Although there are many foods that will last for decades when stored properly (wheat, beans, pasta, etc.), there are some foods that last forever without canning, freezing or dehydrating. If you’re new to food storage, these staples are a great way to start. They are the longest lasting foods in the world and are often referred to as “forever foods.”
Next time you’re at the store grab some of these foods, put them in the back of the pantry and forget about them. If you ever need them, they’ll be ready to be eaten.
- Corn starch. As long as it’s kept dry, corn starch can last indefinitely, so stock up. It’s not only great for cooking, but can also be used for other things like removing oil from the face and hair, soothing sunburns, and diaper rashes. Be sure to reseal it after each use.
- Corn syrup. The most common substitute for sugar in America. You can use it for brownies, cookies or candy. Again, reseal after each use and keep it in a cool, dry area.
- Hard liquor. Distilled liquor never goes bad, even after it’s been opened. And it’s not just a temporary escape, it’s also important for disinfecting wounds and easing physical pain.
- Hardtack. This is a mixture of flour and water forms a hard cracker that keeps for decades. Soldiers carried it with them in the civil war. It’s very hard and doesn’t taste great, but it will keep you going in an emergency.
- Honey. Archaeologists discovered ancient honey in the Egyptian pyramids and it was still edible! It crystallizes over time, but all you have to do is warm it up and stir it to get it back to the right consistency.
- Salt. This stuff lasts forever, whether it’s sea salt or ordinary table salt. Just make sure it’s not seasoned salt, which is only good for a year.
- Soy sauce. As long as it’s never opened, soy sauce also lasts indefinitely. This is mainly due to the high sodium content.
- Sugar. Brown, white and powdered sugar all lasts forever. The problem with sugar is it hardens over time, but you can break up the chunks by warming it up and stirring it, just like with honey.
- Vanilla extract. Like fine wine, pure vanilla extract actually improves with time because it’s a form of liqueur. It’s more expensive than imitation vanilla, but well worth it. Just reseal it when you’re done.
- White Rice. Every type of rice except for brown rice will keep forever if you store it properly. Brown rice, on the other hand, has a lot of oil so it goes bad after several months.
- White vinegar – distilled. Like some other items on this list, in addition to cooking white vinegar can be used for cleaning, polishing and deodorizing. When you’re done with it, put it in a cool, dark spot.