closed container and one year in an opened container. Pickles are best stored in sealed cans for maximum shelf life.

Fortunately, these foods are ready right from the storage containers, but please examine them first before eating.

Whole Spices and Herbs

Spices stored in sealed containers and placed in a cool and dry place can last for four years. They should be kept away from direct sunlight, probably in a cupboard or kitchen cabinet. However, spices and herbs lose their potency when stored for a long time.

Dried Meat (Beef jerky is common)

Dried meat or beef jerky can last for two years when stored in a vacuum-sealed container. The container should be placed in a cool and dark place.

You can enjoy your meat in two years. So, slaughtering livestock to enhance your off-grid living diet is not a big deal.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a versatile grain that is valued by many. It has a shelf life of about 2-3 years in your pantry. Whether you have white, red, or black Quinoa, the storage period does not change. It should be dried and properly stored to realize this.

Whole Wheat Grains

Whole Wheat Grains such as wheat berries and rice can last for up to 6 months when stored in airtight containers. They last longer than the flour.

Cheese

Cheese is a dairy product. Dairy products are not known for their long shelf life. Most cheeses will last just about 1-2 weeks in a pantry and up to eight months in a freezer.

Ghee

Ghee stored in a cool and dark place in a sealed container can last for 9 months. If stored in open containers, the shelf life reduces to just 3 months.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can last a long time when stored in an airtight container where there is no moisture. Its shelf life is about six months to one year, depending on the storage conditions. It should be kept in a cool and dry place.

Type of FoodShelf Life
Potatoes2-5 weeks
Onions1-2 months
Winter Squash1-3 years
Tea0.5-1 year
Powdered Milk1-1.5 years
Dried Pasta1-2 years
Bouillon Cubes2 years
Dark Chocolate2-5 years
LiquorIndefinite
Cider Vinegar Apple2 years
White Riceindefinite
Dried Fruit1+ years
Oats2 years
Oils (Coconut, olive, peanut)2 years
Grains8 years
Molasses10 years
Instant Coffee25 years
Corn Starchindefinite
Dried Beans, Lentils & Legumesindefinite
Powdered Jell-Oindefinite
Raw Honeyindefinite
Raw CoCoa / CoCoa Powder30 years
Saltindefinite
Sugarindefinite
Pickles and Pickled Vegetable4 years
Whole Spices and Herbs4 years
Dried Meat (Beef jerky is common)2 years
Quinoa2-3 years
Whole Wheat Grains6 months
Cheese1-2 weeks
Ghee9 months
Baking Soda0.5-1 year
Different type of food with their shelf life

Causes Faster Food Spoilage?

Why do foods go bad? Many reasons contribute to food spoilage. The shelf life of any food depends on many factors and exposure to some environmental conditions. Microorganisms also need substrates to feed on.

The following factors will cause food spoilage:

  • Humidity
  • Oxygen
  • Heat
  • Bacteria
  • Fungi
  • Pests
  • Light

Change The Shelf Life Of Food? or How To Store Food For Longest Shelf Life?

Change The Shelf Life Of Food? or How To Store Food For Longest Shelf Life?

You can extend the shelf life of different foods using food preservation methods. Many techniques exist to help keep your foods for future use. They include the following:

  • Processing: food can be cured, pickled, pasteurized, dehydrated, freeze-dried, and heat processed.
  • Packaging: use mylar storage bags and oxygen absorbers, or consider adding bay leaves into your food buckets.
  • Proper storage: keep foods away from light, heat, moisture, and oxygen to keep bacteria and fungi away.
  • Rotated: One more tip is to rotate your food as you eat it.

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Conclusion

You can produce any of the foods with a long shelf life listed here and keep them for future use. That will make your off-grid life more complete.

Remember to donate the excess food you no longer need to your fellow off-gridder or neighbor rather than throwing it away.

As always, thank you for caring for ”Em offgrid” in your life! If you are reading this article of ours, thank you, and we hope you have found the information useful.